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Case No. 19-0129

City of Ottumwa
Larry D. Clabaugh


City of Ottumwa


Larry D. Clabaugh

Attorney for the Appellee

Nicholas T. Maxwell and Michael J. Moreland

Attorney for the Appellant

S.P. DeVolder

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jun 03, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, Shawn R. Showers and Gregory G. Milani, Judges.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, J.  (9 pages)

            Larry Clabaugh owns residential property in Ottumwa.  The city alleges he used that property to store junk motor vehicles—violating zoning ordinances.  At trial, the district court denied Clabaugh’s last minute motion for continuance and advised Clabaugh that the court would enter a default judgment if he left the courtroom.  Clabaugh left trial despite the court’s remarks.  He now appeals the court’s denial of a continuance and entry of default judgment.  OPINION HOLDS: The record does not support Clabaugh’s contention that the continuance was necessary to prevent injustice.  And the city had a right to timely enforcement of its ordinances.  And, because both parties agreed that Clabaugh was a vital witness, defense counsel anticipated his client faced default if he left the courtroom.  The district court properly entered default under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.971(3).  

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