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Lightfoot v. Gehrum

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 15, 2019

JENNIFER LIGHTFOOT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JENNIFER GEHRUM n/k/a JENNIFER BAUMLER, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.

         A plaintiff in a personal-injury action appeals the dismissal of her action for failure to comply with initial disclosure requirements.

          Cory R. Thein of Pioneer Law Office, Dubuque, for appellant.

          Douglas M. Henry and Jenny L. Weiss of Fuerste, Carew, Juergens & Sudmeier, P.C., Dubuque, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE

         A plaintiff in a personal-injury action appeals the dismissal of her action for failure to comply with initial disclosure requirements.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Jennifer Lightfoot filed a negligence action against Jennifer Baumler. Baumler sought initial disclosures pursuant to Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 1.500(1). Lightfoot partially complied. Baumler notified Lightfoot of deficiencies in the response and requested supplemental disclosures within two weeks. Baumler did not receive supplementation within that time frame.

         Nearly one month later, the district court filed a trial scheduling and discovery plan requiring exchange of initial disclosures within eight days. Again, Baumler did not receive supplementation within that time frame.

         Baumler filed a motion to compel, and Lightfoot failed to file a resistance. The district court granted the motion, later clarifying precisely what information needed to be disclosed and affording Lightfoot fourteen days within which to provide the information.

         The fourteen days came and went without supplementation. Baumler moved to dismiss the action. Three-and-a-half weeks later, Lightfoot notified the court of supplemental disclosures provided that day. The district court scheduled the dismissal motion for a hearing.

         Prior to the hearing, Baumler informed the court of deficiencies in the supplemental disclosures. Following the hearing, the district court filed an order affording Lightfoot two weeks to cure the defects. The order ended with the following ultimatum: "If the initial disclosure and outstanding discovery are not complied with as ordered herein, the Defendant shall notify the Court. There shall be no further hearing in this matter as the Court will simply, based on the affidavit of Defendant's counsel, dismiss the action with prejudice." The two-week deadline passed with no word from Lightfoot. Baumler informed the court of Lightfoot's continued noncompliance. The court dismissed the petition with prejudice. Lightfoot appeals.

         II. ...


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