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Case No. 18-1923

For summaries from opinions prior to August, 2018, view PDF versions here

In the Matter of the Estate of Ellen P. Van Ginkel, Deceased.

Joseph G. Van Ginkel, III and Elizabeth A. Winterhalter, Plaintiffs-Appellants

Jennie L. Kronthal, Defendant-Appellee

Attorney for Appellants

Jason S. Rieper

Attorney for Appellee

Kevin J. Driscoll and Andrew T. Patton

Seth Ryan Delutri

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Oct 09, 2019

             Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Craig E. Block, Associate Probate Judge.  AFFIRMED.  Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.  Opinion by Bower, J.   Separate writing by Doyle, J. (12 pages)

            Joseph Van Ginkel III and Elizabeth Winterhalter, two of Ellen Van Ginkel’s six children, contested Ellen’s will, asserting: (1) Ellen lacked testamentary capacity to make the November 13, 2013 fourth codicil to her will, and (2) the will was a result of the undue influence of their sibling, Jennie Kronthal.  The district court entered summary judgment dismissing their claims.  Joe and Elizabeth appeal, contending the district court abused its discretion in considering police reports and an untimely-disclosed letter.  They also assert the court erred in concluding they failed to present sufficient evidence to go to a jury on the questions of Ellen’s lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.  OPINION HOLDS: The plaintiffs waived their motion to strike the letter by appealing before obtaining a ruling.  Finding the evidence was insufficient to go to a jury, summary judgment was proper and we affirm.  SEPARATE WRITING STATES: I concur, but write separately to address two appellate practice points.  Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.905(4)(c) was violated as there are no descriptors in the table of contents for the 94 exhibits included in the parties’ appendix, nor does the table state the page numbers where each exhibit appears.  I believe rule 6.803(2)(f) prohibits submission of any condensed transcript to the appellate courts. And it should not matter whether the condensed transcript was attached to some filing in district court or included in the appendix as some random exhibit as appears here.

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