from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Odell G. McGhee
II, District Associate Judge.
tenant appeals the denial of her motion to set aside the
default judgment evicting her from the home she rented.
Hiatt Buckley of Iowa Legal Aid, Sioux City, for appellant.
Christopher R. Kemp of Kemp & Sease, Des Moines, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Benjamin E. Bellus and
Jessica Whitney, Assistant Attorneys General, for amicus
curiae Iowa Attorney General.
Bettis of ACLU of Iowa Foundation, Des Moines, Clarissa Flege
of Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Urbandale, and
Sandra Shin-Young Park and Lenora M. Lapidus of ACLU
Women's Rights Project, New York, New York, for amici
curiae American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, Iowa Coalition
Against Domestic Violence, American Civil Liberties Union,
National Housing Law Project, National Law Center on
Homelessness and Poverty, National Network to End Domestic
Violence, and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.
by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Doyle, JJ.
Krambeck appeals from the default judgement entered by the
small claims court evicting her from the home she rented from
Linda Agan for more than three years. Tammy maintains the
small claims court had jurisdiction to set aside the default
judgment and she had good cause for the judgment to be set
aside. Alternatively, she argues the district court should
have set aside the judgment entered by the small claims court
because the small claims court never had jurisdiction to
enter the default in the first place, as the forcible entry
and detainer notice was facially defective-it did not provide
the required language about her right-to-cure the alleged
clear and present danger-and in violation of her right to
summon emergency assistance, found in Iowa Code section
Background Facts and Proceedings.
29, 2017, Agan sent her tenants, Tammy and Greg Krambeck,
three-day notice to quit the residence. On it, Agan wrote
"clear and present canger." She also included a
handwritten narrative, which was dated the day before and
Tammy screaming from inside the trailer that Greg has bruised
her, he beat me, call the police. The police were contacted
and she declined to show evidence of abuse. This occurrence
is very frequent with Greg chasing Tammy outside. The
neighbors/tenants are exposed to the domestic assault daily.
Children reside in the mobile home park and should not be
exposed to this exchange & physical violence.
same day, Agan sent by certified mail a second notice, titled
"3 day termination notice to tenant," with Agan
again adding a handwritten note, stating, "clear and
present danger." It advised the Krambecks that Agan
"inten[ded] to terminate [their] tenancy" on July
14, Agan filed an original notice and petition for forcible
entry and detainer (FED). In filling out the form, Agan
stated she was demanding possession of the rental home, as
"[t]he defendants have been advised that I am
terminating tenancy as they are causing clear and present
danger by exposing our other mobile home tenants to the
screaming, yelling and physical abuse that they display. The
police have been there many times."
matter was set for hearing in small claims court, but neither
Tammy nor Greg appeared. On July 24, the court entered a
default judgment against the Krambecks and issued a writ of
removal and possession, formally evicting them from their
27, Tammy filed a motion to set aside the default
judgment, pursuant to Iowa Code section 631.12. She alleged
neither she nor Greg attended the hearing on the FED action
because of her medical condition and claimed she had a number
of defenses and counterclaims to Agan's motion, including
"lack of proper notice as the clear and present danger
notice does not set forth the statutory cure language."
(Altered for readability.) In an affidavit attached to her
motion, Tammy swore she "was not able to make it to the
hearing because of [her] medical condition. [She] was having
seizures before the hearing and [her] husband needed to stay