Yesterday, the Iowa Supreme Court narrowly ruled that a Nebraska mom, whose 10-year-old son was killed in a boating accident on Storm Lake, Iowa in 2010, cannot sue the state of Iowa for damages. According to the court’s decision, the state is protected by Iowa’s public-duty doctrine which protects government agencies and officers from damage lawsuits when acting in a capacity that benefits the general public.
The case stems from a family outing to Storm Lake that turned tragic. The young boy died after being struck by the boat’s motor, which flipped into the boat after it hit a submerged dredge pipe prompting the mother to sue the state of Iowa for negligence in failing to warn boaters of a water hazard. Although she was not successful in her suit against the state, the mother was previously awarded a $1.2 million settlement in a federal court case against the dredge operator, the city of Storm Lake, Buena Vista County and the boat manufacturer.
Source: The Des Moines Register, “Supreme Court rules for state in fatal boat accident case”, by David Pitt, July 17, 2016.
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