Debbie Robeson was on a lunch-hour walk on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail in Waterloo when she caught her toe in the orange plastic webbing of a construction fence that was flattened across trail as she tried to step over it. She fell and injured her hamstring.
The Vieth Construction company had put the fence up while they worked for the city of Waterloo to build a portage area for kayaks. The company said the fence was continually pushed down by people on the trail. Robeson said there were no signs indicating the trail was closed, and sued the construction company for negligence.
The district court judge found Robeson had trespassed in the construction site and did not present the case to the jury. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the district court incorrectly decided Robeson was a trespasser. It ordered a new trial, saying the jury should decide whether Robeson trespassed and if the construction company did enough to protect people on the trail.