Boyer v. Iowa High School Athletic Ass'n, 51848

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Citation258 Iowa 285,138 N.W.2d 914
Docket NumberNo. 51848,51848
Decision Date14 December 1965

Page 914

138 N.W.2d 914
258 Iowa 285
Marion BOYER, Appellant,
No. 51848.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Dec. 14, 1965.

[258 Iowa 287]

Page 915

William Pappas, Mason City, for appellant.

Westfall, Laird & Burington, Mason City, for appellee.

RAWLINGS, Justice.

On or about March 13, 1961, defendant Iowa High School Athletic Association conducted a district basketball tournament at the Roosevelt Junior High School Gymnasium in Mason City.

On February 15, 1963, plaintiff brought an action in tort naming Iowa High School Athletic Association alone as party defendant. By her petition plaintiff alleges she bought a ticket, attended a game conducted by defendant association, sat in bleachers which collapsed, ans she was injured.

Original notice was served upon Lyle Quinn, executive secretary of the association. A general appearance was then filed by attorneys for defendant. Later defendant filed answer and for the first time asserted it was a voluntary association, could not be sued, and alleged it was performing a governmental function.

Plaintiff filed reply denying both the claimed voluntary unincorporated status of defendant or that defendant association was entitled to governmental immunity.

The case went to jury trial on November 17, 1964. At close of plaintiff's testimony the trial court sustained defendant's motion for a directed verdict holding, in effect, defendant association was not a suable entity and that service of notice on the association's secretary was legally insufficient. At direction of the court verdict was entered for defendant.

Plaintiff appeals contending defendant, (1) waived right to assert it was not a suable entity and, (2) was estopped to deny lack of capacity to sue.

I. At common law an unincorporated association is not capable of suing or being sued in the common or association name, but the trend of modern decisions is to permit suit against an association where the case is one demanding existence of the equitable doctrine of representation of parties. Iowa permits such actions where waiver or estoppel exists. United Packing House Workers, etc. v. Boynton, 240 Iowa 212, 218, 35 N.W.2d 881.

In this connection Iowa has recognized the suable status of [258 Iowa 288] associations by what is known as class actions. Rules of Civil Procedure 42, 58 I.C.A. Provision has also been made for service of notice upon associations suable by a common name. Rules of Civil Procedure 56(f) and (g), 58 I.C.A. Admittedly these rules do not per se make an unincorporated association subject to suit by common name, but they do mean an association may be sued by its common name with the joinder as parties defendant of one or more of those identified with the organization who are representative of the class. This is premised upon the doctrine of virtual representation. 67 C.J.S. Parties § 13a, page 918. So, if plaintiff had joined as parties defendant one or more of those representative of the class, defendant would have had no basis for complaint.

In the case now before us notice was served upon the executive secretary of defendant association. Counsel for defendant then appeared and later the association filed answer.

In United Packing House Workers, etc. v. Boynton, supra, none of those joined as representatives of the class appeared and the trial court proceeded to appoint an attorney to represent the class or group. We held this was proper, and sufficient to subject the association and all members to the jurisdiction of the court. Rules of Civil Procedure 47, 58 I.C.A.

Page 916

In the case at hand appointment of counsel was not necessary by reason of the filing of a general appearance and answer.

But if a court appointed attorney can effectively represent all of a class then surely an attorney appearing voluntarily, answering, and participating in trial stands in a similar position. It would be an anomaly, and certainly something of an inconsistency for counsel to contend he appeared and answered for no one.

II. This brings us to Rules of Civil Procedure 65, 66, 87, and 104, 58 I.C.A. These rules provided as follows:

'65. General appearance. A general appearance is any appearance except a special appearance. It is made either by:

'(a) taking any part in a hearing or trial of the case, personally or by attorney, or

'(b) by a written appearance filed with the clerk, or a notation on the appearance docket or oral announcement in open court;

[258 Iowa 289] '(c) by filing a motion or pleading, other than under a special appearance.

'66. Special appearance. A defendant may appear specially, for the sole purpose of attacking the jurisdiction of the court, but only before his general appearance. The special appearance shall be in writing, filed with the clerk and shall state the grounds thereof. If his special appearance is erroneously overruled, he may plead to the...

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14 cases
  • Becker v. Board of Ed. of Benton County, 51766
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 14, 1965
    ...rules of construction and make no search for meaning beyond the statute. Herman v. Muhs, Iowa, 126 N.W.2d 400, 401 and citations; [258 Iowa 285] Consolidated Freightways Corp. of Delaware v. Nicholas, Iowa, 137 N.W.2d 900 (filed November 16, 1965). It is our duty to give statutory words in ......
  • Kingvision Pay-Per-View, Ltd. v. Ayers
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 21, 2003
    ...of notice in the manner and form prescribed by law, or by defendant's general appearance. Boyer v. Iowa High School Athletic Association, 258 Iowa 285, 138 N.W.2d 914 (1965); Emery Transportation Company v. Baker, 257 Iowa 1260, 136 N.W.2d 529 (1965); Baker v. Baker, [248 Iowa 361, 81 N.W.2......
  • Walles v. International Broth. of Elec. Workers, AF of L-CIO, L-CIO
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 20, 1977
    ...failure to name individual defendants in addition to defendant labor organizations relying upon Boyer v. Iowa High School Athletic Assn., 258 Iowa 285, 287-288, 138 N.W.2d 914, 915. All other grounds asserted by the various defendants were rejected by the court. Plaintiff appeals from these......
  • Iseminger v. Black Hawk County, 53509
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 10, 1970
    ...606; Coughlon v. Iowa High School Athletic Ass'n, supra, 260 Iowa 702, 150 N.W.2d 660. Also see Boyer v. Iowa High School Athletic Ass'n, 258 Iowa 285, 138 N.W.2d Although we have often noted the three exceptions to governmental immunity of quasi corporations, we have definitely overruled t......
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