Finley Law

Case Notes

07/27/2021 - Trial Win in Breach of Contract Case

Abigail Wallace successfully obtained a judgment in favor of the Firm’s client on a breach of contract claim. Abigail brought suit for the Firm’s client, arguing the Defendants had breached their agreement and owed damages to the client. The Defendants denied the claim, asserting that the damages claimed by the Firm’s client were unconscionable, punitive, and unenforceable. After a bench trial, the Court found that the Defendants had breached their contract with the Firm’s client.  The Court determined that the Firm’s client was entitled to the damages claimed, plus attorneys’ fees incurred as a result of the dispute, and entered judgment in favor of the Firm’s client.

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06/24/2021 - Med-Mal Summary Judgment Granted for Lack of Causation Testimony

Connie Diekema and J.R. Kappelman obtained summary judgment for the firm's client, a hospital. Plaintiffs, a wife and husband, filed suit alleging medical malpractice in connection with the testing, diagnosis, and treatment for cancer. Connie and J.R. argued that the Plaintiffs' allegations required expert testimony, that Plaintiffs lacked a timely designated and disclosed expert witness to support the causation element of their claim, that the expert designated by Plaintiffs was not qualified to opine as to causation, and Plaintiffs could not meet their burden to prove their claims.  Connie and J.R. also argued Plaintiffs could not establish a separate claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Court agreed that expert testimony was required, that Plaintiffs failed to timely designate an expert and disclose his or her opinions, that Plaintiffs’ designated expert was not qualified to opine on causation, and that Plaintiffs would be unable to offer the required testimony at trial. The Court also agreed Plaintiffs could not establish a separate claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress. As a result, the Court granted summary judgment and dismissed all claims against the firm’s clients.

06/21/2021 - Appellate Victory

Kevin Driscoll and Abigail Wallace prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The appeal involved a legal malpractice case against the firm’s client, arising out of a contentious divorce proceeding.  At the district court level, the firm obtained summary judgment on several grounds including, collateral estoppel from the Divorce Decree and Plaintiff’s failure to strictly comply with mandatory deadlines under Iowa Code Section 668.11. The Plaintiff then appealed, arguing the district court erred in granting summary judgment because he complied with the required deadlines and collateral estoppel did not bar his claims. The Court of Appeals rejected Plaintiff’s arguments, finding Plaintiff’s failure to strictly comply with required deadlines was dispositive to his legal malpractice claim.  Accordingly, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client.

06/10/2021 - Directed Verdict in Medical Malpractice Jury Trial

Jack Hilmes and Aaron Redinbaugh successfully defended the firm’s clients, an orthopedic surgeon and his group, at trial, obtaining a directed verdict. The case involved the Plaintiff’s allegation that the surgeon failed to timely diagnose an infection which developed after the Plaintiff’s knee replacement surgery. At trial, Plaintiff’s expert testified that he was unable to testify about the standard of care for an orthopedic surgeon, post-infection. As a result, Jack and Aaron objected to the expert’s qualifications to testify. The Court agreed with Jack and Aaron’s arguments, ruling the Plaintiff’s expert was not qualified and that the Plaintiff was not able to prove their case without expert testimony. The Court granted directed verdict in favor of the firm’s clients and dismissed the case.

05/21/2021 - Dismissal with Prejudice on Certificate of Merit Issue

Jack Hilmes and Aaron Redinbaugh successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice for the firm’s client. Plaintiffs brought a medical malpractice action against multiple healthcare providers regarding an esophageal obstruction and the care to address that issue. Jack and Aaron argued the Plaintiffs had to serve a certificate of merit, an affidavit from an expert who has reviewed the case for the plaintiff and finds it has sufficient merit to proceed, and that Plaintiffs’ failure to timely do so required dismissal. They also argued a parties’ serving discovery did not waive the certificate of merit requirement. The district court agreed and dismissed all claims.

05/18/2021 - Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Case

Joe Moser successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice for the firm’s clients, a mental health care facility and its providers. The Plaintiff, who was convicted of first degree murder in 2015, brought a medical malpractice action against his former mental health care providers. He alleged they breached the standard of care in prescribing certain medications, which he claimed caused or contributed to his commission of murder, and failed to sufficiently follow up with him after he stopped attending appointments with them. Joe filed multiple motions, arguing the claims were untimely; that the Plaintiff failed to meet certain procedural requirements, including the requirement to timely provide a certificate of merit (an affidavit from an expert who has reviewed the case for the plaintiff and finds it has sufficient merit to proceed); that Plaintiff lacked good cause to extend any of his deadlines; and that dismissal was appropriate. The district court agreed that Plaintiff failed to serve a certificate of merit and that he lacked good cause to extend his deadlines. The district court dismissed all claims against the firm’s clients.

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03/17/2021 - Appellate Win on Certificate of Merit Issue

Aaron Redinbaugh successfully defended an appeal of a district court ruling in favor of the firm’s client. In one of the first cases interpreting Iowa Code section 147.140, Iowa’s recently enacted Certificate of Merit statute, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court decision dismissing the case due to the plaintiff’s failure to serve a Certificate of Merit—an affidavit from an expert who has reviewed the case for the plaintiff and finds it has sufficient merit to proceed. On appeal, Aaron argued the district court correctly determined the statute applied to the case; that the plaintiff failed to serve the required affidavit on the defendants; and that the plaintiff failed to request an extension prior to the deadline. The Court of Appeals agreed with Aaron’s arguments and affirmed the district court’s decision that the defendants were entitled to dismissal with prejudice.

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03/05/2021 - Supreme Court Win in Railroad Case

Todd Gaffney and the Finley Law Firm obtained a favorable decision from the Iowa Supreme Court in a railroad client's appeal. The case involved a collision between a freight train and a road grader on a foggy Iowa winter morning. The driver sued the railroad and train crew, alleging excessive speed, failure to keep a proper lookout, failure to brake, and failure to properly sound the horn. The district court granted summary judgment on all but the horn claims. At trial, Todd and the Firm obtained a defense verdict on the horn claims. The driver of the road grader appealed both the summary judgment ruling and the jury verdict. The Court of Appeals affirmed the defense verdict on the horn claims but reversed the summary judgment on the other claims and directed a second trial. The Iowa Supreme Court granted further review. It reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision, reinstating and affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment. The Supreme Court’s decision clarified the application of federal preemption in railroad excessive speed claims in Iowa and determined that this matter was one of the “exceptional cases” in which a court could properly decide causation as a matter of law.

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02/03/2021 - Iowa Court of Appeals Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment Based on Statute of Limitations

Stacie Codr and J.R. Kappelman prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiff was a patient who sued a surgeon and clinic alleging medical malpractice in connection with abdominal surgery.  The firm moved for summary judgment arguing the statute of limitations barred the Plaintiff’s claim.  The district court agreed and dismissed the case against the surgeon and clinic. The Plaintiff appealed, arguing he was not aware of his claim more than two years prior to filing suit. The Court of Appeals rejected the Plaintiff’s argument, finding the undisputed facts demonstrated the Plaintiff was aware of any alleged claim of negligence more than two years prior to filing suit.  Based on that conclusion, the Court of Appeals held his claim was barred by the statute of limitations and affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the surgeon and clinic.

02/02/2021 - Med-Mal Summary Judgment Granted

Joe Moser and Erik Bergeland obtained summary judgment for the firm's clients, a hospital and its staff. Plaintiffs, a wife and husband, filed suit alleging more than twenty counts of medical malpractice against various entities in connection with an abdominoplasty, or "tummy tuck," procedure. Joe and Erik argued that the Plaintiffs' allegations required expert testimony, that Plaintiffs lacked a timely designated and disclosed expert witness to support their claims, and that, as a result, Plaintiffs could not meet their burden to prove their claims. The Court agreed that expert testimony was required, that Plaintiffs had failed to timely designate an expert and disclose his or her opinions, and that Plaintiffs would be unable to offer the required testimony at trial. As a result, the Court granted summary judgment and dismissed the claims against the firm’s clients.

02/01/2021 - Summary Judgment Granted

Eric Hoch and Connie Diekema prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on a legal malpractice claim brought against the firm’s client, an attorney. The legal services provided by the attorney included the creation of a power of attorney and a will for the testator.  The attorney-in-fact provided for by the power of attorney brought a claim against the attorney, arguing that she was both the client of the attorney, as well as a direct and intended beneficiary of the attorney-client relationship between the testator and the attorney.  Eric and Connie successfully argued that the attorney-in-fact was neither the client of the attorney nor a direct and intended beneficiary of the attorney-client relationship between the testator and the attorney.  Because the attorney-in-fact lacked standing to sue the attorney, the third-party petition against the attorney was dismissed.

01/28/2021 - Nebraska Professional Malpractice Dismissal Granted

Abigail Wallace prevailed on a motion to dismiss all claims against the firm’s client, a mental health treatment provider, in a professional malpractice suit in Nebraska. Plaintiffs alleged professional malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract. Abigail argued that the Plaintiffs’ allegations failed to form the basis for any viable cause of action under Nebraska law. The Nebraska district court agreed and ruled in favor of the firm’s client, finding the Plaintiffs failed to allege sufficient facts to support their claims under Nebraska law, and dismissing all claims against the firm’s client.

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01/11/2021 - Medical Malpractice Dismissal Granted

Stacie Codr and J.R. Kappelman prevailed on a motion to dismiss all claims against the firm's client in a medical malpractice suit arising out of a spine surgery and post-surgical care. Stacie and J.R. argued that the Plaintiff failed to comply with Iowa law requiring the Plaintiff to serve a “Certificate of Merit,” an affidavit signed by an expert witness, attesting to having reviewed the case, familiarity with the standard of care, and a belief there was a breach of the standard of care in the case. The Court ruled in favor of the firm's client, finding no good cause for the Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the statute and dismissing all claims.

