Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Richard J. Sapp

Richard (Dick) Sapp is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, practicing primarily in product liability, commercial litigation, and appellate practice for more than 30 years. In addition, Dick has also been retained as litigation counsel on behalf of the Iowa General Assembly and the Governor of Iowa on constitutional cases of significance and governmental investigation matters.

Dick is an elected member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the International Association of Defense Counsel. He is a frequent author and speaker on product liability and trial practice topics. He has been consistently recognized by peers and clients as one of the very few Iowa attorneys to receive the top level rating in litigation by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He is a past President of the Iowa Defense Counsel Association.

His record of cases includes representation of clients or amicus organizations in many significant Iowa appellate decisions involving product liability and tort issues. He has frequently provided testimony or resource background to legislative committees and membership on litigation related legislation and product liability issues.


The Best Lawyers in America®, 1999-2020

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Best Lawyers Award Badge

    Best Lawyers Award Badge

The Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Des Moines, 2012

Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent

Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Band I Rating)


Great Plains Super Lawyers, 2007, 2009-2019

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Member, Select Advisory Commission on federal judicial candidates, 2015, appointed by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley to advise Senator on federal judicial candidate nominees

Member, Magistrate-Judge Merit Selection Panel, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, appointed by Chief Judge James Gritzner, 2013

Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers

Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC)

American Board of Trial Advocates

International Association of Defense Counsel

American Society of Legal Advocates, selected as one of Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in Iowa, 2014

Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star

Chairman, Iowa Defense Counsel Task Force Report on Iowa Civil Jury Instructions, 1990, and author of products liability chapter

Member, Advisory Group to Southern District of Iowa Federal Courts, pursuant to Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990, appointed by Chief Federal Judge Charles Wolle, 1993, as representative of civil case defendants

Order of the Coif

Omicron Delta Kappa

Drake Law Review

Professional and Community Affiliations

American Bar Association
Litigation Section

Iowa State Bar Association
Member, Litigation Legislation
Committee, 1984-1990, Vice Chairman, 1988-1990
Litigation Section Council, 1993-1995

Polk County Bar Association

Defense Research Institute

Iowa Association of Business & Industry
Chair, Liability Reform Committee, 1996-1998

Iowa Defense Counsel Association
Board of Directors, 1987-1994
President, 1993-1994

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Drake University (B.A., with honors, 1972; J.D., 1976)

Bar Admissions

Iowa, 1976

Admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Iowa, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Significant Cases

Deere & Company, Moline, Illinois.  Iowa counsel for defense of product liability cases involving farm and industrial equipment and recrea­tional vehicles manufactured by Deere.  Cases including: Burke v. Deere & Company, retained as appellate counsel to seek reversal in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of $50-million product liability punitive damage award, obtained reversal of both punitive and compensatory damage award; Burke v. Deere & Company, 6 F.3d 497 (8th Cir. 1993); Hein v. Deere & Company (N.D. Iowa), combine accident involving arm amputation; Cummings v. Deere & Company, Case No. 4:06-cv-00516 (S.D. Iowa Feb. 2008), granting summary judgment to Deere in commercial fire case.

Kubota Corporation.  Defense of Kubota Corporation and Kubota Tractor Corporation in fatality products liability case involving tractor and end-loader; jury trial, defense verdict, August 9, 2017, Specht v. Kubota, Case No. 2:16-cv-01012 (U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa).

Terry Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa. 

Retained (2011) by Governor Branstad to defend the Governor, State of Iowa, in defense of litigation challenging the constitutionality of certain item vetoes exercised by the Governor on an appropriations bill.  Danny Homan, William A. Dotzler, Jr., Bruce Hunter, David Jacoby, Kristin Running-Marquardt and Daryle Beall  v.  Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, 812 N.W.2d 623 (Iowa 2012).

Retained (2011) by Governor Branstad to defend the Governor, State of Iowa, the State Board of Regents, and other state officials in defense of litigation challenging the constitutionality of Executive Orders issued by the Governor, brought by organized labor groups and legislators of the opposition party.  Summary Judgment granted to Governor and all Defendants.  Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO; Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO; Scott Smith and William Gerhard, v. Terry E. Branstad, Governor State of Iowa in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Iowa;  State of Iowa; Mike Carroll in his official capacity as Director of Iowa Department of Administrative Services; Iowa Department of Administrative Services; David W. Miles, Jack B. Evans, Bonnie J. Campbell, Robert N. Downer, Michael G. Gartner, Ruth R. Harkin, Greta A. Johnson,  Craig A. Lang And Rose A. Vasquez in their official capacities as members of The Board of Regents; Board of Regents, State of Iowa, Case No. 4:11-cv-00202 (S.D. Iowa) (Jarvey, J.).

