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Jodie Clark McDougal


Jodie McDougal, a shareholder at the Davis Brown Law Firm, is a member of the Construction, Real Estate, Litigation, and Insurance Defense Departments and is Chair of the Construction Department.


Jodie has a general practice that includes, but is not limited to, the following areas: 

  • Construction law and litigation, as further described below;
  • Certain areas within the real estate field, including landlord-tenant law (including residential and commercial leasing matters, and matters for manufactured home communities), homeowner’s association matters, mechanic’s liens, real estate litigation, real estate purchases and sales, and the handling of other real estate-related disputes; and
  • Litigation, including insurance defense; construction litigation; professional liability defense, products liability defense, and other defensive litigation; probate, estate, fiduciary, and trust litigation; real estate litigation; commercial/business litigation; agricultural-related litigation; finance/equipment lease litigation; collection actions; and appeals.



In her litigation practice, Jodie has successfully tried numerous bench and jury trials, both individually and with colleagues, in several practice areas. Her trial and litigation successes include the following:

  • Obtaining dismissals for numerous defendant-clients, including dismissals via directed verdict, summary judgment, and at trial, in various types of cases, such as insurance defense, lemon law cases, employment matters, medical malpractice, agricultural , employment, contract cases, and other matters;
  • Obtaining five and six-figure judgments for her plaintiff-clients in cases involving commercial and contract disputes;  
  • Obtaining a directed verdict from the Court prior to the case going to the jury in defense of an agricultural cooperative company in a matter involving various contract and professional liability claims; 
  • Obtaining summary judgment on six counts in defense of a $150 million suit brought against her client, a Fortune 500 company;
  • Obtaining summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal, in a $65 million suit brought by a local boxing promoter against her client, a Las Vegas boxing manager (Capital Promotions, L.L.C. v. Baxter, 2008 Iowa App. LEXIS 1200 (Iowa App. 2008));
  • Through the filing of an amicus curiae brief for the Iowa Trust Association, obtaining a reversal of a district court’s controversial decision and a resulting decision in favor of the fiduciary-trustee, in the Trimble trust case. (In re Trust No. T-1 of Trimble, 11-1967, 2013 WL 275637 (Iowa Jan. 25, 2013); see article summarizing decision here.
  • Successfully invalidating an attorney-in-fact's $225,000 attempted liquidation of a principal's funds shortly before the principal's death;
  • Successfully handling various types of estate, probate, trust, and power of attorney disputes, lawsuits, and appeals;
  • Successfully handling multiple trials involving mechanic’s liens and other construction and real estate law issues;
  • Successfully obtaining various judgments for her respective commercial and residential landlord/lesser-clients;
  • Successfully defending a client in a consumer fraud action brought by the Iowa Attorney's General Office; and
  • Successfully obtaining judgments, settling, and otherwise handling various employment disputes and litigation matters, including those involving a discrimination, retaliation, or wrongful termination claim against an employer-client; enforcement of an employer-client's rights under its employee handbooks; and enforcement of an employer-client’s non-competition and non-solicitation agreements with its past and current employees and officers; and
  • Successfully settling a countless number of other types of cases to the benefit of her respective clients.
*Please note that Jodie’s prior results in the aforementioned cases do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome in respect to any future matter and that results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each representation. 

In her litigation work, Jodie has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies, including national insurance companies, an automobile manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, national banks and financial institutions, an agricultural company and an information technology company. Jodie has also represented many other local, regional, and/or national construction companies, medical facilities, real estate-related companies, landlords and property management companies, agricultural companies, financial institutions, and other companies, as well as individuals across the county.


Construction Law and Litigation

In the area of construction law and litigation, Jodie has represented numerous companies and individuals within the commercial and residential construction industries, including general contractors, architectural and design firms, subcontractors, suppliers, as well as homeowners and other property owners.


