Legal Memorandum: Cross-border Application of NB and IA Laws

Issue: What is the cross-border application of Nebraska’s strict liability law and Iowa’s damages laws when an Iowa police officer pursues a suspect into Nebraska and the suspect causes injury?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Cross-border application; Nebraska's strict liability law and Iowa's damages laws; Police officer, injury
Jurisdiction: Federal, Iowa, Nebraska
Cited Cases: 198 Neb. 26; 32 N.W.2d 131; 127 Iowa 153; 251 N.W.2d 383; 124 N.W.2d 554; 738 F.2d 1352; 156 N.W.2d 831; 522 N.W.2d 148; 98 N.W. 918; 128 N.W.2d 226; 132 N.W.2d 410; 141 N.W.2d 163; 250 Neb. 210; 268 N.W. 617; 149 Neb. 636; 222 Iowa 241; 548 N.W.2d 338
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2004

In Fessenden v. Smith, 124 N.W.2d 554 (Iowa 1964), an action was brought for injuries sustained by a minor while riding in a car in South Dakota.  However, all parties involved in the accident were residents of Sioux City, Iowa.  The appellate court held that the trial court did not commit error by applying the guest statute of South Dakota under the rule that where a tort is committed in a foreign state and an action is brought in another state for such tort, the substantive rights of the parties are to be determined by the laws of the state where the tort was committed.  Id. at 555.  Because none of the exceptions to this rule, applicable where the rights granted or restricted in the other state are deemed unconstitutional or against public policy in Iowa, were present, the reviewing court concluded that the trial court did not commit error in applying the South Dakota guest statute.

Fessenden is somewhat analogous to the situation posed by the present question.  In both cases an accident occurred in a neighboring state but involved a party residing in Iowa.  Further, no argument was advanced in Fessenden that the South Dakota guest statute, somewhat analogous to the Nebraska strict liability statute, was unconstitutional or against public policy in Iowa.              

In Cardamon v. Iowa Lutheran Hospital, 128 N.W.2d 226 (Iowa 1964), it was held that where an accident occurred at a hospital in Iowa, and […]

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