Decisions by Judge Mark W. Bennett
This section of the Web Site contains opinions selected by individual Judges for posting and is not intended to constitute a complete set of opinions for the district or any Judge. The decisions are organized by categories listed on the lower left portion of this page. If you would like to do a word search of the entire database or individual categories you may do so by clicking on the search button below.



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-Security National Bank v. Abbott Laboratories (Order sanctioning lawyer for obstructive disposition practices; Court discusses the impropriety of “form” objections, witness coaching, and excessive interruptions during depositions.)07/28/2014
-Killer Joe Nevada, LLC v. Leigh Leaverton, Brittany Bolan, & Jason Fills (Action for infringement of a copyright for a motion picture by transferring copies of that motion picture among peer-to-peer network users; plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of claim against an alleged infringer identified from her IP address: whether the voluntary dismissal, with prejudice, of the copyright infringement claim mooted the defendant’s counterclaim of non-infringement and whether the defendant is entitled to damages as a “prevailing party” as a condition of dismissal) 07/17/2014
-David & Barbara Stults v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. and Bush Boake Allen, Inc. (Diversity products liability action, motions for summary judgment; analyzing plaintiffs’ failure to warn, implied warranty, and design defect negligence claims; rejecting defendants’ argument that plaintiffs could not establish proximate cause for their failure to warn claim, concluding that, given the circumstances of the case, questions of proximate cause were for the jury to determine; concluding that plaintiffs’ breach of implied warranty claims did not merge with their design defect negligence claims; and denying summary judgment on plaintiffs’ design defect negligence claim because the materials submitted by plaintiffs was sufficient for a jury to conclude that a reasonable alternative design was available to defendants’ butter flavorings with diacetyl.) 07/11/2014
-Community Voice Line LLC v. Great Lakes Communication Corp., et al (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosted” the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services, and against various audio content providers; one “new” defendant’s motions to dismiss for forum non conveniens pursuant to Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013): pertinent factors weigh against dismissal for forum non conveniens, notwithstanding applicability of forum-selection clause to at least some of the claims)07/07/2014
-Hagen v. Siouxland Obstetrics & Gynecology, PC, et al. (Post-trial order denying defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial, and denying plaintiff’s motion for an additur, but granting plaintiff’s motion for pre- and post-judgment interest; issues include what activities are “protected activities” supporting the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, sufficiency of evidence, evidentiary rulings, additur, and judgment interest) 05/30/2014
-First Security Bank & Trust Company v. Herman Vander Vegt, et al. (Bankruptcy, appeal by bank creditor from a decision of the bankruptcy court permitting debtors to incur additional debt for farm improvements, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 364(d), from a new creditor and the bankruptcy court’s denial of the bank’s motion to dismiss debtors’ Chapter 12 case for failure to timely file a reorganization plan; analysis of whether the bankruptcy court erred in its determinations that debtors had satisfied the requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 364(d) to permit them to incur secured debit and that the debtors had met the required standard, under 11 U.S.C. § 1221, for an extension to file their proposed reorganization plan; affirming the bankruptcy court in its entirety.)05/28/2014
-Community Voice Line, LLC v. Great Lakes Communication Corp, et al. (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosted” the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services, and against various audio content providers; “new” and “old” defendants’ motions to dismiss “new” claims in second amended complaint: Virginia defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue, based on a forum-selection clause, denied in light of Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013), and for lack of personal jurisdiction denied, because placement of 16 servers in Iowa to conduct the defendant’s business provided sufficient contacts with the forum; Iowa and Nevada defendants’ motion to dismiss denied as to fraud claims, because facts plausibly suggesting intent to defraud were adequately pleaded, and as to a conversion claim, because a possessory interest in telephone numbers could be “converted” under Iowa law, but granted as to a claim of a violation of the “anti-slamming” statute, 47 U.S.C. § 258, because, although a private right of action by a subscriber existed, the plaintiff had not alleged an unauthorized change in carrier) 05/06/2014
-Nick Harvey, et al. v. AB Electrolux, et al. (Employment law, motions for partial summary judgment; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate them for the time to don personal protective equipment (“PPE”), walking to their work stations after donning PPE and the time spent washing PPE violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FSLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 203(o) and the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law (“IWPCL”), Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning of workers’ PPE is “changing clothes” under the FLSA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for time spent walking to their work stations after donning their PPE is compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 254; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for the time they spent washing their gloves and arm guards at home is compensable under the FSLA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims were viable under the IWPCL.) 03/28/2014
-Target Training International, LTD v. Michelle K. Lee (patent holder’s action for judicial review of a determination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that an alleged infringer’s inter partes reexamination request was filed on the last day before the statute authorizing such proceedings expired; PTO Director’s motion to dismiss: whether the motion raised a bar to subject matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim based on the exception to judicial review for a decision “committed to agency discretion by law” in 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2) of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA); whether § 701(a)(2) excepted from review a decision by the PTO under Patent Rule 183; whether the patent holder’s “due process” claim was “colorable,” so as to avoid the § 701(a)(2) exception) 03/05/2014
-Stults v. American Popcorn, et al (Diversity products liability action, motion to reconsider, in part, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether under Michigan law, a statutory discovery rule found in Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5833 applies to plaintiffs’ implied warranty claims, and whether plaintiffs implied warranty claims were timely filed under that statute.)02/25/2014
-Mendoza v. Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: prevailing petitioner’s motion for attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to Hague Convention Art. 26 and ICARA, 42 U.S.C. § 11607(b)(3): whether or not an award of fees and expenses would be “clearly inappropriate” in the circumstances) 02/19/2014
-Whitney v. Franklin General Hospital, et al. (Action by medical records clerk arising from sexual harassment by the medical director; defendants’ motion to dismiss state and federal discrimination claims for lack of administrative exhaustion against unnamed, but purportedly related entities; sufficiency of the pleading of FMLA claims of “interference/entitlement,” “retaliation,” and “discrimination”)02/03/2014
-General Electric Capital Corporation v. FPL Service (Motion by plaintiff commercial leasing corporation for summary judgment against defendant commercial lessee on liability and damages under commercial equipment lease; issues include: whether plaintiff is entitled to deficiency damages under the parties’ contract and, if so, how much; ruling grants summary judgment on the issue of damages, holding that plaintiff is entitled to, and correctly calculated, damages under the parties’ contract) 02/03/2014
-Koons v. United States of America (Motion for relief from sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by a federal prisoner asserting ineffective assistance of counsel; respondent’s motion to dismiss as untimely converted to petitioner’s motion for summary judgment on equitable tolling of the statute of limitations: whether counsel hired to file § 2255 Motion engaged in misconduct sufficient to constitute “extraordinary circumstances” that prevented the petitioner from timely filing her § 2255 Motion, and whether the petitioner acted “diligently” before and after the deadline for filing her § 2255 Motion before filing the Motion pro se three months after the deadline)01/31/2014
-Bonnie & Lyle Cole as next friends of P.C., a minor v. Trinity Health Corporation (ERISA case, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether defendant employer’s failure to give former plaintiff employee timely notice of her COBRA right to elect continued health insurance as required by 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a)(4) warranted a statutory penalty for its notice violation where plaintiff’s alleged damages were of considerably less value than the free health care insurance coverage she received over an extended period as a result of the notice mistake.)01/21/2014
-Jay & Deanna Clasing v. Hormel Foods Corporation (Action by hog finishers against a meat packing company for alleged breach of a 2008 oral contract between the parties for continued purchases of the hog finishers’ Canadian-born hogs after legislation implementing mandatory “country of origin labeling” (COOL) for pork became effective; meat packing company’s motion for summary judgment: notice required for changes to “pricing” and “delivery” terms and breach of those terms; nature of a claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; viability of implied contract claims where the parties do not dispute the existence of an enforceable express contract)01/21/2014
-Virgil & CArol Van Stelton v. Jerry Van Stelton, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning defendants’ counterclaim for abuse of process, reviewing requirements for abuse of process claims under Iowa law and analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether defendants’ sufficiently pled their counterclaim for abuse of process.)01/15/2014
-Aguilera v. Wright County, et al. (Action by state prisoner granted post-conviction relief from a second-degree murder conviction in 1996 for a Brady violation who subsequently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter before a new trial in 2012: State defendants’ motion to dismiss: federal claims: sufficiency of allegations of “bad faith” by investigator defendants and their responsibility for nondisclosures to support Brady claim, qualified immunity, and “favorable termination” requirement under Heck v. Humphrey; state tort claims: whether certain state tort claims were functional equivalents of intentional torts excepted from the waiver of sovereign immunity under the Iowa Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 669.14(4); availability of a state tort claim for obstruction of justice analogous to a criminal offense defined by Iowa Code § 719.3) 01/06/2014
-Serverside Group, Ltd. v. Tactical 8 Technologies (Patent infringement action involving patents for an invention that allows customers to use a secure process on the internet to select personalized images, which are printed on their bank credit or debit cards, even if the customer, the images, the image manipulation software, the customer’s account information, and the card printer are all in different locations; plaintiff’s motion for partial reconsideration of summary judgment ruling finding non-infringement by defendants of the “secure unique identifier” limitation of one patent and the “encrypted customer information” limitation of the other patent) 01/06/2014
-Driesen v. Smith, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), and pendent state law claims for unjust enrichment and conspiracy to defraud; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether the Rooker–Feldman doctrine bars the court's subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ claims. 01/02/2014
-Stults v. American Pop Corn, et al (Diversity products liability action, motions for summary judgment; analyzing which state's substantive law should apply—the law of Michigan, where plaintiffs reside and where plaintiffs purchased, and consumed product giving rise to this case, or the law of Iowa, the state where some of the product was produced and packaged; dismissing plaintiffs’ strict liability claims because Michigan does not recognize strict liability as a theory of recovery in products liability cases; analyzing which state's statute of limitations should apply—the law of Iowa, the forum state, or the law of Michigan, the state found to have the most significant relationship to the parties and the occurrence; dismissing plaintiffs’ negligence and breach of implied warranty claims as time barred under Michigan law, and dismissing loss of consortium claim as a matter of law because it is entirely derivative.) 12/24/2013
-FDIC v. Michael Dosland, et al (Action by the FDIC, as receiver for failed bank, pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. § 1811 et seq., against the former officers and directors of the bank, asserting claims of gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty; plaintiff’s motion to strike certain affirmative defenses: Rule 12(f) standards for striking an affirmative defense; applicability of the Twom-bal pleading standard to affirmative defenses; legal sufficiency of affirmative defenses based on equitable doctrines, including estoppel, laches, unclean hands, and/or waiver; the FDIC-R’s failure to mitigate damages; damages resulting from the acts or omissions of someone other than the defendants; and an exculpation provision in the bank’s articles of incorporation, which bars the defendants’ liability)12/23/2013
-Omaha Steaks International v. Frontier Choice Steaks, LLC, et al. (Trademark infringement action; plaintiff’s for preliminary injunction) 12/10/2013
-Maria Guadalupe Aguilar Mendoza v. Moises Medina Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: consolidated bench trial on the merits and preliminary injunction hearing: requirements for return of wrongfully retained children and affirmative defenses) 12/10/2013
-Serverside Group Limited & Serverside Graphics, Inc. v. Tactical 8 Technologies, LLC & Bank Iowa Corporation (Patent infringement action involving patents for an invention that allows customers to use a secure process on the internet to select personalized images, which are printed on their bank credit or debit cards, even if the customer, the images, the image manipulation software, the customer’s account information, and the card printer are all in different locations; post-Markman motion for summary judgment of non-infringement by defendants and defendants’ motion to strike the plaintiff’s expert) 12/09/2013
-General Electric Capital Corporation v. FPL Service Corp. (Motion by plaintiff commercial leasing corporation for summary judgment against defendant commercial lessee on liability and damages under commercial equipment lease; issues include: (1) whether an act of God discharges commercial lessee, (2) whether lease contract was a lease or a secured transaction, (3) whether commercial lessor complied with Article 9 disposition requirements, and (4) the amount of damages, if any; ruling grants summary judgment on the issue of liability, holds that the lease was really a secured transaction; and grants the parties additional time to submit evidence affecting the issue of damages)12/03/2013
-DaCosta Daniels, et al v. The City of Sioux City, et al (Action by arrestee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting an “excessive force” claim against a city police officer and the city, and “infliction of emotional distress” claims on behalf of the plaintiff’s daughter against the city and a community school district based on the showing of a video of the plaintiff’s arrest, months later, to her daughter’s middle school class by a different city employee and a school district employee; the school district’s motion to dismiss for lack of supplemental subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) over the state law claims against it) 11/08/2013
-Clay v. Woodbury County, Iowa, et al. (Action by pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting “strip search” and “free speech retaliation” claims in violation of the United States and Iowa Constitutions: plaintiff’s motion to exclude defendants’ expert’s testimony for applying the wrong legal standard and offering legal conclusions; defendants’ motions (2) for summary judgment: whether the “strip search” claim alleged both a “violation of privacy” claim and an “excessive force” claim; whether the defendant officers had qualified immunity to the claims; and whether the alleged “strip search” was in retaliation for complaining about the plaintiff’s detention and a search of her purpose) 11/06/2013
-International Bortherhood of Electrical Workers, et al v. Pottebams Service Electric, LLC, et al (Action involving claims for unpaid ERISA contributions and damages and unpaid union wages pursuant to the LMRA, based on successor or alter ego liability; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment: genuine issues of material fact on successor or alter ego liability) 11/06/2013
-Peters v. Woodbury County (Action by pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting a “strip search,” use of “excessive force,” and “free speech retaliation”: defendants’ motions (2) for summary judgment: whether alleged “strip search” was a “search” at all or a “clothing exchange” and whether the defendant officers had qualified immunity; whether “excessive force” was used to compel compliance with an order to change into a jail uniform in front of officers; and whether the alleged “strip search” was in retaliation for complaining about the order to change into a jail uniform in front of officers) 10/25/2013
-Graney v. Mercy Health Services - Iowa Corp. (Action for wrongful death, loss of parental consortium, and failure to provide an appropriate medical screening examination of the plaintiff’s sixteen-year-old son, resulting in his death from probable cardiac arrhythmia; report and recommendation of magistrate judge recommending dismiss as sanction for failure to comply with discovery and other orders pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 and 41(b))10/23/2013
-Community Voice Line LLC v. Great Lakes Communications Corp. (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosting” of the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services; provider’s motion for summary judgment on CLEC’s counterclaims for indemnity)10/11/2013
-Meighan v. Transguard Ins. Co. (Action by insured asserting claims of breach of contract and bad faith denial of claims; defendant insurance agency’s motion to dismiss, inter alia, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), on the ground that insured’s attempt to remedy failure to plead any factual basis for liability of agency, as opposed to insurer, by the simple expedient of alleging that the defendant insurer and defendant insurance agency individually and jointly engaged in the wrongful conduct at issue and are “jointly and severally liable” for it, then changing all of the former references to a single defendant to mean both defendants “collectively”; standards for post-dismissal leave to amend)10/11/2013
-Hagen v. Siouxland Obstetrics, et al. (Post-trial order certifying questions to the Iowa Supreme Court in a wrongful discharge in violation of Iowa public policy case; three questions certified: (1) whether Iowa’s public policy protects a doctor from being fired for (a) reporting nurses’ malpractice to a hospital, (b) disclosing malpractice to a patient’s family, or (c) consulting with an attorney about whether to report another doctor’s malpractice to the board of medicine; (2) whether contractual employees can sue for wrongful discharge in violation of Iowa public policy; and (3) whether an employer’s lack of an “overriding business justification” for firing an employee an independent element of a wrongful discharge claim)08/29/2013
-Dumont Telephone Company v. Power & Telephone Supply Company, et al (Motion by defendant telecommunications supply company seeking to compel arbitration in contract dispute against plaintiff telecommunications provider; issue involves whether arbitration clause in one party’s forms became part of UCC contract between two merchants; ruling granting defendant’s motion to compel, and issuing a discretionary stay over plaintiff’s claims against co-defendants)08/26/2013
-Branimir Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; plaintiff’s objections to magistrate judge’s denial of leave to amend to add a fraud claim: standard of review for magistrate judge’s order on a non-dispositive matter; relationship between Rule 15 standards for leave to amend and Rule 9 pleading standards for fraud; whether magistrate judge’s order was clearly erroneous or contrary to law in denying leave to amend, based on magistrate judge’s determination that the plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to give rise to an inference of intention not to perform a promise at the time the promise was made)07/31/2013
-Dennis & Melissa Eggerling v. Advanced Bionics, LLC) (Diversity action by parents of minor child who received a cochlear implant alleging negligence and product defect claims against manufacturer; manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act (FDCA) preempted the plaintiffs’ claims: rejection of plaintiffs’ assertions of issue preclusion and a requirement of “approval” of the device as a prerequisite to preemption; determination of which and to what extent negligence and product liability claims concerning design, manufacturing, and testing, based on non-compliance with the pre-market approval (PMA) for the device and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) were preempted or were viable “parallel” claims) 07/24/2013
