from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley
J. Harris, Judge.
Ragsdale appeals the district court's order granting
David Wireman's motion for summary judgment on a petition
for declaratory judgment.
J. Murphy, Dubuque, for appellant.
Ament of Ament Law Firm, Waterloo, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Greer, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
and Anita Wright owned landlocked property adjacent to
property owned by David Wireman. They filed an application to
condemn a strip of land owned by Wireman and another
landowner. The strip, depicted in the following illustration,
would allow them to gain access to their property.
district court approved the application in 1988.
years later, Gregory Ragsdale purchased the Wrights'
property. He sued Wireman, alleging Wireman trespassed on the
tract of land that was subject to the condemnation
proceedings. He sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive
relief excluding Wireman and the general public from the
tract. Wireman filed an answer denying Ragsdale's claims
and a counterclaim alleging Ragsdale had "no right,
estate, lien, or interest in [his] land south of and adjacent
to the roadway created by the condemnation proceeding."
He sought to quiet title in the land. Wireman also filed a
motion for summary judgment, requesting dismissal of
Ragsdale's action and confirmation "that the
subject-matter roadway is for public use; that ownership of
the property is the public, with [Ragsdale] the responsible
steward of the land pursuant to Iowa Code section 471.4(2)
(1987)." Ragsdale filed a resistance in which he
asserted, "The roadway property at issue is not publicly
owned or intended for public use," and he "acquired
legal title and exclusive use to the roadway property through
condemnation by and pursuant to due process of the law."
district court initially denied Wireman's motion. Wireman
filed a motion to dismiss and sought expanded findings and
conclusions. The court treated the motion as a renewed motion
for summary judgment and, after taking judicial notice of the
condemnation action, granted the motion. The court reasoned:
Section 471.4(2), Code of Iowa 1987, grants upon owners of
land without a way to the land the right to take private
property for public use. This section sets forth the location
and dimensions of the property which may be condemned for
public use and rights and responsibilities regarding this
property after condemnation has been completed. Chapter 472,
Code of Iowa 1987, provides those procedures which must be
followed to allow condemnation of private land for public
use. Although chapters 471 and 472, Code of Iowa 1987, only
provide for the condemnation of private land for public use,
several of those documents contained in the file regarding
the condemnation of that real estate in question in this
matter refer to the creation of an easement for private use.
Neither party herein [has cited] nor has the court found any
legal procedure by which the state or an individual can
acquire land for private use through the means of [e]minent
. . . .
Condemnation proceedings regarding the real estate
described as the East 20 feet in even width of that portion
of the Northeast Quarter of the Southeast Quarter of 10-90-14
line North of the county road established in 85LD374 and
other real estate made mention of the acquisition of an
easement upon said real estate for a driveway. Final notice
contained in the condemnation file shows that the
compensation commissioner's ...