from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, Carl J.
appeal the district court's denial of their motion to
continue the lender's action to foreclose their real
estate mortgage without an evidentiary hearing.
Richard H. Moeller of Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, Johnson
& Meis, L.L.P., Sioux City, for appellants.
H. Burke and Molly M. Brown of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C.,
Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
That's how counsel for Farm Credit Services of America
described a motion to continue its mortgage foreclosure
action under Iowa Code section 654.15 (2017), filed by
borrowers Dale and Danna Braaksma and Braaksma Grain Farms,
Inc. (collectively, the Braaksmas). Farm Credit sought
foreclosure against the Braaksmas for amounts due on two
promissory notes and sought to conclude litigation with a
summary judgment motion. The Braaksmas filed their motion to
continue the day before the summary judgment hearing. Farm
Credit argued the Braaksmas did not seek the continuance in
good faith-given its timing and the extent of their other
indebtedness. The district court agreed, calling the motion a
"last ditch effort" to delay the foreclosure
Braaksmas contend the district court abused its discretion in
denying their motion to continue the foreclosure action
without setting an evidentiary hearing. Farm Credit defends
the district court's decision but also urges the appeal
is moot as to one of the two promissory notes. To prove
mootness, Farm Credit points to a February 2019 redemption
assignment in which the Braaksmas assign their right of
redemption "as well as all of their right, title,
interest, and equity" in the Note 201 property to a
Family Farms, LLC, purchased the Note 201 property at a
February 2018 sheriff's sale. One year later-before the
Braaksmas' redemption window closed-they assigned their
right of redemption to Robert Zylstra. Zylstra then exercised
his newly acquired right of redemption, tendering $255,
363.45 for the Note 201 property. The district court ordered
the funds disbursed to Jo's Family Farms and a
sheriff's deed issued to Zylstra.
the Braaksmas do not retain an interest in the collateral for
Note 201, we agree the appeal is moot as to that real estate.
See Lincoln Joint Stock Land Bank of Lincoln, Neb. v.
Hansen, 263 N.W. 821, 822 (Iowa 1935) (dismissing as
moot an appeal from refusal to grant continuance of mortgage
foreclosure action and hypothetically asking: "Should
the court find that the order refusing to grant a continuance
should be reversed, of what benefit would it be to the
appellant?"); see also Newman v. Callahan, 237
N.W. 514, 514 (Iowa 1931) (deeming question of fraudulent
transfer of real estate was moot where "one of the
mortgages against said land had been foreclosed, and the
sheriff's certificate issued thereon to an outside party,
who is not a party to this litigation, and the time for
redemption expired without any redemption having been made by
any of the parties"). We will address the Braaksmas'
claim as to the Note 325 property.
August 2017, Farm Credit petitioned for foreclosure on both
Note 201 and Note 325. The lender alleged the notes were in
default due to the Braaksmas' failure to make payments
when due. Farm Credit recounted sending the Braaksmas notices
of the right to cure in February and June 2017, and a notice
of default and acceleration of the demand for payment in July
2017. The petition also listed other potential encumbrances
on the Note 201 property including a judgment of $1, 140, 851
owed to the estate of Tena Steensma and a judgment of $1,
175, 000 owed to Sibley State Bank.
Braaksmas' September 2017 answer, they denied Farm
Credit's allegations of default on the two promissory
that month, Farm Credit moved for summary judgment. The
Braaksmas resisted the motion. The court set a summary judgment
hearing for October 27, 2017. On the eve of the hearing, the
Braaksmas asked the court for a continuance under Iowa Code
COMES NOW the Defendants and in support of their Motion for
Continuance state as follows:
1. That the Defendants request a stay of proceeding pursuant
to Section 654.15 of the [c]ode and allege that the reason
the Owners failed to pay was caused by excessive rain in the
spring and as a result of those ...