Articles Posted in Iowa Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings, holding that because the district court did not make specific findings of fact relative to any plaintiff when concluding that Iowa Code 657.11(2), as applied to Plaintiffs, violated Iowa Const. art. I, 1, the issue could not be resolved on this record. Plaintiffs, the owners and/or residents of real estate located near the confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), brought this action claiming that Defendants were negligent in their operation of the CAFOs and that the CAFOs constituted a nuisance, entitling Plaintiffs to damages. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the nuisance claims, asserting that section 657.11(2) barred the claims because Plaintiffs could not meet the requirements under the statute to recover the requested special damages against the CAFOs. The district court denied the motion, finding that section 657.11(2) was unconstitutional as applied to Plaintiffs because it denied Plaintiffs access to a remedy for their alleged injuries. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions that the district court engage in a fact-based analysis by applying the three-prong test set forth Gacke v. Pork Xtra, LLC, 684 N.W.2d 168 (Iowa 2004). View "Honomichl v. Valley View Swine, LLC" on Justia Law

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A federal district court certified two questions of law to the Iowa Supreme Court in a priority dispute between competing creditors of a bankrupt hog operation. Crooked Creek Corporation operated a farrow-to-finish hog facility where it bred gilts and sows and raised their litters for slaughter. After the company filed for bankruptcy, the hogs were sold, but the sale did not generate enough money to pay off competing liens asserted by two of Crooked Creek’s creditors: Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. and Primebank. Oyens Feed held an agricultural supply dealer lien because it sold Crooked Creek feed “on credit . . . to fatten the hogs to market weight.” Primebank had a perfected article 9 security interest in the hogs to secure two promissory notes predating Oyens Feed’s section 570A.5(3) agricultural supply dealer lien in the hogs. At trial, Oyens Feed claimed it was entitled to all of the escrowed funds because its agricultural supply dealer lien had superpriority over Primebank’s earlier perfected security interest. The bankruptcy court concluded the plain meaning of section 570A.4 created a “discrete window of time,” beginning with the farmer’s purchase of feed and ending thirty-one days later, within which an agricultural supply dealer must file a financing statement to perfect its lien. The bankruptcy court concluded Oyens Feed had only perfected its lien as to amounts for feed delivered in the thirty-one days preceding the filing of each of its financing statements. In reaching its decision on the extent of Oyens Feed’s lien in the escrowed funds, the bankruptcy court reasoned the acquisition price of the hogs was zero because Crooked Creek raised hogs from birth rather than purchasing them. The court concluded “the ‘purchase price’ comprises the vast majority, if not all of, the ‘acquisition price’ for . . . purposes of Iowa Code § 570A.5(3).” The United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa asked the Iowa Supreme Court: (1) whether, pursuant to Iowa Code section 570A.4(2), was an agricultural supply dealer required to file a new financing statement every thirty-one (31) days in order to maintain perfection of its agricultural supply dealer’s lien as to feed supplied within the preceding thirty-one (31) day period?; and (2) whether pursuant to Iowa Code section 570A.5(3), was the “acquisition price” zero when the livestock are born in the farmer’s facility? The Supreme Court answered both certified questions in the affirmative. View "Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. v. Primebank" on Justia Law