10/19/2020 - Real Estate Malpractice Victory

Erik Bergeland and Joe Moser obtained summary judgment for the firm’s clients, a real estate agent and her brokerage, in a case arising out of an alleged failure to disclose information on a sellers’ disclosure form. Plaintiff sued the seller, the seller’s agent, and the seller’s agent’s brokerage, alleging a failure to disclose certain conditions in the home. The firm argued that the Plaintiff’s allegations required expert testimony, that Plaintiff lacked a timely designated and disclosed expert witness to support her claims, and that the Plaintiff’s claims against the firm’s clients were without a basis in the law. The Court agreed that expert testimony was required and that Plaintiff was unable to offer it. As a result, it granted summary judgment and dismissed the claims against the firm’s clients.

10/07/2020 - Supreme Court Win for Firm Client

J.R. Kappelman and the Finley Law team prevailed on an interlocutory appeal before the Iowa Supreme Court. The Plaintiff was a patient who sued a physician and hospital alleging medical malpractice. At the district court, the court found the Plaintiff had not timely designated expert witnesses pursuant to Iowa Code section 668.11 but denied the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding the Plaintiff’s failure was excused by good cause. The Defendants were granted interlocutory review, arguing the Plaintiff did not have good cause to excuse his delay. The Court of Appeals agreed, reversed the district court’s denial of summary judgment, and remanded the case for entry of summary judgment. The Plaintiff sought further review before the Iowa Supreme Court. The Iowa Supreme Court denied Plaintiff’s request, successfully concluding the case for the firm’s client.

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09/23/2020 - Court of Appeals Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment in Medication Diversion Case

Jack Hilmes, Kevin Driscoll, Erik Bergeland, Andrew Patton, and J.R. Kappelman prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiffs were 76 patients who claimed damages based on the fear they may have received diluted medication as a result of medication diversion. The firm established there was no evidence any of the 76 actually received diluted medication.  Based on that fact, the firm moved for summary judgment arguing the Plaintiffs could not show they were injured as a result of any alleged negligence.  The district court agreed and granted the firm’s motion. The Plaintiffs appealed, arguing they were entitled to compensation for fear of receiving diluted medication, fear of contracting a communicable disease, and emotional distress. The Court of Appeals rejected the Plaintiffs’ arguments, finding that, absent proof of actual exposure, the Plaintiffs’ claims were unreasonable as a matter of law.  Based on that conclusion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

09/15/2020 - Supreme Court Denial of Further Review a Win for Firm Client

The Finley Law Team, including J.R. Kappelman, prevailed on appeal before the Iowa Supreme Court. The Plaintiff sued a physician for alleged medical malpractice. The firm moved for summary judgment, arguing the statute of limitations barred the claim. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The Plaintiff appealed, arguing she was not aware of her claim more than two years prior to filing suit. The Court of Appeals rejected the Plaintiff’s argument, finding the Plaintiff was aware of any alleged negligence more than two years prior to filing suit and holding her claim was barred by the statute of limitations, thereby affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment.  The Plaintiff then sought further review before the Iowa Supreme Court, claiming the Court of Appeals erred in rejecting her appeal. The Iowa Supreme Court denied Plaintiff’s request to review the case further, finally concluding the case in favor of the firm’s client.

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08/05/2020 - Court of Appeals Reverses Denial of Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Case

 J.R. Kappelman and the Finley Law team prevailed on an interlocutory appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiff was a patient who sued a physician and hospital alleging medical malpractice. The Defendants denied any negligence and argued the Plaintiff failed to timely designate expert witnesses.  The district court agreed the Plaintiff had not timely designated expert witnesses pursuant to Iowa Code section 668.11 but denied the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding the Plaintiff’s failure was excused by good cause. The Defendants sought and were granted interlocutory review, arguing the record showed the Plaintiff did not have good cause to excuse his delay in designating experts.  The Court of Appeals agreed, reversed the district court’s denial of summary judgment, and remanded the case for entry of summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. 

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08/01/2020 - Bench Trial Victory in Complex Mortgage Foreclosure Action

After a three-day bench trial in a complex mortgage foreclosure action involving expert testimony of forensic document examiners, Eric Hoch obtained a decree of foreclosure for the firm’s client.  Eric obtained the foreclosure and judgment on several theories including: (1) proof of a validly executed mortgage despite disputed authenticity of the mortgage signatures; (2) ratification of the mortgage; (3) the mortgagee was a holder in due course for value received and took assignment of the mortgage free and clear of defects asserted by the mortgagors; and (4) and existence of an equitable mortgage.  Eric defeated, and the trial court dismissed, all of mortgagors’ affirmative defenses and counterclaims including: (1) statute of limitations; (2) equitable estoppel and/or unclean hands; (3) deceit, negligent and/or fraudulent misrepresentation; (4) fraud and fraud in the inducement; (5) coercion; (6) failure to mitigate damages; and (7) lack of consideration.  Eric obtained a judgment in favor of the firm’s mortgagee client in all regards including principal and interest, attorney’s fees, and costs of collection, which, in total, exceed $500,000. 

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07/22/2020 - Court of Appeals Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment Based on Statute of Limitations

J.R. Kappelman and the Finley Law team prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiff was a patient who sued a physician alleging medical malpractice.  The firm moved for summary judgment arguing the statute of limitations barred the Plaintiff’s claim.  The district court agreed and granted the firm’s motion. The Plaintiff appealed, arguing she was not aware of her claim more than two years prior to filing suit. The Court of Appeals rejected the Plaintiff’s argument, finding the undisputed facts demonstrated the Plaintiff was aware of any alleged claim of negligence more than two years prior to filing suit.  Based on that conclusion, the Court of Appeals held her claim was barred by the statute of limitations and affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

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07/22/2020 - Court of Appeals Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment in Legal Malpractice Case

The Finley Law team, including J.R. Kappelman, prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiffs were former clients of an attorney and law firm who sued alleging legal malpractice. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the firm’s clients after the Plaintiffs failed to designate expert witnesses.  The Plaintiffs appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment. The Plaintiffs’ primary claim on appeal was that their claims did not require expert testimony.  The Court of Appeals rejected each of the Plaintiffs’ claims on appeal and affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

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07/17/2020 - Medical Malpractice Dismissal Granted

Joe Moser prevailed on a motion to dismiss all claims against the firm's client in a medical malpractice suit arising out of a knee replacement surgery and post-surgical care. Joe argued that the Plaintiff failed to comply with Iowa law requiring the Plaintiff to serve a “Certificate of Merit,” an affidavit signed by an expert witness, attesting to having reviewed the case, familiarity with the standard of care, and a belief there was a breach of the standard of care in the case. The Court ruled in favor of the firm's client, finding no good cause for the Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the statute and dismissing all claims.

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07/17/2020 - Summary Judgment: Medical Malpractice Case Time-Barred

Stacie Codr and Joe Moser recently obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm’s clients, a physician and hospital. The Plaintiffs alleged negligent treatment for failure to disclose an incidental imaging finding, which was later determined to be a cancerous mass. Stacie and Joe argued that the Plaintiffs’ claims, brought years after the treatment at issue, were untimely, including under Iowa’s statute of repose which bars any malpractice claim brought after six years of the act or omission that allegedly caused the injury. The Court agreed with the Defendants’ arguments, finding the Plaintiffs claims are barred by the statute of repose included in Iowa Code section 614.1(9)(a), granting summary judgment as a matter of law, and dismissing all claims.

05/18/2020 - Summary Judgment Granted in Med-Mal Case

Stacie Codr and J.R. Kappelman obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm's client, a medical clinic. Plaintiffs alleged medical negligence in connection with prescription medications resulted in the death of a patient. Defendant denied any negligence and argued the Plaintiffs lacked sufficient competent evidence to prove causation, including that the medication caused death.  The Court agreed with the firm's arguments on behalf of the clinic. Applying a bifurcated causation analysis, the court concluded there was insufficient evidence on the element of causation.  The Court granted summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit.

05/15/2020 - Summary Judgment Granted in Med-Mal Case

Stacie Codr and J.R. Kappelman obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm's clients, a physician and his professional group. The Plaintiff alleged negligence and infliction of emotional distress in connection with a biopsy procedure. The Defendants denied any negligence and argued that the Plaintiff failed to timely designate expert witnesses to support her claims. The Court agreed with the firm's arguments on behalf of the physician and his professional group, granted summary judgment, and dismissed the lawsuit.

05/12/2020 - Supreme Court Denial of Further Review a Win for Firm’s Client

J.R. Kappelman prevailed on appeal before the Iowa Supreme Court. The Plaintiffs were a patient and her husband who sued a physician for alleged medical malpractice. At trial, a jury quickly returned a verdict in favor of the firm’s client. The trial court described the speed of the verdict in favor of the firm’s client as “quite stunning.” The Plaintiffs requested the court order a new trial based, in part, on how quickly the jury returned its verdict. The trial court denied that request. The Plaintiffs then appealed, again arguing error in the jury’s speed in returning a verdict in favor of the physician. The Court of Appeals found in favor of the physician, affirming the verdict and the trial court’s ruling denying a new trial. The Plaintiffs then appealed yet again, this time to the Iowa Supreme Court, claiming the Court of Appeals erred in rejecting their appeal. The Iowa Supreme Court denied Plaintiffs’ request to review the case further, finally concluding the case in favor of the firm’s client.

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04/17/2020 - Claims Dismissed, Attorney Fees Awarded to Client

Andrew Patton and Kevin Driscoll obtained the dismissal of a petition filed against the firm’s client, an attorney who represented a protected party in a Guardianship and Conservatorship.  The district court determined that the petition, which was filed during the pendency of the Guardianship and Conservatorship, lacked sufficient factual allegations to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and that the court lacked jurisdiction. The Court also ruled in favor of the firm’s request for an award of attorney fees for its client, based on the frivolous nature of the petition.

