JAYNE A. INTLEKOFER, JEFFREY C. INTLEKOFER, CATHERINE A. INTLEKOFER and STEPHEN J. INTLEKOFER, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
REITBERRY RENTAL PROP., LLC, and CITY OF MONTICELLO, IA, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Jones County, Paul D.
owners appeal the district court's grant of summary
judgment in their negligence action against the City and a
Christopher M. Soppe of Pioneer Law Office, Dubuque, for
Bradley J. Kaspar and Terry J. Abernathy, Cedar Rapids, for
appellee City of Monticello.
J. Besser and William H. Roemerman of Elderkin & Pirnie,
P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellee Reitberry Rental
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.
suffering water damage to their property in downtown
Monticello, the Intlekofers sued the City of Monticello (the
City) and a neighboring business. They alleged the
defendants' construction of a parking lot and a new
sidewalk or curb caused seepage into the Intlekofers'
building. The Intlekofers now appeal the district court's
grant of summary judgment for the defendants. Because the
Intlekofers' failure to designate an expert on water
infiltration was fatal to establishing their negligence case,
we affirm the summary-judgment order.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Intlekofers own real estate on East Grand Avenue in
Monticello. The City owns land just west of the
Intlekofers' property. And Reitberry Rental Properties,
LLC owns property to the north, abutting the Intlekofers'
land, the City constructed a parking lot stretching to the
property line. According to the Intlekofers, the City raised
the elevation of the parking lot an estimated twelve to
eighteen inches higher than the alley that framed the
Intlekofers' property. After the City constructed the new
lot, Reitberry improved a sidewalk and curb running the
length of the dividing line between its property and the
Intlekofers' real estate.
months after the City and Reitberry finished those projects,
the Intlekofers noticed rainwater had stopped flowing freely
out of the alley bordering the sidewalk and parking lot. The
Intlekofers later found water damage to drywall and cabinets
on the west side of their building, which housed an asbestos-
remediation business. The water wicked up the wall from six
inches to four feet in height, according to Stephen
Intlekofer's deposition testimony. The Intlekofers
replaced the damaged drywall and cabinets. But the
Intlekofers alleged they could not stop the influx of the
water despite digging out the west wall and spraying foam
below the water line. The Intlekofers believed the
construction projects by the City and Reitberry obstructed
the flow of water away from the building.
2017, the Intlekofers sued the City for negligently causing
water runoff damage. In August 2017, they filed an amended
petition joining Reitberry as a defendant.
prepare for trial, the City retained Timothy Crabb as an
expert witness. Crabb is a building inspector and housing
rehabilitation specialist employed by the State of Michigan.
Crabb inspected the Intlekofers' building to assess any
damage and potential causes for that damage. Crabb observed
"no evidence of water infiltration." His inspection
report also proffered theories for what may have caused the
water damage alleged by the Intlekofers. Those theories
included a lack of gutters; cracks between the lower walls