Practical Pointers: The (Disappearing) Right of First Refusal and Other Potential Trouble

In 1957, the Music Man, written by Meredith Willson, a native Iowan, opened on Broadway. One of the most popular songs in the musical is titled “Ya Got Trouble.” In the song, the protagonist tries to convince the citizens of River City, a fictional town in Iowa, that the presence of the game of pool will produce a chain of consequences that will lead to many undesirable outcomes. Now, over 60 years later, legal practitioners in Iowa have found themselves singing a similar tune following a decision without published opinion by the Iowa Court of Appeals in West Lakes Properties, L.C. v. Greenspon Property Management, Inc., 908 N.W.2d 883 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017). Although the subject matter is different, the sentiment expressed is the same—worry that one decision will lead to another decision and will result in consequences not anticipated by the first decision. A summary of the West Lakes decision and its effect follows.

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