Collins v. Isaacson, No. 52846

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtGARFIELD
PartiesEdward W. COLLINS and Winifred L. Collins, Appellants, v. Delaine P. ISAACSON, Appellee.
Decision Date09 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 52846

Page 14

158 N.W.2d 14
261 Iowa 1236
Edward W. COLLINS and Winifred L. Collins, Appellants,
v.
Delaine P. ISAACSON, Appellee.
No. 52846.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 9, 1968.

[261 Iowa 1237]

Page 15

John K. Petersen, Red Oak, and Getscher & Getscher, Hamburg, for appellants.

Genung & Rogers, Glenwood, for appellee.

GARFIELD, Chief Justice.

Edward W. and Winifred L. Collins, husband and wife, brought this action, tried in equity, to recover possession of an 80 acre farm occupied by defendant Delaine P. Isaacson and damages for withholding it following plaintiffs' attempt to forfeit a lease and option to purchase held by defendant. There was a decree for defendant on the grounds plaintiffs' title was for security only and good cause to forfeit defendant's rights was not shown. On plaintiffs' appeal we affirm.

I. On September 20, 1963 Donald Isaacson purchased the land on contract from one Bergstrom for the agreed price of [261 Iowa 1238] $17,000. $1700 was paid on the execution of the contract, the balance of $15,300 was to be paid March 1, 1964 on delivery of deed and abstract of title. The purchaser became ill prior to March 1 and was unable to complete the purchase. Edward W. Collins, whom we call plaintiff, unless otherwise indicated, was a livestock buyer who had dealt with Donald and knew his son Delaine, the defendant. Collins told defendant 'If you're in any trouble with that farm, I have money.'

In late February, 1964 defendant and his father asked plaintiff if he still had the money available to 'rent' on the farm and he said he did 'and we said we couldn't get it any other place and would lose our $1700 if we didn't have it by March 1. Mr. Collins said he could get the money but he would have an option on the farm and it was to me (defendant) only and if Don entered it in any way through controversy, calling on the telephone, or raising cain, the thing was void, so he had Mr. Hilton draw this option up and it was signed.'

Pursuant to this agreement Donald and his wife (defendant's parents) executed and delivered to plaintiff on February 24, 1964 a quitclaim deed to the farm and assignment of the real estate contract. Plaintiff completed the purchase of the farm from Bergstrom, the vendor, and took title thereto by warranty deed from him. On February 28 plaintiff made and delivered to defendant a written lease to the farm for three years commencing March 1, 1964 at an annual rent of $1400 evidenced by three promissory notes payable November 1 of each of the three years.

Also on February 28 plaintiff gave defendant a written option to purchase the 80 acres during the term of the lease for $15,300 plus all costs and expense of plaintiff in consummating the sale under the option if exercised. The written option also provides that if it is exercised the rent is to be pro-rated to the time of the purchase. It will be recalled $15,300 is the amount plaintiff paid Bergstrom as the balance of the purchase price.

The lease contains these provisions: '* * * any controversy caused by one Donald E. Isaacson by and between him and Edward W. Collins on any subject concerning this lease shall automatically cancel and forfeit said lease. Further, the party [261 Iowa 1239] of the second part (defendant) agrees to negotiate and confer with the party of the first part solely and alone, without interference by said Donald E. Isaacson.

'In the event the second party shall fail to make the payments contemplated in this contract, or perform any of the covenants herein, at the times hereinabove specified, the first party, may, at their option, declare this contract forfeited by serving 30 days notice of forfeiture as provided for by the laws of Iowa, and if the second party shall

Page 16

fail to pay said sum or sums, or perform said conditions, in default within said 30 day period, this contract shall stand forfeited and all payments made hereunder shall become the property of the first party as liquidated damages for the breach of contract.'

The trial court held and plaintiff virtually conceded in argument the quitclaim deed, assignment of the land contract, plaintiff's advancement of the balance of the purchase price and the lease-option agreements were all parts of the same transaction which took place during the last week in February.

In late October 1964 plaintiff accepted a check signed by defendant's father for the agreed rent for the first year of the leasehold. About May 1, 1965 plaintiff was displeased because defendant and his father refused to sell cattle to plaintiff at the price he offered to pay. It is not claimed the Isaacsons were under any obligation to sell to plaintiff. It also appears that in February 1965 plaintiff took offense because defendant and his father attempted to combine the farm in question with one owned by the father in order to secure a more favorable corn base from the county ASC office. The favorable ruling was not obtained because plaintiff, as landlord of the 80 acres, refused to consent thereto. We do not understand defendant or his father acted illegally or improperly in applying for the favorable ruling.

