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Case No. 17-2074

Midwest Ambulance Service of Iowa, Inc.
v.
Delaware Township, Polk County, Iowa

Appellee

Midwest Ambulance Service of Iowa, Inc.

Appellant

Delaware Township, Polk County, Iowa

Attorneys for Appellee

J. Campbell Helton

Attorneys for Appellant

Nicholas A. Bailey

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
17-2074
Date Published:
Mar 06, 2019
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.  AFFIRMED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, P.J.  (14 pages)

            Delaware Township appeals the judgment entered in favor of Midwest Ambulance Service of Iowa, Inc. (Midwest Ambulance) after a jury awarded Midwest Ambulance $170,000 in damages on a breach-of-contract claim.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Delaware Township’s claim concerning the invalidity of the contract based on failure to meet statutory notice requirements is without merit.  Delaware Township had the authority to enter into the contract with Midwest Ambulance pursuant to Iowa Code section 359.42 (2009) (explicitly authorizing the trustees of each township to provide emergency medical service), and the township’s failure to provide notice as required by section 359.17 does not render the contract void.  II. Because Delaware Township failed to raise the issue of Midwest Ambulance’s failure to exhaust contractual remedies in its motion for directed verdict, the issue is not preserved for our review.  III. Delaware Township also failed to preserve error on its claim that Midwest Ambulance breached the contract by failing to exhaust contractual remedies.  IV. The district court properly exercised its discretion in excluding evidence of a fatal accident involving a Midwest Ambulance vehicle because the danger of unfair prejudice outweighed what little probative value the evidence contributed.  Even if evidence concerning the township’s failure to comply with statutory notice requirements was relevant, the court properly exercised its discretion by excluding it because the evidence was cumulative.  V.  The district court’s award of $72,255.51 in attorney fees and costs was not clearly unreasonable or based on untenable grounds.  Because the district court acted within its discretion in awarding attorney fees and costs, we affirm.  VI. We remand to the district court for the limited purpose of an evidentiary hearing on and the fixing of appellate attorney fees. 

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