Court Says Matlock Feedlot Accident Not Immune From Lawsuit

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Court of Appeals says an injury caused by a cow at a Sioux County feedlot does not fall under Iowa’s domestic animal law.

The case involved Jerry Vreeman who suffered a serious leg injury while attempting to help his neighbor, Carl Jansma, get a downed heifer back onto its feet at Jansma’s Matlock Feedlot in 2020. Jansma sought to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming he has immunity under the Domestic Animal law. The Court of Appeals says the law is intended to give liability protection for non-traditional farming activities, such as fairs, rodeos, expositions, competitions, and 4-H events. The Court says standing up a domesticated animal that is down does not fall under one of those or other categories listed in the law, and it cannot extend the definition to this case.

The issue now goes back to the district court.


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