Posted on: June 15th, 2022

In July 2019, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant alleging medical malpractice in the treatment and care of one of the Plaintiffs. The Trial Scheduling and Discovery Plan entered in the case provided that Plaintiffs would designate their expert witnesses by July 7, 2020. However, Plaintiffs failed to do so. On October 6, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on Plaintiffs’ failure to designate their expert witness by the required date. On October 9th, Plaintiffs filed an expert witness disclosure designating an expert and on October 22nd, filed a Motion for Additional Time to Designate Expert Witnesses, asserting substantial compliance with the Scheduling and Discovery Plan and stating they had good cause for missing the deadline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ Motion and granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff appealed, contending the district court abused its discretion in denying their Motion and thus erred in granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s rulings. In regard to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Additional Time to Designate an Expert Witness, the Court of Appeals found Plaintiffs did not substantially comply with the trial plan and did not have good cause for an extension. Specifically, Plaintiffs failed to provide how the pandemic interfered with their ability to file a timely expert designation. With no expert, Plaintiffs had no expert testimony to support their medical malpractice claim. As a result, the Court of Appeals also upheld the district court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of Defendant.

Reyes v. Smith, et. al., No. 21-0303 (Iowa Ct. App. May 25, 2022).

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