04/13/2020 - Summary Judgment Granted in Dental Malpractice Case

Abigail Wallace and Connie Diekema obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm’s clients, a dentist and dental practice, in a case involving alleged negligence in connection with a tooth extraction and subsequent implantation of dentures. Defendants denied any negligence and argued that Plaintiffs failed to timely designate an expert witnesses to support their claims. While Plaintiffs did designate an expert witness, the Court agreed with the firm's argument that Plaintiffs’ disclosed expert had not provided a report critical of the care Defendants provided, nor that Defendants breached any applicable standard of care. The Court ruled that Plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence Defendants breached the standard of care and granted summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit.

04/06/2020 - Summary Judgment Granted in Med-Mal Case

Stacie Codr and J.R. Kappelman obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm's client, a hospital. The Plaintiffs alleged negligence in connection with orthopedic foot surgery and post-operative care. The Defendants denied any negligence and argued that the Plaintiffs failed to timely designate expert witnesses to support their claims. The Court agreed with the firm's arguments on behalf of the hospital, ruling the Plaintiffs had failed to produce any evidence the Defendants breached the standard of care. The Court granted summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit.

03/18/2020 - Court of Appeals Affirms Jury Verdict

J.R. Kappelman prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiffs were a patient and her husband who sued a physician alleging medical malpractice. The Plaintiffs appealed the district court’s denial of a motion for new trial following a civil jury verdict in favor of the firm’s clients. The Plaintiffs’ primary claim of error involved the jury’s speed in returning a verdict in favor of the physician, which the district court described as “quite stunning.” The Court of Appeals rejected each of the Plaintiffs’ claims on appeal and affirmed the district court’s denial of a new trial.

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03/12/2020 - Groundbreaking Iowa Supreme Court Victory

Finley Law Firm obtained a groundbreaking opinion from the Iowa Supreme Court defining the standards of proof of causation in medical negligence lawsuits. Jack Hilmes, Erik Bergeland, and the Finley Law team obtained a District Court summary judgment in a case where the Plaintiff required amputation of her arm and a series of life-saving surgeries due to necrotizing fasciitis, a “flesh eating” bacterial infection. The Plaintiff argued that earlier administration of oral antibiotics by the firm’s client, a physician assistant, would have prevented the potentially fatal infection, septic shock, and emergency amputation in the days immediately following the clinic visit. The expert witness for the Plaintiff repeatedly admitted that his opinion on the specific impact of antibiotics was speculation. The same expert testified that, in general, earlier administration of antibiotics will improve a patient’s chances at a better outcome.

The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment. The Iowa Supreme Court determined that Plaintiff’s key expert testimony concerning causation was insufficient to create a fact question for a jury to decide at trial. The Court held that the expert testimony was insufficient to support a claim for loss of chance to avoid the injury, as the witness did not establish what specific percent of chance had been lost.

This opinion clarifies the standard for proof of the element of causation in medical negligence cases as well as cases involving claims for loss of chance to avoid harm. In such cases, it has not  been uncommon to encounter experts who testify generally that “earlier is better” without specifically linking their opinions to the actual impact on the patient in the case. Due to this new opinion of the Iowa Supreme Court, trial courts should not submit a case to a jury without expert testimony establishing the specific causal link between the alleged negligence and the harm suffered by the Plaintiff.  “Earlier is better” is no longer sufficient proof to establish causation in an Iowa District Court.

02/14/2020 - Dismissal Granted in Legal Malpractice Case Against Client

Finley Law Firm attorneys Abigail Wallace and Kevin Driscoll prevailed on a motion to dismiss the claims against the firm's client in a legal malpractice suit. The firm argued that the Plaintiff’s claims were barred by collateral estoppel from a previous proceeding and that the Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because client-attorney’s actions were subject to absolute privilege. The Court agreed on both grounds, ruled in favor of the firm’s client, and dismissed the case.

02/07/2020 - Client Awarded 15 Years Unpaid Child Support

Megan K. Marty and the Finley Law team successfully represented a client seeking to recover over fifteen years of unpaid child support payments from the client's former spouse's estate in Minnesota Probate Court. The Court agreed that the claim was not barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and gave preference to the debt under Minnesota law. The Court further found that the claim was entitled to interest accruing at a rate of ten percent annually.

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02/05/2020 - Court of Appeals Affirms Jury Verdict

R. Todd Gaffney and the Finley Law team prevailed on an appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Plaintiff was a railroad employee who had sued his railroad employer pursuant to the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The Plaintiff appealed the district court’s denial of a motion for new trial following a civil jury verdict in favor of the firm’s clients. The Plaintiff challenged the propriety of the instructions the district court provided to the jury concerning the statute of limitations and discovery rule. The Court of Appeals found the first challenged jury instruction to be appropriate, found any error in the second challenged instruction to be harmless, and affirmed the district court’s denial of a new trial.

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02/04/2020 - Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Jury Trial

Erik Bergeland and Joe Moser successfully defended the firm’s clients, a physician assistant and clinic, in a week-long jury trial. The case involved a claim brought by a deceased woman’s estate and her widower following her death.  The plaintiffs alleged the physician assistant failed to adequately address certain health conditions and, upon receipt of abnormal lab test results after her departure from the clinic, failed to counsel the woman to go by ambulance, as opposed to private vehicle, to the nearest hospital for further care. The lawyer representing the estate and the widower asked the jury to return a verdict of 2.2–2.35 million dollars.  The jury found in favor of the physician assistant and clinic, determining they met the standard of care, were not negligent in their care of the patient or provision of instructions to the patient, and awarded the estate and widower no damages. 

01/06/2020 - Summary Judgment Granted in Med-Mal Case

Stacie Codr obtained summary judgment in favor of a physician and his clinic. The Plaintiff alleged the physician was negligent in connection with a bowel resection surgery. Plaintiff was seeking damages as a result of an anastomotic leak following surgery. The Defendants denied any negligence, and argued to the Court that Plaintiff did not timely file the lawsuit. The Court agreed with the firm's arguments on behalf of the Defendants, ruling the lawsuit was not timely filed under the applicable statute of limitations, granting summary judgment, and dismissing the lawsuit.

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01/03/2020 - Real Estate Malpractice Judgment

Erik Bergeland and Joe Moser obtained summary judgment for the firm’s clients, a real estate agent and his brokerage, in a case involving allegations of real estate malpractice. Plaintiff sued all involved in her purchase of a home, including her agent, the sellers’ agent, and the sellers themselves, when the basement of the home experienced catastrophic water damage after she purchased it. Plaintiff alleged all parties failed to disclose material information about the home during the sale process. The firm argued that the Plaintiff lacked a timely designated and disclosed expert witness to support her claims against a licensed real estate professional, lacked any facts to support her allegations her agent had failed to disclose information he had available to him in connection with the purchase, and that the Plaintiff’s claims against the firm’s clients were without any basis in fact or law, given her admissions in the case. The Court agreed, granted summary judgment for the firm’s clients, and dismissed the case shortly before trial.

12/05/2019 - Affirmed by 8th Circuit

Connie Diekema and Joe Moser, serving as local counsel, assisted in the successful defense of the firm’s clients on appeal before the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. The Plaintiff in the underlying suit was injured in a motocross accident and filed suit against the maker and seller of a neck brace he was allegedly wearing, claiming the brace caused, exacerbated, or failed to protect him from the injuries he suffered in the motocross accident. The Plaintiff advanced theories of products liability, breach of warranty, negligence, gross negligence, and consumer fraud. The District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted motions to dismiss filed by the firm, finding the Plaintiff failed to assert sufficient factual allegations and failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and the Plaintiff appealed. The Eight Circuit affirmed, finding the only factual allegation in the Plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a claim for relief.

12/05/2019 - Client Immune from Defamation Claim

Joe Moser successfully defended the firm’s client, a physician, in a defamation suit. The Plaintiff, a former patient of the doctor, alleged the doctor submitted defamatory information to the Iowa Department of Transportation in connection with a medical report required for the Plaintiff to renew his driver’s license. The firm argued that, under Iowa law, the physician was immune from any civil liability arising out of the report to the DOT, which accurately reflected diagnoses contained in the patient’s medical record. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment. Thereafter, the patient asked the court to reconsider and change its ruling. The district court denied that request, affirming that the doctor was immune from liability and granting summary judgment in favor of the doctor.

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11/15/2019 - Defense Verdict in Jury Trial

The Finley Law Firm, including J.R. Kappelman, successfully defended the firm’s client, a hospital, in a jury trial. The case involved a claim brought by a deceased woman’s estate following her death.  The woman’s estate alleged the employed physicians failed to timely diagnose and treat acute cholecystitis leading to the death of the 68 year old woman.  The lawyer representing the estate asked the jury to return a verdict of 10 million dollars.  The jury found in favor of the hospital and its employed physicians, determining they met the standard of care and awarded the estate no damages. 

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11/08/2019 - Defense Verdict in Jury Trial

Kevin Driscoll, Abigail Wallace and Andrew Patton successfully defended an attorney in a legal malpractice lawsuit. In a four-day jury trial regarding a will drafted by the attorney, Plaintiffs sought damages for the value of non-probate assets. The jury ruled in favor of the attorney, finding the attorney met the standard of care for a lawyer under similar circumstances. The jury denied Plaintiffs’ claim and awarded nothing to the Plaintiffs.

10/18/2019 - Products Liability Ruling Affirmed by 8th Circuit

Stacie Codr and Joe Moser successfully defended the firm's client in an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The underlying suit involved a claim that a faulty refrigerator, allegedly designed and sold by the firm's client and installed in an RV, caused a fire and damaged the Plaintiffs' property. The appeal sought to overturn a summary judgment ruling issued by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in favor of the firm's client, which held the client was immune from suit under Iowa law. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court, finding that the firm's client was only the seller of the refrigerator, and therefore immune under Iowa law. The Eighth Circuit panel also rejected the argument that the firm's client was the "apparent manufacturer" of the refrigerator and held that the "apparent manufacturer" doctrine is not viable under Iowa's products liability statutory scheme. 

