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Case No. 19-0508

Eric Ziel and Carol Ziel
Energy Panel Structures, Inc. d/b/a EPS Buildings


Eric Ziel and Carol Ziel


Energy Panel Structures, Inc. d/b/a EPS Buildings

Attorney for the Appellant

Sean M. O'Brien

Attorney for the Appellee

Brian P. Rickert and Thomas D. Story

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Aug 05, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Boone County, Steven J. Oeth, Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Doyle and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Schumacher, J.  Partial Dissent by Doyle, J.  (25 pages)

            The plaintiffs contracted for the construction of a large building for commercial and agricultural purposes.  Nearly one year following the building’s completion, a windstorm caused the failure of a large overhead door on the building’s west side, which led to the building’s collapse.  The plaintiffs brought claims in tort and contract against the door supplier, the company that erected the building, and the manufacturer of the building’s structural insulated panels.  The plaintiffs appeal from the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer, which dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims for negligent design and failure to warn.  OPINION HOLDS: We hold the doctrine of economic loss applicable on these facts, and we affirm the district court’s determination that the manufacturer owed no legal duty to the plaintiffs sufficient to sustain tort claims.  We hold that the warranty at issue in this case was not an affirmative defense that needed to have been asserted at the pleadings stage.  We find that the warranty would not fail its essential purpose, and we find to be unpreserved the plaintiffs’ argument that the defendant manufacturer repudiated the warranty.  We determine the warranty provision is not unconscionable.  For these reasons, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment.  PARTIAL DISSENT ASSERTS: I believe that EPS had a duty to warn or inform its buyers that the overhead doors needed to be wind-rated at ninety miles per hour but failed to do so.  Thus, I dissent from the majority’s conclusion that the manufacturer had no legal duty to the plaintiffs.  But even had the majority concluded that the manufacturer had a duty to warn, it would make no difference in the result here as that claim is barred by application of the economic loss doctrine.  I therefore concur with the majority’s affirmance of the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

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