-Virgil Van Stelton, et al v. Jerry Van Stelton, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.; and pendent state law claims for false arrest, fraud, malicious prosecution, slander and libel, and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether plaintiffs’ sufficiently pled claims for civil rights violations under § 1983; RICO, First Amendment right to petition, slander and libel, tortious interference with prospective business relations claim, Ongoing Criminal Conduct violation, false arrest, malicious prosecution, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty.)07/17/2013
-The Foreign Candy Company, Inc. v. Tropical Paradise, Inc., d/b/a Cool Tropics; (action by a candy importer against a fruit juice seller, involving federal and state law claims of trademark, trade dress, and copyright infringement and unfair competition; fruit juice seller’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue: sufficiency of internet “contacts” to satisfy due process, based on a link from fruit juice seller’s otherwise passive website to a third-party retailer’s website from which the fruit juice seller’s products can be and were purchased by the candy importer’s CEO for delivery in the forum)06/24/2013
-Plymouth County v. MERSCORP, Inc. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; ruling granting plaintiff’s contested motion for certification pursuant to Rule 54(b) that there is no just reason for delay of the entry of judgment, on orders dismissing all claims and denying leave to amend as futile, as to all but one bankrupt defendant, and directing entry of final judgment as to the dismissed defendants)06/05/2013
-Guillermo Escobedo v. Mark Lund (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for first-degree murder on the ground that his trial counsel failed to seek an “automatic” mistrial when the trial judge excused a juror for bias after deliberations had started and replaced the excused juror with an alternate contrary to Iowa law, which required a mistrial or the defendant’s agreement to continue deliberations with the eleven remaining jurors)06/03/2013
-The Secuirty National Bank of Sioux City, Iowa, as Conservator for JMK, a Minor v. Abbott Laboratories (Diversity action by conservator of infant who suffered brain damage from bacterial meningitis asserting product defect, warranty, and fraud claims against the manufacturer of powdered infant formula (PIF) that allegedly caused the infant’s injuries; the manufacturer’s motion to exclude “sham” affidavit by the infant’s mother concerning onset and progression of the infant’s symptoms as contrary to the mother’s and the grandmother’s depositions and medical records; the manufacturer’s Daubert motion to exclude testimony of the conservator’s “causation” experts based on flawed “ruling in” and “ruling out” methodologies to establish that the PIF was the most likely cause of the infant’s bacterial infection; and the manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on all claims for inability to establish causation of the infant’s injuries by the manufacturer’s PIF, for summary judgment on warranty claims for inability to show a “sale” of the PIF to the hospital, which provided the PIF in a “gift bag” to the infant’s mother, for summary judgment on the fraud claim for inability to show “actual reliance” by the mother on alleged misrepresentations on the PIF label, and for summary judgment on the warning defect claim for inability to show “factual causation” where warnings on the label allegedly played no part in the mother’s decision to use the PIF, but the mother asserts that she would not have used the PIF if adequate warnings had been given) 06/03/2013
-Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Moens, et al. (Interpleader action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1335, 1397, and 2361, initiated by an insurance company, because it asserts that claims for “bodily injury” coverage, arising from a multi-vehicle accident, exceed policy limits: plaintiff’s insureds’ motion to stay related state court action: whether the stay on the state court action would exceed the authority for an injunction under § 2361, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523 (1967))05/13/2013
-Boss v. Ludwick (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for the first-degree murder of his foster son on the ground that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance (1) by revealing the location of the child’s body and (2) by failing to advise and consult with the petitioner adequately before convincing the petitioner to reveal the location of the child’s body; parties’ objections to report and recommendation by magistrate judge finding “prejudice” from trial counsel’s performance, but denying federal habeas relief; stating standards for review by the district court of a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation; construing the nature of the petitioner’s underlying constitutional claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and his claims for federal habeas relief pursuant to § 2254(d); considering whether the federal court is required to review de novo both prongs under Strickland, if the state court stated the wrong standard of review for one prong; considering whether denial of relief by the state courts on the basis of failure to find “deficient performance” under Strickland were “contrary to” or “unreasonable applications of” federal law or “unreasonable determinations” of the facts in light of the evidence before the state courts pursuant to § 2254(d)(1) and (2); and declining to consider the “prejudice” prong under Strickland, where the lack of deficiency in the state court decisions concerning “deficient performance” was fully dispositive of the petitioner’s claims)05/03/2013
-Robertson v. Siouxland Community Health Center & Michelle Stephan (Action by female former human resources director for a medical practice alleging that the medical practice and its female chief executive officer discriminated and harassed her because of her sex and/or her sexual orientation, retaliated against her for complaining about a sexually hostile work environment, and discriminated against her because of her age in violation of federal and state law: defendants’ motion to dismiss: lack of Title VII protection for sexual orientation; failure to exhaust administrative remedies for claims based on sex; failure to state a claim of harassment based on sex, rather than based exclusively on sexual orientation; and failure to state a retaliation claim where the plaintiff failed to state a claim of sex harassment)04/10/2013
-Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Moens, et al. (Declaratory judgment action, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether an automotive passenger, who is a covered person under the terms of an automobile insurance policy covering the host automobile, and who is injured in an automobile accident, may recover underinsurance benefits under the insurance policy covering the host automobile, when that passenger is entitled to receive liability coverage benefits under that same policy.)03/25/2013
-The Estate of Scott W. Thompson, et al. v. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, LTD, et al. (Diversity action under Iowa products liability law, arising from a motorcycle accident, involving a “design defect” claim against the motorcycle manufacturer; manufacturer’s motion to reconsider or clarify the scope of evidence and argument that the manufacturer may offer to show that an alleged “design defect” in the motorcycle was not a cause of the plaintiff’s death almost three years after the accident) 03/11/2013
-The Estate of Scott W. Thompson, et al. v. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, LTD, et al.(Diversity action under Iowa products liability law, arising from a motorcycle accident, involving a “design defect” claim against the motorcycle manufacturer; manufacturer’s challenges to plaintiffs’ use in their case-in-chief of deposition testimony of manufacturer’s Rule 30(b)(6) representative and deposition testimony of a former defendant’s Rule 30(b)(6) representative; plaintiffs’ motion to exclude litigation testing evidence, described by the manufacturer as “demonstrative” exhibits) 03/11/2013
-Deborah & Steven Daughetee v. CHR. Hansen, et al. (Diversity products liability action, motions for summary judgment; analyzing whether: defendants had a duty to warn plaintiff about the harms allegedly associated with exposure to their products; General Mills and ConAgra were “sophisticated” intermediary users of defendants’ products and thus defendants were entitled to rely on General Mills and ConAgra to provide appropriate warnings to consumers; defendants were entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s failure to warn claims on the ground that defendants were bulk suppliers of butter flavorings to General Mills and ConAgra; plaintiff could establish that defendants’ failure to warn plaintiff was the proximate cause of her lung condition; plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claims are redundant to her negligent claims; plaintiff has offered no proof of a product defect sufficient to sustain a breach of implied warranty claim; a breach of warranty claim based on a breach that occurred after February 2000 would have a causal relationship to plaintiff’s her alleged diagnosis; any claim based on plaintiff’s exposure to one of the defendants’ products was barred under Iowa’s statute of repose, Iowa Code § 614.1; and plaintiff’s claims for punitive damages fail as a matter of law because no evidence exists that defendant willfully and wantonly disregarded plaintiff’s safety.)03/06/2013
-Serverside Group Limited & Serverside Graphics, Inc. v. Tactical 8 Technologies, LLC & Bank of Iowa Corp. (Patent infringement action involving patents for an invention that allows customers to use a secure process on the internet to select personalized images, which are printed on their bank credit or debit cards, even if the customer, the images, the image manipulation software, the customer’s account information, and the card printer are all in different locations; Markman patent claim construction decision after briefing, submission to the parties of a tentative ruling, and a Markman hearing involving additional evidence and argument, construing 3 disputed claim terms.) 03/04/2013
-The Estate of Scott W. Thompson, et al. v. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, et al. (Diversity action under Iowa products liability law, arising from a motorcycle accident, involving a “design defect” claim against the motorcycle manufacturer; manufacturer’s pretrial motions: motion to exclude hearsay testimony of a person traveling with the victim at the time of the accident, but who did not see the accident, motion to exclude hearsay statements of the victim’s father, motion to bifurcate liability and punitive damages phases of the trial, motion to exclude evidence of “similar incidents,” and motion to exclude causation opinions of the plaintiffs’ expert; plaintiffs’ pretrial motion to exclude the following evidence: evidence of an alleged lack of “similar incidents”; evidence that the victim caused his own death or that he failed to mitigate his damages; evidence of alleged alcohol use by the victim; evidence of opinions of emergency responders; evidence of the posted 55 mph speed limit and that the victim violated Iowa law by allegedly traveling in excess of speed limit at the time of the motorcycle accident; evidence regarding compliance with or the absence of minimum Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; evidence supporting a “state of the art” defense; evidence of the defendants’ “good acts”; evidence of collateral source benefits; evidence of any previous pleadings; and evidence of any previous adverse Daubert rulings concerning the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses) 02/25/2013
-Thompson v. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., et al. (Diversity action under Iowa products liability law, arising from a motorcycle accident, involving, inter alia, “design defect” and “manufacturing defect” claims against the motorcycle manufacturer and the manufacturer of an adjustable steering damper incorporated into the motorcycle’s steering mechanism: motorcycle manufacturer’s motion for partial summary judgment on all claims but the plaintiffs’ “design defect” claim, and steering damper manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs’ claims: elements of a “manufacturing defect” claim under Iowa law, focusing on proof of an intended design and departure from that design; liability of a component manufacturer for a “design defect” based on “substantial participation” in the design; and requirements for proof of “punitive damages” on an underlying cause of action under Iowa law.) 02/11/2013
-Rattray, et al. v. Woodbury County, Iowa (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees: one plaintiff’s motion to reconsider summary judgment in favor of the county on her “manner” strip-search claim pursuant to Rule 52(b) and Rule 59(e) concerning, inter alia, whether the plaintiff must show that a non-participant was actually present who could have observed the strip search, whether or not any non-participant actually did observe the strip search) 01/30/2013
-Gro Master, Inc. v. Farmweld, Inc. (Action by an out-of-state patent holder for infringement of its patent for an “animal feeder with adjustment of a feed discharge opening” against another out-of-state corporation that allegedly manufactures and sells an infringing animal feeder; defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue: whether Federal Circuit or regional circuit law governs each challenge; sufficiency of contacts with Iowa involving appearance at a single tradeshow, publication in a national journal, and a single sale of the accused product in Iowa; propriety of venue based on contacts with the district, where district must be treated as a separate state; appropriateness of transfer pursuant to either § 1404 or § 1406, if venue is improper) 01/24/2013
-Rattray, Lambert, & Mathes v. Woodbury County, IA (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees: defendant county’s motions for reconsideration of a prior order granting summary judgment in one plaintiff’s favor on her claim and seeking summary judgment in the county’s favor on all of the plaintiffs’ claims in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1510 (2012): whether Florence states a general rule that reasonable suspicion is not required to strip search detainees, subject to as-yet not fully defined exceptions, or only a very narrow exception to the requirement of reasonable suspicion in the case of detainees who will be admitted to “general population”; whether Florence is a change in the law warranting reconsideration and withdrawal of prior summary judgment in favor of one plaintiff on her “no reasonable suspicion” strip-search claim; whether Florence warrants summary judgment in favor of the county on all plaintiffs’ “no reasonable suspicion” and “manner” strip-search clalims) 12/10/2012
-Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Bunge North America, Inc. (Action by seed producer based on defendant grain elevator company’s refusal to accept transgenic corn grown from the seed producer’s seeds, because it had not been approved for import in China, and placement of signs at the grain elevator company’s facilities stating its reasons for refusing to accept such corn; grain elevator’s motion to dismiss the seed producer’s claims for violation of the United States Warehouse Act (USWA), violation of Iowa warehousing laws, declaratory and injunctive relief, and breach of contract as a third-party beneficiary; grain elevator’s motion for partial summary on the seed producer’s Lanham Act false advertising claim)11/21/2012
-Plymouth County, Iowa v. Merscorp, et al. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; county’s post-dismissal motion: request, pursuant to Rule 59(e), to consider the conditional request to amend overlooked in the court’s ruling on the defendants’ motion to dismiss; post-dismissal request to amend to assert a new legal theory for an “unjust enrichment” claim; clarification of standards applicable to conditional and post-dismissal motions to amend)10/16/2012
-Precision Press, Inc. v. MLP U.S.A., Inc. (Contract law; motion for partial summary judgment; in dispute over sale of commercial printer, determination of whether findings in an arbitration award should be given collateral estoppel effect, under Illinois law, on issues relating to the seller’s claim for monetary damages from the buyer.)08/24/2012
-Plymouth County v. Merscorp, Inc. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; defendants’ motion to dismiss: whether the county’s claims allege and depend upon a legal requirement to record mortgage assignments; whether Iowa law requires the recording of mortgage assignments; whether the county’s claim for “unjust enrichment” depends upon a legal requirement to record mortgage assignments)08/21/2012
-Gilster v. Primebank & Joseph Strub (Considering parties’ post-trial motions following jury verdict in favor of plaintiff on sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII and Iowa Civil Rights Act: defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law, new trial, or remittitur; plaintiff’s motion for front pay and equitable relief; plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and costs)08/14/2012
-Fraserside LLC v. Sergej Letyagin d/b/a SunPorno.com, et al. (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2); analysis of whether plaintiff had made a prima facie showing that defendants, an individual residing in Gibraltar and a corporation headquartered in the Republic of Seychelles, had sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to satisfy due process and permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them, and determination of whether plaintiff should be permitted limited jurisdictional discovery)08/07/2012
-Todd Johnson v. Dollar General, et al (Action by former employee of retail store chain asserting state-law claims of retaliation for processing workers compensation claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress and a federal claim of violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2612–2615, arising from the termination of his employment, and a claim pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, to recover a quarterly bonus allegedly due him at the time his employment ended; defendants’ for summary judgment: FMLA “interference” and “retaliation” claims; individual liability for workers compensation retaliation and viability of the claim; and legality of eligibility requirements for quarterly bonuses under the IWPCL)07/30/2012
-EAD Control Systems, LLC v. Besser Company, USA (Considering whether claim for unjust enrichment survives under Iowa law where express contract exists between the parties)06/19/2012
-Wagner v. Astrue (denying as untimely prevailing plaintiff’s application for attorney fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act) 06/08/2012
-Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; Irish defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismissfor lack of personal jurisdiction; Minnesota defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) motion, for improper venue, and Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.) 06/08/2012
-Barkley, et al v. Woodbury County (Persons arrested on serious misdemeanor charges assert individual and class claims that they were unconstitutionally strip-searched pursuant to an across-the-board jail policy without individualized determinations of probable cause or reasonable suspicion; defendants’ motion to dismiss: timeliness (or tolling) of individual and class claims, pursuant to the “American Pipe rule,” after denial of class certification in a predecessor case involving nearly identical claims of a nearly identical putative class; whether tolling ends with the district court’s decision denying certification or with the appellate court’s decision affirming the denial; whether the reasons for denial of class certification, which determine whether or not class claims are tolled, are those of the district court or the appellate court)05/23/2012
-Garvin & Murphy v. Siouxland Mental Health Services, Inc., et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employees against former employer alleging they were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendants’ motions for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether claims that arose four years before the filing of an administrative charge are timely; whether the "harassment" employees suffered was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable; the applicability of Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense; and, whether plaintiffs’ suffered material adverse employment actions after their complaint of harassment sufficient to sustain their retaliation claims.) 05/18/2012
-Boss v. Ludwick (state prisoner’s § 2254 petition; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on petitioner’s motion to stay unexhausted claims: standards of review for a report and recommendation; rules of unexhausted and procedurally defaulted claims; availability of “stay and abeyance” procedure when claims are procedurally defaulted)05/01/2012
-DeWalle v. Clarion- Goldfield Community School (Employment; former teacher’s aide’s action for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff’s claims under both Title VII and the ICRA are time barred; analysis of whether defendant’s decision not to renew her contract was motivated by racial discriminationDistrict)04/25/2012
-The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al. v. Inlay (Action by insurance company against former agent seeking FINRA arbitration action to address claims of breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriate of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantages, and conversion; insurance company’s motion to confirm arbitration award: standards for confirmation of an arbitration award pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 9)04/11/2012
-Frasierside IP, LLC v. Gamma Entertainment, et al. (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and to dismiss for improper venue under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and/or forum non conveniens; analysis of whether plaintiff had made a prima facie showing that defendants, a Canadian corporation and its Barbadian subsidiary, had sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to satisfy due process and permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them; assessment of whether the Complaint must be dismissed for improper venue or under the doctrine of forum non conveniens; determination of whether plaintiff should be permitted limited jurisdictional discovery.)04/05/2012
-Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund v. Sebelius (Challenge by individuals and an advocacy group to the validity of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, see 21 C.F.R. § 131.110, and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized. See 21 C.F.R. § 1250.61: defendants’ renewed motion to dismiss and alternative motion for summary judgment: standing of plaintiffs to assert their challenges to the regulations in the absence of any enforcement actions against them by the FDA.)03/30/2012
-Aerostar, Inc. v. Haes Grain & Livestock, Inc., et al. : (Diversity action by manufacturer of wind systems against purchasers who paid an unauthorized dealer for, but never received, the manufacturer’s wind systems seeking declaratory judgment establishing the absence of any basis for liability of the manufacturer to the purchasers for payments that the purchasers made to the unauthorized dealer or for any damages or attorney’s fees; purchasers’ Rule 12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on insufficient amount in controversy: identification and application of standards for determining amount in controversy in declaratory judgment cases, effect of refusal of defendants to stipulate to an amount in controversy below the jurisdictional amount) 03/27/2012
-Harvey, et al v. AB Electrolux, et al. (putative collective action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and a putative class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, alleging failure to pay hourly, non-exempt “production employees” or employees in “other similarly titled positions” at the defendants’ now-closed plant for time or overtime for donning protective equipment and preparing for work before their shifts began and for time spent and expenses for cleaning and maintaining some of their safety equipment outside of the work place; plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification of collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), requiring defendant to provide contact information for putative collective action members, and approving notice to the putative collective action plaintiffs: standards for conditional certification of a collective action pursuant to § 216(b); appropriateness of ordering the defendant employer to produce telephone numbers of putative collective action members) 03/09/2012
-Fraserside LLC v. Igor Kovalchuk, et al. (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2); analysis of whether plaintiff had made a prima facie showing that defendant, a Russian citizen who resides in Russia, had sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to satisfy due process and permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over him. )03/05/2012
-Fraserside LLC v. Waterweg, et al. (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2); analysis of whether plaintiff had made a prima facie showing that defendant, a Dutch citizen who resides in the Phillippines, had sufficient minimum contacts with Iowa to satisfy due process and permit the exercise of personal jurisdiction over him.)02/24/2012
-Fraserside IP LLC v. Mark Faragalla, et al. (Copyright and trademark infringement, plaintiff’s motion for default judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff had properly pled claims for copyright infringement, and violations of the Lanham Act; assessment of plaintiff’s request for statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504, actual damages for Lanham Act violations, injunctive relief, prejudgment interest, post judgment interest, and attorney’s fees.)02/14/2012
-Lampman, et al. v. Ternus, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment, § 1983 case involving Fourteenth Amendment due process claim, plaintiffs, court reporters for Iowa District Associate Judges, alleged that they were entitled to due process, including notice and an opportunity to be heard, prior to employment termination or reduction in hours; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether, assuming arguendo that Iowa law creates a property interest in plaintiffs’ employment, plaintiffs were not entitled to pre-termination notice and an opportunity to be heard under the “reorganization exception” to the general rule that requires due process prior to a public employee’s termination.)02/06/2012
-Middleton, Inc. v. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (Summary judgment motion in the Southern District of Iowa; considering whether plaintiff in patent infringement case had constitutional standing as an exclusive licensee)01/31/2012
-Minten v. Weber (Action by former deputy sheriff against county sheriff for First Amendment retaliation, arising from discharge for offering to testify in a citizen’s First Amendment retaliation lawsuit; after summary judgment for the plaintiff, the matter was set for a jury trial on damages only; motions in limine: admissibility of the outcome of administrative proceedings on the former deputy sheriff’s claim for unemployment compensation and the outcome of the underlying citizen’s lawsuit; admissibility of evidence of other purported reasons for the former deputy sheriff’s termination)01/26/2012
-Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al.: (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, to enjoin the FDA from continuing or commencing enforcement actions pursuant to the regulations against non-parties while this court considers the plaintiffs’ claims: scope of the court’s authority to enjoin other actions “in aid of” its jurisdiction; requirements for a preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act; balancing of pertinent factors)01/23/2012
-Sak & Leifer v. The City of Aurelia, Iowa: (Action by disabled individual pursuant to Title II of the ADA against city for failure to modify an ordinance barring pit bull dogs to accommodate his pit bull mix service animal; plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction: whether an ordinance barring pit bull dogs or enforcement of that ordinance is a service, program, or activity of the city or otherwise discriminatory on the basis of disability within the scope of Title II of the ADA; whether a breed restriction in an ordinance is impermissible under Title II of the ADA, when it bars a service dog of that breed; whether permitting a service animal of a different breed is a reasonable accommodation; whether deprivation of a particular service animal threatened irreparable harm to a disabled individual; whether the balance of harms favored an injunction; whether the public interest in accommodation of disabled persons under Title II of the ADA trumped the public interest in public health and safety embodied in the ordinance; and whether a bond should be required, and in what amount, in this case before issuance of a preliminary injunction) 12/28/2011
-Minten v. Weber (Plaintiff, a longtime county deputy sheriff, alleged that his firing resulted from his offering to testify in support of the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the sheriff; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff engaged in protected speech, i.e. speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern; whether the sheriff took an adverse employment action against him; whether plaintiff’s speech was a motivating factor in the adverse action taken against him; and whether sheriff would have fired plaintiff regardless of whether he offered to testify )12/22/2011
-Blazek v. United States Cellular Corporation, et al. (Action by female retail wireless consultant for a cellular telephone company asserting claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII and the ICRA; defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss: “pleadings” within the meaning of Rule 10(c) and Rule 12(b)(6); plausibility of the plaintiffs’ sexual harassment and retaliation claims and allegations of individual liability) 11/28/2011
-Lee v. Small & Toft, et al.11/22/2011
-Campbell v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Corrections, et al. (Employment; former state agency employee’s action for sex and age discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, as well as claims of retaliation in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code § 70A.28(2), and Iowa public policy; defendants’ motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated genuine issues of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age and sex discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis; discussion of whether plaintiff was speaking as a citizen when she voiced her concerns about victim safety, so her speech was protected by the First Amendment; and, examination of whether state employee was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages on plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim.)11/22/2011
-McFarland v. McFarland, et al. (Diversity action for slander, libel, and defamation; Joint Bill of Costs; analysis of whether defendants entitled to reimbursement for certain litigation expenses pursuant to Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 1920, specifically the costs of: depositions, a transcript in a divorce proceeding, transferring depositions from a floppy disc to a CD, copies of medical records, the cost of photocopies for summary judgment documents, and the rental of a conference room center used for taking depositions.)11/15/2011
-In Re: Iowa Ready-Mix Concrete Antitrust Litigation (Motion for attorneys’ fees, reimbursement of costs, and class representative incentive awards following settlement of consolidated antitrust class action case; awarding $6,666,666.67 in attorneys’ fees, $911,445.92 in costs, and $10,000.00 to each named plaintiff, to be paid from the common settlement fund.)11/09/2011
-Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Lmine ruling in excessive force § 1983 case)10/19/2011
-Freie v. Fayram (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254; respondent filed motion to dismiss claiming that all of petitioner’s claims were untimely; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge recommended granting respondent’s motion because petitioner’s claims were untimely; petitioner filed pro se objections to report and recommendation; the court concluded that magistrate judge correctly determined that petitioner’s claims were all barred by the one-year period of limitations in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Respondent’s motion to dismiss was granted. )10/13/2011
-United States v. Russell T. Hawley & Hawley Insurance, Inc. (Motion in Limine Ruling - False Claims Act)10/13/2011
-Truckenmiller v. Burgess Health Center & Francis Tramp (action by a human resources director purportedly terminated for poor performance after voicing concerns about differences in titles and pay between male and female members of the senior leadership team at the defendant hospital; motion for summary judgment by the defendant hospital and the defendant CEO: whether the plaintiff’s comments satisfied the “complaint” requirements for protection from retaliation under the Equal Pay Act provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), as recently clarified in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011), whether there was sufficient evidence to generate a genuine issues of material fact on a “causal connection” between the comments and the plaintiff’s discharge two days later and on whether the defendants’ proffered legitimate reason for the discharge, poor performance, was a pretext for retaliation; whether the plaintiff’s claim of wrongful discharge in violation of the Iowa public policy against unequal pay on the basis of sex articulated in Iowa Code § 216.6 was preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA))09/30/2011
-The State of Arizona & Angela Aguilar v. ASARCO, LLC (Action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; individual plaintiff’s post-trial motion for attorney fees; analysis of whether plaintiff’s fee request should be reduced by twenty percent to take into account the fact that the individual plaintiff was only partially successful on her claims; examination of the reasonableness of the individual plaintiff’s counsel’s hourly rate as well as the reasonableness of numerous time entries.)09/29/2011
-Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. Bunge North America, Inc. (Action by plaintiff seed producer based on defendant grain elevator company’s refusal to accept transgenic corn grown from the seed producer’s seeds, because it had not been approved for import in China, and placement of signs at the grain elevator company’s facilities stating its reasons for refusing to accept such corn; seed producer’s motion for preliminary injunction: clarification of standards for a preliminary injunction in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008); balancing of the seed producer’s likelihood of success on its claims of violations of the United States Warehouse Act (USWA), 7 U.S.C. § 241 et seq., including whether there is a private right of action for violations of that Act, comparable provisions of Iowa statutory and common-law warehousing obligations, and false advertising pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B); the seed producer’s showing of irreparable harm based on damage to reputation and goodwill; the balance of equities in light of the determination on the seed producer’s likelihood of success and the costs to the grain elevator company of accepting the transgenic corn at issue; and the public interest)09/26/2011
-Baldwin v. U.S. (Civil tax refund case in the District for the Northern Mariana Islands; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider an order striking his jury demands; considering appropriate standard of review for reconsideration of the interlocutory order of another district judge; analyzing whether plaintiff’s first jury demand was proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) and, in the alternative, whether plaintiff’s second jury demand was permissible under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b) as a late demand due to excusable neglect)09/26/2011
-McFarland v. McFarland, et al. (Diversity action for slander, libel, and defamation; motion to strike and motions for summary judgment; analysis under Iowa law of whether defendants could establish the required elements for invoking issue preclusion based on Iowa divorce case, and whether defendants’ statements about plaintiff were absolutely privileged under Iowa law. 09/20/2011
-Sizemoore v. Producers Cooperative Company, et al. (diversity action arising from an automobile accident, in which the plaintiff alleges that she is now a citizen of Florida; defendant’s motion to dismiss or stay the federal action under Colorado River, because the plaintiff filed an identical action in state court two days later that differs only in that the plaintiff alleged that she was a citizen of Iowa at he time of the accident: whether dismissal or stay of this action “at law” is permissible under Colorado River; application of the pertinent factors for Colorado River)09/19/2011
-Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Limine ruling for excessive force § 1983 case with proposed limiting instruction)09/16/2011
-Timmerman, et al v. Eich, et al : (action by debtors and case trustee against former bankruptcy attorneys for malpractice and breach of warranty; bankruptcy attorneys’ motion for summary judgment: standing of the trustee to assert malpractice claims, involving the effect of 11 U.S.C. § 1207 on definition of property of the estate; subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy malpractice claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334; applicability of issue preclusion and judicial estoppel when prior judgment is by consent; applicability of doctrine of in pari delicto; availability of emotional distress damages for bankruptcy malpractice; availability of a breach of warranty claim with a malpractice claim; availability of punitive damages) 09/12/2011
-Estate of McFarlin, et al v. City of Storm Lake, et al (action arising from the death of a minor child brought by the child’s mother on behalf of the child’s estate and on behalf of herself and her surviving child for bystander emotional distress and loss of consortium; estranged father’s motion to join as necessary or “required” party pursuant to Rule 19, construed as a motion to intervene pursuant to Rule 24, and defendants’ joinder in Rule 19 motion seeking dismissal: feasibility of joinder of a party who would destroy diversity jurisdiction; whether missing party was “necessary”)09/06/2011
-Nam v. Quichocho & Atalig (Saipan real estate contract dispute between a Saipan lawyer lessor (and another co-owner) and a Korean businessman lessee arising from the lessors’ attempt to terminate the lessee’s 55-year lease, on which the lessee had made full payment up front, after only two years; cross-motions for summary judgment on the lessee’s claim for breach of fiduciary duty against the attorney lessor, premised on the lessee’s belief that he had an attorney-client relationship with the attorney lessor regarding the lease transaction, and on the lessee’s claims against both lessors for breach of contract and restitution; lessee’s motion for summary judgment on the lessors’ counterclaims for slander of title, breach of contract, express contractual indemnity, waste, and quiet title; and lessors’ motion to strike one declaration in support of the lessee’s motion for summary judgment)09/01/2011
-Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co. v. SMA Elevator Construction, Inc., et al.08/29/2011
-EEOC v. Asia Pacific Hotels, Inc. (action by EEOC against hotel owner and operator and hotel holding company on behalf of a singer in a Filipino rock band for sexual harassment: defendants’ motion for summary judgment on applicability of the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense)08/26/2011
-United States v. Russell Hawley & Hawley Insurance, Inc. (This civil action involves a Motion For Partial Summary Judgment filed on the part of defendants Russell T. Hawley and Hawley Insurance, Inc. (collectively the “defendants” or “Hawley”). Hawley alleges that amendments to the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, as set forth in the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (“FERA”), Pub. L. No. 111-21, § 4(f)(1), 123 Stat. 1617, 1625 (2009), do not apply to the present matter and, thus, he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Hawley further argues that even if the amendments do apply, such retroactive application would violate the Ex Post Facto clause and Hawley’s right to Due Process under the United States Constitution. The court granted Hawley’s Motion as to his claim that the FERA amendments to the FCA do not apply, because Hawley did not have a “claim,” or a demand for money to the NCCI pending on or after June 7, 2008. The court also granted Hawley’s Motion as to his claim that retroactive application of the FERA amendments to the FCA would result in violation of the Ex Post Facto clause of the United States Constitution, because the FCA’s statutory scheme is punitive in nature, and, thus, retroactive application of the amendments to the FCA would impose punishment for acts that were not punishable prior to enactment of the amendments.)08/01/2011
-Guinan, et al v. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (Employment law, motion for summary judgment and motion to strike; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate donning and doffing time violates the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law, Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning and doffing workers’ personal protective equipment is “changing clothes” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(o), the statute plaintiffs rely upon to establish a violation of the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law. )07/25/2011
-In re Meta Financial Group, Inc., Securities Litigation(Putative class action by investors against a bank holding company and bank officers for securities fraud arising from failure to disclose an investigation by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) of a short-term credit program using prepaid debit cards: defendants’ motion to dismiss: whether plaintiffs adequately pleaded a § 10(b)/Rule 10b-5 claim and, in particular, the alleged misstatements and scienter, with the particularity required by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA), 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b); whether the plaintiffs adequately pleaded a § 20 “control person” liability claim)07/18/2011
-State of Arizona Dep't of Law, Civil Rights Division & Angela Aguilar v. ASARCO, LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; defendant’s post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, challenging submissibility of the sexual harassment claim and punitive damages and the amount of the punitive damages award as unconstitutionally excessive; defendant’s alternative motion for new trial, challenging the court’s answer to a question from the jury as misleading and the court’s admission of “me too” evidence; the plaintiffs’ post-trial motion for equitable and injunctive relief to compel the defendant to create or modify and implement an adequate policy against sexual harassment and to require certain training of managers, supervisors, and other employees, concerning sexual harassment)07/13/2011
-Fraserside IP LLC v. Youngtek Solutions Limited (Copyright and trademark infringement, defendant’s motion to set aside default, analysis of whether service or process in Cyprus was satisfied under the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters where plaintiff used private process server and the summons and complaint, with no Greek translation, were served on defendant’s agent for process in Cyprus, analysis of whether the default should be set aside for good cause.)07/12/2011
-Mathison v. U.S. (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting as grounds that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to withdraw when a per se conflict of interest between counsel and petitioner was created, in failing to raise a sentencing challenge pursuant to Gall, and for failing to request a change of venue. Petitioner also argues respondent committed prosecutorial misconduct by using the unreliable testimony of witness during his trial. In addition, petitioner contends newly discovered evidence, the unreliability of a witness’s testimony, entitles him to a new trial. Motion denied in its entirety: first, petitioner could not demonstrate his counsel’s conduct fell below the wide range of reasonable professional assistance in failing to withdraw, in failing to raise a sentencing challenge pursuant to Gall, and for failing to request a change of venue. Petitioner also not entitled to relief on his claim of prosecutorial misconduct because he did not establish that witness’s statement was perjurious and, further, did not establish that the prosecution knew or should have known that the statements constituted perjury. In addition, petitioner did not establish that witness’s alleged perjurious statement regarding a defendant in a separate case constituted newly discovered evidence entitling him to a new trial.)07/05/2011
