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Case No. 20-0233

The Estate of Anthony J. Zdroik, Deceased, by Trishann W. Zdroik, Personal Representative
v.
Iowa Southern Railway Company, Brian Ostrowski, John Ostrowski, Steven Runstrom and Phil Gliniecki

Appellees

The Estate of Anthony J. Zdroik, Deceased, by Trishann W. Zdroik, Personal Representative

Appellants

Iowa Southern Railway Company, Brian Ostrowski, John Ostrowski, Steven Runstrom and Phil Gliniecki

Attorneys for Appellees

Steven L. Groves
George F. Davison, Jr.

Attorneys for Appellants

Stephen M. Warner and Lee A. Miller
Kimberly K. Hardeman
Jennifer K. Eggers, for Iowa Southern Railway Company
Daniel B. Shuck for Brian Ostrowski, John Ostrowski, Steven Rustrom and Phil Gliniecki

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
20-0233
Date Published:
Oct 06, 2021
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Appanoose County, Gregory G. Milani, Judge.  REVERSED AND REMANDED.  Heard by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Vaitheswaran, J.  (14 pages)

            Defendants appeal several rulings by the district court on summary judgment with regard to various claims of negligence brought by the Estate of Anthony J. Zdroik.  OPINION HOLDS: We conclude there is a genuine issue of material fact as to the status of Brian Ostrowski and John Ostrowski within the limited liability company.  Because the district court resolved the co-employee issue based on election of coverage under Iowa Code section 85.1A and 86.61(11)(c)(5) (2018) rather than their employer status under 86.61(2), we reverse the denial of summary judgment and remand for reconsideration of the issue under section 85.61(2).  If the Ostrowskis are deemed to be co-employees, the court may examine whether one or more of the elements of gross negligence were satisfied as a matter of law.  We reverse the denial of summary judgment as to Steven Runstrom and Phil Gliniecki on the gross negligence claims and remand for entry of judgment of dismissal against them.  We reverse the denial of summary judgment as to Iowa Southern Railway Company on the negligence per se claim and remand for dismissal of the railroad.

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