from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D.
appeal the district court's denial of their
J. Mallory and Allison M. Steuterman of Brick Gentry, P.C.,
West Des Moines, for appellants.
Kenneth R. Munro of Munro Law Office, P.C., Des Moines, for
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
second time, homebuyers David and Rachael Sokol appeal an
adverse ruling in their lawsuit against seller Bob Morrissey.
In their first appeal, we remanded for the district court to
decide whether Morrissey, as the builder-vendor, breached the
implied warranty of good and workerlike
construction. Sokol v. Morrissey, No. 16-0801,
2017 WL 4838821, at *9 (Iowa Ct. App. Oct. 25, 2017). That
action has five elements:
(1) the house was constructed to be occupied as a home; (2)
the house was purchased from a builder-vendor, who
constructed it for the purpose of sale; (3) the house was not
constructed in a good and work[er]like manner; (4) the buyer
was unaware of the defect [and had no reasonable means of
discovering it]; and (5) the buyer suffered damages.
Flom v. Stahly, 569 N.W.2d 135, 142 (Iowa 1997)
(citing Kirk v. Ridgway, 373 N.W.2d 491, 496 (Iowa
appeal, the Sokols contest the district court's decision
they failed to satisfy the fourth element-that they were
unaware of the defects or had no reasonable way to discover
those defects when they bought the house. The Sokols insist
most of the defects were latent and not detected by their
pre-purchase home inspection. Because substantial evidence
supports the district court's ruling, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
detailed history of the house Morrissey built on Northwest
Beaver Drive in Johnston appears in our first decision.
Sokol, 2017 WL 4838821, at *1-3. We will repeat only
those parts of the narrative necessary to today's appeal.
Sokols offered to purchase the house in June 2009. That same
month, they had the home inspected. The inspector, Michael
LeBlanc with The Brick Kicker, returned an eleven-page
report. The report included comments on the building exterior
(e.g., "Holes were found in the side that need
repair") and the mechanical systems (e.g., "Active
water drips and/or leaks were observed at one or more
locations. Proper repair by a licensed plumber is
recommended"). The Sokols agreed to move forward with
the purchase after Morrissey agreed to make certain repairs.
Sokols took possession in July 2009. Within three months and
over the next five years they experienced many problems with
the home, including malfunctions of the geothermal unit,
electrical issues, ...