-Jones, et al v. Dolgencorp, Inc. & Dollar General Partners (In a collective action by fourteen plaintiffs, the defendants, Dolgencorp, Inc. and Dollar General Partners, filed a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgment, solely against plaintiff Pamm Joyner-Azbill. Plaintiff claims defendants have a uniform policy and practice of consistently requiring managerial staff to work overtime without compensation, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiff also claims the vast majority of work hours are spent performing non-managerial job duties. The court denied the defendants’ Motion to Strike, because the motion was improper under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Furthermore, the court denied the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, because a reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff’s primary duty was manual labor. )06/08/2011
-Strom v. Holiday Companies, et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging sex discrimination under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendant’s motion for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether the "harassment" employee suffered was because of employee’s sex; whether the "harassment" in question was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable, and whether a reasonable person would find the working conditions at issue so intolerable that she was compelled to remain away from work while awaiting the results of the investigation)06/06/2011
-Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. (action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: determination of whether any issues remain to be resolved after remand from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals: whether the court must now decide questions that it did not address in its original decision on the merits, which are whether the Schedule of Benefits is a summary plan description (SPD) or “faulty” SPD, which turn on the question of whether the terms of the purported SPD or “faulty” SPD conflict with the terms of the plan, as construed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)06/06/2011
-Magnussen v. Casey's Marketing Company & Van Seggern (convenience store manager’s claims of disparate treatment disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation pursuant to the ADA (pre-ADAAA) and ICRA; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether the plaintiff was “actually disabled,” “regarded as disabled,” or “had a record of disability,” rather than a temporary limitation, because of a “flare up” of a back condition; whether, if “disabled,” she was “qualified” for her position based on standing restrictions; whether the plaintiff was terminated from her position for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons rather than for leaving shift vacancies uncovered; and whether, if “actually disabled,” the employer failed to accommodate that disability and whether the employer or the plaintiff is responsible for the breakdown of the “interactive process” to determine reasonable accommodation)05/26/2011
-Cornerstone Consultants, Inc. & Qualy v. Production Input Solutions,LLC (action by an independent contractor arising from a company’s access to the contractor’s private e-mails, to and from separate e-mail accounts, stored on the company’s e-mail server with e-mails to and from the independent contractor’s account on the company’s e-mail service; defendants’ motion to dismiss a claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2701, a provision of the Stored Communications Act: whether, in light of the interplay between § 2701(a), creating a cause of action, and § 2701(c), excepting access authorized by certain entities from liability, the plaintiffs adequately pleaded that the company’s access to the company’s e-mail server, where the independent contractor’s e-mails were stored, was unauthorized or in excess of any authorization by the entity that “provided” the pertinent “electronic communications service”; whether state-law claims against the moving defendants should be dismissed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), upon dismissal of federal claims against them, where a federal claim remained pending against a non-moving defendant)05/19/2011
-Precision Press, Inc. d/b/a Anderson Brothers Printing Company v. MLP USA, Inc. (Contract law; Motion to confirm arbitration award and motion to vacate arbitration award; order granting motion to confirm arbitration award and denying motion to vacate arbitration award; dispute over whether arbitration clause in sales agreement for commercial printer displaced review of the arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act with state law; review of the arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act; and determination of whether plaintiff’s grounds for vacating the arbitration award are among those cognizable under the Federal Arbitration Act.)05/11/2011
-Luken v. Edwards (Case brought under Title III of the Omnibus Crime and Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2520 (“Title III” or “the Act”) for intercepted telephone calls between plaintiff and other individuals, including his attorney, with pendent claims for invasion of attorney-client privilege, invasion of privacy, and under Iowa’s wiretapping act, Iowa Code § 808B.8; motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim; concluding that Amended Complaint’s factual allegations that plausibly stated claims under Title III, Iowa Code § 808B.8, and invasion of privacy, but dismissing invasion of attorney-client privilege claim because it is not recognized under Iowa law.05/03/2011
-Vis v. American Family Assurance Company of Columbus (insurance agent’s action against insurance company for breach of contract for failing to pay renewal commissions after termination: insurance company’s motion to compel arbitration: validity of the arbitration agreement as part of an alleged contract of adhesion and as unconscionable, because of disparity of bargaining power and lack of mutuality, where the arbitration clause excepted certain actions by the insurance company)04/21/2011
-Powell v. Fayram : (state prisoner’s petition for habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254: prisoner’s objections to report and recommendation of magistrate judge to deny the petition in its entirety: whether state courts made unreasonable factual determinations or unreasonably applied United States Supreme Court law to the prisoner’s claim that his trial counsel was ineffective in not giving him correct advice during plea negotiations about the time that he would have to serve in prison on a mandatory minimum sentence if he were convicted on a state charge of attempted murder)04/21/2011
-Woodward v. O'Brien, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment, prisoner § 1983 case involving Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding defendants’ motion for summary judgment, granting summary judgment because plaintiff is unable to show defendants ignored an acute or escalating situation, or that the defendants’ delays in providing him with treatment adversely affected the prognosis or ultimate outcome of his eye condition. )04/20/2011
-Siouxland Community Blood Bank v. Holcomb Freightliner, Inc. & Cummins Engine Company, Inc.This action was originally filed in state court. It was removed to federal court alleging diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff has moved to remand it back to state court — asserting the Petition seeks less than $75,000 in damages — the minimum required for federal jurisdiction. The court concludes that the defendants have not established that, at the time of removal, the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000. 04/13/2011
-Bussey v. Quality Egg, LLC (See Holt)03/25/2011
-Dzinovic v. Quality Egg, LLC (See Holt)03/25/2011
-Lewis v. Quality Egg, LLC (See Holt)03/25/2011
-Daughetee v. CHR Hansen, Inc. Diversity tort case, motions to dismiss for improper venue pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), analysis of whether the court must consider dismissed defendant in accessing whether all defendants reside in Iowa turns on whether venue should be evaluated, when complaint filed or on the date the court considers motions to dismiss, court is bound to follow the controlling law in the Eighth Circuit, even if it reflects a minority view on the issue, which holds that a court should reassess venue on the basis of the circumstances as they exist at the time motion to dismiss is considered as opposed to the state of affairs when the complaint was first filed, court found that venue of case proper in the Northern District of Iowa under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a)(1) because it is “a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State.”) 03/25/2011
-Jason & Jennifer Tucker v. Quality Egg, LLC (See Holt)03/25/2011
-Daniel & Libby Sands v. Quality Egg, LLC (See Holt)03/25/2011
-Holt v. Quality Egg. LLC (Six actions, consolidated for discovery, arising out of an outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis in the summer of 2010 that was allegedly tied to the defendant’s eggs and egg products: defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss punitive damages claims and Rule 12(f) motions to strike certain allegations in support of punitive damages claims; whether underlying claims must have a “willfulness” element to support an award of punitive damages; whether the regulations and acts underlying a negligence per se claim must permit punitive damages; and whether certain punitive damages allegations concerning past misconduct are related to the underlying causes of action)03/25/2011
-State of Arizona & Aguilar v. ASARCO LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; the individual plaintiff’s motion in limine: whether the defendant’s psychiatric expert exceeded the scope of a permissible examination of the plaintiff, the admissibility of the expert’s testimony and report, and the admissibility of evidence of the plaintiff’s prior employment; the defendant’s motion in limine: admissibility of evidence of harassment of the alleged harasser, harassment of the plaintiff by another employee, photographs of allegedly pornographic graffiti, and the administrative agency’s “probable cause” determination)03/22/2011
-In Re Iowa Ready-Mix Concrete Antitrust Litigation (Class-action lawsuit by purchasers of ready-mix concrete against producers and sellers of ready-mix concrete and certain of their officers, directors, owners, and employees who have pleaded guilty to criminal antitrust offenses, alleging an antitrust conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the price of ready-mix concrete in the “Iowa region”: defendants’ motions to dismiss: failure to plead factual support for allegations of an antitrust conspiracy; whether or not to grant leave to amend post-dismissal)03/08/2011
-Rattray v. Woodbury County, Iowa (In this civil rights “strip search” case, the court was asked to decide what to make of an initial verdict that was clearly at odds with the jury instructions, and the jurors attempt to cure this inconsistency in a second verdict after the court ordered further deliberations. The court concluded that because there was no legally plausible explanation for the dramatic increase in emotional distress damages awarded by the jury between the two verdicts, a new trial was imperative to prevent a miscarriage of justice.)03/07/2011
-Baker v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co. (In this case, the court was asked to decide whether a pickup truck used to obtain fuel for refueling equipment on a salvage yard, constituted an “auto” or “mobile equipment” for purposes of determining liability for bodily injury or property damage under a commercial general liability insurance policy. The court concluded no genuine issues of material fact existed because the pickup truck was not insured for either bodily injury or property damage caused by negligence of its driver under the terms of the commercial general liability policy.)02/15/2011
-Johnson v. Dollar General, et al. (The plaintiff, Todd Johnson, filed an Amended Complaint against defendants, Dollar General, Dolgencorp, L.L.C., and Michael Williams. Johnson alleged that the defendants terminated his employment in retaliation for him missing work because of an illness and therefore in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. The court held that Johnson’s claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.)02/15/2011
-Salton v. Polyock (Diversity Tort Action, motion to remand, review of the principles applicable to a motion to remand and analysis of whether removing party is able prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount.)02/10/2011
-Moore v. Lehigh Cement Company (longtime employee with epilepsy sued former employer for disability discrimination under the ADA and ICRA; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: whether the ADA or the ADAAA applied to the plaintiff’s claims; whether the plaintiff was actually disabled or perceived to be disabled based on limitations on the number of hours he could work per week or a combination of limitations; whether the plaintiff’s retaliation claim could proceed in light of the protracted time between protected activity and adverse action, his supervisor’s lack of knowledge of the plaintiff’s prior discrimination charge at the time of adverse action, but human resources manager’s knowledge of the prior charge, and employer’s assertion that the plaintiff was fired for a plant rules violation)02/04/2011
-Kim v. Quichocho, et al: (Action involving fraud and RICO claims based on allegations that the defendants, including the plaintiff’s attorney, defrauded the plaintiff of two of her businesses; defendants’ second motion to dismiss RICO claims and motion to dismiss common-law fraud claim: adequacy of pleading of predicate acts of wire fraud and money laundering, a patter of racketeering activity, and conduct or acquisition of control of a RICO enterprise; pleading of an agreement, for purposes of RICO conspiracy claim, including whether an intracorporate conspiracy suffices; pleading of fraud with the particularity required by Rule 9(b) and whether fraud was based on anything other than representations about future events)01/24/2011
-Aquino v. Delores San Nicolas, et al. (an alien convicted of drug offenses asserted claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and CNMI law arising from her detention pending deportation, without review by a judge, for 88 days after the end of her sentence; defendants’ second round of motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s recast claims of violation of due process and intentional infliction of emotional distress, based on failure to deport the plaintiff “immediately” upon the completion of her sentence and continuing her detention without review by a judge, and new claims of breach of contract, based on alleged violation of a plea agreement requiring “immediate” deportation, and tortious breach of duty, based on breach of a duty to deport the plaintiff “immediately” upon the end of her sentence allegedly created by the judgment and commitment order; whether dismissal of claims this time should be with prejudice)01/05/2011
-McGraw, et al. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC, et al. (Action by bilked investors seeking to recover from a securities broker’s employers sums that they gave the broker (now deceased) to invest in fictitious “special investments”; cross-motions for summary judgment: timeliness of two plaintiffs’ claims; theories of liability for remaining claims; summary judgment on direct liability claims, including the necessity of expert testimony on the existence and breach of relevant standards of care, existence of a duty to non-customers, and the existence and breach of the duty to monitor and fiduciary duty; summary judgment on vicarious liability claims, including the broker’s apparent authority from the brokerage firms, and the existence and breach of the broker’s underlying duty as to representations, duty as to suitability of investments, and fiduciary duty) 12/22/2010
-McGraw, et al. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC, et al. (Action by bilked investors seeking to recover from a securities broker’s employers sums that they gave the broker (now deceased) to invest in fictitious “special investments”; sua sponte order to clarify whether the plaintiffs’ remaining claims of “negligent supervision,” “negligent misrepresentation,” “negligence—suitability” [of investments],” and “breach of fiduciary duty” were based on direct or vicarious liability theories) 12/08/2010
-Rattray, et al. v. Woodbury County, Ia, et al : (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees; plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment: constitutionality of a “blanket” strip-search policy, no longer in force, and conduct pursuant to it, including whether resolution of those issues is required where claims for declaratory judgment were withdrawn and the determinations are not necessary to resolution of the claims and would involve unnecessary determination of constitutional issues; qualified immunity, including proper identification of the right that must be clearly established and breached to overcome qualified immunity; and severance of trials, where one plaintiff must only prove damages, but the other plaintiffs must prove liability and damages) 12/01/2010
-Hussaini v. Gelita USA, Inc. 9Labor/Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging Iowa common law claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, promissory estoppel, and fraudulent misrepresentation; analysis of whether plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.11/04/2010
-Dong & Lowery v. Royal Crown Insurance Corp. : (Action arising from the plaintiff insureds’ claims that their insurer failed to defend them against third-party claims arising from a motor vehicle accident in which insurer has also filed a counterclaim for indemnity and contribution against the insured who was driving the insured vehicle at the time of the accident, because he was intoxicated; motions for summary judgment by both the insurer and the insureds: statutory preemption of common-law claims; improper assignment of statutory claim; insurer’s duty to defend notwithstanding an DUI Exclusion Clause in the policy; and authorizations for and bars to the counterclaim to recover from the intoxicated insured; court’s summary judgment sua sponte on private action pursuant to statute barred by a decision of the Commonwealth Supreme Court after this case was filed) 10/18/2010
-Dorr v. Weber, et al. (Plaintiff Paul Dorr is a prevailing party within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and, therefore, is entitled to an award of some reasonable amount in attorneys’ fees. After a line-by-line review of the fee application, the court decided that the fees claimed should be reduced for time not reasonably expended, further reduced by ten percent for “block billing,” and an additional ten percent “penalty” reduction for a wildly over-inflated fee request. Therefore, the court awarded attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988 to Paul Dorr in the amount of $51,744.26, and additional costs and expenses to Paul in the amount of $2,430.60.)09/30/2010
-Dollar v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc., et al (Employment discrimination, suit by employee against former employer alleging violates the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, cross-motions for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish that she suffered from a serious health condition; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish she provided employer with notice and her need for FMLA leave, and, examination of whether plaintiff suffered any damages recoverable under the FMLA as a result of her employer’s firing her.)09/15/2010
-Leventhal v. Schaffer (Events on RAGBRAI 2005 led to plaintiff William Eugene Leventhal’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action for unlawful arrest, ultimately resulting in a three-day bench trial against defendant Sergeant Daniel Schaffer. Leventhal established that Schaffer violated his Fourth Amendment rights, because Schaffer lacked probable cause in arresting Leventhal for cursing and pointing his finger at Schaffer. Nevertheless, Leventhal did not win his lawsuit, because the court found that Schaffer was entitled to qualified immunity.)09/09/2010
-Farm-To-Consumer-Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements)08/18/2010
-Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements) 08/18/2010
-The Estate of Brock C. Pigorsch, et al v. York College v. Harlan Jacobsen d/b/a Video Mania & Eugene Camillocci (tort diversity action concerning motor vehicle accident; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning whether Iowa, Kansas or Nebraska law was applicable to the substantive legal questions presented in the case; using the choice-of-law rules of the forum state-Iowa, and applying Iowa’s “most significant relationship” test to determine conflict-of-laws questions, the court concluded that Iowa law is applicable to the substantive legal questions presented in the case08/18/2010
-Aventure Communications Technology LLC v. Iowa Utilities Board, et al (Action by a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) for a preliminary injunction enjoining action to enforce an order of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) concerning “high volume access service” (HVAS), including conference bridges, chat lines, help desks, and other services based upon a high volume of incoming and outgoing calls, and motions by interexchange carriers (IXCs) to intervene: application of Rule 24(a)(2) standards to motions to intervene as of right based on participation in administrative rule-making proceedings and application of the Dataphase factors to the CLEC’s motion for preliminary injunction.)08/17/2010
-Hauth v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America (ERISA, judicial review of the denial of a claim for life insurance benefits under a group life insurance policy, analysis of whether insurer’s decision to deny life insurance benefits was reasonable, that is, supported by substantial evidence.)08/10/2010
