from the Iowa District Court for Bremer County, Christopher
C. Foy, Judge.
Sunset Nursing Home appeals the district court's order on
the parties' competing motions for summary judgment.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
J. Dutton and Erich D. Priebe of Dutton, Braun, Staack &
Hellman, P.L.C., Waterloo, for appellant.
Randall H. Stefani and Maria E. Brownell of Ahlers &
Cooney, P.C., Des Moines, for appellee. Timothy J. Whipple,
Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Ankeny, for amicus
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Vogel, S.J., and Scott,
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
decide whether an entity that was overcharged for electric
service was limited to recovering overcharges for a period
within five years of its lawsuit.
Background Facts and Proceedings
City of Denver "owns and operates its municipal electric
utility, which serves both commercial and residential
customers within the City of Denver, Iowa." Denver
Sunset Nursing Home is a long-term care facility. From 1985
to 2014, the City unknowingly overcharged Denver Sunset for
its electricity usage. Upon learning of the overcharges, the
City immediately curtailed them. The overcharges between 1985
and 2014 totaled $996, 194.03, including interest.
2016, Denver Sunset filed a petition for declaratory judgment
against the City and sought "full reimbursement"
for the overcharges. The City moved for summary judgment,
"request[ing] an order limiting the time period for
recovery for alleged overcharges to five years." Denver
Sunset countered with its own motion for summary judgment. It
sought an order in its favor "on the issue of the
district court partially granted both motions. The court
concluded, "[T]he outcome of this case is governed by
Iowa Code section 614.1(4) [(2016)], the statute of
limitations for claims based on unwritten contracts and for
other actions. Such claims and actions must be brought within
five years after their causes accrue." The court further
concluded, "Section 614.1(4) limits what [Denver Sunset]
can recover to the overcharges it paid within five years of
December 20, 2016, when it commenced this action." The
court entered judgment in favor of Denver Sunset for $47,
Sunset filed a motion for enlarged findings seeking
application of the discovery rule. The court denied the
motion. This appeal followed.
Sunset argues "the district court erred in awarding only
partial judgment . . . for over 28 years of excessive
billing." In its view, its "claim against the
City-whether sounding in contract or in unjust enrichment-is
subject to the ...