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An action under Iowa Code § 650 to establish a boundary is considered on appeal as an ordinary action. Iowa Code §§ 650.4, 650.15. The district court's judgment has the effect of a jury verdict, and on appeal the only inquiry is whether the findings are supported by substantial evidence.
Two parcels of land were involved. Appellees John A. Egli and Margaret L. Egli claimed that they owned the two tracts because they and their predecessors have treated the fence as the boundary. Appellants Todd M. Troy, Diana J. Troy and Joseph H. Ranson, Jr., and Diane Ranson, claimed that they and their predecessors have acquiesced in that boundary line for over ten years. When plaintiffs discovered a home being built on land, they thought was theirs, they brought an action against the defendants. The action was brought under Iowa Code chapter 650 (1995) to establish ownership of the land by acquiescence. The district court entered summary judgment against appellants on their third-party claim. Later, the district court ruled in appellees' favor on their claim that property was bounded by a fence line under Iowa Code § 650 (1995). Appellants appealed the judgment.
The court reversed the district court’s ruling against appellants on their third-party claim. The court held that the special warranty deed warranted against claims arising through acquiescence by appellee third parties as well as any affirmative acts by them. A genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether appellee third-parties were responsible for any part of the ten-year period of acquiescence. Therefore, the summary judgment in favor of appellee third-parties was reversed and remanded.
On the other hand, the court held that evidence at trial showed that the present contestants, as well as their predecessors in interest, treated the fence line as the boundary. Moreover, substantial evidence supported the finding that the fence line had been established for over ten years and the adjoining owners had acquiesced in the fence as a boundary. Thus, the finding of acquiescence was affirmed.