Estate of McFarlin v. StateAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff’s ten-year-old child died when Plaintiff’s boyfriend drove the speedboat in which the child was riding between two danger buoys and struck a submerged dredge pipe. Plaintiff settled claims against her boyfriend, the boat manufacturer, and the entities that operated and marked the dredge. Plaintiff also sued the State, alleging that its department of natural resources was liable for the accident. The district court granted summary judgment for the State, concluding that discretionary-function immunity applied, the public-duty doctrine applied, and there was no private cause of action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Iowa Code chapters 461A and 462A do not create an implied private right to sue; and (2) the public-duty doctrine bars Plaintiff’s common law tort claims against the State.