The Court of Appeals says a Wisconsin man’s phone conversation with a claims adjuster is enough to give Iowa jurisdiction in an insurance fraud case. Court records show Demetrius Rimmer staged an accident in Chicago with the help of Illinois residents Rona Murphy and Melonicka Thomas.
The insurance company is based in Wisconsin, but all three individuals unknowingly had numerous conversations with a claims center in Iowa as they filed the claim and it was investigated. The investigation later determined the claim was a fraud.
The case was dismissed in Scott County District Court as the judge said Iowa did not have jurisdiction. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled a telephone conversation may constitute conduct within the state even when the people involved do not have actual knowledge the other speaker is located in Iowa.
The court says deliberate indifference to the location of the recipients of the false information does not shield the defendants from the jurisdiction of Iowa courts. The case has been sent back to district court for further action.