Cedar Rapids Weather
House Candidate Sued Over Incident At Party
Rod Boshart, Reporter
DES MOINES, Iowa – A former University of Iowa student from Johnston who is running for a seat in the Iowa House has been sued by a former roommate for damages stemming from alleged negligence and assault at a college party that left him permanently disfigured.
Carson Kness, also of Johnston, filed the civil suit in Polk County District Court against Jake Highfill, 22, a Johnston Republican who defeated GOP incumbent Erik Helland in the June 5 primary in House District 39. Highfill will face Democrat Kelsey Clark of Grimes in the November election.
Court documents indicate Kness and Highfill met in high school and were close friends until the October 2010 incident. In his lawsuit filed in October 2011, Kness alleges Highfill appeared among guests at a house party at their mutual Johnson County residence, displayed a shotgun, and when Kness asked Highfill to “secure the shotgun in a safe location away from the guests,” words were exchanged and Kness allegedly was struck by Highfill with a glass bottle across the left cheek of his face.
Kness said 39 stitches were required to close the resulting cut.
Kness alleges Highfill’s “unlawful and intentional” actions led to permanent disfigurement, and he is seeking actual and exemplary damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, disability, disfigurement and pain and suffering. Kness alleges intentional action causing injury, negligence and assault and battery, and has requested a jury trial.
In court documents, Highfill denies any wrongdoing. Highfill’s attorney contends that any actions taken by the defendant were self-defense, that Kness failed to seek a solution before filing suit and that any damages were wholly or in part caused by others.
Highfill also claims the incident happened in October 2009, exceeding the statute of limitations. Trial is set for Jan. 28, 2013.
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