Iowa Supreme Court Upholds Woman's Medical Emergency Defense

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a jury verdict that found a Cedar Falls woman was not negligent when she rear-ended a pickup truck stopped at a red light in 2008 because she had suffered a stroke just before the crash.

Betty Schmidt, who was 75 in November 2008, was returning from grocery shopping when she rear-ended Dennis Hagenow's truck. It was her first accident ever.

Her doctor concluded a stroke while driving impaired her vision. Hagenow's expert witness claimed the stroke came after the accident.

A jury found her not at fault for medical reasons. Hagenow appealed and the Iowa Court of Appeals ordered a new trial citing flawed jury instructions relating to the sudden emergency defense.

The Supreme Court reverses that decision and upholds the jury verdict.
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