10/08/2019 - Bench Trial Victory

Andrew Patton successfully defended one of the firm’s clients in a bench trial in Polk County, Iowa. The matter involved a claim of property damage resulting from use of a wood stain product.  The plaintiffs also sought attorney fees, in addition to the damages. The Court ruled in favor of the firm’s client, determining the plaintiffs failed to prove their claim by a preponderance of the evidence. As a result, the Court awarded no damages and entered judgment for the firm’s client. 

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10/02/2019 - Defense Verdict in Jury Trial

The Finley Law Firm, including J.R. Kappelman, successfully defended the firm’s client, a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility. The case involved a claim brought by a deceased gentleman’s estate following his suicide. The estate alleged the facility was negligent in its care of the gentleman by failing to prevent his suicide based on a concern raised by the family. The jury found in favor of the facility and its staff, determining it acted reasonably in its care of the gentleman, and awarded the estate no damages. 

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09/24/2019 - Summary Judgment for Clients in Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Hostile Work Environment Claim

Stacie Codr and Joe Moser obtained summary judgment for the firm’s clients, a large employer and two supervisory employees, in case involving allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. The firm argued that the Plaintiff’s allegations were legally insufficient to establish cognizable claims and that the employee was not constructively discharged. The Court agreed, stating “the incidents Plaintiff complains of are not of the frequency or the severity to support Plaintiff’s constrictive discharge claim or to satisfy the demanding legal standard for a hostile work environment.” The Court entered summary judgment for the firm’s clients and dismissed the case.

09/20/2019 - Summary Judgment in Legal Malpractice Claim

Kevin Driscoll and Abigail Wallace obtained summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client, a defendant law firm, in a legal malpractice action arising out of an underlying and contentious drawn out divorce proceeding. The firm argued that the defendant was entitled to summary judgment on several grounds including, collateral estoppel from the Divorce Decree; and Plaintiff’s failure to strictly comply with Iowa Code Section 668.11 regarding the designation of expert witnesses in a claim of professional negligence against a licensed professional. The Court agreed, stating that Plaintiff had failed to demonstrate good cause for failing to comply with the strict requirements of 668.11. The Court entered summary judgment for the firm’s client and dismissed the claim for legal malpractice.

08/30/2019 - Successful Class Action Resolution

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch successfully resolved Residents of Royal View Manor v. The Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency, an Iowa class action pending in Polk County, in which current and former tenants of Royal View Manor sought recovery of a rent reduction based upon an alleged bedbug infestation.

08/30/2019 - Dismissal Granted

Finley Law Firm attorney Aaron Redinbaugh prevailed on a motion to dismiss all claims against the firm's client in a medical malpractice suit. Aaron and Rick argued that the Plaintiff failed to comply with Iowa Code section 147.140, which requires the Plaintiffs, all cases accruing on or after July 1, 2017, to serve the parties with a "Certificate of Merit," signed by an expert witness with respect to the issue of the standard of care and alleged breach of the standard of care. The Court ruled in favor of the firm's client, finding no good cause for failure to comply with the statute and dismissing all claims.

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08/08/2019 - Successful Construction Arbitration

Kevin Driscoll obtained an Arbitration award in favor of firm client, a General Contractor, finding the subcontractor responsible for workmanship issues and liable for the reasonable cost of repairs; and that payment by the Owner was a condition precedent to the General Contractor’s obligation to pay the subcontractor due to the pay-if paid provision in the parties’ subcontract. 

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06/19/2019 - Appellate Victory

Rob Johnson and Joe Moser prevailed on an appeal involving a claim of "tortious interference with property rights," brought against their client, a home owners association, by a home owner. The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the District Court for Dallas County's dismissal of that claim, finding that Iowa law does not recognize the claim of "tortiuos interference with privacy rights". The court also affirmed the district court's determination that the plaintiffs had failed to raise any other claims in their Petition, including any claim for private nuisance or wrongful use of civil proceedings.

 

UPDATE: On August 3, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court again ruled in favor of Johnson and Moser's client, denying further review of the appeal. 

06/03/2019 - Defense Verdict

Robert Johnson and J.R. Kappleman successfully defended their client in a legal malpractice lawsuit that concluded on June 3, 2019 after a week trial.   The Plaintiff had sought $18 million in damages.  The jury found the lawfirm had met the standard of care and denied the Plaintiff’s claim in its entirety.   In addition, the lawfirm was successful on its counterclaim against the Plaintiff for unpaid fees owed for services provided the lawfirm in representing the Plaintiff in the underlying case.

03/29/2019 - 8th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch obtained an 8th Circuit Decision in Van Dorn v. Hunter 919 F.3d 541 (8th Cir. 2019) affirming summary judgment in a personal action seeking to recover injuries sustained after a downed power line struck Plaintiff in the face and head, arising out of a  Workers’ Compensation injury.  Plaintiff and Defendant were linesmen working to fix overhead power lines that had been damaged due to high winds.  The Plaintiff alleged co-employee gross negligence arising out of the storm cleanup procedures.  The 8th Circuit affirmed summary judgment against the Plaintiff finding as a matter of law, the Plaintiff could not establish the elements of gross negligence under Iowa law.

12/18/2018 - Administrative Hearing Victory

Todd Gaffney obtained a victory in an administrative hearing regarding a crossing dispute between the City of Coralville and the Firm’s railroad client. The City sought to condemn access across the railroad’s right of way to install a railroad crossing to serve future private development. The railroad resisted on the grounds that the crossing was not justified or necessary, was solely to serve private development, would substantially interfere with railroad operations, and would pose undue safety risks. After a two-day administrative hearing and extensive briefing, the Administrative Law Judge entered an order denying the City’s request for condemnation authority to facilitate a crossing.

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11/19/2018 - Summary Judgment Granted

Kevin Driscoll and Andrew Patton obtained summary judgment in favor of the Firm’s client in a breach of contract action following a fire at their client’s facility. Following the fire, the client terminated the welding services Plaintiff had previously provided at the  facility. The Plaintiff alleged that the client breached its contract with Plaintiff in terminating the welding services he was providing as an independent contractor. The Firm’s client argued that it had no duty to continue to utilize Plaintiff’s services and that did not breach any contract with Plaintiff. The Court agreed, granted the client’s Motion for Summary Judgment, and dismissed the case.

11/07/2018 - Defense Verdict in Railroad Crossing Accident Case

Todd Gaffney obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a railroad client in a crossing accident case. The Plaintiff alleged that he suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident. At trial, the Plaintiff argued that the train’s horn was not operating properly. The Plaintiff also had argued that the train was speeding for the foggy weather conditions, but this claim was dismissed on summary judgment. The railroad argued the horn was operating properly, and that the railroad was not negligent in any manner. Following an 8 day trial, the jury found in favor of the Firm’s client, finding the railroad was not negligent in any respect and finding the Plaintiff was negligent. The jury did not award the Plaintiff any damages.

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10/09/2018 - Defense Verdict

Connie Diekema successfully defended a general surgeon at trial. The Plaintiff’s estate alleged that the surgeon caused the wrongful death of the Plaintiff when he cut or injured the colon during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy and did not timely diagnose and repair the injury. The jury found that the surgeon complied with applicable professional standards and awarded no damages.

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09/27/2018 - Defense Verdict

Todd Gaffney and Robert Johnson obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a railroad client in a Federal Employers Liability Act case. The Plaintiff alleged that he suffered serious back injuries as a result of the cumulative trauma he experienced over his nearly 20-year career working as an engineer for the Defendant railroad. The railroad argued that the Plaintiff’s lawsuit was not filed on time and argued that the railroad provided a reasonably safe place to work. Following a nearly two week trial, the jury found in favor of the Firm’s client and did not award the Plaintiff any damages.

08/13/2018 - Summary Judgment Granted

Todd Gaffney obtained summary judgment in favor of a defendant railroad client in a Federal Employers Liability Act case where the Plaintiff railroad conductor alleged that he experienced mental distress as a result of a crossing accident. The Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the Plaintiff had insufficient evidence of any unsafe working conditions sufficient to proceed to trial on the question of whether the Defendant railroad provided any unsafe working conditions. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa agreed and granted the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, resulting in a dismissal of all claims against the Firm’s client.

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05/04/2018 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a general surgeon at trial. The plaintiff alleged that he lost over 100 cm of small bowl due to the defendant’s care in managing a suspected bowel obstruction. The jury found that the surgeon complied with applicable professional standards and awarded no damages.

04/25/2018 - Dismissal Granted

Todd Gaffney obtained dismissal on behalf of a trucking company and its driver in a case involving a traffic accident. Plaintiff repeatedly failed to cooperate in discovery. The Firm aggressively sought a sanction of dismissal as a result of these failures. After reviewing the briefs and arguments at hearing, the Court dismissed the case against the Defendants.

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04/11/2018 - Summary Judgment Granted

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch obtained a summary judgment in a personal injury action pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa seeking to recover for injuries sustained after a downed power line struck Plaintiff in the face and head, arising out of a  Workers' Compensation injury.  Plaintiff and Defendant were linesmen working to fix overhead power lines that had been damaged due to high winds.  The Plaintiff alleged co-employee gross negligence arising out of the storm cleanup procedures.  Judge Stephanie Rose granted summary judgment against the Plaintiff finding as a matter of law, the Plaintiff could not establish the elements of gross negligence under Iowa law.

04/09/2018 - Summary Judgment Granted

On April 9, 2018 Kevin Driscoll and Andrew Patton obtained summary judgment in favor of a defendant attorney in a case involving allegations of legal malpractice. The Firm argued that the Defendant was entitled to immunity as a court-appointed guardian ad litem and argued that Plaintiff failed to provide expert testimony establishing a case for legal malpractice. The Court entered judgment in favor of the Defendant on all claims.

