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Iowa Supreme Court Orders Trial in Trampoline Case

The Iowa Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings and said a minister who crashed his car trying to avoid a trampoline that had blown into the road during a storm can sue its owners.

Thompson and his wife filed a lawsuit against the owners of the trampoline, Kaczinski and Lockwood, saying they were responsible for the 2006 crash near Earlham in Madison County because they had not secured the disassembled trampoline.

Court records show Kaczinski and Lockwood had taken the trampoline apart during the summer of 2006 and placed its parts in their yard about 38 feet from a gravel road nearby. A few weeks later, on Sept. 17, 2006, Thompson, who is a minister, was driving down the road from the church when he swerved to avoid the trampoline top, which has blown into the road during a storm the night before.

Thompson’s car went into the ditch and rolled several times. Thompson and his wife filed a lawsuit in Madison County District Court, claiming the negligence of Kaczinski and Lockwood allowed the trampoline to blow into the road, causing the crash.

The court dismissed the lawsuit, saying Kaczinski and Lockwood were not responsible for the trampoline being blown into the road. The state court of appeals later upheld that ruling.

The Supreme Court overruled the district court and appeals court decisions, saying the district court made a mistake by ruling Kaczinski and Lockwood had no duty to prevent the trampoline from obstructing the roadway.

“A reasonable fact finder could conclude the Thompsons’ injuries and damages were within the scope of the risk of Kaczinski and Lockwood’s acts or omissions,” the court wrote in its ruling.

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