-The Prudential Insurance Co. of America, et al v. Inlay (Action by insurance company against former agent seeking temporary restraining order pending FINRA arbitration action to address claims of breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriate of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantages, and conversion; whether FINRA Arbitration Rule 13804 permitting a party to arbitration to seek a “temporary injunctive order” in court permits the court to enter a “preliminary injunction” or only a “temporary restraining order,” whether the Dataphase factors warranted a temporary injunction on the former agent’s conduct)07/28/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland (Diversity action for slander, libel, defamation and tortuous interference with prospective business relations; motion for summary judgment; determination of whether the court should delay consideration of Motion for Summary Judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f), until plaintiff has completed discovery in the case; analysis under Iowa law of whether witness, who provided affidavit as part of a divorce proceeding, enjoys an absolute privilege for those statements made in the course of the dissolution litigation.)07/26/2010
-Hoskins v. Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan (Plaintiff Dean Hoskins appealed Defendant Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan’s denial of disability retirement benefits, and Hoskins requested the assessment of a penalty for Snap-On’s failure to provide Plan documents; the court held that Snap-On’s decision not to award disability benefits was not supported by substantial evidence and ordered Snap-On to award Hoskins disability benefits; the court also assessed Snap-On a penalty for failing to timely produce Plan documents.)07/20/2010
-Turner v. U.S. (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting as grounds that the prosecution violated his due process rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to disclose police reports that contained material which could have been used to impeach the police officers and that he was provided with ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. Motion denied in its entirety: first, petitioner, by entering a plea of guilty, waived his right to collaterally attack his conviction based on claims that his counsel was ineffective in his handling of the suppression hearing, that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to challenge the sufficiency of the Indictment’s 21 U.S.C. § 860 charge, and that the prosecution’s failure to disclose the police reports was a Brady violation; second, petitioner could not relitigate in his § 2255 motion his claim that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge petitioner’s armed career criminal designation since that issue was raised and decided on appeal; and, finally, petitioner could not demonstrate that his counsel’s conduct fell below the wide range of reasonable professional assistance in failing to object to prosecution’s § 851 notice of enhanced penalties, or that but for counsel’s failure to object to the prosecution’s § 851 notice, the result of the proceedings would have been any different.)07/15/2010
-Dorr v. Weber: (The court held a one day bench trial on Plaintiff Paul Dorr and Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s claims that Defendant Sheriff Weber’s denial of their applications for concealed weapons permits was in retaliation for the Plaintiffs’ exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association; the court found that Sheriff Weber’s asserted reasons for denying the permits were credible; the court found that Sheriff Weber had denied Paul Weber’s application in retaliation for his engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which included writing letters to the editor and distributing flyers; the court found that Sheriff Weber denied Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s application due to Sheriff Weber’s belief that permits should not be issued to individuals under 21 years of age, which was not in violation of the First Amendment; the court provided declaratory relief to Paul Dorr, declaring Sheriff Weber’s denial of Paul Dorr’s application to constitute First Amendment Retaliation; the court ordered injunctive relief and required Sheriff Weber to immediately issue Paul Dorr a concealed weapons permit; the court ordered further remedial relief in requiring Sheriff Weber to take a class concerning the First Amendment.)07/07/2010
-Kliment v. Astrue (The court granted Plaintiff’s request for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d); however, pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Astrue v. Ratliff, --- S.Ct. ---, 2010 WL 2346547 (2010), the court awarded the fees to the Plaintiff, rather than awarding them directly to Plaintiff’s counsel.)06/15/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland, et al. (Diversity action for slander, libel, defamation and tortuous interference with prospective business relations; motion for summary judgment; analysis under Iowa law of whether an expert, who offered her opinion regarding the need for structured, supervised child visitation as part of a divorce proceeding, enjoys an absolute privilege for those statements made in the course of the dissolution litigation.)06/04/2010
-Aquino v. San Nicolas, et al.: (Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Plaintiff was held for 88 days after serving a one year sentence for possessing an illicit substance, despite her having had stipulated to her immediate deportation; the court held that the 88 day detention did not violate Plaintiff’s Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Commonwealth Covenant applying the Fourteenth Amendment to the Northern Mariana Islands as if it were one of the states, pursuant to United States Supreme Court precedent finding such a detention to be presumptively reasonable; the court also held that this presumptively reasonable period of detention was not “outrageous” conduct, which caused Plaintiff’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claim to fail; the court grated Defendants’ motions to dismiss but provided Plaintiff with leave to amend her complaint)05/27/2010
-Dorr v. Weber (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether defendant sheriff’s is entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims, analysis of whether plaintiffs whether plaintiffs were similarly situated to persons who allegedly received favorable treatment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could a causal connection between defendants’ retaliatory animus and the denial of their gun permits sufficient to establish their First Amendment retaliation claims, examination of whether plaintiff had a property right to gun permit when local authorities have discretion to deny such a permit)05/18/2010
-Bernadita Aldan & Miguel Aldan v. World Corporation (Slip-and-fall action under CNMI law on diversity jurisdiction: plaintiffs’ motion to amend complaint to add a prayer for punitive damages, pursuant to Rules 15 and 16, after the deadline for amendments in the scheduling order: diligence of the plaintiffs in attempting to discover the new information on which the proposed amendment was based and in filing the motion to amend after actually discovering that new information, prejudice to the defendant of reopening discovery, and futility of the amendment as failing to put the defendant on notice of the claim for punitive damages)04/30/2010
-Kliment v. Astrue (Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that he was not disabled; Plaintiff claimed that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s determination at step three, of the familiar five-step analysis, that Kliment did not meet or equal the conditions in Listing 12.05(C) and, specifically, that there is not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s failure to find a second medically determinable impairment under Listing 12.05(C), that the ALJ failed to pose a hypothetical question to the Vocational Expert witness that clearly presented a set of limitations that mirrored Kliment’s, and that the ALJ failed to determine and communicate a residual functional capacity specific enough to determine if Kliment is disabled; the court found, as did Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, that there was not substantial evidence in the record for the ALJ’s decision that Plaintiff was not disabled under Listing 12.05(C) and that the ALJ posed an improper hypothetical question to the VE; however, the court also agreed with Judge Zoss that there was not overwhelming evidence that Plaintiff was disabled under Listing 12.05(C), as Plaintiff had claimed in his objection to Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation; the case is remanded for further consideration of whether Plaintiff meets Listing 12.05(C) and for a reassessment of Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity)04/28/2010
-SmithCo Manufacturing, Inc. v. Haldex Brake Products Corporation : (Action arising from the substitution by the defendant of a different air control valve for the one that the defendant had previously supplied, which the plaintiff uses in the air suspension system of the side-dump trailers that it manufactures; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: after voluntary dismissal of the plaintiff’s negligence claim, and denial of leave to amend to assert express warranty and promissory estoppel claims, the only question was whether the defendant was entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim on the ground that the plaintiff never informed the defendant, and the defendant had no reason to know, of the particular purpose for which the plaintiff intended to use the valve) 04/28/2010
-Kim v. Quichocho, et al. : (Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff’s claims 1 through 3, claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), for allegedly failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and for failing to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), where fraud had been alleged; the court found that the RICO claims should be dismissed, if they are not properly amended, for failing to properly allege predicate acts of racketeering activity; although the plaintiff alleged wire fraud and money laundering as predicate acts of racketeering activity, the wire fraud was not pled with particularity under Rule 9(b) and the money laundering, which requires its own predicate act of specified unlawful activity, could not rely on wire fraud as a predicate act of specified unlawful activity because of Rule 9(b) and the other alleged unlawful activity was not unlawful activity under the definition of specified unlawful activity; the court granted the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint within 90 days; failure to properly amend the complaint will result in dismissal without prejudice.)04/20/2010
-Johnson v. U.S.(§ 2255 motion by defendant convicted of capital charges of murders while working in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise: respondent’s motion for psychiatric examinations of the petitioner: the applicable discovery rule for mental examinations, via Habeas Rule 6(a), is Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, not Rule 12.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; “in controversy” and “good cause” requirements of Rule 35, including whether the respondent was required to meet those requirements as to categories of mental conditions and categories of tests, or as to specific mental conditions and specific tests; Fifth and Sixth Amendment concerns and requirements for reports) 03/18/2010
-Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc.(action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: whether the plaintiffs are responsible for any more than $8,000 of the medical expenses in question, as that is the amount identified in the plan as the annual “out-of-pocket maximum” for an individual for treatment from “non-participating providers,” where the insurance company declined to pay medical expenses totaling almost three times that amount, on the ground that various costs do not “apply” to the “out-of-pocket maximum”)03/15/2010
-Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: motions, after jury verdict finding infringement and court’s entry of permanent injunction, concerning infringer’s compliance with permanent injunction: infringer’s motion to modify permanent injunction, pursuant to Rule 60(b)(5) (last clause), based on three purported “design arounds” and for refund of royalties paid based on the first “design around”; patent holder’s motion, pursuant to paragraph 4 of the permanent injunction, for a further accounting and payment of a further royalty at a further enhanced rate based on assertion that “design arounds” still infringe the patent-in-suit)03/08/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland, et al. Diversity action for slander, libel, and defamation; motion to dismiss; analysis under Iowa law of whether an attorney, who is representing party in a divorce proceedings, is entitled to immunity from suit based on the judicial proceeding privilege. 02/26/2010
-Wellenstein v. Astrue ((Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that he was not disabled; Plaintiff claimed that the ALJ failed to give enough weight to the opinions of certain medical sources, failed to fully and fairly develop the record concerning his physical and mental limitations, and failed to make a proper assessment of his credibility; this court found, as did Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s decision that Plaintiff was not disabled and ordered remand; Judge Zoss had found that the ALJ inadequately assessed the credibility of Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and that further development of the record was appropriate, as did this court; counter to Judge Zoss’s findings, this court found that the ALJ improperly analyzed the weight to be given to certain medical sources and required a reassessment on remand) 02/24/2010
-Johnson v. Fed Ex Corporation (Motion for Summary Judgment; the plaintiff sues her employer for sex discrimination and retaliation (plaintiff did not resist the defendant’s motion as to the retaliation claims) under Title VII and the ICRA; the plaintiff claims that she was treated differently than an allegedly similarly situated co-worker when she was terminated, and later reinstated without full back pay, while the co-worker was not disciplined; both plaintiff and co-worker had used company materials for personal use without obtaining prior permission to do so; the defendant claimed, in its motion, that the plaintiff and the co-worker were not similarly situated for various reasons, including due to the co-worker’s alleged self-reporting of his use of materials and offer to reimburse the company for the materials he used; the court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether the parties were similarly situated)01/26/2010
-Fikse v. Hall (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency’s director in his official, defendant’s motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated a genuine issue of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis.)01/25/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland (Diversity action for slander, libel, defamation and tortuous interference with prospective business relations; motion to dismiss; analysis under Iowa law of whether plaintiff had adequately pleaded factual allegations supporting his conspiracy claim such that defendants could be held liable for the foreseeable conduct of each co-conspirator, consideration of the sufficiency of plaintiff’s pleadings of the underlying torts in the amended complaint, and analysis of whether defendant’s statements about plaintiff were absolutely privileged under Iowa law.)01/19/2010
-Maldonado v. U.S. (2255 motion for post-conviction relief: claims of improper use of an uncounseled misdemeanor conviction, also without an interpreter, to enhance a federal sentence, ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to raise that claim at sentencing or on direct appeal to overcome procedural default of that claim and as a claim for relief, and ineffective assistance of counsel leading to forfeiture of the third level reduction for acceptance of responsibility) 01/15/2010
-Shannon v. Koehler, et al. : (Motion for Summary Judgment; the court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, which requested dismissal of all plaintiff’s claims – the court found that there were genuine issues of material fact concerning whether the officer was entitled to qualified immunity for the plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim based the officer’s alleged use of excessive force in arresting the plaintiff, because the record, which contained a surveillance tape, left unresolved several disputes, such as whether the plaintiff made physical contact with the officer before the officer took him down and whether the officer discontinued his use of force once the plaintiff submitted to arrest or was otherwise subdued; the defendants’ motion was also denied as to their claim that the City and Police Chief were not liable under § 1983, as the court found genuine issues of material fact concerning whether there was a continuing, widespread, persistent pattern of unconstitutional misconduct, whether the Police Chief showed deliberate indifference or tacit authorization of misconduct due to his allegedly having notice of prior incidents of police misconduct and deliberately failing to act on them, and whether these actions were the moving force behind the officer’s alleged use of excessive force on the plaintiff; the court found genuine issues of material fact concerning whether the officer was liable for assault and battery under Iowa law, and whether the City and Police Chief were liable for assault and battery under a respondeat superior theory.)12/04/2009
-McFarland v. McFarland, et al. (Diversity action for slander, libel, defamation and tortuous interference with prospective business relations; motion for summary judgment; analysis under Iowa law of whether a court-appointed individual, who was ordered to conduct a child custody evaluation as part of divorce proceedings, is entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity from suit)11/02/2009
-Schott v. Care Initiatives (Former employee’s age discrimination claim pursuant to the ADEA and Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: court addressed a question ante concerning the governing law, concluding that the “but for” causation standard for ADEA claims established in Gross v. FBL, 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009), does not apply to ICRA claims, in light of reiteration of “motivating factor” causation standard in Deboom v. Raining Rose, Inc., 772 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2009))10/15/2009
-Bodeans Cone Company, LLC, et al v. Norse Dairy Systems, LLC & Interbake Foods, LLC : (Antitrust action for injunctive relief and damages by one maker of novelty cones and ice cream sandwich wafers against another maker: plaintiff’s motion to exclude evidence of purportedly privileged documents, evidence of the parties’ future market shares, a list of makers of novelty ice cream products, correspondence with the Iowa Attorney General about an antitrust complaint against the defendant, and evidence of the principal’s vacation home; defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of customer responses to a survey conducted by a third-party consulting firm.)10/06/2009
-Arrington v. Richardson, et al. (Motion to Dismiss; the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss; finding that plaintiff may enforce the federal rights created by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2721, et seq., under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; although Congress included a remedial scheme in the Act, the court found that the scheme complemented § 1983 enforcement and was not intended to supplant § 1983.)10/01/2009
-Schmitz v. Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of plaintiffs claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for whether defendant was acting under color of state law when it terminated plaintiff’s employment, examination of whether defendant was a political subdivision of the State of Iowa as required under Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code §70A.29, and determination of whether court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining Iowa common law claim and dismiss it.)09/22/2009
-Hart v. Baldwin, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment; the court grants defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to “properly exhaust” his remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), as there was no genuine issue of material fact concerning whether his grievance was timely filed—plaintiff failed to comply with the prison system’s rule that grievances must be filed within thirty days of incident about which the prisoner is complaining.) 09/22/2009
-Armstrong, et al. v. Amercan Palltt Leasing, Inc. et al. (Securities litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1962, both the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. § 77, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78, as well as state common law claims; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) as to whether plaintiffs’ remaining state law claims against defendant bank derive from a common nucleus of operative fact and are of the type which ordinarily would be brought in a single lawsuit so as to give the court supplemental jurisdiction over all of the state law claims against bank; decision under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) concerning whether RICO § 1965(b) and/or § 27 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78aa, creates nationwide service of process permitting the court to exercise jurisdiction over defendants; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether plaintiffs’ RICO claims are based on securities fraud as predicate acts and thus barred by § 107 of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1965; determination of whether plaintiffs sufficiently pled claims under sections 10(b), 18 and 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b), 78r(a), 78t(a) and sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77k and 77l; review of the adequacy of plaintiffs’ pleadings concerning state law claims for conversion, professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentations or nondisclosures, and fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions.)08/26/2009