On September 27, 1965 plaintiff mailed to defendant a notice of termination of the lease because of claimed violation by defendant of the condition, quoted supra, that any controversy caused by his father 'on any subject concerning this lease' should cancel and forfeit it. The notice called upon defendant to return the premises to plaintiff on March 1, 1966. [261 Iowa 1240] On October 18, 1965 defendant paid plaintiff the rent due November 1.

On March 3, 1966 plaintiffs caused to be served upon defendant a second notice, entitled 'Notice of Forfeiture of Real Estate', declaring the lease forfeited for his alleged failure to comply with certain of its terms and conditions and for permitting waste to be committed. This notice does not assert any violation of the condition to which the first notice refers--that defendant's father had caused a controversy with plaintiff on a subject concerning the lease.

The testimony, including that given by plaintiff (Mrs. Collins did not testify), makes it clear, and his counsel admitted in argument, the basis for the attempt to forfeit defendant's rights was the one referred to in the first notice. Some of defendant's acts referred to in the second notice were with plaintiff's consent or he testified they were unimportant.

The trial court found after carefully reviewing the record there was no breach by defendant at any time of any material term or condition of the lease-option undertaking and plaintiffs wholly failed to establish they were...

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14 practice notes
  • Kaster, Matter of, No. 89-40
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 18, 1990
    ...& P.R. Co. v. City of Iowa City, 288 N.W.2d 536, 541 (Iowa 1980); Lovlie v. Plumb, 250 N.W.2d 56, 63 (Iowa 1977); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14, 17-18 (1968). They should be strictly construed. State v. One 1972 Chevrolet Pick-Up Truck, 252 N.W.2d 466 (Iowa Under t......
  • Matter of Hemphill, Bankruptcy No. 80-1671-W
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Eighth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Iowa
    • January 22, 1982
    ...must establish the mental condition of both parties at the time of the transfer. Koch v. Wasson, at 178 supra; Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 158 N.W.2d 14 The real issue is whether the plaintiffs had a mere option to purchase the land and chattels from the defendants or whether the de......
  • Kaydon Acquisition v. America Central Industries, No. C01-3063-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • December 12, 2001
    ...that equity abhors forfeitures. Chicago R.I. & P.R. Co. v. City of Iowa City, 288 N.W.2d 536, 541 (Iowa 1980); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14, 17 (1968); Bentler, 258 Iowa at 1012, 141 N.W.2d at 553; Roshek Realty Co. v. Roshek Bros. Co., 249 Iowa 349, 358, 87 N.W.2......
  • Van Hosen v. Bankers Trust Co., No. 55046
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 19, 1972
    ...them should show the equities are clearly on their side. See Babb's, Inc. v. Babb, 169 N.W.2d 211, 213 (Iowa 1969); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14 (1968); Kilpatrick v. Smith, 236 Iowa 584, 593, 19 N.W.2d 699 (1945); Williams v. Havens, 92 Idaho 439, 444 P.2d 132, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Kaster, Matter of, No. 89-40
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 18, 1990
    ...& P.R. Co. v. City of Iowa City, 288 N.W.2d 536, 541 (Iowa 1980); Lovlie v. Plumb, 250 N.W.2d 56, 63 (Iowa 1977); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14, 17-18 (1968). They should be strictly construed. State v. One 1972 Chevrolet Pick-Up Truck, 252 N.W.2d 466 (Iowa Under t......
  • Matter of Hemphill, Bankruptcy No. 80-1671-W
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Eighth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Iowa
    • January 22, 1982
    ...must establish the mental condition of both parties at the time of the transfer. Koch v. Wasson, at 178 supra; Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 158 N.W.2d 14 The real issue is whether the plaintiffs had a mere option to purchase the land and chattels from the defendants or whether the de......
  • Kaydon Acquisition v. America Central Industries, No. C01-3063-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • December 12, 2001
    ...that equity abhors forfeitures. Chicago R.I. & P.R. Co. v. City of Iowa City, 288 N.W.2d 536, 541 (Iowa 1980); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14, 17 (1968); Bentler, 258 Iowa at 1012, 141 N.W.2d at 553; Roshek Realty Co. v. Roshek Bros. Co., 249 Iowa 349, 358, 87 N.W.2......
  • Van Hosen v. Bankers Trust Co., No. 55046
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 19, 1972
    ...them should show the equities are clearly on their side. See Babb's, Inc. v. Babb, 169 N.W.2d 211, 213 (Iowa 1969); Collins v. Isaacson, 261 Iowa 1236, 1242, 158 N.W.2d 14 (1968); Kilpatrick v. Smith, 236 Iowa 584, 593, 19 N.W.2d 699 (1945); Williams v. Havens, 92 Idaho 439, 444 P.2d 132, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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