Iowa Appellate Court Rules For
Califf & Harper, P.C. Client
On August 7, 2013, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a defendant represented by Robert T. Park.

In February 2008, while assisting a husband and wife who were moving into a new home, the plaintiff suffered a broken leg. The couple had rented a truck for twenty-four (24) hours to move their belongings.  The rental truck became stuck in snow in their driveway and unsuccessful attempts were made to move it.  The plaintiff put a board under the back wheel of the truck.  As the husband accelerated and others pushed from the rear, the wheels spun, propelling the board backward into the plaintiff's leg. The injury was treated at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics at a total cost of more than $50,000.

Plaintiff made a claim against the rental truck company, which settled for $20,000.00. In exchange, the plaintiff signed a Release of All Claims, releasing the husband, the rental company, and all their "agents [or] principals.”

In January 2009, plaintiff filed suit against the husband and wife, claiming the defendants negligently caused his injury.  The trial judge found for the defendant couple but the Iowa Court of Appeals overturned that order.  Eventually, the Iowa Supreme Court reinstated the ruling for the husband but sent the case back for trial of the claim against the wife, finding that there was a question whether the wife, who was not mentioned by name in the release, was an agent or principal of the husband.

In June 2012, a jury trial was held in Muscatine.  Mr. Park argued the husband and wife had been participating in a joint enterprise to move their possessions to their new home, so that they were mutual agents of one another.  At the close of the trial, the jury found there had been a joint enterprise, so that the release signed by the plaintiff had also released the wife from liability.  On the plaintiff's appeal, the Iowa Appellate Court upheld the jury verdict, affirming the jury decision for the defendant wife.  Thus, in the end, the plaintiff recovered nothing from either the husband or the wife.

Throughout all the proceedings in the case, Robert T. Park represented the defendants. Attorney Abigail C. Waeyaert assisted with the recent appeal.