Bruce Rastetter, Chairman, Iowa State Board of Regents.  Retained (2012) to defend Chairman of State Board of Regents against conflict of interest charges brought by consumer activist organization, successfully obtained dismissal of charges after contested administrative hearing before State Ethics Board (August 23, 2012).

Iowa State Legislature. 

Retained in 2003 as counsel to represent Iowa General Assembly majority leaders in constitutional challenge to line-item vetoes exercised by Governor as to major economic development/tort reform legislation; item vetoes held unconstitutional by unanimous Iowa Supreme Court.  Rants et al. v. Vilsack, 684 N.W. 2d 193 (Iowa 2004).

Retained in 2006 as Special Counsel to Joint Committee on Government Oversight in investigation of government employee salary scandal (In Re: CIETC and IWD Investigation).

Retained in 2005 to file Intervention on behalf of House and Senate Majority Leaders to defend statute in a case that challenged the constitutionality of an Iowa statute under the “single subject” provision of the Iowa Constitution; raised standing argument as to Plaintiff.  District Court dismissed case based on standing argument, Gertrude K. Godfrey v. State of Iowa et al., Equity No. CV5396 (Polk Cnty. Dist. Ct. July 2005), affirmed by Gertrude K. Godfrey v. State of Iowa, 752 N.W.2d 413 (Iowa 2008).

Bell Helicopter, Division of Textron, Dallas, Texas.  Defense of Bell subsidiaries in fatality helicopter crash occurring during Iowa filming of Hollywood movie “The Final Season” (summary judgment granted, May, 2009).  Schlotzhauer v. Aeronautical Accessories, Inc. et al. (Polk Cnty. Dist. Ct.).

Aventis Pharma f/k/a Rhône-Poulenc Rorer/Armour Pharmaceutical Company.  Iowa counsel for defense of hemophiliac/AIDS/blood factor cases filed in Iowa, related to nation-wide federal multi­district "blood factor" medicine litiga­tion. Lead counsel for all Defendants in arguing summary judgment motions.  Doe ex rel. Doe v. Baxter Health Care Corp., et al., 178 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (S.D Iowa 2001) and Order (S.D. Iowa June 3, 2003) (granting summary judgment on all counts), affirmed by 380 F.3d 399 (8th Cir. 2004) (argued case in 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of all defendants). 

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, successor-in-interest to Wyeth, Inc., New York, New York.   Retained as Iowa counsel in defense of suicide allegedly caused by ingestion of generic version of branded pharmaceutical manufactured by Wyeth; summary judgment granted in District Court, Huck v. Trimark Physicians Group, et al., LACV 18947 (Sac Cnty. Dist. Ct.), affirmed by No. 12-0596 (Iowa Ct. App. April 24, 2013), affirmed on further review by Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 850 N.W.2d 353 (Iowa 2014).

Aventis Crop Science USA. Retained as Iowa counsel for defense of StarLink corn class action litigation filed in Iowa, and included within multi-district litigation proceeding in Chicago.  In Re: StarLink Corn, Kramer et al. v. Aventis Crop Science et al. (S.D. Iowa) and Sutter v. Aventis, 145 F. Supp. 2d 1050 (S.D. Iowa 2002), resolved by multi-district settlements (April 2003).

Robinson Fans, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Defense of world-wide manufacturer of industrial fans in case alleging design defects in large induced draft fans installed for operation of coal fired boilers, involving explosion and alleged multi-million dollar property damage/business interruption loss at Archer Daniels Midland co-generation plant; trial in United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa, defense judgment.  Archer Daniels Midland Company v. Robinson Fans, Inc., Case No. 3:10-cv-100 (S.D. Iowa Feb. 8, 2013).

Hyundai Motor Company.  Defense of case alleging defective airbag, obtained decision of Iowa Supreme Court adopting Restatement (Third) of Torts: Products Liability §§ 16 and 17 position on crashworthiness and comparative fault.  Jahn v. Hyundai Motor America, 773 N.W.2d 550 (Iowa 2009).

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Findlay, Ohio.  Appointed lead counsel to handle all post-trial proceedings and appeal from $34 million adverse verdict against Cooper.  Toe v. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, 834 N.W.2d 82 (Table), 2013 WL 1749739 (Iowa Ct. App. April 24, 2013).