-In re Robert K. Miell (appeal by Chapter 11 debtor, facing sentencing on federal criminal charges and tax litigation, from the bankruptcy court’s denial of his motion to hire attorneys and to pay them from the estate: whether 11 U.S.C. § 105(a) can be used to provide a mechanism for payment of a debtor’s attorneys from the bankruptcy estate in a Chapter 11 case in the same way that 11 U.S.C. § 330(a)(4)(B) might provide for payment of attorneys from the bankruptcy estate in Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 cases.) 08/19/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance Co. et al v. Lincoln Natinal Life Insurance Co. (Bill of Costs, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 and 28 U.S.C. § 1920; the court decides whether the prevailing party should have deposition and document discovery costs apportioned, due to the risk of impermissible double recovery resulting from the anticipated use of the same depositions and document discovery in the other trial; the court also determines whether third party technology vendor consultant’s fees, travel, lodging, and food expenses are properly considered “exemplification” costs under § 1920; the court holds that (1) deposition and document discovery costs should not be apportioned due to a second pending trial but that such costs incurred before the commencement of the suit are not compensable, and (2) third party technology vendor consulting fees are properly considered “exemplification” costs under § 1920 and were necessarily incurred due to the complexity of the case but that the consultant’s travel, lodging, and food expenses are not compensable)08/17/2009
-Roberts et al. v. USCC Payroll Corporation & Stephanie Hood (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could establish a prima facie case of age discrimination, examination of whether plaintiffs generated a genuine issue of material fact that the reason defendants proffered for terminating them was pretextual, specifically whether they could make out the necessary showings that they were treated differently than similarly situated younger employees where they were fired after an investigation revealed that plaintiffs had violated a company policy that prohibited employees from working on the accounts of friends and family members; and determination of whether the granting of summary judgment constituted an unconstitutional violation of the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. )07/17/2009
-Settell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.: (claimant’s action against insurer and claim administrator for judicial review of denial of long-term disability benefits under ERISA plan: decision on the merits: claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) alleging improper denial of benefits, in light of opinions of treating physicians and the insurer’s consulting physicians; claim for imposition of a penalty pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) for failure to provide plan documents, including propriety of such a penalty against an insurer that was not the plan administrator)07/14/2009
-Dorr v. Weber, et al. (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; motion to dismiss by the county sheriff’s department and the sheriff’s “successors”: sufficiency of allegations of facts making it plausible that the county sheriff’s department had the power to make and enforce any rules and regulations, independent of the Sheriff, such that it might, itself, have the power to sue or be sued concerning the exercise of such power, and was not merely an instrumentality of the sheriff; necessity of including the sheriff’s “successors” as parties to ensure effective injunctive relief)07/07/2009
-Fikse v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, et al. (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency and the agency’s director, in his official capacity: defendants’ motion to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity grounds: whether the ADEA abrogates Eleventh Amendment immunity; whether the state agency waived Eleventh Amendment immunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1), by accepting federal funding; whether a state official, sued in his or her official capacity, has Eleventh Amendment immunity to a claim for prospective injunctive relief from violations of the ADEA; whether the plaintiff’s claim for prospective injunctive relief against the state official is adequately pleaded)07/02/2009
-Beekman v. Nestle Purina Petcare Company (Motion for Summary Judgment; plaintiff sues former employer, alleging that the employer interfered with her ability to take Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave on several occasions, retaliated against her for exercising her rights under the FMLA when it terminated her, and wrongfully discharged her in violation of the public policy set out in Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws, Iowa Code Chapter 85; employer’s motion for summary judgment: seeks dismissal of FMLA interference claims occurring outside of two year statute of limitations typically applicable to FMLA violations; disputes whether plaintiff 1) was entitled to FMLA leave on the dates in question, 2) had provided the Company with adequate and timely notice of her need for FMLA leave, and 3) had followed the Company’s call-in procedures; concerning both the FMLA retaliation and common law wrongful discharge claims, the Company alleges that Beekman cannot demonstrate a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination; the Company also alleges, in respect to both claims, that Beekman cannot prove that its articulated reason for the discharge was pretextual; the Company claims that Beekman was not an at-will employee, because of her union membership and the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the Company, and therefore is not entitled to the protections of the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine)06/25/2009
-Accurate Controls, Inc. v. Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors, et al.: (Action pursuant to Iowa Code Ch. 573 by sub-subcontractor for electronic security systems for a new county jail to recover payment from the general contractor, the contractor’s surety, and the county board of supervisors after the electrical subcontractor that directly employed the sub-subcontractor defaulted: parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment: diversity subject matter jurisdiction of federal courts to hear an action where a state statute lays venue in the court of a particular county; timeliness of an Iowa Code Ch. 573 action; applicability of § 573.15, which requires detailed notice to a general contractor of “claims for material furnished,” to an entity that provided both material and labor; adequacy of invoices provided to subcontractor and forwarded to general contractor with subcontractor’s pay application to provide required notice to the general contractor of a claim for material furnished by a sub-subcontractor; available damages under Chapter 573; and continued viability of a Chapter 573 action against a county board that had released the retainage on payments to the general contractor upon completion of the project)06/18/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: post-trial motions after jury trial on infringement and invalidity issues: alleged infringer’s motion for JMOL pursuant to Rule 50(b); alleged infringer’s alternative motion for new trial pursuant to Rule 59(a); prevailing patent holder’s motion for prejudgment interest; prevailing patent holder’s motion for permanent injunction)06/08/2009
-Precision Press, Inc. d/b/a Anderson Brothers Printing Co. v. MLP USA, Inc. (Contract law, motion to dismiss, or alternatively, to stay pending arbitration; dispute over whether arbitration clause in sales agreement for commercial printer required dismal or stay of case; analysis of whether state or federal law governs the dispute; examination of whether Federal Arbitration Act applies to sale agreement’s arbitration clause, review of whether that arbitration agreement constituted an agreement to arbitrate the issues involved in the litigation; and determination of whether dismissal of case, as opposed to a stay pending arbitration, was permitted by the Federal Arbitration Act.)06/01/2009
-B& D Land and Livestock Co. v. Ed Schafer (B & D Land and Livestock Co. v. Schafer (Judicial review of administrative action by the USDA finding a wetland “conversion” in violation of the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3801, 3821-24: plaintiff’s claim for attorney fees and costs under EAJA, 28 U.S.C. § 2412, as a “prevailing party”: determination of whether government’s position was “substantially justified” and whether “special circumstances” might make a fee award unwarranted; determination of appropriate hourly rate based on cost of living increases and “special factors” consisting of counsel’s expertise in the area of wetlands law and the lack of other lawyers in this district with the distinct knowledge that this litigation has required; whether hours claimed for a preliminary injunction motion were necessary in light of assurances that the government would not deny farm program benefits during the pendency of the judicial review action) 05/21/2009
-Moriarity v. Astrue (Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that she was not disabled; the Appeals Council had denied she was disabled even though she provided them, but not the ALJ, with a medical report containing opinions from her treating physician. The court applied the framework governing a district court’s reveiew when evidence is provided to the Appeals Council but not the ALJ, as explained in Riley v. Shalala, 18 F.3d 619, 622 (8th Cir. 1994) and remanded the case for further development of the record.) 05/13/2009
-The Hamlin Group, LLC v. Third Generation Investments, et al. & Third Generation Investments v. Clocktower Development, LLC (commercial dispute over promise to transfer property for development involving, inter alia, claims of breach of contract and fraud: plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2): sufficiency of grounds for and factors pertinent to voluntary dismissal; meaning of portion of rule permitting voluntary dismissal, over defendant’s objections, when a counterclaim is pending, “only if the counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication”; relevance of third-party claim to voluntary dismissal analysis; sua sponte consideration of whether leave to assert third-party claim was improvidently granted, for failure to comply with Rule 14, and sua sponte dismissal of third-party claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, because third-party claim, properly construed as claim for Rule 19 required joinder of necessary party, would deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction)05/05/2009
-Stillmunkes, et al. v. Givaudan Flavors, Corp. et al (Diversity products liability action, consolidation of cases for trial, addressing issue of whether to consolidate two cases for trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), considering whether a common question of law or fact exists in these cases, whether the risk of prejudice to defendants, the burden on parties, witnesses and available judicial resources posed by multiple lawsuits, and the length of time required to conclude multiple suits as against a single one.)04/10/2009
-Blood et al v. Givaudan Flavors Corporation, et al (Diversity products liability action, consolidation of cases for trial, addressing issue of whether to consolidate two cases for trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), considering whether a common question of law or fact exists in these cases, whether the risk of prejudice to defendants, the burden on parties, witnesses and available judicial resources posed by multiple lawsuits, and the length of time required to conclude multiple suits as against a single one)04/10/2009
-Tokheim v. Georgia-Pacific Gypsum. LLC (Employment discrimination action; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: issue of whether plaintiff’s claims were barred under the doctrine of judicial estoppel for her failure to disclose her claims against defendant to the bankruptcy court at any time during the pendency of her prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding in that court even though she was under an affirmative duty to do so; analysis of three factors governing whether to apply the doctrine in case: (1) whether plaintiff’s position in this court was “clearly inconsistent” with her earlier position in bankruptcy court; (2) whether plaintiff had succeeded in persuading a court to accept her earlier position, so that judicial acceptance of an inconsistent position in this court would create “the perception that either the first or the second court was misled”; and (3) whether plaintiff would derive an unfair advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not estopped; examination of whether plaintiff’s contention that she should not be subject to judicial estoppel in this case since her failure to inform the bankruptcy court of her claims against defendant was inadvertent because she informed her bankruptcy attorney of the claims and relied upon her bankruptcy attorney’s advice.03/31/2009
-Leventhal v. Sgt. Daniel Schaffer, et al. ((Motion for Summary Judgment; defendants move for summary judgment on all remaining claims, court grants motion regarding 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force and Iowa Tort Claims Act, denies motion regarding § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest as the court found both a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether defendant had probable cause to arrest Leventhal and whether defendant was entitled to qualified immunity.)03/24/2009
-U.S. v. Michael Alan Reed, et al (Federal income tax enforcement action, cross-motions for summary judgment, analysis of whether the United States was in default because it had not filed a response to defendant’s answer, determination of whether defendant had satisfied his outstanding tax liabilities by submitting bonds in payment to the United States, analysis of whether summary judgment should be granted against defendant for the assessments of unpaid taxes and penalties)03/23/2009
-McFarland v. McFarland, Groenendyk & Robin's School of Dance & Tumbling (Diversity action for slander, libel, defamation and tortuous interference with prospective business relations; motion to dismiss for lack of diversity; analysis of plaintiff’s citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.)03/17/2009
-Farmers Cooperative Company v. Swift Pork Company & LOL Finance Company (Action by a local farm cooperative to recover a pig producer’s unpaid feed bill from the purchaser of the producer’s pigs and the producer’s finance company for disregarding the cooperative’s agricultural supply dealer’s lien pursuant to Iowa Code Ch. 570A; cross-motions for summary judgment, inter alia, on the statute of limitations applicable to the cooperative’s claim: whether the applicable statute of limitations for the cooperative’s claims is Iowa Code § 614.1(4) (five years) or Iowa Code § 614.1(10) (two years); if the applicable statute of limitations is § 614.1(10), whether the finance company is equitably estopped to assert the statute of limitations defense by alleged representations that the cooperative would be paid for the pig producer’s unpaid feed bill)03/16/2009
-Blood, et al v. Givaudan Flavors, Corp. et al (Diversity products liability action, motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity, addressing issue of whether plaintiff’s claims for fraudulent concealment were pleaded with requisite particularity required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).)03/09/2009
-Ronald & Conley Kuiper v. Givaudan, Inc. (Motion in limine; products liability tort action alleging causes of action for negligence and a combined claim for loss of consortium and medical expenses as a result of plaintiff’s exposure to butter flavorings at his place of employment; considering whether to permit evidence of the following: plaintiff’s living conditions, evidence of claims by consumers or of the alleged risks to consumers; evidence regarding the health conditions of other company employees; evidence regarding defendant’s employees; evidence of other cases brought against or resolved by defendant; evidence of other allegedly hazardous products or substances; evidence regarding lung transplantation; cumulative evidence regarding medical condition, diagnosis, prognosis and causation; non-medical opinions of expert; argument that an unpublished a 1993 study provided notice to defendant; evidence regarding prior litigation concerning a related product; evidence or argument that there is no safe level of exposure to diacetyl; evidence or argument regarding Iowa’s law on the allocation of punitive damages; and, evidence regarding the net worth or financial condition of defendant. )02/07/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company: (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: patent holder’s motion to strike exhibits and witnesses purportedly previously excluded by the court or that were not disclosed in compliance with orders of the court)01/29/2009
-Harker's Distribution, Inc. v. Reinhart Foodservice, LLC (action for declaratory judgment concerning calculation of purchase price following defendant’s acquisition of plaintiff’s customers in Illinois and Wisconsin: defendant’s motion to compel arbitration: whether a clause in the parties’ asset purchase agreement requiring submission of disputes about adjustments to the purchase price to a national accounting firm acceptable to both parties constituted an enforceable agreement to arbitrate)01/20/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance v. Lincoln National Life Insurance (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: parties’ motions in limine: evidence of the PTO’s ex parte reexmination of the patent-in-suit; evidence of “commentary” from the court’s claim construction ruling; deposition testimony and other evidence of the alleged infringer’s marketing materials; evidence of inadequacies of the PTO, “business method” patents, or “tax planning” patents; evidence of infringement and damages theories that are purportedly erroneous as a matter of law)01/08/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance v. Lincoln National Life Insurance : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: parties’ motions in limine regarding experts on Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), relevance, and timeliness grounds)01/05/2009
-Transamerica Life Insurance Co. et al v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co.: (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: nominative defendant’s objection to magistrate judge’s order granting nominative plaintiff’s motion to supplement expert report: standard of review for magistrate judge’s order on non-dispostive matter pursuant to Rule 72(a); standards to supplement under court’s Scheduling Order; supplementation pursuant to Rule 26(e)(2) and under “substantially justified or harmless” standard under Rule 37(c))12/18/2008
-Mary Staples & Kathy Walker-Brown v. Delavan Inc. & Greg Allen (Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Strike; plaintiff employees sue employer and co-workers for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (and co-worker for assault and battery); defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment seeks dismissal of the sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation claims; plaintiffs’ motion to strike seeks to strike several paragraphs from Employer’s statement of facts for violating Federal Rule of Evidence 412; the court denied the motion to strike and granted in part and denied in part defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment.)12/11/2008
-Transamerica Life Insurance Company, et al. v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: nominative plaintiff’s motions to amend pleadings after deadline in scheduling order based on alleged change in the law for “patent-eligible subject matter” and newly discovered information concerning “inequitable conduct”: Applicability of Rule 15(a) or Rule 16(b) standards; application of Rule 16(b) standards of “untimeliness” and “diligence”; alternative Rule 15(a) analysis)12/05/2008
-Coe v. Northern Pipe Products, Inc. (Former employee’s quid pro quo sex discrimination and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII: defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: effect of “impeached” or “interested” witnesses’ evidence on summary judgment; actionable sexual advances and connection between such advances and job detriments; degree of biased subordinate’s participation in adverse employment decisions required for “cat’s paw” liability of the employer; which party may invoke a “mixed motives” analysis; vicarious liability for harassment by a “supervisor”; circumstances in which a “retaliation” claim may be based on refusal of a supervisor’s sexual advances; and the employer’s “good faith” efforts as a bar to punitive damages)12/02/2008
-Schwebach v. United Dairy Workers of LeMars & Wells Dairy, Inc. (Motion for Summary Judgment; defendant Wells Dairy, Inc. claims that plaintiff Gary Schwebach did not exhaust his contractual grievance remedies under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement because he failed to request that defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars pursue his claim in writing, on an approved form; defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars had pursued his claim without first requiring the plaintiff to request that they do so in writing, on an approved form; the court decided that plaintiff did exhaust his remedies under the collective bargaining agreement.)11/25/2008
-Verasun v. Industrial Air Technology Corp. (Products Liability, diversity action involving claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of implied warranties, and breach of contract arising from industrial accident where fans installed in ethanol plant failed, forcing a shut down of the plant, cross-motions for partial summary judgment and summary judgment, analysis of whether manufacturer’s price quotation constituted offer, analysis of whether buyer’s responsive purchase order constituted acceptance or acted as counter-offer) 11/25/2008
-Donahue v. New NGC, Inc. (Former employee’s age discrimination claims pursuant to the ADEA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: untimeliness of administrative charge for the ICRA claim; sufficiency of evidence to raise inferences of age discrimination on the ADEA claim under either a RIF or non-RIF analysis)11/07/2008
-B&D Land and Livestock Co. v. Ed Schafer (B & D Land and Livestock Co. v. Schafer (Judicial review of administrative action by the USDA finding a wetland “conversion” in violation of the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3801, 3821-24: sufficiency of hearing officer’s consideration of separate requirements of the tripartite definition of “wetland,” requiring “hydric soils,” “hydrophytic vegetation,” and “wetland hydrology”; sufficiency of hearing officer’s consideration of evidence of “saturation”; and sufficiency of hearing officer’s consideration of evidence of “disturbance” of adjacent land)11/05/2008
