Monday, November 25, 2013

Gardner v. Gardner case brief

Gardner v. Gardner case brief summary
454 N.W.2d 361 (Iowa 1990)

Plaintiff grantors appealed from a judgment of the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, which found in favor of defendant grantee in the grantors' action to compel the grantee to reconvey certain farmland interests.

The grantors and the grantee were brothers. The grantors conveyed their remainder interests in the farmland to the grantee to use as security for a loan. After the loan never transpired, the grantee refused the grantors' request to reconvey the interests, and he gave a mortgage on the interests to a bank. The grantors asserted that the grantee orally had agreed to reconvey the interests. The trial court held that evidence of any such oral agreement was barred by the statute of frauds, Iowa Code § 622.32 (1987).


  • On appeal, the court held that the agreement was removed from the statute of frauds by the grantors' performance of their part of the agreement. 
  • When they conveyed their interests to the grantee, the grantors sufficiently performed the agreement to remove it from the operation of the statute. 
  • The trial court had also erred by refusing to admit the evidence of the alleged oral agreement because there was evidence that the grantee partially admitted such an agreement. 
  • Further, the bank took the mortgage with constructive notice of the grantors' claim because their lis pendens was filed before the mortgage was given.

The court reversed the trial court judgment and remanded the case for a new trial.

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