Justia Iowa Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Construction Law
Fry v. Blauvelt
In this breach of contract case, the Supreme Court considered whether the district court erred in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial based on several rulings by the district court that Defendant claimed materially affected his rights and denied him a fair trial. The district court refused Defendant's request to exclude exhibits disclosed by Plaintiff the day before trial in violation of the district court's pretrial scheduling order. Additionally, the district court refused the request to declare a mistrial when Plaintiff testified to certain matters in violation of the district court's stipulated ruling on a motion in limine and denied Defendant's motion for a directed verdict. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial because it concluded the district court abused its discretion in admitting the exhibits into evidence. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the district court, holding that Defendant had not shown the district court committed any error in its decisions during the trial that substantially prejudiced Defendant's rights to a fair trial. Thus, Defendant was not entitled to a new trial. View "Fry v. Blauvelt " on Justia Law
Flynn Builders, L.C. v. Lande
An owner and contractor entered into an agreement for the construction of a new home. During construction, the owner refused to pay the contractor after discovering markups on the cost of materials. In response, the contractor halted construction and filed an action to enforce a mechanic's lien. The contractor subsequently filed a petition to foreclose the mechanic's lien. Although the contractor did not complete construction, the district court found the contractor rendered substantial performance under the contract and entered a judgment against the owner. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the court of appeals and reversed the district court, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that the contractor had substantially completed work for the owner. Remanded. View "Flynn Builders, L.C. v. Lande" on Justia Law
McCormick v. Nikkel & Assocs.
At issue in this case was whether a subcontractor that properly performs electrical work on a jobsite, then locks up the work and transfers control to the property owner, owes a duty of care to an employee of the owner electrocuted six days later when the owner fails to deenergize the work site in contravention of various warnings and regulations. The district court granted summary judgment to the subcontractor, holding that the subcontractor owed no duty to the employee because it did not have control of the switchgear box when the employee was injured. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the district court, holding that, under the circumstances, the subcontractor owed no duty of care to the employee. View "McCormick v. Nikkel & Assocs." on Justia Law