from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, Patrick M.
debtors appeal the district court's appointment of the
bank as a receiver, the denial of a continuance, and the
grant of summary judgment to the bank in a foreclosure
Krull of Waagmeester Law Office, P.L.C., Rock Rapids, for
E. DeKoter of DeKoter, Thole, Dawson & Rockman, P.L.C.,
Sibley, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
JJ. Carr, S.J., takes no part.
more than a decade, Sibley State Bank loaned money to Dale
and Danna Braaksma, their son Jesse, and Braaksma Grain
Farms, Inc. (collectively the Braaksmas) and secured
mortgages on their farmland as collateral. This appeal
involves the bank's foreclosure action commenced in 2016.
The Braaksmas take issue with three district court rulings:
(1) appointment of the bank as a receiver under Iowa Code
section 680.1 (2017); (2) denial of their motion to continue
under Iowa Code section 645.15; and (3) grant of the
bank's motion for summary judgment on the foreclosure.
Finding the district court acted properly in all three
respects, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
time, the Braaksmas owned about 800 acres of farmland in
Osceola County. Dale and Danna filed articles of
incorporation creating Braaksma Grain Farms, Inc. in 2000.
Dale is corporate president and Danna is the treasurer and
secretary. Their son, Jesse plays an active role in the
family's farming operations.
2004 to 2014, Sibley State Bank loaned the Braakmas money
through six promissory notes. Dale and Danna signed two of
the six promissory notes, Jesse signed three of the
promissory notes, and Braaksma Grain Farms signed one. The
Braaksmas' notes and obligations were secured by real
estate mortgages encumbering more than half of their total
acres of land.
early 2016, the Braaksmas missed payments on their promissory
notes. By July 15, 2016, all the notes were in default. The
Braaksmas owed the bank in excess $1.5 million. The bank sent
the Braaksmas notice of right to cure the default, but
forty-five days elapsed without payment. The parties
participated in mediation as required by Iowa Code section
654.2C but did not come to an agreement. The bank
requested a mediation release in August. In September, the
bank's attorney sent a "demand for payment of the
accelerated balances of the promissory notes" in accord
with a clause in the promissory notes and Iowa Code section
654.4B. In October, the bank proceeded with a
February 2017, the bank asked to be appointed as the receiver
under the terms of the Braaksmas' mortgages. The
application asserted, "The property subject to the
mortgages is tillable farmland. Historically, the [Braaksmas]
have very poor farm practices, which have deteriorated the
condition of the farmland and resulted in yields well below
local production averages." The Braaksmas contested the
appointment of the bank as receiver. Bank president Karl
Bormann testified the Braaksmas demonstrated an
"inability for timeliness, to actually get the crop in
in a timely fashion, to actually care for the crop in terms
of weed control, to actually fertilize the crop, and then to
ultimately harvest the crop." Bormann pointed to lower
yields and deterioration of the corn allowed to stand in the
field. In response to Bormann, Jesse testified his family
uses no-till and other sustainable farming approaches which
were not common to their area of the state. He said the bank
took a "dim view" of these conservation methods and
wanted them to "operate like their other
customers." In March 2017, the district court appointed
the bank as receiver.
February 2017, the bank filed a motion for summary judgment
in the foreclosure action. In March, the Braaksmas filed a
resistance to the bank's motion for summary judgment, as
well as a motion to continue under Iowa Code section 654.15.
In May, the district court denied the Braaksmas' motion
to continue and granted the bank's motion for summary
judgment. The district court filed the decree of foreclosure
in June 2017. The Braaksma now appeal.
Scope and Standards of Review
three issues on appeal call for varying standards of review.
First, we review the district court's decision to appoint
the bank as receiver de novo. See Wellman Sav. Bank v.
Roth, 432 N.W.2d 697, 699 (Iowa Ct. App. 1988). We give
weight to the district court's fact findings but are not
bound by them. Id.
we review the denial of a continuance under the foreclosure
moratorium statute for an abuse of discretion. See Ronan
v. Larson, 278 N.W. 641, 642 (Iowa 1938).
we review the grant of summary judgment for the correction of
legal error. Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; U.S. Bank Nat'l.
Ass'n v. Lamb, 874 N.W.2d 112, 115 (Iowa 2016). The
district court properly grants summary judgment "if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
reveal no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law". Iowa R.
Civ. P. 1.981(3); IBP Inc. v. DCS Sanitation Mgmt.
Servs., Inc., 498 N.W.2d 425, 426 (Iowa Ct. App. 1993).
A genuine issue of material fact exists if reasonable minds
could differ with respect to how the issue should be
resolved. U.S. Bank Nat'l. Ass'n v. Lamb,
874 N.W.2d at 115. We view the record in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Id.
A.Appointment of ...