Articles Posted in Commercial Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants in this case brought by an independent contractor who sued for damages when he purchased a used tractor from a John Deere implement dealer that proved to be a “lemon.” The contractor brought suit against several parties, including the implement dealer. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court in all respects but reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the contractor’s express warranty claim against the implement dealer. The Supreme Court vacated in part the decision of the court of appeals, holding that the disclaimers contained in the purchase agreement negated any express warranties allegedly made by the implement dealer. View "Cannon v. Bodensteiner Implement Co." on Justia Law

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This case was the companion interlocutory appeal with facts that mirrored Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. DeWitt Bank and Trust Co., decided on the day of this opinion. As in DeWitt Bank, the Iowa Department of Human Services filed an application for relief against defendant healthcare providers under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court appointed a receiver. Bank Iowa, a lender that held perfected security interests in Defendants’ property, intervened and challenged the receiver’s applications for fees and expenses. The district court concluded that receivership expenses should be paid out of property in which the Bank had prior lien interests. The Supreme Court reversed based on the reasoning set forth in DeWitt Bank, holding that Iowa follows the common law rule that a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. Remanded. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Morse Healthcare Servs., Inc." on Justia Law

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DeWitt Bank & Trust Company (Bank) held perfected security interests on real and personal property of Community Care, Inc. (CCI). When the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) determined that CCI had committed Medicaid fraud, DHS filed an application for injunctive relief under Iowa Code 249A.44. The district court enjoined CCI from transferring property or taking action inconsistent with DHS’s right to recover overpayments of medical assistance from CCI. CCI subsequently ceased operations, and the district court appointed a receiver for CCI. The Bank sought clarification that the receiver’s fees and expenses would not be paid out of CCI assets in which the Bank had a prior perfected security lien. The district court denied substantive relief, concluding that Iowa law requires the expenses of the receiver to be paid before secured creditors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Iowa law does not authorize a receiver to be paid out of assets that are subject to a prior perfected line; and (2) rather, Iowa follows the common law rule that the costs of a receiver may be charged against a third party’s security interest only to the extent the secured creditor has received a benefit from the receivership or the secured creditor has consented to the receivership. View "Iowa Dep’t of Human Servs. v. Cmty. Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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Steven Sheeder and Barlett Grain Co. entered into oral agreements for the sale of grain. The parties later confirmed the agreement with a signed, written document containing an arbitration clause that was not part of the oral agreements. After Bartlett requested adequate assurance of performance and Sheeder did not provide such assurance, thus repudiating the contracts, Bartlett filed a complaint against Sheeder with the National Grain Feed Association (NGFA). Sheeder failed to sign an arbitration contract as required by NGFA arbitration rules, and NGFA entered a default judgment for Bartlett for breach of contract. Bartlett subsequently filed an application for confirmation of the arbitration award. The district court denied the application, concluding that there was no enforceable agreement between the parties to arbitrate. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Bartlett and Sheeder entered into written agreements to arbitrate because the parties' oral agreements were modified by signed writings including agreements to arbitrate; and (2) the written agreements between Sheeder and Bartlett were not unconscionable. View "Barlett Grain Co. v. Sheeder" on Justia Law

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This case presented a battle between banks over the proceeds of the sale of cattle by a financially strapped borrower who had financial dealings with both banks. When Security Savings Bank (Security) obtained the proceeds of the sale, Peoples Trust and Savings Bank (Peoples) claimed a security interest in the proceeds and sued for conversion. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Peoples. After Security appealed, Peoples commenced garnishment proceedings against Security to enforce its judgment, and Security paid the underlying judgment. The court of appeals then determined that Security had waived its right to appeal and dismissed the case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a defendant faced with post-judgment garnishment does not waive a pending appeal by paying the judgment in order to avoid further enforcement proceedings; and (2) the district court correctly determined that Peoples had a security interest in the proceeds superior to Security's interest and that Peoples did not waive its superior position through its course of conduct. View "Peoples Trust & Savings Bank v. Sec. Savings Bank" on Justia Law

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Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution filed a petition for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Iowa Educators Corporation (IEC) and ten Area Education Agencies (AEAs) comprising IEC, seeking (1) a declaration that the operation of IEC was in violation of Iowa Code 273 and 28E; (2) equitable relief enjoining the AEAs and IEC from further operation in violation of Iowa law; and (3) injunctive and declaratory relief on the ground that the AEAs and IEC operate in violation of Iowa Code 23A. The district court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding (1) Hawkeye lacked standing to bring the chapter 273 and 28E claims; and (2) Hawkeye failed to allege sufficient facts demonstrating it was entitled to relief under chapter 23A. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and reversed the district court, holding that the district court erred in (1) dismissing Hawkeye's chapter 273 and 28E claims for lack of standing, as Hawkeye's petition alleged facts that gave it standing to challenge the actions of the AEAs and IEC; and (2) dismissing the action, as the factual allegations set forth in the petition, if proved, stated statutory claims sufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss. View "Hawkeye Foodservice Distrib., Inc. v. Iowa Educators Corp." on Justia Law

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A hog producer with outstanding loans to Primebank went deeper into debt by purchasing feed on credit from Oyens Feed & Supply to fatten the hogs to market weight. The hog producer subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Primebank had a perfected security interest in the hogs to secure two promissory notes predating Oyen Feed's perfected agricultural supply dealer lien on the hogs. The hog producer filed an adversary proceeding to determine the priority of the liens. The bankruptcy court granted Primebank partial summary judgment on grounds that Oyens Feed failed to provide Primebank a certified request under Iowa Code 570A.2. Oyens Feed appealed the bankruptcy court's ruling to the U.S. district court, which then certified a question of law to the Supreme Court. The Court answered by holding that Primebank's prior perfected security interest in the hogs is trumped by Oyen Feed's agricultural supply dealer lien under Iowa Code 570A.5(3) to the extent of the enhanced value of the livestock presumptively attributable to the feed, even though the bank received no certified request before the feed was sold on credit. View "Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. v. Primebank" on Justia Law