-Shannon v. Officer Koehler, et al (Motion to Dismiss Sioux City Police Department; defendant police department claims that it is not an entity suable as such; the court decided that the police department was an appendage of the city and not suable as a separate entity from the city of Sioux City)10/13/2008
-Vincent Johnson & Julie Johnson v. American Leather Specialties Corp. & Shopko Stores, Inc.(Products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the plaintiffs residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Minnesota law, the law of the place where the product was marketed to plaintiffs and sold; having concluded that Iowa law governs in case, addressing plaintiffs’ contention that application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution on the ground that the State of Iowa’s enactment of tort reform in § 613.18(1) deprived plaintiffs of previously held causes of action under the common law; addressing whether application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes a violation of the Iowa State Constitution’s Inalienable Rights Clause, Iowa Const. art. I, § 1.)09/29/2008
-Jones v. Wilder-Tomlinson (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; petitioner claims that her Sixth Amendment rights were violated when neither of her two attorneys filed a timely motion to suppress evidence obtained due to her warrantless arrest; the court decided: whether there had been an adjudication on the merits of the probable cause to arrest claim, whether the petitioner had properly exhausted available state remedies, and whether one or both of petitioner’s attorneys had been ineffective in violation of the Sixth Amendment.)09/04/2008
-Rattray, et al v. Woodbury County, et al (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s alleged blanket strip-search policy: lead plaintiff’s motion to certify class: prerequisites of Rule 23(a); requirements to certify a class pursuant to Rule 23(b)(1)(A), to avoid the risk of inconsistent or varying adjudications, or pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), because the questions of law or fact common to the class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members and a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy, including extent to which questions of the existence of grounds for individualized suspicion predominate over questions common to the class, such as the existence and constitutionality of a blanket strip-search policy) 09/02/2008
-Gries, et al v. Standard Ready Mix Concrete, et al. (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; motion for class certification; discussion of the prerequisites for a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a); analysis of first requirement of Rule 23(a), that plaintiff show that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,” including consideration of: the size of the proposed class, the geographical dispersion of the class members, whether members of a prospective class are able to be identified, the financial resources of the potential class members with regard to their ability to institute individual lawsuits, and the judicial efficiency in certifying a class versus trying individual lawsuits.)08/22/2008
-Wachovia Securities LLC v. Stanton : (Securities broker-dealer’s action for preliminary injunctive relief pending arbitration before FINRA against former registered representative now employed with competitor: broker-dealer’s motion for temporary restraining order: broker-dealer’s likelihood of success on claims of breach of non-disclosure and non-solicitation provisions of employment contract and violation of the Iowa Trade Secrets Act, and broker-dealer’s showing on the irreparable harm, balance of harms, and public interest “Dataphase factors”) 08/05/2008
-Johnson v. American Leather Specialties & Shopko v. Ultra Marketing Corporation (Diversity products liability action, motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, applying five factor test the court finds that third-party plaintiffs had not made out a prima facie case which would support application of personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant where third-party defendant did not have any bank accounts, property, office, agent, representative or employee in Iowa, and third-party defendant’s contacts to Iowa were limited to its interactions with an Iowa company as a marketing representative to a Chinese distributor which had no involvement with the manufacture or the distribution of the allegedly defective product at the center of this case, the court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant)07/16/2008
-Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Food Movers International, Inc. (motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, standards for motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), standards for personal jurisdiction analysis, )07/08/2008
-Sharp, et al. v. Tyson Foods (Plaintiff employees seek certification of their Rule 23 class action claims under the Iowa Wage Payment and Collection Law, and certification of their section 216(b) collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; defendant employer resists certification; defendant argues plaintiffs' FLSA claims preempt their IWPCL claims; defendant argues the opt-in procedures of FLSA collective action are inherently incompatible with the opt-out procedures of Rule 23 class action; defendant argues plaintiffs' are not similarly situated under the FLSA to meet the requirements for collective action certification; defendants argue plaintiffs do not meet the requirements of Rule 23 to be certified as a class action) 07/03/2008
-McNeal v. SDG Macerich Properties, L.P., et al. (removed action by African American business owner against owner and managers of a shopping mall pursuant to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.7, for racial discrimination in public accommodations in the leasing of store space and harassment; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of an allegedly phony signature on one of three originals of a lease; evidence of a subsequent investigation by a city attorney and member of the civil rights commission; evidence of emotional distress of anyone other than the plaintiff; evidence of the plaintiff’s prior attempts to lease space in the mall; evidence of future profits of the plaintiff’s business; and evidence of settlement offers or negotiations; plaintiff’s motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of the plaintiff’s husband’s previous civil rights litigation; and evidence that the defendants filed suit first by bringing a small claim for unpaid rent)07/01/2008
-U.S. v. Hawley (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; motions in limine: plaintiff’s motion in limine: admissibility of evidence of reimbursement and payment procedures under reinsurance agreement; defendants’ motion in limine: admissibility of evidence disclosed after the close of discovery; evidence of the defendants’ financial condition; references to “experts”; expert opinions on legal issues and results to reach; evidence that the defendant forged insureds’ names or accepted forged signatures; evidence of other “bad acts”; evidence of memoranda of witnesses’ statements; and evidence of plea agreements of ineligible insureds)06/23/2008
-In Re Knudsen (Cross-appeals by family farmer debtors and the IRS of the bankruptcy court’s denial of family farmer debtors’ amended plan of reorganization in a Chapter 12 case: whether family farmers, who liquidated their slaughter hogs to convert their farming operation from a farrow-to-finish hog operation to a custom hog-raising operation, can obtain the benefits of 11 U.S.C. § 1222(a)(2)(A), as amended by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”), that would allow the taxes generated by the sale of their slaughter hogs to be treated as an unsecured claim against their bankruptcy estate subject to discharge; whether the determination of taxes receiving the beneficial treatment of § 1222(a)(2)(A) should be allocated according to the IRS’s “proration method” or the debtors’ “marginal method”; whether § 1222(a)(2)(A) is applicable to post-petition transactions; and whether post-petition taxes may be treated as administrative expenses of the estate in a Chapter 12 case)06/12/2008
-Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC & Evan Parks (Action by investor against stock broker and account representative for charging improper mark ups and mark downs on stock transactions; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether the parties had a contract requiring the broker to charge only “reasonable” commissions; whether the broker breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by charging “unreasonable” commissions, in the form of mark ups and mark downs; whether the broker was subject to any fiduciary duty to the investor to charge only “reasonable” commissions; whether the broker’s conduct in charging mark ups and mark downs constituted “misappropriation/theft,” which the court construed as whether such conduct constituted “conversion”; and whether the broker’s conduct constituted “fraud,” in the form of fraudulent non-disclosure, under the common law or state or federal securities acts, where the investor asserted that the mark ups and markdowns were only disclosed in a misleading or confusing manner; whether the investor ratified the allegedly wrongful mark ups or mark downs or demonstrated that the were not material by continuing to make trades through the broker after discovering the allegedly unreasonable and fraudulent mark ups and mark downs)06/06/2008
-The O.N. Equity Sales Company v. Pals, et al. (Action by securities broker-dealer to enjoin NASD arbitration action by investor; broker-dealer’s motion to set aside judgment compelling arbitration and denying preliminary injunction pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure based on “newly discovered evidence” and “fraud”) 05/05/2008
-Wright v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff could establish a prima facie case of race discrimination, specifically whether he could make out the necessary showings that he was meeting employer’s legitimate job expectations or that he was treated differently than similarly situated Caucasian employees where he was fired after a search of the employees automobile revealed controlled substances as well as drug paraphernalia on the employer’s premises, in violation of the employer’s policy against employees’ possessing, using, or selling controlled substances on the employer’s property.)05/05/2008
-Hinshaw v. Ligon Industries, LLC and Fisher Hydraulics, Inc. (Former employee's action for breach of contract and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law claims; defendants' motion for complete summary judgment; limitations on granting summary judgment on existence of contract issues under Iowa law; legal standards for offer and acceptance under Iowa law; legal standards for contract estoppel defense under Iowa law; whether severance pay is "wages due" under Iowa Code section 91A.3 and thus whether plaintiff can recover liquidated damages under section 91A.8 for the failure to pay severance pay.)05/05/2008
-U.S. v. Hawley (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; cross-motions for summary judgment: elements of FCA claims pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) (presenting false claim to government officer or employee), (a)(2) (using a false record or statement to get a claim paid or approved), and (a)(3) (conspiracy to defraud the government using false claims) and common-law claims of fraudulent concealment and “mistake of fact”)04/03/2008
-U.S. v. Hawley : (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; cross-motions for summary judgment: elements of FCA claims pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) (presenting false claim to government officer or employee), (a)(2) (using a false record or statement to get a claim paid or approved), and (a)(3) (conspiracy to defraud the government using false claims) and common-law claims of fraudulent concealment and “mistake of fact”)04/03/2008
-Transamerica Life Insurance, et al. v. Lincoln National LIfe Insurance Company : (Action by one insurance company seeking declaration of non-infringement of another insurance company’s business method patent for a “method and apparatus for providing retirement income benefits” and the other insurance company’s counterclaims for infringement: ruling after Markman hearing on patent claim construction)03/10/2008
-Closson v. Astrue (Claimant sought judicial review of Commissioner's denial of Title II and Title XVI benefits; Commissioner objected to Magistrate Judge's recommendation that testimony of vocational expert conflicted with the information in the dictionary of occupational titles; analyzes Social Security Ruling SSR 00-4p) 02/21/2008
-Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (Former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all claims on the ground that the plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, show that the defendant is equitably estoppel to assert the employee’s ineligibility for FMLA leave: sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he reasonably relied on any misrepresentation; sufficiency of the evidence that the plaintiff detrimentally relied on any misrepresentation)02/19/2008
-Bowers v. Astrue (Plaintiff Tamela Bowers sought review of agency decision denying her benefits; magistrate recommended reversing for a finding of a closed period of disability, and remanding for a determination of whether Bowers was entitled to a continual period of disability; Bowers filed objection arguing she was entitled to a continual period of disability; standards for reviewing the agency's determination, magistrate's recommendation, and plaintiff's objection; and standard for assessing whether court can reverse agency for a finding of disability on appeal). 01/24/2008
-B&D Land and Livestock Co. v. Chuck Conner (Judicial review of administrative action by the USDA finding a wetland “conversion” in violation of the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3801, 3821-24: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction on enforcement actions: whether the anti-injunction statute prohibiting injunctions on the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) bars a preliminary injunction in this case; whether the plaintiff can show irreparable harm, when the USDA’s counsel has made various representations about continuing the plaintiff’s farm program benefits during the pendency of the action)01/22/2008
-Gonnerman v. McHan Construction, Inc., et al. (former employee’s action for age discrimination under state and federal law: defendants’ motion summary judgment: whether a statement attributed to the decisionmaker recounted by the employee’s supervisor that the employee was being laid off because he was “too old to do cement work” was admissible “direct” evidence of age discrimination; whether there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants would have made the “same decision” to lay off the plaintiff without regard to his age, where the defendants made a company-wide RIF owing to shortage of work).10/26/2007
-U.S. v. $138,186.28 (civil forfeiture action; companion case to No. 07cr3001-MWB; ruling on government’s motion for summary judgment; standards for civil forfeiture; whether defendant property is traceable to the interstate transportation of stolen property) 10/24/2007
-Tomlinson v. Burt (State prisoner’s petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254: ruling on motion to dismiss: “substantive” and “procedural” claims of “actual innocence,” procedural default of “due process” and “ineffective assistance of counsel” claims) 09/21/2007
-Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: plaintiff’s petition for attorney fees and expenses after court’s ruling imposing Rule 11 sanctions on the corporate defendant and its attorneys for filing a preliminary injunction motion lacking sufficient evidentiary support and for an improper purpose: reductions of fees claimed for lack of direct relationship to sanctionable action and “block billing,” and a further reduction to an amount sufficient to serve the deterrent purpose of a Rule 11 fee award)09/19/2007
-The O.N. Equity Sales Company v. Pals, et al. (Securities broker-dealer’s action for declaratory and injunctive relief to halt investors’ arbitration action before the NASD; plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and defendant’s responsive motion to compel arbitration: interplay of Dataphase factors for a preliminary injunction and determination of arbitrability, conditions for arbitrability pursuant to NASD Rule 10301)09/06/2007
-Jones, et al v. Casey's General Stores, Inc. (Fair Labor Standards Act Case, motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), venue of case proper in either the Southern District of Iowa or the Northern District of Iowa, analysis of factors to be employed in considering a motion to transfer under § 1404(a), the court concluded that the balance of these factors supported transferring this case to the Southern District of Iowa and therefore defendant had met its burden to show that transfer of this case was appropriate and the court granted the motion to transfer)08/30/2007
-Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: claim constructions after Markman hearing)08/10/2007
-Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment that the defendant employer is equitably estopped to assert that it is not covered by the FMLA, because it does not meet the employee-numerosity requirement at the location where the plaintiff worked: standards for granting summary judgment sua sponte for a non-moving party if the record reveals no genuine issues of material fact; applicability of equitable estoppel to FMLA requirements; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; and sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he relied on any misrepresentation.)07/13/2007
-Kirt v. Fashion Bug (Customer’s right-to-contract race discrimination claim under § 1981: court’s sua sponte reconsideration of order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in light of Green v. Dillard’s, Inc., 483 F.3d 533 (8th Cir. 2007)07/10/2007
-Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. ((patent infringement suit; plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against defendants and their counsel pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and/or the court’s inherent authority for filing their motion for preliminary injunction, which asserted that the plaintiff was committing false advertising and threatening public safety by selling patented “detectable” hypodermic needles for use on livestock that are not actually “detectable” within the meaning of the meat processing, veterinary, and detectable needle industries: finding violations of Rule 11(b)(3) for filing a motion lacking evidentiary support and Rule 11(b)(1) for filing a motion for an improper purpose, imposing sanctions in the form of part of plaintiff’s attorney fees for litigating the preliminary injunction motion, and imposing such sanctions against the corporate defendant, defendants’ outside counsel, and defendants’ local counsel, but declining to impose other sanctions.)07/03/2007
-Rohloff v. Metz Baking Co., LLC (former employee’s Title VII and state law claims for pregnancy discrimination a baking company, its holding company, and its plant manager: defendants’ joint motion for summary judgment: plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on “qualification” and “inference of discrimination” elements of her prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination, in light of absenteeism problems; sufficiency of evidence of pretext) 06/12/2007
-Hofmann, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, Inc. (Diversity Tort Action, motion to remand, review of the principles applicable to a motion to remand and analysis of whether party resisting remand is able prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional amount)05/18/2007
-Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux C ity, et al. : (Merchant’s action challenging city ordinances regulating sex shops; court’s sua sponte consideration of sanctions against the city for destruction of records relevant to the litigation after settlement of the case)05/17/2007
-Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center-Fort Dodge LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s third motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of correspondence between the parties’ attorneys concerning discovery of records of other employees of the defendants who had filed workers’ compensation claims and their current employment statuses; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of, reference to, or testimony about any polygraph examination or lie detector test that the plaintiff took in relation to events underlying this matter)05/09/2007
-Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s second motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence regarding any benefits that she has received for her workers’ compensation claims)05/02/2007
-Horizon Ethanol, LLC, et al. v. Hanson & Akers (Diversity action for breach of covenant not to compete and breach of confidentiality provisions of a non-disclosure agreement; motion to dismiss for lack of diversity; analysis of defendant’s citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction)04/30/2007
-General Electric Capital Corp. v. Commercial Services Group, Inc. : (Suit for breach of contract against debt collector by client corporation; plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on defendant’s counterclaim of tortious interference with existing and prospective contracts and business relationships: whether plaintiff’s conduct in notifying affected third parties of the termination of the contract between the plaintiff and the defendant was “wrongful” as required to sustain the counterclaim)04/26/2007
-Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim, equal protection claim, claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX claims, claims brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, and Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; analysis of school district’s knowledge of the harassment, examination of whether the school district was deliberately indifferent to harassment, review of the severity and pervasiveness of the harassment, analysis of whether the school district was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and was immune from liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, examination of whether school district breached a duty to plaintiffs to protect them from student-on-student harassment, and with regard to plaintiffs’ premises liability claim, analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact had been generated as to whether harm to plaintiffs caused by physical assaults at school was reasonably foreseeable)04/19/2007
