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Meincke v. Northwest Bank & Trust Co.

Iowa Supreme Court
756 N.W.2d 223 (Iowa 2008)


Facts

Sandra Marti and Craig Meincke (Craig) owned Scramm Enterprises (Scramm). Scramm obtained two loans from Rock Island Bank (Rock Island), and in return Scramm granted Rock Island mortgages on Scramm’s property. Subsequently, Janice Meincke (Meincke) (plaintiff), Marti’s mother and Craig’s aunt, loaned Scramm money, and in return Scramm gave Meincke a mortgage on Scramm’s property. Subsequently, Northwest Bank & Trust Co. (Northwest) (defendant) loaned Scramm additional money, and in return Scramm gave Northwest another mortgage on Scramm’s property. Finally, Scramm requested additional funds from Northwest in order to pay off the loans from Rock Island. Northwest agreed to loan Scramm the additional funds, but only if Northwest could acquire first priority status on Scramm’s mortgaged property. As it stood at the time, Rock Island had first priority, Meincke had second priority, and Northwest was third. If Scramm used the requested funds to pay off the Rock Island loans, Meincke would have first priority and Northwest would have second, absent the subordination agreement that Northwest requested as a condition. Meincke testified that Craig called her and told her that she had to sign a subordination agreement “to be second in line.” Meincke signed the agreement without any further discussion about what the agreement did. Meincke testified that she signed the agreement in order to get her money back, and that she did not think of her signing the agreement as helping out Marti and Craig. She did admit that the agreement must have helped Marti and Craig in some way since they asked her to sign it. As a result of the subordination agreement granting Northwest first priority on the mortgage, Northwest loaned the additional funds to Scramm, and Scramm paid off the Rock Island loans. Eventually, Northwest foreclosed on the Scramm property. The proceeds went to Northwest on account of the subordination agreement. Meincke received nothing. Meincke then filed suit against Northwest, alleging that the subordination agreement was invalid. The trial court ruled in favor of Northwest. The Court of Appeals of Iowa reversed, finding that the subordination agreement lacked consideration. Northwest appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Wiggins, J.)

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