Wisdom v. Board of Sup'rs of Polk County

Decision Date27 July 1945
Docket Number46710.
Citation19 N.W.2d 602,236 Iowa 669
PartiesWISDOM v. BOARD OF SUP'RS OF POLK COUNTY et al.
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Wisdom & Wisdom, of Des Moines, for appellant.

Francis J. Kuble, Co. Atty., and E. S. Thayer, Asst. Co. Atty., both of Des Moines, for appellees.

MULRONEY Justice.

On November 12, 1942, the appellant filed two claims against the domestic animal fund of Polk County, Iowa, for the alleged loss of sheep injured or killed by dogs. One claim was for 50 head of sheep injured or killed on November 3, 1942 and asked for the allowance of damages in the sum of $675. The other claim was for 25 head of sheep injured or killed on November 10, 1942 and asked for the allowance of damages in the sum of $337.50. Both claims were denied by the board of supervisors on the 26th day of February, 1943, and reconsidered and again denied on the 29th day of May, 1943. The appellant filed a petition in the district court of Polk County, Iowa, praying for a writ of certiorari, alleging that the board exceeded its proper jurisdiction and acted illegally and contrary to law in denying the claims; that the board has no authority, power, or jurisdiction to deny said claims; and that the board has no discretion in the matter save and except to allow the claims in a reasonable amount. The writ issued, commanding the board to certify and return the original claims together with a transcript of the board records and proceedings thereon.

The board filed a return to the writ stating '2. The Respondents show to the Court that the Claims of John C. Wisdom, to which reference is made in the Petition in this cause, were filed in the Office of the County Auditor of Polk County, Iowa, on the 12th day of November, 1942; that said Claims were denied by the Board of Supervisors of Polk County, Iowa, on the 27th day of February, 1943; and that upon the reconsideration of said Claims the same were again denied by the Board of Supervisors on the 29th day of May 1943. Copies of said Claims are hereto attached, marked respectively Exhibits 'A' and 'B' and by this reference made a part of this Return.

'3. That the Respondents, prior to, and in deciding upon the said Claims took in consideration and made use of, as a basis of their disposition, the following facts, circumstances and other matters as set out in Paragraphs 4 to 9, inclusive hereof, and that by reason of said matters and things the Board of Supervisors decided the said Claims in the manner which it deemed just and in accordance with the belief of each member of said Board.

'4. That the Claims filed do not conform to the provisions and requirements of Code Section 5453, in that said Claims do not contain a detailed Statement of the facts attending the killing or injury of the sheep for which damages are claimed.

'5. That said Claims are insufficient in statement of the damages claimed in that the value of each animal killed or injured is not alleged and set out so as to permit the Board of Supervisors, in case of the allowance of said Claims, to enter of record the value of each animal killed, or injured, as required by Code Section 5454.

'6. That said Claims are insufficient in that they do not state whether the damages demanded are for animals killed; or for animals injured; the extent of any such injuries or the amount of damages claimed for the animals included in each class of losses.

'7. That after the said Claims were denied on the 27th day of February, 1943, the Claimant thereto, through his attorney, asked for the reconsideration of said Claims by the Board of Supervisors, which request was granted, and that the Claimant through his attorney appeared before said Board on the 29th day of May, 1943, when said Claims were reconsidered and again denied.

'That the Claimant, at these hearings and at all other times, failed to submit any evidence to the Board of Supervisors tending to establish the facts attending the killing or injury of the sheep for which damages are claimed; the value of each animal whether killed or injured; what part of the damages claimed was for the killing of animals and what part for injuries to them; the general nature of such injuries, if any; the amount of salvage value of the carcasses; or whether the affiants who verified the said Claims did so on personal knowledge, or on hearsay information only.

'10. That the Board of Supervisors reached the following conclusions:

'a. That the Claims filed by the said John C. Wisdom were not in the form required by the provisions of Code Sections 5453 and 5454, and that the facts and circumstances stated therein were not, by themselves, sufficient to justify the allowance of the Claims and payment out of the Domestic Animal Funds of the County.

'b. That the Claimant did not offer any other evidence to substantiate said Claims, and in the opinion and belief of the Board of Supervisors and each of the members thereof, said Claims were not proven.

