TIM KRUSE and RUSSELL BRIES d/b/a KRUSE "N" BRIES CONSTRUCTION, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
DON KRUMWIEDE and MOLLY KRUMWIEDE, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, John J.
plaintiffs appeal the district court's ruling that they
failed to prove the defendants breached their written
contract or an implied contract.
Jeffrey E. Clements, West Union, for appellants.
J. Parrish of Miller, Pearson, Gloe, Burns, Beatty &
Parrish, PLC, Decorah, for appellees.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Doyle, J., and Danilson,
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
plaintiffs, Tim Kruse and Russell Bries, who do business as
Kruse "N" Bries Contruction, were hired by Don and
Molly Krumwiede to build and finish the Krumwiede's new
home. The plaintiffs filed suit against the Krumwiedes for
breach of contract and promissory estoppel or unjust
enrichment, maintaining they performed construction services
pursuant to written and verbal contracts and the Krumwiedes
failed to compensate them fully. The district court denied
the plaintiffs' claim,  finding they failed to prove
their case. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim the district
court "was incorrect in the conclusions of law necessary
for plaintiffs to establish their cause of action."
Background Facts and Proceedings.
original Krumwiede home was totally destroyed by fire in
September 2012. The home was insured for replacement cost,
and the insurance policy also included coverage for up to one
year of living expenses while the home was rebuilt. The
Krumwiedes contacted Kruse "N" Bries Construction
to build a new home on their acreage, relying on the
insurance proceeds to finance the construction, with the
cooperation of their mortgage lender.
the Krumwiedes met Kruse and showed him a picture of a home
called the "Woodsman," which they had obtained from
advertising materials distributed by Menards. The Krumwiedes
discussed their interest in having a home similar in
appearance to that home built; they did not ask that the
materials and plans for this particular home be obtained from
Menards or that this specific "Woodsman" home be
meeting with the Krumwiedes, Kruse obtained the materials
list for the "Woodsman" model home from a nearby
Menards store. It is disputed as to when Kruse actually
purchased the plans for the Woodsman home from Menards, but
at some point Kruse "N" Bries Construction did
purchase the detailed blueprints from Menards. Kruse did not
rely on the materials list obtained from Menards. Instead, he
prepared his own materials list based upon the suppliers he
customarily used and the home and features he proposed to
provide. He then prepared a preliminary document and showed
it to the Krumwiedes. The preliminary document, dated
September 26, 2012, indicated a price of $175, 000 to
construct and finish the home.
revised that first document and presented a final five-page
version to the Krumwiedes, which was dated October 1, 2012.
Each of the five pages contained four columns, called
description, quantity, price, and amount. The description
column on each page included a list of items commonly
associated with the building of a home, including, but not
limited to, these items: cement and digging, footings, walls,
floors, electrical, plumbing and heating, building materials,
siding. Nothing was listed in the other three columns
opposite these items. At the bottom of the last page, a line
called "Total Materials and Labor" showed $175, 000
in both the price and amount column. The $175, 000 was
crossed out and replaced, in handwritten numbers, with $190,
000.00 for both the price and amount column. Under the total,
typewritten in all capital letters and heavy bold face type,
it stated, "This is a bid not an estimate. 50%
downpayment [sic] required. We are registered in State of
Iowa as general contract[o]rs."
document did not state that it was a contract between one
party as "builder" and the other as
"owner" for the construction of a home. It included
no other terms of payment or anything in addition to what was
included in the bold face type. It was not signed by either
party. No completion date was listed. No description of the
plans or specifications were included. There was no reference
to the Menards "Woodsman" model. The only
indication of what was to be done was what one could imply
from the type of products to be provided as listed in the
description columns. Additionally, the document did not
include a procedure to follow for the addition or subtraction
of any features or materials from the house project nor the
effect on the stated price for the house due to changes.
parties acknowledged in their testimony that they had an
agreement to build a house for $190, 000.00 and it was to
look like the Menard's picture of a "Woodsman"
on the house began in mid-November of 2012. The Krumwiedes
made a down ...