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Weltzin v. Nail

Iowa Supreme Court
618 N.W.2d 293 (2000)


Roger Weltzin and other shareholders (plaintiffs) of LaPorte City Cooperative Elevators (LaPorte) brought a derivative action against former LaPorte manager Michael Nail and other LaPorte directors and officers (defendants), alleging that Nail had committed a negligent breach of his fiduciary duty and made fraudulent misrepresentations. The plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages and filed a demand for a jury trial. The defendants moved to strike the jury demand, arguing that a shareholder derivative lawsuit was equitable in nature and that there was therefore no right to a jury trial. The plaintiffs argued that while the overall nature of the derivative suit was equitable, the plaintiffs also had legal claims of breach of contract and negligence and sought the legal remedy of monetary damages. The plaintiffs further pointed out that defendants had asserted legal affirmative defenses. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Snell, J.)

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