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Case No. 18-1974

William McClellan and Racquel McClellan, Individually and as Next Friend for Minor Child, R.B.
v.
Pablo Orlando Ramirez, and the City of Dubuque, Iowa

Appellant

William McClellan and Racquel McClellan, Individually and as Next Friend for Minor Child, R.B.

Appellee

Pablo Orlando Ramirez, and the City of Dubuque, Iowa

Attorneys for Appellant

David A. O'Brien

Attorneys for Appellee

Les V. Reddick and Todd L. Stevenson

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
18-1974
Date Published:
Jun 05, 2019
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.  Opinion by Doyle, J.  (8 pages)

            William McClellan and Racquel McClellan appeal the district court order entering summary judgment in favor of the defendants on their claim for damages arising from a collision with a police vehicle.  OPINION HOLDS: While we agree that the undisputed facts show the police officer was responding to an emergency at the time of the collision, the district court erred in applying the recklessness standard in determining the defendants are immune from liability.  The officer’s vehicle’s lights and siren were off at the time of the collision, therefore, by the plain language of Iowa Code section 321.231(4) (2016), he was not privileged to disobey applicable traffic laws.  He is therefore held to a standard of negligence, as any other driver on the road.  The district court erred in holding otherwise.  Summary judgment on the question of Officer Ramirez’s negligence is premature, particularly in view of the undeveloped record presented.  Therefore, we reverse the order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants and remand to the district court. 

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