Merrill v. Valley View Swine, LLCAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Plaintiffs had a "losing cause of action," concluding that Plaintiffs' claims against Defendants were frivolous, and granting Defendants' motion for costs and expenses, holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion.
A group of property owners alleged that confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) operated and supported by Defendants amounted to a nuisance. The plaintiffs later dismissed their lawsuit because they failed to exhaust farm mediation and then later refiled. Two of the plaintiffs (together, Plaintiffs), however, voluntarily dismissed their claims a second time, resulting in an adjudication against them on the merits. Defendants sued Plaintiffs seeking costs and expenses pursuant to Iowa Code 657.11(5). The district court granted the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) two voluntary dismissals meant Plaintiffs had "a losing cause of action"; (2) Plaintiffs' claims were frivolous; and (3) the district court's apportionment of costs and expenses was appropriate.