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Anthony v. 60th Street III, L.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 3, 2019

ALEXA ANTHONY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
60TH STREET III, L.C. and PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendants-Appellees.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David May, Judge.

         Alexa Anthony appeals from the district court's grant of motions to dismiss from 60th Street III, L.C. and Professional Property Management.

          Ben Arato of Wandro & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Michael Carmoney and Jack W. Leverenz of Carmoney Law Firm, PLLC, Des Moines, for appellees.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Vogel, S.J. [*] May, J., takes no part.

          VOGEL, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Alexa Anthony appeals from the district court orders granting motions to dismiss from both 60th Street III, L.C. (60th Street) and Professional Property Management, Inc. (PPM). She argues good cause existed to permit her additional time to serve 60th Street and her amended petition adding PPM as a defendant properly related back to her initial petition. We find she has not shown good cause for failing to timely serve 60th Street and no state of facts exists under the petitions for PPM to know she intended to name them as defendant within the time to bring her claim. Therefore, we affirm the dismissals of both defendants.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On April 28, 2017, Anthony filed her petition seeking recovery for a slip-and-fall injury occurring January 31, 2016. She named Sun Prarie[1] [sic] of West Des Moines, L.L.C. (Sun Prairie) as the only defendant in the petition, asserting she "was a tenant in [the] property owned by defendant Sun Prairie." Sun Prairie filed an answer in which it denied owning the property at issue. However, Sun Prairie participated in discovery, providing names and contact information for persons with discoverable information, maintenance and tenancy records, an insurance policy for the property that named 60th Street as the insured party, and other discovery. Sun Prairie also answered interrogatories, noting "an incorrect entity has been named as a Defendant" but providing answers "in the interest of good faith furtherance of the discovery process." Anthony eventually learned Keith Denner is a general partner of 60th Street and he is the sole owner of both Sun Prairie and PPM.

         On August 29, Anthony moved to amend her petition, seeking to add 60th Street as a defendant as owner of the property at issue among other changes. On September 12, the court granted Anthony's motion to amend, instructing her to "file her amendment with the clerk of court and serve the parties as required under the rules." On October 26, Anthony filed her amended petition, which named 60th Street as a defendant.

         On March 15, 2018, Anthony served 60th Street with the amended petition. 60th Street filed a motion to dismiss, arguing Anthony had not served it within the required time and she lacked good cause for failing to do so. After a hearing, the court granted 60th Street's motion to dismiss on June 5.

         On June 6, Anthony filed a second amended petition that added PPM as a defendant, asserting she was a tenant of PPM. PPM filed a motion to dismiss, arguing claims against it were time barred at that point. After a hearing, the court granted PPM's motion to dismiss. Anthony later moved to dismiss her petition without prejudice. She now appeals the district court's rulings on the motions to dismiss from both 60th Street and PPM.

         II. Standard of Review

         "We review decisions by the district court to grant a motion to dismiss for correction of errors at law. Rucker v. Taylor, 828 N.W.2d 595, 598 (Iowa 2013). "Dismissal is proper 'only if the petition shows no right of recovery under any state of facts.'" Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution, Inc. v. Iowa Educators Corp., 812 N.W.2d 600, ...


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