On May 7, 2021, the Iowa Supreme Court decided the case of Holmes v. Pomeroy. A link to that case is found at the end of this article. The Iowa Supreme Court addressed whether evidence found on a driver’s cell phone that the driver, on several occasions, used the phone in the car, including for purposes of taking photographs, to be insufficient evidence of a “habit” to allow that to be introduced as evidence showing a likelihood that the driver may have been using the phone at the time of the accident that became the subject of a lawsuit.
The Iowa Supreme Court first examined the issue of whether evidence found on the phone of the driver using the cell phone while in the car, after the accident, could be introduced as evidence of habit. The Court found that it was not necessary to reach that conclusion because the Court determined that the evidence on the phone was insufficient to establish a habit, whether evaluated by pre-accident or post-accident conduct.
The Court found that the evidence of use of the phone in the car, even pre-accident, was insufficient to show a habit. The Court’s analysis included that it was unclear whether the defendant was actually driving while using the phone in the past instances, including while taking photographs.