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Mel Frank Tool & Supply, Inc. v. Di-Chem Co.

Iowa Supreme Court
580 N.W.2d 802 (1998)


Facts

Di-Chem Co. (Di-Chem) (defendant) leased property from Mel Frank Tool & Supply, Inc. (Mel Frank) (plaintiff) for the purpose of storing chemicals. Some of those chemicals are considered “hazardous material.” The lease required Di-Chem to comply with all city ordinances. At some point during the lease period, the city changed the fire code to prohibit the storage of hazardous material. After this change, the city inspected the premises and determined that hazardous materials were being stored in violation of the city’s fire code. Di-Chem informed Mel Frank that it would be relocating due to the city’s ordinance. An October 23 letter to Mel Frank indicated that the city’s enforcement of the ordinance prohibited Di-Chem from storing all of its chemicals on the premises, but that some would be allowed. Mel Frank filed suit. Di-Chem’s affirmative defenses included impossibility. During trial, a Di-Chem representative testified that only a portion of the chemicals stored on the premises were objectionable under the new ordinance. The trial court held in favor of Mel Frank. Di-Chem appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lavorato, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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