Soesbe v. Lines, No. 31454.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtPRESTON
Citation164 N.W. 129,180 Iowa 943
PartiesSOESBE v. LINES.
Decision Date20 September 1917
Docket NumberNo. 31454.

180 Iowa 943
164 N.W. 129

SOESBE
v.
LINES.

No. 31454.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Sept. 20, 1917.


Appeal from District Court, Floyd County; Joseph J. Clark, Judge.

Action at law, originally brought on a contract for commission for the sale of real estate. In the main action an attachment was issued, and defendant filed a counterclaim to recover damages on the attachment bond. The case was tried to a jury, resulting in a verdict for the defendant in the main case, and for $5 actual damages and $125 exemplary damages on the counterclaim. Judgment was rendered against plaintiff for these amounts, and the court taxed to plaintiff an additional sum of $65 as attorney's fees to defendant's attorneys. The plaintiff appeals. Reversed.

[164 N.W. 129]

James G. Mitchell and C. M. Greene, both of Greene, for appellant.

M. Hartness, of Greene, and F. M. Lingenfelder, of Charles City, for appellee.


PRESTON, J.

The entire record seems to have been brought here, including the pleadings, evidence, and instructions on the

[164 N.W. 130]

trial of the main action, as well as the counterclaim. The abstract contains 155 pages. But appellant states in argument that a reversal of the judgment entered against him upon the defendant's counterclaim is sought because, as he claims, no levy of attachment was in fact made, because the defendant's interest in the land was only an equitable interest, the legal title being in one Greene, and that levy and return and the entry upon the incumbrance book did not show that the levy was upon an equitable interest, as provided in section 3899 of the Code; second, if a levy was made, defendant's possession and enjoyment of his property were undisturbed; third, that the court erred in admitting over plaintiff's objection an item of expense in bringing abstract down to date, for the reason there was no pleading in the counterclaim covering such alleged item of special damages, and because a carbon copy was offered, instead of the original, without laying sufficient foundation, and as to the other item of alleged special damages, relating to the value of time spent by defendant in consultation with his attorney with reference to the release of the attachment, that the evidence is uncertain as to the amount of time spent and the value thereof, and that, giving the evidence in the case all the weight it is entitled to, still as a matter of law there is no adequate support for the verdict. Some other considerations are also referred to--that the award of exemplary damages is disproportionate and excessive, and that the damage sustained by defendant, if any, was caused by his own misfeasance, etc. From this it will be seen that no question is presented in this court as to the trial of the main case on the contract, but relates solely to the counterclaim.

The court by its instructions authorized the jury to find damage on the following items: Reasonable value of the loss of time and services, if any, in procuring the release of the attachment levy, and the delay, if any, in completing the sale of said property; (2) for the reasonable value and expense, if any, paid to complete the abstract of title. The court also instructed the jury that the defendant could not recover anything for attorney's fees, as these are fixed by the court. The allegations of the counterclaim and for which damages are claimed are: In the sum of $100 paid for attorney's fees for defending against said attachment proceedings, and the further sum of $100 for loss of time and expenses incurred in defending against said attachment proceedings; the sum of $100 paid for attorney's fees for prosecuting his cause of action on the attachment bond, and $200 as damages resulting directly from the levy of said writ upon said property, thereby depriving defendant of the use thereof, etc.

It is quite evident from the finding of the jury in so small an amount as $5 actual damages that nothing was allowed for delay in completing the sale of the property. So that the recovery of actual damages must have been either for the expense of the abstract, or loss of time by defendant in consulting his...

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7 practice notes
  • Amos v. Prom, Civ. No. 571.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • September 30, 1953
    ...166 N.W. 464, reversed where $5,000 exemplary damages and $150 compensatory damages; Soesbe v. Lines, 1917, 180 115 F. Supp. 132 Iowa 943, 164 N.W. 129, 25:1 ratio excessive; Waltham Piano Co. v. Freeman, 1913, 159 Iowa 567, 141 N.W. 403; Welsh v. Haleen, 1912, 157 Iowa 647, 138 N.W. 502; I......
  • Gregory v. Sorenson, No. 40973.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 5, 1932
    ...N. W. 529;Harvester Co. v. Hardware Co. (146 Iowa, 172, 122 N. W. 951, 29 L. R. A. (N. S.) 272), supra; Soesbe v. Lines, 180 Iowa, 943, 164 N. W. 129;Welsh v. Haleen (157 Iowa, 647, 138 N. W. 502), supra; Reutkemeier v. Nolte, 179 Iowa, 342, 161 N. W. 290, L. R. A. 1917D, 273. Although the ......
  • Thompson v. Mutual Ben. Health & Accident Ass'n, Civil Action No. 323.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • April 15, 1949
    ...of the jury, it has been held that they must bear some reasonable relationship to the actual damages sustained. Soesbe v. Lines, 1917, 180 Iowa 943, 164 N.W. 129. In that case the court held exemplary damages thirty-eight times the actual damages allowed was excessive. In Ahrens v. Fenton, ......
  • Reinwaldt v. Hulsebus, No. 33683.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 9, 1922
    ...v. Freeman, 159 Iowa, 567, 141 N. W. 403;Cain v. Osler, 168 Iowa, 59, 150 N. W. 17, Ann. Cas. 1918C, 1126;Soesbe v. Lines, 180 Iowa, 943, 164 N. W. 129;Haines v. Welker, 182 Iowa, 431, 165 N. W. 1027;Garvik v. Railway, 131 Iowa, 415, 108 N. W. 327, 117 Am. St. Rep. 432;Heinmiller v. Winston......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Amos v. Prom, Civ. No. 571.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • September 30, 1953
    ...166 N.W. 464, reversed where $5,000 exemplary damages and $150 compensatory damages; Soesbe v. Lines, 1917, 180 115 F. Supp. 132 Iowa 943, 164 N.W. 129, 25:1 ratio excessive; Waltham Piano Co. v. Freeman, 1913, 159 Iowa 567, 141 N.W. 403; Welsh v. Haleen, 1912, 157 Iowa 647, 138 N.W. 502; I......
  • Gregory v. Sorenson, No. 40973.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 5, 1932
    ...N. W. 529;Harvester Co. v. Hardware Co. (146 Iowa, 172, 122 N. W. 951, 29 L. R. A. (N. S.) 272), supra; Soesbe v. Lines, 180 Iowa, 943, 164 N. W. 129;Welsh v. Haleen (157 Iowa, 647, 138 N. W. 502), supra; Reutkemeier v. Nolte, 179 Iowa, 342, 161 N. W. 290, L. R. A. 1917D, 273. Although the ......
  • Thompson v. Mutual Ben. Health & Accident Ass'n, Civil Action No. 323.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • April 15, 1949
    ...of the jury, it has been held that they must bear some reasonable relationship to the actual damages sustained. Soesbe v. Lines, 1917, 180 Iowa 943, 164 N.W. 129. In that case the court held exemplary damages thirty-eight times the actual damages allowed was excessive. In Ahrens v. Fenton, ......
  • Reinwaldt v. Hulsebus, No. 33683.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 9, 1922
    ...v. Freeman, 159 Iowa, 567, 141 N. W. 403;Cain v. Osler, 168 Iowa, 59, 150 N. W. 17, Ann. Cas. 1918C, 1126;Soesbe v. Lines, 180 Iowa, 943, 164 N. W. 129;Haines v. Welker, 182 Iowa, 431, 165 N. W. 1027;Garvik v. Railway, 131 Iowa, 415, 108 N. W. 327, 117 Am. St. Rep. 432;Heinmiller v. Winston......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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