Jodie's work within the area of construction law and litigation has involved the following:

  • Mechanic's lien law and litigation;
  • Claims under Iowa Code Chapter 573 for public projects (i.e., public improvement claims / bond claims);
  • Drafting, reviewing, and negotiating various residential and commercial construction contracts and forms, including but not limited to, new construction agreements, remodeling agreements, subcontractor agreements, warranties, homeowner packets/manuals, and equipment leases.
  • Handing pre-litigation disputes;
  • Litigating various types of construction cases, both for plaintiffs and defendants, including those involving allegations of negligent work and/or defective products, mechanic's liens, Chapter 573 (public project) claims, breach of contract claims, warranty claims, water intrusion and mold claims, bond claims, and collection matters; and
  • Acting as general counsel for various construction companies and advising them as to their various contract, dispute, best practices, and other questions.

As a result of her work in this area, Jodie is regularly asked to present on Iowa's new Mechanic's Lien Law, which took effect on January 1, 2013. She also consistently provides her clients with educational updates about the law. The following are among the Mechanic’s Lien Law’s major changes: (1) a new centralized online registry, created and administered by the Iowa Secretary of State, for the filing of all mechanic's liens for residential and commercial projects, as well as pre-lien notices for residential projects; and (2) new pre-lien notice requirements for many residential general contractors, remodelers, and subcontractors/suppliers, including a "Notice of Commencement" that must be filed by many residential general contractors/remodelers no later than ten (10) days after the commencement of a residential project, as well as "preliminary notices" that must be filed by many residential subcontractors and suppliers.



Below are various written materials and resources provided by Jodie on the new mechanic’s lien law and other construction law topics, many of which have been discussed during one of Jodie’s various speaking engagements for construction groups and associations:

  1. Owner Notice Requirement. The following document describes the current Owner Notice requirement under Iowa law for residential general contractors: Required Owner Notice Language.
  2. Sample Owner Notice Form. Sample Owner Notice for those residential general contractors who do not include the Owner Notice language within their contracts.
  3. Information on the Secretary of State Notices. The following document provides a brief explanation regarding the notices that will be sent to homeowners by the Secretary of State's office whenever a commencement of work notice or preliminary notice is posted on the new online Mechanics' Notice and Lien Registry: Secretary of State Notices.
  4. Top Takeaways Regarding the New Mechanic’s Lien Law (4/2013). Jodie has published the following article setting forth the "Five Things You Need to Know About Iowa’s New Mechanic’s Lien Law".
  5. Summary of the New Law (As of 11/2012). Jodie has also published the following article in the HBA's November Blueprint publication, summarizing the law as of November 2012: Iowa's Mechanic's Lien Law.
  6. New Language to Add to Final Lien Waivers. Some construction companies are adding language to their Final Lien Waiver forms regarding any commencement of work notices or preliminary notices posted on the Mechanics' Notice and Lien Registry. The following document contains a discussion on this topic: Discussion on Final Lien Waiver Form.
  7. Article Regarding Construction Contract Law (9/2013). Jodie has published the following article regarding the benefits of builders and remodelers having well-written contracts. Trading in the Handshake for a Well-Written Contract
  8. Imposing Implied Warranty on Land Developers: Details on the Iowa Court of Appeals decision regarding  Rosauer Corp. v. Sapp Development and WC Development, which ruled that a purchaser of a residential building lot cannot sue the land developer for perceived deficiencies with the excavation and dirt work performed by that land developer (6/17/14). 

Jodie is an active member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines, Home Builders Association of Iowa, and Master Builders of Iowa. She regularly attends HBA meetings, has presented for HBA members on various legal issues, and has published multiple articles in the HBA’s Blueprint publication


Real Estate Law and Litigation

In the area of real estate law and litigation, Jodie has tried multiple cases, representing both plaintiffs and defendants; has successfully settled a countless number of other cases; and has provided counsel to various real estate buyers, sellers, and developers in their various transactional real estate matters.

