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December 17, 2010 | Roger McEowen

 

An easement by prescription is an implied easement that is granted when someone has used at least a portion of someone else’s property in an open and uninterrupted manner for a continuous period of time – 10 years in Iowa.  In order to establish a prescriptive easement, the person claiming the easement exists must provide strict proof of the following: using another’s property under a claim of right, openly, notoriously, continuously, and in a hostile manner (in opposition to the claim of another) for ten years.

When an administrative procedure and remedy is statutorily provided, litigants must exhaust their administrative remedies before the state courts have jurisdiction to hear the complaint. In the following Iowa case, a landowner who did not agree with the placement of electrical transmission lines tried to bypass the Iowa Utilities Board’s adjudicative process by filing suit directly in state court.  It didn’t work. 

In Iowa, the owner of an upper or dominant estate has a legal easement over the lower or servient estate for the natural drainage of water. The servient estate has a duty to accept this flow of water and cannot take measures to prevent it.

January 7, 2013 | Roger McEowen

On January 1, the U.S. Senate finally took up H.R. 8 which had passed the U.S. House in late July.  The Senate renamed the bill as “The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” and made changes to it and shipped it back to the House.  The House approved the changes late on January 1.  The President signed the legislation into law on January 2, 2013.

Iowa Code §468.621 states that a landowner “may drain the land in the general course of natural drainage by constructing or reconstructing open or covered drains, discharging the drains in any natural watercourse or depression so the water will be carried into some other natural watercourse…”.  In addition, if the drainage is done solely upon the landowner’s property, the landowner is not liable for damages for the drainage unless it increases the quantity of water or changes the manner of discharge on the land of another.  In this case, a landowner claimed that his property had be

January 31, 2011 | Erin Herbold

Development agricultural property around the Des Moines metro area provided the background for this case in which the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a Dallas County trial court’s ruling recognizing an easement for access to farmland across developed lots. The plaintiffs owned and farmed the ag property adjacent to the existing housing development.  They sued seeking judicial recognition of their right to access a farm field through the driveways of the lots. The defendant lot owners countersued, asking the court for damages caused by the farmer crossing their lots. 

In general, a deduction is not available for charitable contributions of partial interests in property and an easement, by definition, is a partial interest in property. But, an exception exists for an easement that is a “qualified conservation contribution.” A “qualified conservation contribution” is defined in as the contribution of a qualified real property interest to a qualified organization exclusively for conservation purposes.

August 15, 2008 | Scott G. Buchanan*

Wind blows across broad stretches of northern Iowa at an average speed of 15.7 to 17.9 mph. year round, scouring the soil, swirling the leaves and chapping our lips. Those winds also light our homes, cook our food and power our computers.

It’s a well-known rule that a private landowner cannot assert a claim of adverse possession against the government.  But, can the government acquire title to private property via adverse possession?  If so, the government is able to side-step the Fifth Amendment requirement that it pay “just compensation” for the taking of private property.  The issue of the government’s assertion of ownership via adverse possession was involved in this case.    

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