01/25/2018 - Summary Judgment Granted

On January 25, 2018, Stacie Codr and Joseph Moser obtained summary judgment in favor of the Firm’s client in a product liability case in federal court in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. The Plaintiffs’ alleged that the Defendant manufactured or designed an RV refrigerator that contained a defect, resulting in a fire on Plaintiffs’ property. The Defendant argued, among other things that it was entitled to immunity under Iowa Code Section 613.18 because it did not manufacture, design, or assemble the refrigerator at issue. The Court agreed with the Defendant’s arguments and entered judgment in favor the Firm’s client, dismissing all claims with prejudice.

10/02/2017 - Defense Verdict

Kevin Driscoll and Megan Marty obtained a defense verdict in favor of Finley Law’s CPA firm client in a jury trial involving the preparation and review of the audited financial statements of a multi-million dollar manufacturing company. Finley Law’s client was sued as a Third-Party Defendant by another CPA firm who had audited the company’s financial statements which were relied on by the Plaintiffs in connection with their $4 million investment which was lost. The jury returned a verdict finding 0% fault as to Finley Law’s client, 30% fault as to Plaintiff and 70% fault as to the Third-Party Plaintiff who had audited the company’s financial statements.

08/01/2017 - Plaintiff's Verdict

Andrew Patton and Robert Johnson were successful in obtaining a  judgment in favor of their client, a general contractor, in a homeowner/contractor dispute during a fire restoration project.  The trial court ruled the general contractor established the value and the amount of work performed pursuant to the contract,  and the contractor’s entitlement to a judgment in that amount, which the homeowner had disputed.

06/22/2017 - Motion to Dismiss Granted

The Finley Law Firm obtained dismissal of a medical malpractice case involving allegations of improper anesthesia and informed consent issues. Defendants argued that the statute of limitations precluded Plaintiff’s claim due to a prior dismissal. Defendants also argued that Plaintiff did not timely serve the action. The Court agreed that the statute of limitations precluded Plaintiff’s claim and dismissed the case.

06/09/2017 - Summary Judgment Granted

The Finley Law Firm obtained summary judgment on behalf of a neurosurgeon in a medical malpractice case. Plaintiff failed to designate appropriate expert witnesses and the Court granted the Defendants motion for summary judgment.

06/08/2017 - Summary Judgment Granted

The Finley Firm obtained summary judgment in a medical malpractice case involving allegations of medical negligence and fraud. In a detailed order, the Court granted the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on all grounds alleged, and the Plaintiffs dismissed the remaining claims against the Firm’s clients.

05/08/2017 - Appellate Victory

Kermit Anderson obtained summary judgment in the trial court on behalf of a client defending claims of disability discrimination in the termination of plaintiff’s employment and in allegedly failing to accommodate his disabilities.  Plaintiff appealed.  On March 8, 2017, the Court of Appeals, in a thorough twenty-five page opinion affirmed the trial court’s ruling.  The appellate court concluded that there had been no genuine issue of fact produced to show that the defendant’s articulated reason for terminating the plaintiff’s employment was a pretext for discrimination.  The court further held that one of the plaintiff’s failure to accommodate claims was legally barred for having been untimely filed with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the other was barred because he first requested accommodation after learning his employment would be terminated.  Plaintiff sought further review with the Iowa Supreme Court which was denied in an Order filed May 2, 2017.

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12/30/2016 - Economic Loss Doctrine-Motion for Summary Judgment Granted for Civil Engineering Firm sued by Contractor

Kevin Driscoll and Andrew Patton obtained summary judgment on behalf of an engineer and a civil engineering firm in case where a contractor filed a lawsuit claiming over $2,000,000.00  in damages, alleging negligence in the preparation of the plans and specifications for the design and construction of the Lower Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project in Dubuque, Iowa.

In a detailed order, the Court ruled that the economic loss doctrine barred the Plaintiff’s negligence claims against the Defendant engineers as a matter of law, for economic losses only, where the parties were involved in a commercial construction project and were connected by a network of contracts, despite Iowa law generally recognizing a professional negligence exception to the economic loss doctrine. The Court also found in favor of the Defendants that the Plaintiff’s previous arbitration against the City precluded it from re-asserting its claims against the Defendants. The successful motion for summary judgment resulted in a complete finding of no liability against the Firm’s clients without the expense of trial.

12/23/2016 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a Cedar Rapids general surgeon at trial. The Plaintiff alleged that the physician was negligent in his performance of a colostomy takedown procedure and, months later, in the use of mesh to repair an incisional hernia. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the surgeon.

12/11/2016 - Motion to Dismiss Granted

The Finley Firm moved to a dismiss an automobile accident claim on the grounds that the Defendants had never been served with the original notice and petition as required under Iowa law and Plaintiff’s failure to timely serve the Defendants required dismissal. Plaintiff argued that the steps he took towards service constituted good cause for an extension for service. The Court found the service delay was abusive and dismissed the action, resulting in no liability for the Firm’s clients.

09/28/2016 - Appellate Victory

Kevin Driscoll moved to dismiss claims against a legal malpractice insurance company and several of its individual employees. The district court granted the motion to dismiss and the Plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court, stating: “The petition was prolix, rambling, incoherent, irrational, and failed to set forth any facts supporting a non-frivolous legal claim…The case is utterly without merit, and the judgment is affirmed.”

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09/16/2016 - Motion to Dismiss Granted

Erik Bergeland moved to dismiss a lawsuit against a physician involving claims of medical negligence on the grounds that the physician was not timely served with the original notice and petition under Iowa law. Because the Court found that there was not good cause for the failure to timely serve, the District Court granted the Motion to Dismiss in favor of the physician.

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09/01/2016 - Dismissal Obtained

The Finley Firm obtained a dismissal of an action before the Iowa Board of Pharmacy on behalf of a pharmacist in connection with an allegedly misfilled prescription. Because we demonstrated that the firm’s client was not the pharmacist responsible for the alleged misfill, if any, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy granted the parties’ motion to dismiss.

08/19/2016 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an emergency room physician and his practice group against a claim of wrongful death. The family of a 41 year-old woman who died of an intra-cerebral hemorrhage claimed that the physician was negligent in failing to diagnose a life-threatening condition three days preceding the woman’s death. The jury found that the physician was not negligent at the close of a two-week trial.

08/16/2016 - Summary Judgment Granted

The Finley Firm obtained summary judgment in favor of a hospital in a case involving allegations of medical negligence. Plaintiff alleged the Defendant was negligent in failing to properly treat the Plaintiff. Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff lacked sufficient evidence from an expert witness to establish their claims. The Court granted the motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against the Defendant.

08/11/2016 - Dismissal Obtained

Todd Gaffney and Robert Johnson obtained a dismissal for the firm's client in an action alleging the Plaintiff developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products. Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff could not produce sufficient evidence of exposure to Defendant's products. In response to the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff's counsel dismissed the action against the firm's client.

08/06/2016 - Directed Verdict

Steve Scharnberg obtained a directed verdict and dismissal on behalf of a podiatrist after the conclusion of the Plaintiff’s case-in-chief during a recent jury trial. The court determined that the Plaintiff had not met their burden of establishing a case of medical negligence through expert testimony. The Plaintiff’s expert podiatrist’s testimony was determined to be insufficient to establish that any negligent act of the Defendant podiatrist caused the injury of which the Plaintiff complained. The case was dismissed prior to jury deliberations or offer of evidence on behalf of the Defendant.

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07/21/2016 - Motion to Dismiss Granted

Stacie Codr successfully moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against a hospital and healthcare provider in a case involving allegations of medical negligence. The Plaintiff failed to serve the original notice and petition on the Defendants within the time allowed under Iowa law. The Court determined that the Plaintiff had no good cause for the delay in service and dismissed all claims.

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07/18/2016 - Dismissal Obtained

Todd Gaffney and Robert Johnson obtained a dismissal for the firm's client in an action alleging the Plaintiff developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products. The Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that its product never contained asbestos and further argued that the Plaintiff had failed to properly identify any exposures to the Defendant's product. In response to the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff's counsel dismissed the action against the firm's client.

04/01/2016 - Supreme Court Victory

Kermit Anderson successfully represented the defendant-appellee insurance company in the Iowa Supreme Court’s recently announced decision in the case of Just, et. al. v. Farmers Automobile Insurance Association d/b/a Pekin Insurance Co.  In a case of first impression in Iowa, the Court unanimously held that a non-simultaneous multiple vehicle collision nevertheless constituted a single “accident” for purposes of the limitation of liability provisions in an insurance policy.  The injured parties had argued that each impact with the insured vehicle was a separate “accident,” but the Court concluded that a single-accident interpretation is consistent with terms of the insurance policy stating that the per-accident limit applies “regardless of the number of . . . [v]ehicles involved in the auto accident.”  Aligning itself with the great majority of jurisdictions to have considered the issue, the Court furthermore adopted the so-called “cause theory” by which the number of “accidents” is to be determined not by the sheer number of collisions or impacts, but by the number of “causes” of the injuries claimed.

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02/05/2016 - Defense Verdict

The Finley Firm successfully obtained a defense verdict in favor of an anesthesiologist in a medical negligence action. During a four day trial, the Plaintiff alleged the anesthesiologist failed to properly monitor her IV site while he was providing care during emergency surgery, leading to a hand injury. After deliberating for less than one hour, the jury determined the anesthesiologist was not negligent in any manner, and the Court entered judgment on the verdict in favor of the defendant anesthesiologist.

01/06/2016 - Summary Judgment Granted

Eric Hoch and Jack Hilmes obtained summary judgment on behalf of hospital and medical professional defendants.  Applying Iowa Code section 147.136, the District Court barred the plaintiffs’ claims for past medical expenses, to the extent those medical expenses were replaced or indemnified by Deere & Company’s health plan.  The District Court also rejected Deere & Company’s claim that Iowa Code section 147.136 was preempted by ERISA, and barred Deere & Company from recovering, as subrogee, medical expenses it paid on behalf of the plaintiffs.

