Iowa Resources

We have written detailed reviews of Iowa law impacting agricultural producers and landowners. Access these reviews by clicking on the tiles below. You can also review Iowa cases on a particular subject by searching our list of Iowa case law reviews at the bottom of this page.

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April 28, 2011 | Joe Kristan and Roger McEowen


On April 12, Governor Branstad signed into law legislation that finally settle Iowa’s tax law rules for 2010. By line-item vetoing the parts of SF 512 he found unacceptable (particularly the portion of the bill that would have allowed the Governor to transfer funds among agencies), the Governor was able to approve the rest of the bill, including the “code conformity” provisions for Iowa’s tax law. Here are the key points:

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.

In a recent Iowa case, the perils that can fall on beneficiaries who fail to fully inform themselves of their rights, the problems that can arise when a trustee doesn’t pay attention to actions concerning the trust, and the harsh effects of a statute of limitations all collided to create a perfect storm of interests that even a spendthrift clause ultimately could not protect.


Numerous cases have occurred over the years involving the provision of care for an individual in return for some sort of inheritance.  In the farm context, such an arrangement often involves an on-farm heir or a farm tenant.  In all cases, however, it is best to get any understandings down in writing so that expectations are clear and the possibility of a lawsuit can be minimized.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this case.

Undue influence can occur when a person in a position of authority over another person uses that position to take advantage of that other person.  It is an equitable doctrine, and when it occurs in the context of an individual’s execution of their will, a court, using principles of equity, may invalidate the will as not being the product of the testator’s intent.  Undue influence is particularly prone to occur when the testator is susceptible to undue influence due to relationship, health, capacity, or other issues; someone had the opportunity to exercise undue influence on the testator and

In a confusing family financial saga, a husband and wife played fast and loose with loans, property transfers, and corporate entities. As a result, the court and jury were left to sort out the tangled web of deceit woven by the couple.

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. 

After suffering an injury on the job site, an injured worker of a subcontractor sued his employer as well as the general contractor for an alleged breach of duty in providing him a safe work environment. On the day of the injury, the worker ascended a lift to the second floor of the worksite and exited the lift without first being tied off to prevent a fall. He stepped onto a sheet of decking that was not secured and fell twenty-three feet to the concrete floor below.

The plaintiff, a church in Cedar Rapids, sought coverage under its property insurance for an incident that occurred during the 2008 flooding of the Cedar River. Just before the flood waters reached the church, the sewer backed up and flooded the church’s basement. The church sought coverage for the sewer backup under its property insurance policy. The church had no flood insurance and the property insurance policy did not cover damages from floods. After investigating the claim, the insurance company denied the claim contending the damages were caused by the flood.
May 17, 2013 | Erika Eckley and Roger McEowen

The Iowa legislature’s current session involves numerous issues of importance to agricultural operators and rural landowners.  We have arranged the bills of interest by category in alphabetical order so that you can find them easier.  There are some important ones this session.  Make sure you provide your elected representative in the Iowa House or Senate with your perspective on issues of importance to you.

Here’s what we see as the most important bills at the present time.

April 26, 2013 | Erika Eckley

This case is the husband’s fall-out from a lease that he and his former wife signed with their tenants. The wife’s case was decided in 2010 (a summary of which can be found: Additional (and Contradictory) Farm Lease Provisions Construed). At issue with the lease was a term stating the lease “shall continue until such time as the tenants no longer wish to rent the farm ground or until such time as they purchase the property from the landlords.”

In Iowa, a constructive trust “arises when a person holding title to property is subject to an equitable duty to convey the property to another, on the ground that the person holding title would be unjustly enriched if the person were permitted to retain the property.” Iowa Code § 633A.2107. The issue of whether a constructive trust existed was reviewed in a recent Iowa case.

Partnerships in Iowa can be shown by facts establishing joint ownership of property, sharing of gross revenues, and a share of the profits unless these were received in payment of certain expenses. The following case required the court to determine whether a partnership was inadvertently formed by two land and bison owners.

Property owners may not create a nuisance by unreasonably interfering with their neighbor’s use and enjoyment of their land. Altering water flow from its natural course from one parcel to another to the detriment of a neighbor can be a nuisance. Iowa surface water drainage law allows a landowner of a dominant tract to drain water in a natural flow onto a servient parcel even if the water flow is increased so long as there is no damage to the landowner of the servient property. The servient landowner cannot prevent the water’s natural flow to the detriment of the dominant estate.