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Case No. 22-1194

Patty A. Thorington, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Robert Ronald Mitchell
Scott County, Iowa, and Greg Hill

Patty Thorington, individually and on behalf of the estate of Robert Mitchell, filed a multi-count petition against Scott County and sheriff’s deputy Greg Hill (collectively, “Scott County”) after Deputy Hill shot Mr. Mitchell during a traffic stop. The district court denied Scott County’s motion for summary judgment with respect to three immunity defenses Scott County filed an immediate appeal pursuant to Iowa Code section 670.4A(4). It argues: (1) Deputy Hill exercised all due care pursuant to Baldwin v. City of Estherville, 915 N.W.2d 259 (Iowa 2018) (“Baldwin II”), and Iowa Code section 670.4(1)(c) with respect to Ms. Thorington’s excessive force claim under article I, section 8 of the Iowa Constitution; (2) Iowa Code section 670.4A(1)(c) applies even though the statute became effective after both the conduct at issue and the date Thorington filed her amended petition, and it provides qualified immunity to Deputy Hill because there was no clearly established law precluding his conduct; and (3) the district court erred when it found Deputy Hill was responding to an emergency yet did not apply the emergency response immunity of Iowa Code section 670.4(1)(k) to Ms. Thorington’s constitutional tort claim. After the parties filed their briefs, Scott County filed a motion to reverse, based on Burnett v. Smith, 990 N.W.2d 289 (Iowa 2023). The court denied the motion, but ordered supplemental briefing on the issue of mootness in light of Burnett and cases that followed. Scott County argues Thorington’s constitutional claims cannot proceed, making the issue of immunities moot, but maintains the court should still remand the case with instructions to dismiss because Thorington has no viable claims remaining. Ms. Thorington argues the district court’s order was not final as to all issues, and she should have an opportunity after remand to amend her pleadings and appeal other rulings upon the entry of a final order.

Trial Court Case No.:


Patty A. Thorington, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Robert Ronald Mitchell


Scott County, Iowa, and Greg Hill

Attorneys for the Appellee

David A. O’Brien
Andrew L. Mahoney
Nicholas J. Rowley
Haytham Faraj

Attorneys for the Appellant

Ian J. Russell
David C. Waterman
Jenny L. Jeuhring
James G. Sotos
Joseph M. Polick
Jeffrey R. Kivetz

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule


Jan 23, 2024 9:00 AM


Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Mar 01, 2024

Other Information

Date Retained:
Aug 28, 2023

View archived opinions from prior to November 2017

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