12/10/2015 - Plaintiff Verdict

Erik Bergeland and Marisa Saber (Cozen O’Connor – Chicago) successfully obtained a verdict on behalf of United Services Automobile Association. USAA brought the action against a property management company after the property of its insured home owners was partially destroyed by water damage from frozen pipes. The jury found the management company had breached its contract with the home owners and that the company’s agents were negligent in failing to take steps to avoid the water damage. The jury awarded $139,703.39 in damages to compensate USAA for the payments made on behalf of its insureds.

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10/02/2015 - Defense Verdict

Erik Bergeland successfully defended a Des Moines hospital in the trial of a premises liability case. The Plaintiff alleged that improper snow removal caused him to fall at the hospital and to rupture his patellar tendon. His injury resulted in major reconstructive surgery and eighteen months of rehabilitation. The jury found that the hospital was not at fault.

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05/11/2015 - Appellate Victory

Connie Diekema and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a hospital against claims that it was liable for a doctor's alleged refusal to properly participate in a DHS investigation of child abuse. Plaintiffs' claimed that this failure to properly participate in the investigation led to further abuse. The Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the defendant physician participated in good faith in the investigation and therefore was immune from any liability for his participation in the investigation. After the district court denied the motions for summary judgment, the Iowa Supreme Court granted the Defendants' request for interlocutory appeal. On Appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court reversed the denial of summary judgment and found that there was no evidence that the physician's interaction with DHS was not in good faith. Therefore, the Defendants were entitled to immunity, and the Iowa Supreme Court remanded the case to the district court for entry of judgment in favor of the Defendants.

03/11/2015 - District Court Ruling Affirmed

Steve Scharnberg and Stacie Codr successfully defended an appeal in which Plaintiffs challenged a district court's denial of class certification and grant of summary judgment in favor of a large hospital system.  Plaintiffs argued uninsured patients should receive discounts similar to patients covered by private insurance or those enrolled in governmental health care programs.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's conclusion that the Plaintiffs had not established the requirements for certification of a class action.  Additionally, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the hospital system on claims for breach of contract and consumer fraud.

02/11/2015 - Court of Appeals Victory

Eric Hoch and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a physician on appeal after the District Court's favorable entry of summary judgment dismissing claims of medical malpractice and battery, as well as an order bifurcating the proceedings.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court holding:  the Plaintiff did not preserve error on whether there was a triable issue of fact on her medical battery claim; there was no evidence in the record supporting the battery claim pled; and the Plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case of medical malpractice because she suffered no recoverable damages.  The Iowa Court of Appeals further held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in bifurcating the proceedings.

12/02/2014 - Defense Verdict

The Finley Firm successfully defended an emergency room physician in a wrongful death action.  The family of the former patient alleged the physician failed to diagnose an aortic aneurysm.  After a six day trial, the jury determined the emergency room physician was not negligent in any way, and the court entered judgment in favor of the defendant physician.

10/29/2014 - Court of Appeals Victory

Connie Diekema successfully defended an appeal of a dismissal of a medical malpractice claim as  a discovery sanction.  At trial, the District Court declared a mistrial after Plaintiff's withholding of a key piece of evidence from the Court and from all Parties, including the firm's client, was discovered.  Subsequently, the District Court dismissed Plaintiff's claim as a sanction for this violation of the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure.  On appeal, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiff's claim as a sanction for this discovery violation holding: (i) the District Court possessed the requisite authority to impose the sanction of dismissal under the facts of the case and (ii) the District Court did not abuse its discretion in exercising this authority.

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10/09/2014 - Plaintiff's Verdict

Kevin Driscoll obtained a plaintiff’s verdict in the case of USAA v. Clement Heating and Cooling. The trial involved a subrogation action arising out of a fire that severely damaged a residence where a gas line had been installed for a new fireplace on the exterior of the home and in direct contact with the down conductor for a lightning protection system on the home.  During a thunderstorm a lightning strike was intercepted by the lightning protection system and was carried to the gas line, igniting the gas line creating a blow torch effect since the gas line was in direct contact with the down conductor.  The home was severely damaged by the resulting fire. The jury returned its verdict in the amount of $377,917.25.

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08/04/2014 - Summary Judgment Granted

Tom Finley obtained summary judgment on behalf of a physician.  Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant physician was negligent in failing to obtain all information necessary to provide a proper recommendation for treatment when consulted by the Plaintiff's treating physician.  The Defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the informal consultation was provided gratuitously as a professional courtesy.  Therefore, public policy precluded any type of liability on behalf of Defendant because liability for informal consultations would have a chilling effect on their use, to the detriment of both providers and patients.  The Plaintiff did not resist the motion for summary judgment, and the Court dismissed the Defendant from the lawsuit.

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07/27/2014 - Iowa Supreme Court Victory

Todd Gaffney and Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal regarding the proper tax treatment of a Federal Employer's Liability Act verdict under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA).  The Plaintiff asserted that the judgment was not subject to taxes under the RRTA.  Defendant asserted that the judgment was taxable under the RRTA, and the trial court agreed.  On appeal, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed and held that the judgment constituted taxable compensation under the RRTA.  Therefore, the Defendant railroad properly withheld the taxes from the amount of the judgment.

07/24/2014 - Motion to Dismiss Granted

Kevin Driscoll obtained a dismissal for a property owner in a case involving claims of premises liability.  The Plaintiff alleged injuries arising from a fall on property the Defendant owned but leased to another entity.  The Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint as untimely and barred by the statute of limitations.  The Plaintiff did not resist the motion.  The Court granted the Defendant's motion to dismiss and dismissed the Defendant property owner from the case.

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07/23/2014 - Defense Verdict

Stacie Codr successfully defended a transplant surgeon and a surgical resident in a case involving the placement of a hemodialysis catheter.  After a trial lasting more than a week, the jury determined the surgeons were not negligent and a judgment was entered in favor of the defendant surgeons.

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07/21/2014 - Aviation Subrogation Victory

Robert Johnson obtained a verdict in favor of an insurance company in a subrogation action involving an aircraft accident.  The Defendant asserted that the accident caused no damage to the aircraft Plaintiff insured.  Plaintiff asserted that the accident caused significant damage to the aircraft it insured.  After a bench trial, the Court found in favor of the Plaintiff and entered a judgment for over 97% of the damages requested.

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06/18/2014 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an orthopedic surgeon at trial. The Plaintiff alleged that she developed a sciatic nerve palsy secondary to a negligently performed total hip replacement. The jury found that the surgeon was not negligent.

06/16/2014 - Defense Verdict

The Finley Law Firm successfully defended an electrophysiologist in a case involving the diagnosis of a heart arrhythmia.  After a trial lasting over a week, a jury determined the electrophysiologist was not negligent and entered judgment in favor of the defendant electrophysiologist.

05/29/2014 - Court of Appeals Victory

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an appeal involving claims of medical malpractice against a physician.  At trial, a jury found that the Plaintiff's comparative fault barred recovery.  The Plaintiff filed a combined motion for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that the jury's verdict was inconsistent and not supported by substantial evidence.  The trial court denied the motions and entered judgment in favor of the Defendant.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed.

05/09/2014 - Defense Verdict

The Finley team successfully defended a radiologist at trial in a case involving allegations of medical malpractice.  Plaintiff alleged that he was injured as a result of the Defendant's allegedly improper reading of an x-ray study.  The Defendant maintained she complied with all applicable standards of care in interpreting the x-ray study. The jury found the Defendant was not negligent and awarded no damages.

04/04/2014 - Iowa Supreme Court Victory

Eric Hoch and Steve Scharnberg successfully defended an appeal involving claims of breach of implied warranty of workmanlike construction and negligence.  The Plaintiff homeowners association brought a case against several parties which included subcontractors.  The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the subcontractors ruling that implied warranty claims are not actionable against subcontractors, and that the homeowners association's negligence claim was precluded by the economic loss doctrine.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment.  The Iowa Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals.

03/12/2014 - Appeal Court Victory

Todd Gaffney and Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal involving claims of negligence against a railroad.  The District Court granted the railroad's Motion for Summary Judgment on the grounds that Plaintiffs were 100%, or approaching 100%, at fault for the accident.  Therefore, under Iowa's comparative fault scheme, Defendants were entitled to summary judgment as Plaintiffs' comparative negligence barred recovery.  The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the District Court's decision.

02/11/2014 - Defense Verdict

Stacie Codr successfully defended a nurse and hospital at trial in a case involving allegations of nursing negligence.  The Plaintiff alleged that she was seriously injured in connection with administration of an intramuscular injection of medication.  Defendants asserted the nurse administered the injection consistent with applicable standards of care.  After a one week trial, a jury determined the nurse and hospital were not negligent and judgment was entered in favor of Defendants.

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01/27/2014 - Defense Verdict

Erik Bergeland and the Finley Law Firm team successfully defended an orthopaedic surgeon in a case involving shoulder surgery.  The patient complained a pain pump prescribed by the orthopaedic surgeon caused her to lose cartilage in her dominant shoulder.  Shoulder replacement surgery ensued.  The defendant orthopaedic surgeon denied the pain pump caused the loss of cartilage.  After a trial lasting over a week, a jury determined the orthopaedic surgeon was not negligent and judgment was entered in favor of the orthopaedist.

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01/09/2014 - District Court Decision Affirmed

Stacie Codr successfully defended physicians on appeal after the district court dismissed a medical malpractice lawsuit after summary judgment proceedings.  In reviewing several decisions of the district court, the Iowa Court of Appeals concluded the district court acted reasonably in setting new deadlines for plaintiff to designate expert testimony, appropriately determined the plaintiff's pro se motion did not substantially comply with Iowa Code section 668.11, acted within its discretion in declining to continue its consideration of the summary judgment motions, and appropriately granted summary judgment for all defendants given the plaintiff's failure to timely designate expert witnesses.

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11/21/2013 - Defense Verdict

The Finley Law Firm successfully defended an ophthalmologist in a case involving a complication during cataract surgery.  After a week long trial, a jury determined the physician was not negligent and judgment was entered in favor of the defendant ophthalmologist.