Lamplight Farms Incorporated and W. C. Bradley, Inc.  Defense of world’s leading manufacturer of torch fuel products in defense of fatality case alleging ingestion of torch fuel by minor.  Wells v. Lamplight Farms Incorporated, et al., Case No. 5:13-cv-04070 (N.D. Iowa).

Purdue Pharma, Stamford, Connecticut.  Retained (2004) to defend Purdue in all Iowa OxyContin® litigation, including Griffith v. Purdue Pharma, et al. (S.D. Iowa 2007).

Eli Lilly & Company.  Iowa counsel for Eli Lilly in all Zyprexa litigation, including O’Hara v. Eli Lilly & Co.; Dickerson v. Eli Lilly & Co.; Dau v. Eli Lilly & Co., (S.D. Iowa); and Iowa AWP/WAL litigation.

Glaxosmithkline, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Iowa counsel for Glaxosmithkline in all Paxil litigation, including Goodwin, et al., v. Glaxosmithkline (S.D. Iowa) and Lyman et al. v. Glaxosmithkline (N.D. Iowa), resolved by MDL settlements.

Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Arkansas.  Retained (2010) as Iowa counsel and trial co-counsel in class action alleging wage, hour, and labor violations.  Sharp et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., Case No. 5:07-cv-04009 (N.D. Iowa).

Praxair, Inc.  Defense of oxygen cylinder explosion case.  Banghart v. Praxair (S.D. Iowa).

O.F. Mossberg Sons, Inc.  Defense of manufacturer of firearms in fatality hunting accident case.  Summary judgment granted and affirmed in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding constitutionality of Iowa’s statute of repose pertaining to products.  Estate of Branson v. O.F. Mossberg, Inc., 221 F.3d 1064 (8th Cir. 2000).

General Electric and Electric Insurance, Beverly, Massa­chusetts.  Iowa counsel for defense of asbestos and other product liability litigation for GE, including Harder v. AC&S, Inc. et al, including General Electric Company, 179 F.3d 609 (8th Cir. 1999), asbestos claims involving steam turbines in power plant; summary judgment granted in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing district court. 

Greenstreak, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri.  Defense of manufacturer of sealant for concrete floor joists in million dollar municipal swimming pool which suffered severe cracking and damage, obtained voluntary dismissal of client at conclusion of discovery.

BP America f/k/a BP Amoco, Chicago, Illinois.  Defense of pipeline gas explosion/fatality cases (2000-2001); Iowa counsel for defense of all Iowa asbestos litigation including cases against BP predecessor subsidiary Industrial Holdings Corp. f/k/a Carborundum Co.

Orkin Exterminating, Inc.  Defense of toxic tort/chemical exposure case involving pesticides; defense verdict.  VanEgdom v. Orkin (Dickinson Cnty. Dist. Ct. October 1999).

Electrolux North America.  Defense of products liability and patent infringement cases in Iowa, including Taylor v. Electrolux North America (Hamilton Cnty. Dist. Ct.) and Maytag Corp. v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc., 448 F. Supp. 2d 1034 (N.D. Iowa 2006), affirmed by 224 F. App’x 972 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

Hussmann Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri, subsidiary of Whitman Corp. and Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers, Chicago, Illinois.  Defense of commercial refrigeration manufacturer in product liability case, summary judgment granted, affirmed by Giles v. Miners, Inc., et al., 242 F.3d 810 (8th Cir. 2001).

Hillenbrand Industries d/b/a Hill-Rom.  Defense of nation’s largest manufacturer of hospital beds in catastrophic injury case.  Nemecheck v. Mercy Hospital and Hill-Rom (Polk Cnty. Dist. Ct. 2002).

Apple Computer, Inc.  Defense of toxic tort claim arising from exposure to computer toner.  (S.D. Iowa 2003).

Bandag, Inc., Muscatine, Iowa.  Defense of tire mounting explosion accident cases, including Leaf v. Goodyear Tire-Rubber Co., et al., includ­ing Bandag (Boone Cnty. Dist. Ct. June 1996), obtained voluntary dismissal by plain­tiffs at close of discovery; and Morris v. Bandag, et al., (Des Moines Cnty. Dist. Ct. Sept. 2000), motion for summary judgment granted.

National Presto Industries, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Defense of household appliances, including Nassif v. National Presto Industries, 731 F. Supp. 1422 (S.D. Iowa Jan. 1990), burn injuries from portable space heater leading to double amputation of legs, summary judgment granted.

