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Lovick v. Wil-Rich

588 N.W.2d 688 (Iowa 1999)

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Lovick v. Wil-Rich

Supreme Court of Iowa

588 N.W.2d 688 (Iowa 1999)

Facts

In May 1993, Leo Lovick (plaintiff) was injured while attempting to lower the wings on a farming cultivator. Lovick had been under the left wing of the cultivator, which fell and struck him after he removed a metal pin used to hold the wing in an upright position. The linkage to a hydraulic cylinder, which should have held the wing in place, had broken. Wil-Rich (defendant), the manufacturer of the cultivator, had become aware of the danger posed by falling cultivator wings after several incidents in the 1980s. In 1988, Wil-Rich began fixing warning labels to cultivators warning users not to go under the wings. Lovick’s cultivator was manufactured and sold in 1981. Although Wil-Rich was aware of the danger to users of older cultivators, Wil-Rich did not implement a post-sale warning program until 1994 because of the practical difficulties of identifying and locating owners of older cultivators. Lovick brought a products-liability claim against Wil-Rich for failure to provide an adequate warning. The trial court instructed the jury to find Wil-Rich liable if Wil-Rich was negligent in failing to provide Lovick with a warning. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Lovick, and the trial court denied Wil-Rich’s motion for a directed verdict. Wil-Rich appealed, arguing that the jury instruction constituted prejudicial error.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)

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