11/06/2013 - Court of Appeals Victory

Stacie Codr successfully represented Wells Fargo Financial Leasing, Inc. ("Wells Fargo") in an appeal arising from a company's default under an equipment lease agreement.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo concluding that Defendant was a mere continuation of the entity that originally entered into the equipment lease agreement with Wells Fargo and Defendant was therefore subject to successor liability under Iowa law.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the decision in favor of Wells Fargo.

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10/24/2013 - Appellate Victory

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an appeal involving claims of medical malpractice against a physician regarding a cancer diagnosis.  The District Court entered a directed verdict in favor of the defendant on the grounds that Plaintiffs had failed to provide sufficient evidence, in the form of expert testimony, to support each element of their malpractice claim.  The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court and affirmed the Court's decision to grant a directed verdict in favor of the defendant.

10/23/2013 - Appellate Victory

Kevin Driscoll successfully defended an appeal involving claims of malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and defamation by a city's former clerk against the city's attorney.  The District Court granted summary judgment, finding, based on a State of Iowa audit, that probable cause existed as a matter of law such that the city attorney's actions, even if he assisted in the investigation, did not constitute malicious prosecution and the subsequent arrest of the plaintiff was legal.  Therefore, the city attorney did not engage in false imprisonmnet, and a qualified privilege protected the city attorney's statements against plaintiff's defamation claims.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment.

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10/21/2013 - Class Action Ruling

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch successfully represented a certified registered nurse anesthetist against a potential class action alleging that the CRNAs had acted in excess of their license.  On September 16, 2013 the Iowa District Court for Fayette County ruled in favor of the Defendants denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification.  The Court also granted Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' claims that the Defendants were acting in excess of the scope of their license as certified registered nurse anesthetists.

09/10/2013 - Defense Verdict

Kermit Anderson successfully defended Hy-Vee against allegations of negligence in maintaining the floors in one of its Des Moines area stores.  Plaintiff claimed back and leg injuries after slipping in a small quantity of water upon leaving the checkout aisle in the store.  The jury found that Hy-Vee was not at fault and awarded no damages.

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08/09/2013 - Class Certification Denied - Case Dismissed

Steve Scharnberg and Stacie Codr successfully represented a large hospital system against a potential class action suit alleging that uninsured patients should receive discounts similar to patients covered by private insurance or those enrolled in governmental health care programs. The court found that the Plaintiffs had not established the requirements for certification of a class action. Additionally, the court granted summary judgment on claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and consumer fraud and dismissed the case.  In its decision, the Court noted the hospital system wrote off the vast majority of accounts owed by uninsured patients and that charity care, forgiveness of bills and financial assistance are available to qualifying patients.

07/24/2013 - Defense Verdict

Kermit Anderson successfully defended a premises owner against allegations of negligence arising from snow removal activities.  Plaintiff claimed serious physical injuries after sustaining a fall in a parking lot.  The jury found the defendant premises owner was not at fault and awarded no damages.

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06/17/2013 - Defense Verdict

Kermit Anderson successfully defended Hy-Vee in a four-day jury trial.  The plaintiff, a former Hy-Vee employee, had alleged that his employment was terminated in violation of public policy because he was pursuing workers' compensation benefits.  Hy-Vee denied the plaintiff's claim and maintained that his employment was terminated for valid work-related reasons.  The jury found that the plaintiff had not proved his claim and returned its verdict in favor of Hy-Vee.

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06/14/2013 - Directed Verdict

The Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment awarded to a Des Moines surgeon and his practice group.  The court found that the Plaintiff had failed to produce adequate proof of negligence to proceed to trial.  Although the Plaintiff's subsequent treating physician had been designated as an expert witness to testify regarding the standard of care, the witness did not offer any opinions critical of the firm's client and the case was dismissed.  Tom Finley and Erik Bergeland handled the matter on behalf of the firm.

06/14/2013 - Appellate Victory

The Finley Firm successfully defended a northern Iowa surgeon at trial.  The Plaintiff alleged that her complications arising out of a gallbladder removal surgery were caused by the surgeon's negligence.  During trial, the Plaintiff's expert witness surgeon did not testify that the damages were caused by a breach of the standard of care.  At the close of the Plaintiff's case, the court entered a directed verdict in favor of the defendant surgeon and dismissed the case.

04/24/2013 - Appellate Victory

Steve Scharnberg and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a summary judgment ruling on appeal.  At the trial court, the defendant hospital obtained summary judgment due to the plaintiff's failure to file the case within two years of the death of her relative.  The plaintiff argued that the medical malpractice statute of limitations began to run at the time that the family knew the death was result of the medical treatment and did not begin to run on the date of death.  The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment, holding that the statute and prior case law mandated that the statute of limitations began to run on the date of death.

02/20/2013 - Firm Attorneys Appear In Special Session of Iowa Supreme Court

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch appeared in front of a special evening session of the Iowa Supreme Court for oral argument. The case involved the claimed uninhabitability of apartment units arising from bed bugs brought into apartment complexes.  The appeal was of the District Court's certification of a class on uninhabitability claims, as well as sub-classes for claims based upon Iowa's Private Right of Action for Consumer Frauds Act.  

02/14/2013 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a physician at trial. The plaintiff alleged that she developed cervical cancer because her OB/GYN physician failed to perform appropriate testing and/or failed to ensure that the patient followed up after an abnormal pap smear. The jury found in favor of the defendant physician and awarded no damages.

02/01/2013 - Verdict in Commercial Trial

Connie Diekema successfully defended a multi-specialty medical group at trial against several claims in a commercial dispute.  The Plaintiff was a former physician member of the group who alleged fraud, tortious interference with business relationships, and defamation after he was suspended and later terminated from the group.  The termination followed an investigation by the group into potential over-administration of procedures by the plaintiff physician.  At trial, the group conceded that the physician was owed an amount equal to his initial investment in a building purchase, however the jury awarded a smaller amount of the investment claim and awarded no damages for the fraud, tortious interference, and defamation claims.

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12/14/2012 - Appellate Victory

Eric Hoch and Steve Scharnberg successfully defended an appeal involving claims of breach of implied warranty of workmanlike construction and negligence.  The Plaintiff homeowners association brought a case against several parties which included subcontractors.  The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the subcontractors ruling that implied warranty claims are not actionable against subcontractors, and that the homeowners association's negligence claim was precluded by the economic loss doctrine.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment.

11/08/2012 - Appellate Victory

Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal involving claims of false imprisonment against a hospital.  Tom Finley and Eric Hoch obtained summary judgment in favor of a hospital on a case involving claims of EMTALA violations and false imprisonment.  The case involved two foreign citizens who were treated and stabilized after being struck by a truck.  After the Plaintiffs dismissed their EMTALA claim, the District Court found that the actions of the hospital employees and other medical personnel in repatriating the two foreign citizens for further care and treatment in their homeland did not constitute false imprisonment.  The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court.

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10/14/2012 - Appellate Victory

Steve Scharnberg and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an appeal involving the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases.  The Plaintiffs brought a case on behalf of a deceased child alleging that a physician failed to diagnose an illness, resulting in the death of the child.  The case was filed three years after the child's death.  In holding that the "minor tolling provision" of the medical malpractice statute of limitations did not apply to the case, the Court of Appeals upheld the district court's ruling and affirmed dismissal of the case.

10/03/2012 - Directed Verdict

Stacie Codr successfully defended an obstetrician gynecologist against allegations of medical malpractice.  The court dismissed the Plaintiff's case afer determining that the Plaintiff did not have adequate proof necessary to establish a valid claim against the physician.

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09/20/2012 - Summary Judgment

Kevin Driscoll obtained summary judgment in favor of a city attorney who had been sued by the city's former clerk for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and defamation.  The District Court found, based on a State of Iowa audit, that probable cause existed as a matter of law such that the city attorney's actions in assisting in the investigation did not constitute malicious prosecution and the subsequent arrest of the plaintiff was legal.  Therefore, the city attorney did not engage in false imprisonment, and a qualified privileged protected the city attorney's statements against plaintiff's defamation claims.

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09/20/2012 - Summary Judgment

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch obtained summary judgment in favor of a law firm and debt collection agency against a lawsuit filed by a debtor alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  In a thirty-five page opinion, Northern District of Iowa Senior Judge Donald E. O'Brien found that the law firm and debt collection agency were permitted to rely on a process server's return-of-service as presumptively valid, and that their debt collection efforts did not constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  The District Court also found in favor of the debt collection agency despite its failure to provide notification to the Iowa Attorney General within thirty days after commencing business in the state.

09/13/2012 - Directed Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully represented an obstetrician gynecologist at trial.  The plaintiffs claimed that the physician's failure to diagnose a young woman's breast cancer resulted in her untimely death.  After seven days of trial, the defendant moved for directed verdict and the Court dismissed the case due to the Plaintiffs' failure to establish any negligence on the part of the physician.

09/10/2012 - Directed Verdict

Eric Hoch successfully defended a dentist against allegations of dental malpractice.  The court dismissed the Plaintiff's case after determining that the Plaintiff did not have the expert testimony required to establish a valid claim against the dentist.

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08/28/2012 - Iowa Court of Appeals Win

Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals in a case involving claims of medical malpractice.  Tom Finley and Jack Hilmes obtained the underlying defense jury verdict in favor of two defendant physicians and a hospital  In affirming the defense jury verdict, the Iowa Court of Appeals rejected arguments that the jury verdict failed to administer substantial justice.

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07/18/2012 - Iowa Supreme Court Win

Steve Scharnberg and Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court in a case involving claims of medical malpractice.  The appeal followed entry of summary judgment in favor of a defendant physician and health care organizations.  In affirming the entry of summary judgment which was based upon the application of a statute of repose, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected arguments that the doctrines of fraudulent concealment and the so-called continuum-of-negligent-treatment doctrine precluded the summary dismissal of the case.

