In a February 2016 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court indicated that it had “initiated an effort to explore [the] possible amendment” of Rule 1.904. See Hedlund v. State, 875 N.W.2d 720 (Iowa 2016). In Hedlund, the Court dismissed an interlocutory appeal as untimely given the “settled precedent that rule 1.904(2) is not available to seek mere reconsideration of a legal ruling and our equally settled precedent that an improper rule 1.904(2) motion does not toll the time for appeal.”

In a November 18, 2016 Order, the Court adopted final amendments to the rule. The new rule expressly contemplates motions to reconsider and provides that such motions will toll the time for appeal–just as motions to enlarge or amend have done previously. The comments to the amendment make it clear that the intent was to remove controversy as to whether a 1.904(2) motion was “proper.”

However, the rule still has some parameters to consider. The new rule prohibits successive rule 1.904(2) motions unless the subsequent motion pertains to a modification to an order. In addition, as noted in the comments, neither the amendment nor the rule address whether an issue raised for the first time in a Rule 1.904 motion preserves error.

The amendment is scheduled to go into effect March 1, 2017.

Nancy J. Penner
Nancy Penner is an Attorney and Senior Vice President at Shuttleworth. She focuses on legal writing, appellate law, and medical malpractice.