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10-cv-00455

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Case Summary: Wiese et. al v. Legend Air Suspensions, Inc., 10-cv-00455-JEG-TJS (S.D. Iowa)

This wrongful death/product liability/breach of warranty case began when the Estate of Lester Wiese, his wife, and his two children (Wiese) filed a complaint against Legend Air Suspensions, Inc. (Legend) alleging that Legend manufactured and sold a defective motorcycle suspension kit that ultimately caused Wiese’s motorcycle to crash and kill Wiese. Legend denied any wrongdoing and filed a third party complaint against Reed Mapes (Mapes) and Ironworks Motorcycle, Inc. dba Mapes Motorcycle Co. (Ironworks), which Wiese joined, alleging that he/it built a custom motorcycle for Wiese using the wrong bolts to attach the suspension system which caused Wiese’s death. Mapes and Ironworks have denied liability.

Mapes filed a Motion to Dismiss the suit against him, personally, claiming that the federal district court in Iowa does not have personal jurisdiction over him because he has not had any contacts with or in Iowa. The video is of counsels’ argument on that motion. The complicating factor in this suit is that Ironworks/Mapes Motorcycle was dissolved in 2008 and no longer exists. It was owned by a trust of which Mapes and his wife were trustees and beneficiaries. At issue, then, was whether Mapes was the same entity as, or in legal terms the “alter ego” of, Ironworks and whether Plaintiffs could “pierce the corporate veil” of Ironworks to hold Mapes personally responsible for the death. The court did not reach the “alter ego” issue in its judgment since, on September 19, 2012, it ruled that there were not sufficient contacts with Mapes or Ironworks for the courts in Iowa to have jurisdiction of a claim against them thereby dismissing the claim against Mapes.

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Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit Pacer.gov.