06/19/2012 - Summary Judgment

Steve Scharnberg and Stacie Codr obtained summary judgment in favor of health system in a lawsuit involving claims of negligent spoliation of evidence and negligent misrepresentation in connection with the handling of patient records.  The United Stated District Court for the Southern District of Iowa concluded Iowa does not recognize a claim for negligent spoliation of evidence as an independent tort and determined the claim for negligent misrepresentation failed on multiple grounds.

02/20/2012 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Erik Bergeland successfully defended an emergency room doctor and his practice group at trial.  The Plaintiffs claimed that the doctor caused the death of their family member by failing to properly treat him after a motorcycle accident.  The jury found that the doctor was not negligent and awarded no damages.

01/27/2012 - Summary Judgment

Tom Finley and Eric Hoch obtained summary judgment in favor of a hospital on a case involving claims of EMTALA violations and false imprisonment.  The case involved two foreign citizens who were treated and stabilized after being struck by a truck.  After the Plaintiffs dismissed their EMTALA claim, the District Court found that the actions of the hospital employees and other medical personnel in repatriating the two foreign citizens for further care and treatment in their homeland did not constitute false imprisonment.

12/21/2011 - Appellate Victory

Eric Hoch successfully defended an appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals in a case involving claims of medical malpractice.  The appeal followed a defense verdict entered in favor of a health clinic and physician.  The Iowa Court of Appeals concluded that the evidence submitted at trial warranted submission of the case to the jury and further supported the unanimous defense verdict filed by the jury.  The underlying defense verdict was obtained by Connie Diekema.

12/19/2011 - Defense Verdict

Kermit Anderson and Stacie Codr successfully defended a continuing care retirement community against allegations of negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation and violation of Iowa Code Chapter 523D in a recent jury trial extending over two weeks.  The Court directed verdict on the negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims.  The jury found that defendants had not breached a contract, had not made fraudulent misrepresentations and did not violate Iowa Code Chapter 523D.

12/02/2011 - Iowa Supreme Court Win

Jack Hilmes and Eric Hoch won the affirmance of the District Court's entry of summary judgment on a negligent credentialing claim against a hospital.  The Iowa Supreme Court held that Iowa Code Section 147.135(2) provides a rule of inadmissibility for credentialing files that may not be waived.  The Iowa Supreme Court further held that the law of the case did not bar the hospital from objecting to the use of a physician's credentialing file following a previous reversal and remand by the Iowa Supreme Court.

11/17/2011 - Defense Verdict

Connie Diekema succesfully defended a hospital against allegations of medical malpractice.  The Plaintiff claimed that she suffered a bowel perforation as a result of a nurse's negligence.  The jury found that the nurse and hospital were not negligent and awarded no damages.

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10/25/2011 - Summary Judgment

Steve Scharnberg and Eric Hoch obtained summary judgment in favor of a siding company against allegations of negligence and breach of implied warranty of workmanlike construction brought by a homeowner's association.  The Court ruled that the negligence claim was barred by the economic loss doctrine and that the implied warranty of workmanlike construction was not recoverable against a subcontractor.

10/15/2011 - Indemnification Contract Held Enforceable

Kevin Driscoll and Robert Johnson recently obtained a summary judgment ruling in favor of the firm's contractor client.  Senior Judge, Ronald E. Longstaff, of the Southern District of Iowa, ruled that the terms of an indemnity agreement were enforceable against a subcontractor for all damages and expenses even if caused by the contractor's negligence and that the recently enacted Iowa Statute 537A.5, prohibiting such contracts applied prospectively only.

10/13/2011 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes successfully defended an obstetrican gynecologist against allegations of medical malpractice. The Plaintiff alleged that physician failed to recognize and treat an injury to the Plaintiff's ureter while performing hysterectomy surgery. The jury found that the physician was not negligent and awarded no damages.

09/26/2011 - Defense Verdict

Erik Bergeland successfully represented a general surgeon against allegations of medical malpractice. The Plaintiffs claimed that the surgeon failed to recognize an intra-operative bowel perforation during a gallbladder removal surgery. The jury found that the surgeon was not negligent and awarded no damages.

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07/27/2011 - Defense Verdict

Stacie Codr successfully defended a premises owner against allegations of negligence.  Plaintiff claimed ankle and back injuries after sustaining a fall.  The jury found the defendant premises owner was not at fault and awarded no damages.

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07/25/2011 - Defense Verdict

Erik Bergeland successfully represented a county hospital and its nursing staff against allegations of medical malpractice.  The Plaintiff claimed to have experienced a preventable complication arising out of preparation for a colonoscopy.  The jury found the hospital and nursing staff were not negligent.

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07/25/2011 - Defense Verdict

Erik Bergeland successfully defended a community hospital against allegations of medical negligence.  The Plaintiff claimed that the physicians in the emergency department delivered substandard care and failed to prevent a stroke that occurred after the patient left the emergency department.  The jury found that the defendant hospital and its physicians were not negligent.

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06/24/2011 - Appellate Victory

Stacie Codr and Connie Diekema successfully defended an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court involving principles of comparative fault.  The appeal followed a defense verdict entered in favor of a hospital after a noncustodial mental health patient took her own life.  The Iowa Supreme Court considered whether Iowa's comparative fault act permits a jury to compare the fault of a noncustodial suicide victim with the alleged negligence of the mental health professionals treating her.  The Court concluded a person owes a duty of self-care as an outpatient, and the district court committed no reversible error in allowing the jury to compare her fault.

05/17/2011 - Defense Verdict

Tom Finley successfully defended two physicians and a community hospital against allegations of medical negligence.  The Plaintiffs claimed that the physicians improperly treated their fourteen year old daughter's shiga toxin producing E. coli infection, which resulted in her death.  The jury found that the physicians were not negligent in their care and treatment of the patient.

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04/28/2011 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes and Tom Finley successfully defended a hospital and two physicians against allegations of medical negligence in their care and treatment of a patient with an extremely rare genetic metabolic disorder.  The Plaintiffs sought over $20,000,000 and claimed that the hospital and physicians were negligent in their care and treatment of the patient.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the hospital and physicians, finding that they were not negligent in their care and treatment of the patient.

04/15/2011 - Defense Verdict

The Finley Law Firm successfully defended an orthopedic surgeon against allegations of medical negligence.  The Plaintiff claimed that the physician was negligent in his performance of a total knee replacement surgery.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the surgeon, finding that he was not negligent in his care and treatment of the patient.

03/31/2011 - Defense Verdict

Steve Scharnberg successfully represented a physician in a medical negligence action.  Plaintiffs claimed that the physician was negligent by failing to obtain informed consent and failing to discontinue a birth control device prior to and after surgical repair of an Achilles Tendon rupture.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the physician, finding he was not negligent in his care and treatment of the patient.

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11/19/2010 - Directed Verdict

Kevin Driscoll and Eric Hoch obtained a directed defense verdict on Plaintiffs' claims of "lost opportunity", emotional distress", and other non-pecuniary damages in a legal malpractice trial.  The Plaintiffs' claimed they received substandard legal advice resulting in deportation and return to their native country.  At the close of all evidence, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims of "lost opportunity" to become a United States citizen.

10/20/2010 - Directed Verdict

Tom Finley and Erik Bergeland successfully defended a physician against allegations of medical malpractice.  The Plaintiff claimed she received substandard care while staying in the hospital, resulting in a stroke and other injuries.  The Court dismissed the Plaintiff's case after determining that the Plaintiff's expert's testimony was insufficient to establish a valid claim against the physician and the hospital.

10/14/2010 - Defense Verdict

Connie Diekema successfully represented a physician against allegations of medical malpractice.  The Plaintiff claimed that an improperly performed circumcision resulted in excessive scarring.  Further that the physician had removed so little foreskin that another surgery was required.  The jury found the physician was not negligent.

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08/25/2010 - Defense Verdict

Jack Hilmes successfully represented a physician against allegations of medical malpractice.  The Plaintiff claimed to have experienced a bowel perforation arising out of a colonoscopy.  The jury found the physician was not negligent.

07/29/2010 - Defense Verdict

Todd Gaffney successfully represented a regional trucking company in a lawsuit against one of its drivers.  The Plaintiff alleged the driver was negligent when he failed to avoid a collision with the Plaintiff's vehicle that was traveling the wrong way on a two-lane highway.  The jury found that the Plaintiff was 90% at fault in the collision, and awarded no damages.

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05/26/2010 - Internal Drug Audit is Confidential Document

The District Court for Polk County found that an internal drug audit of a public hospital pharmacy, which was done for purposes of an investigation by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, is a confidential document and not subject to disclosure under Iowa's Open Records Act.  The Des Moines Register requested the audit, arguing that because the hospital is a government body, the audit was a "public record."  The firm argued on behalf of the hospital that the investigative information of a licensing board, including the drug audit, is privileged and confidential under Iowa Code Section 272C.6(4).  The court found the audit is a confidential document, and the hospital did not violate the Open Records Act.

05/17/2010 - Appellate Victory

David Craig and Eric Hoch worked with Guthrie Center attorney Joel Baxter to secure an appellate victory on behalf of the ward and beneficiary in a conservatorship proceeding.  The District Court's order approved conservator U.S. Bank's recommendation to sell a concentrated position of stock.  The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the District Court, in part, because the tax consequences of a sale of the stock during the ward's lifetime would be unduly severe, and the risks associated with maintaining the high concentration were properly mitigated by other factors.

In the Interest of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of John David Hatfield

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05/07/2010 - Firm Wins Appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court

In proceedings to reopen an estate, the Executor appealed from an interlocutory order in which the District Court determined that it was unnecessary for Petitioners to comply with the Hague Service Convention in serving process on the estate beneficiary residing in the Federal Republic of Germany.  The appeal involved the interplay of the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure, the Hague Service Convention, and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.  After oral argument by Eric Hoch, the Iowa Supreme Court overruled the District Court, and ordered that the estate beneficiary be served in compliance with the requirements of the Hague Service Convention.

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