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Date: 03-17-2023

Case Style:

Estate of Roberta Ann Butterfield v. Chautauqua Guest Home, Inc. d/b/a Chautauqua Guest Home #3

Case Number:

Judge: Colleen D. Weiland

Court: District Court, Floyd County, Iowa

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Joseph D. Thornton

Description: Charles City, Iowa personal injury lawyers represented Plaintiff who sued Defendant on negligence, personal injury, wrongful death and loss of consortium theories.

The Estate of Roberta Ann Butterfield filed an action against Chautauqua for personal injury, wrongful death, and loss of consortium. The petition alleged Chautuaqua was negligent in the care and treatment provided to Butterfield, which resulted in her injuries and death. Chautauqua answered on May 21. On June 15, the parties agreed to a trial scheduling and discovery plan, which the district court approved. Over the next year, the parties exchanged initial disclosures, interrogatories, requests for production, and reports of expert witnesses.

On July 16, 2021, Chautauqua moved to dismiss based on the Estate’s failure to timely file a certificate of merit affidavit pursuant to Iowa Code section 147.140. After briefing and an unreported hearing, the district court
granted Chautauqua’s motion and dismissed the case with prejudice. The court also denied the Estate’s motion to reconsider, amend, and enlarge the dismissal order. The Estate filed a timely appeal.

* * *

“[Iowa Code section 147.140] was enacted to enable early dismissal of meritless malpractice actions that require expert testimony to proceed.” Struck, 973 N.W.2d at 536. “This statute provides that the plaintiff in a medical malpractice
action requiring expert testimony must file a certificate of merit signed by a qualified expert within sixty days of the defendant’s answer.” Id. at 538 (citing Iowa Code § 147.140(1)). “Failure to substantially comply with [the certificate of merit requirement] shall result, upon motion, in dismissal with prejudice of each cause of action as to which expert witness testimony is necessary to establish a prima facie case.” Id. at 538–39 (quoting Iowa Code § 147.140(6)). The Estate never filed a certificate of merit affidavit in this case, nor did it request an extension of the deadline for good cause as allowed under Iowa Code section 147.140(4).

Outcome: Dismissal affirmed on appeal.

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