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City of St. Lucas v. Langreck

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

CITY OF ST. LUCAS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DENNIS HERBERT LANGRECK, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Fayette County, Richard D. Stochl and Margaret L. Lingreen, Judges.

         Defendant appeals the district court's decision ordering him to remove a building and pay damages.

          Patrick A. Ritter of Ritter Law, PC, West Union, for appellant.

          Dustin T. Zeschke of Swisher & Cohrt, P.L.C., Waterloo, and Patrick B. Dillon of Dillon Law, P.C., Sumner, for appellee.

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

          POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE

         Dennis Langreck appeals the district court's decision ordering him to remove a building and pay damages. We conclude the district court did not err by granting summary judgment to the City on Langreck's counterclaims for quiet title or adverse possession. We also conclude the court did not err in granting an injunction to the City requiring Langreck to move a shed. We affirm the decision of the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         This case involves a shed that is in poor shape and does not have a foundation or a basement. Its dimensions are sixteen by twenty-four feet. Initially, everyone believed the shed was entirely on property owned by the City of St. Lucas. Beginning in at least 1976, Edmund Schmitt owned the shed and paid rent to the City. After Schmitt died, Dennis Boyer purchased the shed from Schmitt's estate. The City had records of rental payments by Boyer for most years from 1986 to 2004.

         The property adjacent to the shed was owned by Urban Kreiner. In an affidavit, Kreiner stated, "[A]s far as I understood, the shed was located completely on City land." Kreiner sold the property in 2003 to Langreck. A survey of the City conducted in 2005 showed the shed was partially located on property owned by Langreck and partially located on property owned by the City. Neither Kreiner nor Langreck ever received any rental payments from Schmitt or Boyd for the presence of the shed on their property.

         On May 31, 2013, the City filed a petition to quiet title to Parcel S, which included the City's property running underneath the shed. Notice of the action was made by publication. Notice was not personally served on Langreck or anyone else. The district court entered an order quieting title of Parcel S to the City.

         The City informed Boyer on January 15, 2014, his lease was terminated because he "stopped paying rent several years ago." Boyer was told to vacate the premises and remove the shed by March 1. Boyer told the City he would move the shed but asked for more time. Instead, however, Boyer sold the shed to Langreck on April 10.

         On June 3, the City filed an action against Langreck, claiming the shed was trespassing on the City's property. The City sought damages and an injunction requiring Langreck to remove the shed from the property. In his answer, Langreck raised counterclaims on the grounds of adverse possession, acquiescence under Iowa Code chapter 650 (2014), quiet title, and unjust enrichment.

         The City filed a motion for summary judgment on Langreck's counterclaims. Langreck resisted the motion. The district court granted the motion for summary judgment. The court found (1) the doctrine of adverse possession does not apply to governmental entities; (2) chapter 650, involving acquiesced boundaries, did not apply in this situation; (3) the issue of title was established in the 2013 quiet title action; and (4) there had been no unjust enrichment because the City did not receive any rent for the property during the ...


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