Practice Area: Appellate

Iowa Supreme Court Clarifies Requirements for Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Cases

January 5, 2024

In 2017, the Iowa legislature amended several provisions of the Iowa Code related to medical malpractice, including §147.139, which now requires expert witnesses in a medical malpractice case to meet more stringent qualifications to be able to testify. One of those requirements is that the proposed expert “is licensed to practice” medicine. Since amendment, the […]

Samuel Langholz Appointed to Iowa Court of Appeals

September 22, 2023

Samuel Langholz has been appointed as a judge to the Iowa Court of Appeals. On August 9, 2023, Governor Kim Reynolds selected Langholz from a list of five nominees sent to her by the Judicial Nominating Commission. Langholz served as the Chief Deputy Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office under Brenna Bird. He […]

Iowa Supreme Court Limits Individual Liability in Iowa Civil Rights Claim

August 10, 2023

Davina Valdez, a teacher’s associate at the West Des Moines Community Schools, brought suit against the school district and one of its teachers, Desira Johnson, alleging Johnson engaged in racial discrimination which led Valdez to resign. Valdez argued Johnson should be subject to individual liability for creating a hostile working environment under the Iowa Civil […]

Iowa Supreme Court Rejects Proposed Expansion of Aided-by-Agency Theory

The “aided-by-agency theory” is an exception to the usual rule that an employer may be vicariously liable only when an employee’s tort occurs within the scope of employment. Moreover, an employer may be vicariously liable for an employee’s tortious conduct if the employee “was aided in accomplishing the tort by the existence of the agency […]

Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Exclusivity Provision of Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act

Jena McCoy worked three months at the Thomas L. Cardella & Associates call center in Ottumwa before resigning after ongoing sexual advances from a team leader. She later sued Cardella, asserting a claim for common law negligent supervision or retention. Cardella’s pretrial legal challenges included that the common law claim was preempted by the Iowa […]

Iowa Supreme Court Examines Qualified Immunity

June 30, 2023

In 2021, the Iowa legislature codified qualified immunity in the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act for the first time. 2021 Iowa Acts ch. 183, section 14 (codified at Iowa Code Section 6704.A (2022)). The legislation codified a qualified immunity protection and also established a heightened pleading requirement for plaintiffs bringing tort claims against municipalities or […]

Iowa Supreme Court Reinforces Need for Control in Landlord Liability Action

June 5, 2023

A company called CDM Rentals, LLC, purchased a condominium in Brook Run Park in Des Moines. Shelley and Cameron Barnes began leasing the condo on September 17, 2015. The Barnes’ unit had a garage that let out onto a shared driveway. A rain gutter ran along the roof above the shared driveway. The rain gutter […]

Iowa Supreme Court Examines Claims against Municipality

Jim and Angela Sutton’s house sits near an intersection in Council Bluffs where an underground water main broke in November 2020, sending water to the Sutton’s property. The flowing water eventually became standing water and the Suttons alleged the water caused their house to settle, resulting in damage to its foundation, interior walls, garage floors, […]

Iowa Supreme Court Adopts Modified Summary Judgment Test on Discrimination Claims

April 3, 2023

On a motion for summary judgment in an age discrimination claim, the Iowa Supreme Court modified the burden-shifting framework for summary judgment on discrimination claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) to align with the causation standard at trial. The Court adopted the good-faith “honest belief rule” to affirm the employer’s decision to terminate […]

Iowa Supreme Court Further Clarifies Certificate of Merit Requirements

Roberta Butterfield’s estate brought suit against her nursing home, Chautauqua Guest Home, Inc., after her death in 2019. Butterfield’s estate alleged various omissions on the part of the nursing home throughout her residency. Chautauqua timely answered and a discovery plan was subsequently agreed to. Plaintiffs then failed to serve a certificate of merit affidavit and […]