Practice Area: Real Property & Landlord Tenant

Mark Thomas and Dariann Garrison-Nickerson Obtain Clients’ Dismissal with Motion for Summary Judgment

June 18, 2024

Attorneys Mark Thomas and Dariann Garrison-Nickerson recently obtained dismissal of a landowner and property manager in a dog bite case. Plaintiff relied on Thompson v. Kaczinski, 774 N.W.2d 829 (Iowa 2009) to argue Defendants owed her a duty and asked that the Court apply the general duty of reasonable care against Defendants. Mark and Dariann […]

Ickes Achieves Complete Victory for Homeowners

June 5, 2023

Peter Ickes obtained a victory for two married homeowners in a case arising from a dispute with their handyman. The homeowners hired the handyman to install a range hood above their stove and countertops in their kitchen. Pursuant to the agreement, the retired homeowners paid the handyman $1,700 in advance to begin work. A dispute […]

Iowa Supreme Court Explores the Definition of a “Possessor” Under Iowa Premises Liability Law

September 1, 2022

In July 2020, Plaintiff filed suit in the Dallas County District Court seeking damages after she slipped on an icy driveway of a home that she was considering purchasing. Shortly after filing her original Petition Plaintiff filed an amended Petition naming the homeowners and the homeowners’ listing agency, Iowa Realty Company, Inc. (“Iowa Realty”), as […]

Mark Thomas and Ryleigh Keeney Secure Dismissal in Hailstorm Damage Case

November 8, 2021

Following a bench trial in Palo Alto County, Mark Thomas and Ryleigh Keeney obtained a dismissal on behalf of their client, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company. Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim followed a 2018 hailstorm that damaged Plaintiffs’ real property. Plaintiffs’ policy contained a one-year contractual limitations period—requiring Plaintiffs to file suit against State […]


December 5, 2018

One of the many changes that went into effect with the tax overhaul earlier this year was the deductibility of interest accruing from home-equity debt. Previously, homeowners could deduct the interest from up to $100,000 of home-equity debt borrowed for any purpose. For example, if you borrowed $20,000 against your home to pay for a […]


A difficult question many Iowans face is whether they should consider, or whether they can even afford, to place themselves or a loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living center. Iowa responded to this question by creating the Home-and-Community-Based-Services (HCBS) program. Iowa designed this program to provide disabled or elderly Iowans with additional options […]


July 25, 2018

A growing trend among prospective homeowners is to purchase a home, especially rental homes, in the name of a limited liability company, or “LLC.” Business owners favor LLCs for the liability protection they provide in the event of a lawsuit. For example, if someone is injured at John Smith’s pumpkin patch, John Smith’s personal assets […]

Kelsey Leppert Joins Grefe & Sidney’s Corporate Division

November 18, 2016

  We are pleased to welcome Kelsey R. Leppert to our Corporate Division.  Kelsey joined the firm in September 2016, following her admission to the Iowa Bar.  Her practice areas include Estate Planning & Probate, Business Law, Real Estate Law, and Taxation.  She lives in Pella and divides her time between the firm’s Des Moines […]

Supreme Court Finds Violation of Local Ordinance Constitutes Negligence Per Se

July 8, 2016

The Supreme Court of Iowa ordered a new trial in a wrongful-death action arising from a fatal fall from an apartment balcony. The case presented several issues on the applicability of the negligence per se doctrine to an alleged municipal housing code violation. In 2011, Shannon Potts was drinking with friends in a Des Moines […]

Landlord Cannot Shift Financial Duty to Maintain Fit Premises

May 9, 2016

In two recent Supreme Court cases, the Court held a landlord cannot shift the financial costs of repairs necessary to comply with its duty of fitness and habitability under the Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. In De Stefano v. Apts. Downtown, Inc., and Caruso v. Apts. Downtown, Inc., the Supreme Court of Iowa […]