Hunziker v. Iowa
Iowa Supreme Court
519 N.W.2d 367 (1994)
In 1978, Iowa (defendant) enacted a statute that provided the state archaeologist with the authority to deny permission to disinter, or remove, ancient human remains that were more than 150 years old and remains that the archaeologist determined to have historical or scientific significance. In 1988, a group of land developers, Erben Hunziker, Donald Furman, Friedrich and Son, Inc., and Buck Construction Company, Inc. (the developers) (plaintiffs) purchased a large tract of land to develop for residential homes. In 1990, the developers sold lot 15 to Jon Fleming, who planned to construct a home on the lot. In 1991, the Iowa state archaeologist found human remains located in a Native American burial mound on lot 15. The remains were estimated to be over 1,000 years old. Pursuant to the Iowa statute regarding human remains, the archaeologist prohibited disturbance of the burial mound and designated a buffer zone around the mound. Consequently, lot 15 became unbuildable and the local municipality denied Fleming a building permit. The developers refunded Fleming and took back title to lot 15. At that point, the land was nearly valueless. The developers then brought a mandamus action, seeking a condemnation of lot 15 and just compensation. Both the developers and Iowa moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Iowa. The developers appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lavorato, J.)
Dissent (Snell, J.)
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