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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion. Plaintiff Donald Bowlby, Sr., was a member of defendant union from 1947 until his retirement in 1988. As an honorary retired member, he no longer pays dues but is entitled to various perquisites including medical insurance. In 1991, Donald and his wife Betty inquired of the union’s insurance clerk, Ruth Pearson, about a possible change in Betty’s insurance status after she applied for Social Security disability benefits. The Bowlbys incurred $12,742.53 in uninsured medical expenses after following Pearson’s erroneous advice. The Bowlbys filed suit against the union and its insurer claiming negligent misrepresentation. Following a jury verdict in the Bowlbys’ favor, the union appeals. OPINION HOLDS: I. We agree with the union that a pecuniary interest is required of a defendant in order to find liability for negligent misrepresentation under Restatement (Second) of Torts section 552. II. We disagree with the union that the information it proffered the Bowlbys was purely gratuitous since he no longer paid dues. The provision of information concerning members’ rights and a description of the services and benefits available is central to the union’s role. To the extent Don was not eligible for certain services until after the date of his retirement, he did, in essence, contract for future benefits. We rule as a matter of law that the union had a pecuniary interest in disseminating the information to the Bowlbys. III. In light of this finding, the district court committed harmless error in failing to properly instruct the jury on the pecuniary interest requirement.
Bowlby v. Teamsters Over The Road BOWLBY v. TEAMSTERS OVER THE ROAD. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Donna L. Paulsen, Judge. AFFIRMED. Considered en banc. Per curiam. Larson, Neuman, Snell, and Cady, JJ., concur; McGiverin, C.J., and Carter, Lavorato, and Ternus, JJ., concur in result only.
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