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In re Estate of Newhall

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF MARRIAN M. NEWHALL, Deceased.
v.
MARCIA E. NEWHALL ROLL, Defendant-Appellee. RUSSELL L. NEWHALL, Plaintiff-Appellant,

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Butler County, Rustin T. Davenport, Judge.

         A brother appeals the district court's order on his motion to enforce a settlement agreement with his sister.

          Andrew B. Howie of Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese, PC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas D. Hanson of Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, PC, Des Moines, for appellee.

          Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

          TABOR, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Who gets the grain? That's the question raised by Russell Newhall's challenge to the ruling on his motion to enforce a settlement agreement with his sister Marcia Roll dividing property from their mother's estate. Newhall insists because he received the grain bins under the agreement, the grain inside the bins belonged to him. Roll contends because she took "all other personal property" under the agreement, the grain belonged to her. The district court sided with Roll, and Newhall now appeals. Because the court properly applied contract principles in resolving the dispute, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         Newhall and Roll are the biological children of Lowell and Marrian Newhall.[1]Lowell died in 2011, and Marrian died in 2014. These siblings are not new to Iowa's appellate courts. In December 2016, our supreme court decided two cases touching on their inherited property. In Roll v. Newhall, 888 N.W.2d 422, 424 (Iowa 2016), the court rejected Roll's assertion Newhall could not inherit under Marrian's will because he was adopted in 2007, after the will was executed but before Marrian died. In Newhall v. Roll, 888 N.W.2d 636, 637 (Iowa 2016), the court decided a partition action brought by Newhall over two farms he and Roll owned as tenants in common-a Butler County tract gifted inter vivos by their parents;[2]and a Hardin County acreage, a testamentary gift from their aunt.[3]

         After years of haggling over division of the estate property, Newhall and Roll entered into a settlement agreement "to resolve their differences." As relevant to this appeal, the settlement agreement provided Newhall was

the owner of, and/or shall receive through the probate or otherwise the following list of tangible personal property:
a. Grain dryer assembly
b. Two Galloway gasoline engines
c. One Waterloo Boy gasoline engine
d. One Sears and Roebuck gasoline engine
e. One International gasoline engine
f. Two miscellaneous gasoline engines of ...

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