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Case No. 18-0574

Craig Naber
Jerald "Jerry" Naber


Craig Naber


Jerald "Jerry" Naber

Attorney for the Appellee

David L. Riley

Attorney for the Appellant

Bradley M. Arnold

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Apr 17, 2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Buchanan County, Joel Dalrymple, Judge.  AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED ON CROSS-APPEAL.  Considered by Vogel, C.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.  Opinion by Mullins, J.  (14 pages)

            A defendant appeals the district court’s denial of his motion for new trial in this negligence action.  He seeks a new trial on the basis of basis of (1) testimonial references to an insurance company, (2) the court’s classification of certain witnesses as experts, (3) witness testimony regarding the reasonableness of Jerry’s conduct, (4) the court’s refusal to permit certain testimony, and (5) the theories of negligence presented to the jury.  The plaintiff cross-appeals, seeking interest on the jury award to begin on the date of the negligent conduct.  OPINION HOLDS: References to an insurance company did not violate Iowa Rule of Evidence 5.411 or a ruling on a motion in limine because no reference implied the defendant was insured or referred to liability insurance.  The expert witnesses were properly classified as such due to their extensive experience.  Witness testimony did not opine to a legal conclusion.  Testimony regarding the conduct of an observer was properly excluded as irrelevant.  The theories of negligence submitted to the jury were sufficiently supported by the evidence presented.  The district court did not err in denying the motion for new trial.  Because the damage to the property was complete on the day of the negligent conduct, statutory interest should begin accruing from the date of the negligent act, and the district court erred in denying the plaintiff’s motion for interest to accrue from the date of the negligent act.

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