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Weems v. Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc.

Iowa Court of Appeals
526 N.W.2d 571 (1994)


Facts

Leonard Weems (plaintiff) suffered injuries after he slipped and fell on a wet floor at a Drug Town Store, owned by Hy-Vee Food Stores, Inc. (Hy-Vee) (defendant). Weems consistently experienced lower-back pain for over one year. At that time, Weems was seen by Dr. Arnold Delbridge, an orthopedic surgeon. Delbridge administered a spinal steroid epidural block to relieve Weems’s pain. Shortly thereafter, Weems developed an infection, which led to his contracting spinal meningitis. Weems and his wife, Vicki, filed suit against Hy-Vee, seeking damages for medical expenses incurred from the fall, as well as for his spinal meningitis. At trial, Hy-Vee argued that the 18-month period between Weems’s initial fall and his subsequent development of spinal meningitis constituted an intervening act which broke the chain of causation. Hy-Vee further requested the court to instruct the jury that Dr. Delbridge’s administration of the epidural block constituted a superseding cause that negated its liability for any damages associated with Weems’s spinal meningitis. The trial court refused to give the requested instruction, and Hy-Vee was found liable. Hy-Vee appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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