Rule changes aim to speed civil lawsuits in Iowa

Some lawsuits with less than $75,000 at stake will move through Iowa's court system faster under new rules designed to cut the time and costs needed to resolve those disputes.

The Iowa Supreme Court announced Thursday a set of new rules that will allow plaintiffs in smaller-value disputes to use an expedite process in which cases must be tried within a year. The rules limit the motions that can be filed before trial and give attorneys a maximum of six hours to present the facts of their side of the case to six-member juries.

Other rules pertaining to all civil cases will require litigants to disclose information to each other sooner.

Justice Edward Mansfield says "people with valid legal claims were being priced out of our civil justice system."