Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Statute of Limitations Bars Partition Action

Thacker v. Thacker, No. 06-1766 (Iowa Ct. App. June 13, 2007).

James and Robert Thacker were farm partners for many years. They bought a farm on contract in 1972 and were given a warranty deed to James and Robert Thacker in 1987 to the property. In 1987 James, Robert, and Frances, Robert's wife granted an undivided interest in the property to Robert and Frances.

Questions were raised about the deed but nothing was ever done about it, and James died in 2004. James' heirs filed an action for partition and the district court found that the 1987 conveyance to Robert and Frances was unambiguous and that the ten year statute of limitations barred the petition. The district court granted summary judgment.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that James had actual knowledge of an alleged problem or mistake concerning the deed and contacted an attorney in 1994, but no action was ever taken. That invoked the discovery rule and the ten year period ran in March or April 2004 barring a claim to title filed in 2005.

Justice Sackett dissented.


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