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Orr v. Mortvedt

Supreme Court of Iowa
735 N.W. 2d 610 (2007)


Randy and Colleen Sevde purchased a parcel of land, the boundaries of which ran through a portion of an abandoned quarry that had filled with water to create a man-made lake. Mortvedt (defendant) subsequently purchased a parcel that also included a portion of the quarry and lake. Orr (plaintiff) later purchased a third parcel encompassing a portion of the quarry and subdivided it into a fourth parcel which was conveyed to Cameron. Disputes arose among the four property owners regarding boundary line locations and use of the surface waters of the lake. Orr, Sevde, and Cameron filed suit seeking a determination of the property boundaries, a declaration of mineral rights, and affirmation of their right to drain the lake and fence off boundary lines. The Orr parties also sought a determination of whether the parties had the right to use the entire surface of the lake or exclusively the surface area within the boundaries of their respective properties. Finally, the Orr parties sought an injunction prohibiting Mortvedt from using any portion of the lake surface outside the boundaries of Mortvedt’s property description with damages for trespass. The trial court concluded that the parties’ use of the lake surface was limited to the area located within their property boundaries, and that the parties were entitled to drain the portions of the quarry located within their property boundaries and construct fences or berms along the property lines. Mortvedt appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hecht, J.)

Dissent (Cady, J.)

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