'e. That there were disputed questions of fact involved in the consideration of said Claims which justified and demanded the exercise of the discretion vested in the Board of Supervisors by the language of Code Section 5454, and that in the exercise of such discretion the Board of Supervisors should and were compelled to find that the statements contained in said Claims were not proven to be true and that said Claims had to be denied.

'f. That the Board of Supervisors was without power or authority under the provisions of Code Section 5454 to allow any part of the Claims filed by John C. Wisdom which the Board of Supervisors did not, at the time of its decision, deem to be just.

'11. That the Board of Supervisors denied said Claims because in its belief it did not deem any part of said Claims to be just.'

Other paragraphs of the return were stricken upon motion of the appellant. The appellant filed a denial of the return and a reply thereto wherein he denied that the return stated the proceedings of the board upon his claims and specifically denied the statements made in paragraphs 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the return. He admitted that he appeared before the board through his attorney on May 29, 1943 'and requested reconsideration of the said claims, and states the facts to be that he offered to bring the witnesses who viewed the sheep in question after they were killed, before the said Board and offered to prove that the claims filed did not cover all of the sheep that had died as the result of the attack by dogs, as alleged in petitioner's petition, and asked the Board to fix a date on which the petitioner could bring said witnesses before said Board, and that said Board, despite said offer, proceeded to reconsider and deny said claims on that same day, without giving the petitioner any opportunity to present the witnesses or further evidence of his loss.'

For further reply to the return, the appellant alleged:

'Paragraph 1. That the claims filed herein by the petitioner are in exact form, upon blanks furnished by the respondents as claims previously filed by him and allowed by said Board, and that at no time did the respondents, or any one of them, request further information or make any investigation of his said claims;

'Par. 2. That the said claims filed herein and described in petitioner's petition contained the same description and statement of the circumstances attending the killing of said sheep as was stated in said previous claims filed by petition and allowed by respondents;

'Par. 3. That the respondents have acted upon and allowed the claims of numerous other claimants, both before and after the disallowance of claims of petitioner on February 27, 1943, and May 29, 1943, upon forms identical with the forms of claims filed herein by petitioner and without requiring any statement as to whether said claims were based upon the killing or injury to domestic animals for which said claims were filed, and without requiring any statements of the circumstances attending the killing or injury of said domestic animals or the value of each animal, whether killed or injured, or requiring any of the information set out in Paragraph 7 of said return.

'Par. 4. That the respondents acted upon assumed facts having no foundation and ignored undisputed facts appearing on said claims and that the undisputed facts before respondents at said time do not sustain the action by said respondents.

'Par. 5. That, by reason of the facts hereinbefore stated, the action of the respondents in denying the claims of this petitioner was arbitrary, unjust, capricious, illegal, and contrary to the statutes made and provided for the administration of the domestic animal fund created under the statutes of this state.'

The board filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings alleging as grounds therefor, among others:

'1. The pleadings show that the claims filed by the petitioner with the Board of Supervisors of Polk County, Iowa, as alleged in Paragraph 5 of the petition herein, do not conform to the requirements of Code Section 5453 in the following particulars, to-wit:

'(a) The said claims do not contain a detailed statement of the facts attending the killing or injury of the animals for which damages are claimed by the petitioner.

'(c) Said claims do not set out whether the damages claimed are for animals killed, or for animals injured, or the amount of damages claimed by the petitioner for each class of losses.

'5. That the pleadings show that the Board of Supervisors of Polk County, Iowa, acted within the discretion vested in them by Code Section 5454 and that the action of the Board of Supervisors relative to said claims cannot be reviewed by Writ of Certiorari.'

After resistance filed by the appellant, the motion was sustained upon the grounds set forth...

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1 cases
  • Drummond Coal Co. v. Watt
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • July 2, 1984
    ...sense, and where no public or private right is impaired by its interpretation in the other sense. Wisdom v. Board of Sup'rs of Polk County, 236 Iowa 669, 19 N.W.2d 602, 607, 608.Black's Law Dictionary 1233 (rev. 5th ed. 1979).7 See text accompanying nn. 11 & 12 infra.8 See, e.g., 42 U.S.C.A......

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