Jodie’s work in the area of real estate law and litigation includes the following:

  • Mechanic’s lien matters;
  • Homeowners’ association issues, including collection of delinquent assessments, enforcement of covenants, and preparation and amendment of association rules and covenants;
  • Breach of purchase agreement disputes;
  • Negotiation of real estate purchase and sale contracts for sellers and purchases;
  • Obligations of realtors and other realtor issues; Mandatory seller disclosure claims and claims of pre-existing water and/or mold problems;
  • Nuisance actions involving municipalities;
  • Drainage-related matters;
  • Subdivision-related work;
  • Enforcement of installment contracts; and
  • Infringement of property ownership rights by an adjacent land-owner.

Landlord-tenant law and litigation

Jodie regularly works with commercial and residential landlords on various legal matters. Jodie has also represented residential and commercial tenants in regards to their tenancy issues.

  • Drafting and negotiating residential and commercial lease agreements;
  • Drafting and implementing Rules and Regulations for residential landlords and property managers, including owners/managers of manufacturing home communities;
  • Drafting and implementing other various forms and policies in the residential leasing arena (e.g., installment sale contracts for manufacturing homes, pet policies, application forms, etc.);
  • Advising landlords on legal issues under Iowa Code Chapter 562A (Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act);
  • Advising landlords on legal issues under Iowa Code Chapter 562B (Mobile Home Parks Residential Landlord and Tenant Act / Manufactured Home Communities);
  • Handling pre-litigation landlord-tenant disputes; 
  • Defending HUD, Fair Housing Act, and other housing discrimination complaints; and 
  • Litigating various types of cases, including breach of lease agreement matters, enforcement of landlord liens, FED actions, collection actions, actions involving abandoned mobile homes, matters involving the alleged breach of the implied warranty/covenant of quiet enjoyment, guaranty disputes, and private nuisance disputes.

Jodie is an active member of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association; she has presented at their annual and monthly meetings on various landlord/tenant issues, including reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, other Fair Housing issues, and an update on the recent case law following the 2013 case of Staley v. Barkalow. Jodie is also a member of the American Apartment Owners Association and is the official AAOA Iowa attorney on landlord-tenant matters.



Below are various written materials and resources provided by Jodie on Iowa landlord-tenant law:

  1. The Law RE: Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals. The following is an article that describes the current state of the law regarding a landlord’s obligation to allow a tenant to have a service dog or emotional support animal in the tenant’s leased premises. Service Dogs And Emotional Support Animals: Man’s Best Friend Becomes A Landlord’s Biggest Headache.
  2. The Staley v. Barkalow case. The following is an article describing the 2013 Staley v. Barkalow decision. The clear implication of this case to all residential Iowa landlords is that they should carefully review their leases and their Rules and Regulations to ensure they contain no unlawful provisions. Questionable Provisions Included in Residential Leases: Landlords Must be on Alert After the Staley v. Barkalow Case.
  3. Dealing with Abandoned Mobile Homes. The following is an article that discusses a landlord’s alternatives to seeking court intervention in dealing with an abandoned mobile home. The alternative method involves the landlord making a 60-day election regarding the manufactured house. Dealing with Abandoned Mobile Homes Without Utilizing the Courts: The 60-day Election by a Landlord.
  4. Iowa Supreme Court’s May 2016 Opinions in Landlord-Tenant Cases of De Stefano and Caruso: The following is an article summarizing the May 2016 Iowa Supreme Court decisions in the landlord-tenant cases of  Elyse De Stefano v. Apts. Downtown, Inc., and Lenora Caruso v. Apts. Downtown, Inc. In particular, the article sets forth the Supreme Court’s various conclusions in these cases, which have broad implications to Iowa landlords and the lease agreements used by Iowa landlords. Iowa’s Highest Court Enters First Decision on Certain Landlord-Tenant Issues Raised in 2013  Staley Case: Landlords Must Take Note of De Stefano v. Apts. Downtown  


Professional Recognition

  • 2015 The Best Lawyers in America© - Construction Law
  • 2015 Great Plains Super Lawyers “Rising Star” - Construction Litigation.
  • 2014 Great Plains Super Lawyers “Rising Star” - Construction Litigation.
  • 2013 Great Plains Super Lawyers “Rising Star” - Employment and Labor

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