JOHN L. HINTERMEISTER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
BELIN McCORMICK, PC, NATHAN J. BARBER, RIVERVIEW HOTEL DEVELOPMENT, LLC, d/b/a MERRILL HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER, and MLC LAND COMPANY, LLC, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Patrick
appeals the district court decision granting summary judgment
Patrick L. Woodward and Ryan F. Gerdes (until withdrawal) of
McDonald, Woodward & Carlson, P.C., Davenport, for
Matthew C. McDermott of Belin McCormick, P.C., Des Moines,
for appellee Belin McCormick, P.C.
J. Havercamp of Stanley, Lande & Hunter, P.C., Davenport,
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
John Hintermeister appeals the district court decision
granting summary judgment to defendants Nathan Barber, Belin
McCormick, P.C., Riverview Hotel Development, LLC, and MLC
Land Company, LLC for his claims of tortious interference
with business relations and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. We determine the district court properly
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Background Facts & Proceedings
case arises out of a real estate development project pursued
by defendants MLC and Riverview. At all times relevant to
this dispute, MLC and Riverview were represented by Barber,
an attorney at Belin McCormick. In 2016, MLC and Riverview
began purchasing parcels of land to develop the Merrill Hotel
& Conference Center in downtown Muscatine. One of these
parcels, an area of greenspace, was owned by the various
condominium owners of the Pearlview Condominium Association
(PCA) as tenants in common. Among these tenants were Ronald
and Sally Bryant, who owned a three-twentieths fractional
interest in the greenspace, and Thomas Meeker, a local
businessperson who owned rental property in Muscatine and was
president of PCA.
times relevant to this dispute, PCA and Meeker individually
were represented by plaintiff Hintermeister, an attorney with
a part-time law practice at Hintermeister & Kundel.
Hintermeister had sold his law practice to Steven Kundel in
2003, and the two attorneys agreed Hintermeister could
continue to practice law with Kundel's practice, but only
so long as Kundel consented.
connection with the sale of the greenspace, Barber reviewed
the abstract of title and issued a preliminary title opinion
on June 2, 2016. The title opinion identified two federal tax
liens against the Bryants, which attached to their interest
in the greenspace. Barber concluded the tax liens needed to
be released in order for his clients to obtain marketable
title to the property.
same time MLC pursued the greenspace purchase, MLC also
sought a construction loan of $20 million from the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under Cedar Rapids
Bank & Trust (CRBT). The USDA required release of the
Bryants' tax liens to satisfy the lender's title
directly contacted James Howe, a manager of MLC, about
closing the greenspace purchase. In a July 27, 2016 email,
Hintermeister informed Howe he could not obtain a ...