Jason GannIn the case of Lasser vs. McNeal, decided on February 24, 2016, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that in personal injury cases involving intentional torts, a claim for punitive damages should usually be decided by the jury.

On September 13, 2009, Clifford McNeal and Ray Lasser were involved in a physical alteration over a motor vehicle.  Lasser filed a personal injury lawsuit against McNeal seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical and dental bills, mental anguish and punitive damages.  Before the case went to the jury, the judge in the case excluded Lasser’s claim for punitive damages.  The jury ruled in Lasser’s favor and awarded him money for his personal injury case.  Lasser appealed the judge’s ruling on punitive damages, arguing that they should always go to a jury in these kinds of cases.

The Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with Lasser that the punitive damages claim should have been decided by the jury under the facts of this personal injury case, however the Iowa Court of Appeals did not go so far as to rule that all intentional personal injury cases automatically permit the jury to consider awarding punitive damages.  The Iowa Court of Appeals ordered a second personal injury trial on the issue of punitive damages.

If you are someone who has been injured, it is important for you to know what your options are and you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  The firm of Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, Johnson & Meis, LLP represents clients with personal injury claims.  The firm does not charge persons any fees for services to visit about and investigate the personal injury claim.  If the case meets certain minimal requirements, the firm will pursue the claim on a contingency basis and will often advance the expenses incurred to pursue the personal injury claim.