United States Surgical Corp., Norwalk, Connecticut.  Defense of subsidiary of U. S. Surgical regarding allegedly defective surgical instrument (Carroll Cnty. Dist. Ct. 1998). 

Additional Cases

Wright v. Brooke Group, Ltd., 652 N.W.2d 159 (Iowa 2002), co-author of amicus curiae brief for Iowa Defense Counsel Association/Defense Research Institute in case adopting Restatement Third (Torts) for design defect liability.

Lovick v. Wil-Rich, a division of the TIC United Corp., 588 N.W.2d 688 (Iowa 1999), retained as co-appellate counsel on behalf of TIC; case adopted limitations on post-sale duty to warn under Restatement Third.

Ganske v. Spahn & Rose Lumber Co., including Deere & Company, 580 N.W.2d 812 (Iowa 1998), affirming summary judgment in asbestos claim and upholding Iowa repose period concerning toxic injury claims.

Pierce v. Nelson, 509 N.W.2d 471 (Iowa 1993), amicus curiae brief on behalf of Iowa Medical Society in case establishing guidelines for award of medical expert witness fees in Iowa.

Sutter v. Aventis, 145 F. Supp. 2d 1050 (S.D. Iowa 2002), rejecting plaintiff’s efforts to remand StarLink corn class action based on purposely pleading vague amount in controversy.

Daugherty v. Ankeny Const. Co. Inc., 433 N.W.2d 747 (Iowa 1988), construing indemnification rights under construction contracts.

Mulchahy v. Eli Lilly, 386 N.W.2d 67 (Iowa 1986), seminal Iowa decision requiring proof of product identification and rejecting market share liability.

Ennen v. Public Service Mutual Insurance Company, 774 F.2d 321 (8th Cir.1985), reversal of punitive damage verdict concerning bad faith insurance claim involving death of Arabian show horse.

DeShane v. Deere & Company, 726 F.2d 443, aff’d by 747 F.2d 1194 (8th Cir.1984), dismissing attempted products liability action filed in Iowa by Canadian resident involving Canadian accident on forum non conveniens grounds.

Thompson v. Stearns Chemical Co., 345 N.W.2d 131 (Iowa 1984), decision establishing Iowa law concerning contribution rights vis-à-vis employers under comparative fault.

Speeches and Publications

Plaintiff’s Medical Care and Treatment – Discovery and Evidentiary Issues:  a 50-State Survey, Pharmaceutical Subcommittee of the ABA Products Liability Committee of the Section of Litigation (2010).  (Co-Author of Iowa Chapter).

Clarifying Iowa Law on Crashworthiness and Enhanced Injury—the Iowa Supreme Court Adopts Sections 16 and 17 of the Restatement (Third) of Products Liability, Iowa Defense Counsel Association (2010). (Co-Author).

PLAC Jury Instruction Handbook, Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) (2009).  (Author of Iowa Chapter).

Update on Punitive Damages Claims: A 50-State Survey, ABA Section of Litigation, Products Liability Committee (2007). (Co-Author of Iowa Chapter).

The Restatement (Third) Products Liability – A Primer, Iowa Defense Counsel Products Liability Seminar (April 2007).

National Survey of State Consumer Fraud Laws, Product Liability Advisory Council (2004). (Author of Iowa Chapter).

Wright v. Brooke Group, Ltd., Defense Update, Iowa Defense Counsel Association (2004). (Co-Author).

On the Cutting Edge: Evidentiary, Constitutional and Strategic Issues in Federal Litigation, Federal Practice Seminar, Iowa State Bar Association (Des Moines, Iowa, December 17, 2004). (Panel Speaker).

Defense of Punitive Damages Claims in Products Liability, Iowa Defense Counsel Association, Annual Meeting (September 2003).

State By State Overview: Statutes of Limitations Applicable to Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Product Liability Litigation, ABA Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Subcommittee (Spring 1997). (Co-Author).

Products Liability 50 State Handbook (West Publ. 1994). (Author of Iowa Chapter).

Iowa Defense Counsel Task Force Report on Civil Jury Instructions, Iowa Defense Counsel Association (October 1990).  (Chairman and Author of Products Liability Chapter).

Pre-Trial Challenges to Expert Testimony in Toxic Tort Cases, For the Defense, Vol. 31, No. 6 (June 1989).  (Author).

Numerous other articles and presentations on product liability and trial practice issues.

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