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K.G. v. Bluff-Luton

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

November 29, 2017

K.G., a minor, by and through his parents and next friends, SUZANNE GOSCH and KEVIN GOSCH, Plaintiffs,
v.
SERGEANT BLUFF-LUTON COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, MIRANDA RIEDIGER, KELLY ADAMS, and DOES 1-30, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING THE PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL

          MARK W. BENNETT, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................... 2

         II. LEGAL ANALYSIS ........................................................................ 3

         A. General Standards For A New Trial ............................................ 3

         B. The Gosches' Grounds For New Trial .......................................... 3

         1. Insufficiency of the evidence ............................................. 3

         2. Improper remarks by opposing counsel ................................ 5

         3. Failure to disclose claims or contentions .............................. 8

         III. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 10

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Suzanne and Kevin Gosch brought this lawsuit on behalf of their seven-year-old autistic child, plaintiff KG, against defendants Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District (the District); Miranda Riediger, who was KG's special education teacher; and Kelly Adams, who was the principal at KG's elementary school. This litigation arose from an incident in which Ms. Riediger allegedly “dragged” KG across a classroom floor allegedly causing him serious carpet burns. At a jury trial, beginning October 4, 2017, the Gosches asserted the following claims: “unreasonable seizure” by Ms. Riediger in violation of the Fourth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; “unreasonable seizure” by Ms. Adams, based on failure to supervise and train faculty and staff, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; “disability discrimination” by the District, in violation of Title II of the ADA and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; “negligence” by Ms. Riediger in dragging KG across the floor; and “negligent supervision” by Ms. Adams. On October 13, 2017, the jury returned a defense verdict on all claims. On November 9, 2017, the Gosches filed a Motion For New Trial on “Counts I (a) (seizure) and (d) (negligence)” against Ms. Riediger.[1] The defendants filed their Resistance on November 20, 2017, and the Gosches filed a Reply on November 27, 2017.

         Before I turn to the merits of the Motion for New Trial, I want to compliment all the lawyers in this case on their exceptional preparation and superb presentation of evidence at trial. This was clearly one of the best tried cases I have ever presided over in 23 years. This is true in large part because three out of the four lawyers were Iowa trial lawyers. They displayed unsurpassed cooperation with each other and unparalleled civility throughout the incredibly hard fought litigation. While virtually every fact in the case was hotly contested, the lawyers displayed the utmost professionalism throughout the pre-trial and trial proceedings.

         II. ...


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