-Parada v. Great Plains Int'l of Sioux City, Inc. (female “service writer’s” suit against diesel truck sales and service company for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and unequal pay in violation of the Equal Pay Act: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII; challenges to the “unwelcomeness” and “severity” elements of the claim of sexual harassment by supervisors; challenges to the “qualification” and “similarly situated male” elements of the claim of sexual discrimination based on elimination of the plaintiff’s service writer duties and termination of her lead person duties; challenges to the “protected activity” and “causal connection” elements of the claim of retaliation based on elimination or termination of the plaintiff’s duties in response to the plaintiff’s complaints about a male co-worker who would not do work the plaintiff assigned him and who complained about her qualifications; and challenges to the “substantially equal jobs” element of the claim of unequal pay)04/11/2007
-Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. : (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s first motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of offers to settle and references to dismissed claims)04/05/2007
-Ideal Instruments v. Rivard Instruments (patent infringement suit involving a false advertising counterclaim pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act: defendant’s motion for preliminary injunction based on allegedly false advertising of plaintiff’s livestock hypodermic needles as “detectable”: consideration of “Dataphase factors” and elements of a false advertising claim to determine whether the court should issue a preliminary injunction requiring a ban on sales and a recall of plaintiff’s “detectable” needles).03/28/2007
-Kirt v. Fashion Bug, Inc. : (customer’s right-to-contract race discrimination claim under § 1981 and “public accommodations” race discrimination claim under Iowa Code § 216.7 against retail store: defendant’s motion for summary judgment: whether a store manager’s intervention and invitation to an African-American female customer to continue shopping after a store employee’s apparently racially charged diatribe demonstrated that there was no interference with the customer’s right to contract under § 1981 or her right to public accommodations under § 216.7 where the customer left the store without attempting to make a purchase)03/28/2007
-Premium Iowa Pork, L.L.C. v. Banss Schlacht Und Foerdertechnik, GMBH (suit by meat packing complaing alleging fraudulent inducement to enter into a written agreement for a scalding and dehairing system by defendant; platiniff's motion for entry of default judgment and award of damages under fradulent inducement, breach of oral contract, and promissory estoppel and whether or not the court may award punitive damages or attorney's fees in this action)03/24/2007
-John MorrCommercial litigation, defendants’ motion to dismiss, conflict of law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the majority of the defendants, or South Dakota law, the law designated in the parties’ agreements as controlling, addressing whether contract claims fail as a matter of law because the defendants are not explicitly named in the contracts but were entered by defendants using a trade name or doing business as designation, addressing whether plaintiff stated an unjust enrichment claim against defendants where plaintiff has also pleaded contract claims and did not allege that there is no adequate remedy at law for its claim)03/05/2007
-Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC (suit by investor alleging improper overcharges by securities broker and its account representative; defendants’ motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings: whether, as a matter of circuit law, an “introducing broker” and its agent are entitled to enforce an arbitration clause in a contract between an investor and a “clearing broker” to which the “introducing broker” and its agent are not parties, because they are agents of the “clearing broker” or a third-party beneficiaries of the contract between the customer and the “clearing broker”; whether the “clearing broker” is an indispensable party within the meaning of Rule 19(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to litigation involving claims of fraud based, at least in part, on notices of account activity actually sent by the “clearing broker,” such that the case is subject to arbitration)02/21/2007
-Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. (railway workers union’s action for injunctive and other relief pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, to bar carrier’s introduction of iris recognition technology for attendance and timekeeping purposes: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and carrier’s motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction: whether the parties’ dispute is “major” or “minor” within the meaning of the RLA, where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over “minor” disputes, which must instead be determined in binding arbitration)02/16/2007
-Union Pacific Company v. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company (dispute between two railroads over purported agreement to share costs of construction of a rail interchange yard; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: failure of defendant to meet conditions precedent in written contract; failure of defendant to generate genuine issues of material fact on “implied-in-fact” contract claim, whether construed as “quantum meruit,” “promissory estoppel,” or “unjust enrichment” claim)02/09/2007
-Torgeson v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America (Motion for Attorney's Fees and Expenses)02/05/2007
-Kuiper v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. (Diversity products liability action, motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity, addressing issue of whether plaintiffs’ claims for fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy were pleaded with requisite particularity.)01/31/2007
-Habben v. City of Fort Dodge, et al. (former employee’s Title VII, § 1981, and state law claims for race and pregnancy discrimination against city, city housing agency, and two housing agency officials: defendants’ separate motions for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII and § 1981; plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on race and pregnancy discrimination claims; lack of independent basis for liability of the city)01/29/2007
-Weimer, et al v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action, motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity, addressing issue of whether plaintiffs’ claims for fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy were pleaded with requisite particularity.)01/22/2007
-Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; store’s motion for further clarification of issues for bench trial)01/16/2007
-McLeodUSA v. Qwest (litigation between providers of telecommunications services concerning payment for each other’s services; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ “tort” counterclaims for negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass, fraud, fraudulent concealment, and negligence as duplicative of “contract” counterclaims: ability to plead alternative theories of recovery; sufficiency of pleading of required element that the alleged tortfeasor is in the business or profession of supplying information to support of negligent misrepresentation claims; and requirement that statute or regulation on which a negligence claim is based explicitly or implicitly authorize a private cause of action)01/16/2007
-Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; city’s motion to clarify issues for bench trial)01/13/2007
-Richmond v. Burt (Federal prisoner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; case initially referred to Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, who recommended the petition be dismissed on procedural grounds; petitioner filed objections to Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation, essentially contending his constitutional claims were not procedurally barred; upon conducting de novo review of petitioner’s claims, court overrules petitioner’s objections and accepts Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation; petitioner did not fairly present his constitutional claims to the Iowa courts and even if he had, petitioner’s claims are without merit; petition is dismissed and no certificate of appealability shall be issued.) 01/04/2007
-Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al (Former employee asserted state and federal disability discrimination claims and two claims of discharge in violation of Iowa public policy; after voluntary dismissal of all claims except for violation of Iowa public policy by retaliating for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the defendant moved for summary judgment: the court considered sua sponte whether to retain the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 after dismissal of the federal claim upon which jurisdiction was premised; considered the elements of a claim of retaliation in violation of public policy under Iowa law, and especially whether proof of a “lack of other justification” for discharge was such an element; and considered the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s showing on the required elements.) 12/22/2006
-Leading Edge Developmental Services v. Enxco, Inc. (Contract law, motions for summary judgment; dispute over whether plaintiff was entitled to an abatement success fee; analysis of whether plaintiff’s refund of certain money paid to it by defendant constituted a condition precedent to plaintiff’s qualifying for the abatement success fee; and, whether the parties had made a mutual mistake as to the date certain that plaintiff was required to make the required refund of money paid to it by defendant. )12/21/2006
-Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; defendant’s motion to preserve Seventh Amendment right to jury trial: province of court and jury in determination of remaining “constitutionality,” “applicability,” and “damages” issues, applying two-prong inquiry under City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dues at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (1999))12/20/2006
-Torgeson v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America & Mason City Clinic, PC (Judicial review under ERISA concerning eligibility for long-term disability (LTD) benefits: memorandum opinion and order on the merits on written submissions: applicable standard of review; objective evidence; treating physicians’ opinions; and co-morbidity of conditions)12/06/2006
-Interbake Foods, LLC v. Tomaeillo, et al (Suit by employer against former employee and his current employer alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and other confidential information; motion for preliminary injunction; court held (1) federal standards rather than state law standards would be applied to determine whether preliminary injunction should issue; (2) Iowa substantive law applied to the plaintiff’s claims; (3) application of the Dataphase factors requires issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining disclosure of Interbake’s trade secrets by Tomasiello and misappropriation of those secrets by his current employer; (4) application of those same factors does not require issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining Tomasiello’s continued employment with BoDeans as it relates to wafer manufacturing; (5) a preliminary injunction of appropriate scope should issue after the posting of adequate security; (6) plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore granted in part, and denied in part.)11/13/2006
-Galm v. Eaton Corporation (ERISA, judicial review of denial of second-tier long term disability benefits, analysis of whether less deferential review was appropriate, interpretation of the plan and analysis of the factors to be considered, determination of whether there was substantial evidence to support plan administrator’s decision)11/03/2006
-Jones, et al. v. Winnebago Industries & Kwikee Products Company, Inc. (products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Idaho law, the law of the plaintiffs’ residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Iowa law, the law of the place where the principal defendant had its principal place of business and where it designed and manufactured an allegedly defective mechanism for a “slide out” room on a recreational vehicle; plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend complaint: motion for leave to amend complaint to add prayer for punitive damages was intertwined with motion for partial summary judgment on choice of law, where one forum’s law would bar the amendment and the other forum’s law would not)11/02/2006
-Dr. John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment; whether plaintiff conceded that only “rational basis” scrutiny applies to non-media provisions of subject ordinances and whether ruling on “civil disability” provisions was without benefit of the plaintiff’s response and based only on dicta in a Supreme Court decision)10/17/2006
-Fuller v. Alliant Energy (Pro se former employee asserted sex and race discrimination claims under Title VII and disability discrimination under the ADA; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the employee’s prima facie cases and showings of pretext and intentional discrimination in light of employee’s history of use of bereavement leave and excessive absenteeism)10/16/2006
-Michael and Anna Belkin v. The Sioux city Community School District and the Western Hills Area Education Agency (disability discrimination under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., and under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; judgment on the administrative record; discussion of the standard of review when reviewing a decision of an administrative law judge in an IDEA case; review of the standards for establishing a case of retaliation in violation of the Rehabilitation Act; analysis of whether defendants met their burden of providing a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action taken in case and whether plaintiffs met their burden of demonstrating that defendants' reason was a pretext for discrimination)10/12/2006
-Orluske v. Mercy Medical Center -- North Iowa (Former employee asserted age discrimination claims under the ADEA and state law and claims of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment of third parties in violation of Title VII and state law against a medical center; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the employee’s prima facie cases and showings of pretext and intentional discrimination or retaliation)10/10/2006
-Saeemodarae v. Mercy Health Services -- Iowa Corp., d/b/a Mercy Medical Center (Former employee, a practicing Wiccan, asserted race discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and state law against a medical center that claims to have a Roman Catholic identity; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: scope of “religious organization” exemption from claims of religious discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1(a); whether the court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction to interpret, as a matter of first impression, the scope of the exemption from religious discrimination and retaliation claims for “bona fide religious institutions” under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.6(6)(b))10/06/2006
-United States v. Mark & Zelene Schilling (Action for declaratory judgment by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) against the defendants requesting this court declare the FSA has a valid secured interest in a certain parcel of real property known as the Section 31 farm property; following denial of summary judgment, this court held a bench trial; bench order regarding the merits concludes: (1) the Schillings are unable to establish fraud, misrepresentation or any other independent reason justifying reformation or rescission of the contract; (2) the court is forced, albeit reluctantly, to find in favor of the plaintiff; (3) it is therefore declared, adjudged and decreed that the FSA has a valid mortgage against the Section 31 farm property by reason of the mortgages executed on April 23, 1997 and April 22, 1998; (4) as Counts Two and Three of the plaintiff’s complaint request alternative relief, these counts are hereby denied as moot.)09/27/2006
-Remmes v. International Flavors & Frangrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action, motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity, addressing issue of whether the statute of limitations barred plaintiff’s claims for fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy and whether plaintiff brought his fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy claim within the period permitted by Iowa Code § 614.1(2), considering whether plaintiff’s claims for fraudulent concealment and civil conspiracy related back to the date that the original petition was filed, consider ing whether fraudulent concealment claim was pleaded with requisite particularity.)09/26/2006
-Sanchez v. American Popcorn (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging disability discrimination under both the ADA and under Iowa Code 216 violations of the FMLA; motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish as part of her prima facie case under the FMLA that she suffered from a serious medical; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish as part of her prima facie case under the FMLA event though she did not request FMLA leave notice before being terminated; analysis of whether plaintiff is disabled within the meaning of the ADA and ICRA, namely whether former employer regarded plaintiff as being unable to work in a broad category of jobs; analysis of whether plaintiff had come forward with sufficient evidence that former employer’s explanation for its employment decision was a pretext for her termination)09/14/2006
-Pro Edge. Ltd. v. Gue, (action for violation of trade secrets, intentional interference with existing and prospective contracts, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; motion to execute upon injunction security and additional damages, and motion for attorney fees and expenses; discussion of whether motion to execute on the injunction bond was timely; discussion about whether party was limited to amount of the injunction bond, whether party seeking to execute on the injunction bond had mitigated his damages; analysis of what would constitute equitable award in this case and whether attorney fees were recoverable against party seeking preliminary injunction.)09/13/2006
-Maytag Corporation v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Patent infringement action by assignee of patents for plastic washing machine baskets and the process for making them; cross-motions for summary judgment involving validity, infringement, and willful infringement issues; court found two validity issues under 35 U.S.C. § 112, the “written description” and “enablement” requirements, to be dispositive of the case)09/08/2006
-U.S. v. Mark Schilling & Zelene Schilling (Action for declaratory judgment by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) against the defendants requesting this court declare the FSA has a valid secured interest in a certain parcel of real property; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment denied; based on choice of law rules, Iowa law governs; although the four corners of the mortgage documentation clearly granted the FSA a valid mortgage over the disputed property, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a mutual mistake occurred and whether the correct parcel of property was accurately identified in the parties’ contract; alternatively, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a unilateral mistake had occurred and if so, whether the mistake was caused by fraud or misrepresentation. )08/25/2006
-Kopple v. Schick Farms, Ltd., et al. v. Schoneman, et al. (Contract law, motions for summary judgment; dispute over whether written letter of intent for the purchase of all shares in a closely-held corporation that was signed by both parties constituted an enforceable contract; analysis of whether parties concluded an oral agreement for the purchase of the shares; and, whether the court’s finding that there was no enforceable contract between the parties renders moot defendant/third-party plaintiffs’ claims against real estate broker.08/24/2006
-Podkovich v. Glazer's Distributors of Iowa, Inc., et al (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination and retaliation under Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pendent state law claims under Iowa Code Chapter 216, and various violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment denied; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the plaintiff was an “eligible employee” under the FMLA based on the location of her “worksite,”; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendants were estopped from asserting affirmative defense of ineligibility by virtue of their misrepresentations to the plaintiff; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants interfered with plaintiff’s FMLA rights despite the defendants’ proffer of justification; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff for utilizing her FMLA leave; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendants retaliated against the plaintiff for making a complaint of sexual harassment; and genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants retaliated against the plaintiff because she was pregnant; although the defendants advanced a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for their conduct, the plaintiff adequately alleged pretext where the defendants offered inconsistent explanations as to why the plaintiff was terminated and other evidence in the record indicated the defendants’ proffered explanation lacked credence.)08/11/2006
-Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment, motion to reconsider in part the previous summary judgment ruling, and motion to bifurcate trial: constitutionality and applicability of “media” and “non-media” portions of the first round of amendments and damages arising from enforcement of those amendments; bifurcation of trial on “constitutionality” and “damages” questions; and constitutionality of “adult bookstore or adult video store,” “sexual device shop,” and licensing “civil disability” provisions of the second round of amendments)07/21/2006
-Jensen v. Barlas, et al. (former employee’s suit for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and civil conspiracy based on counterclaims asserted by one of the defendants in the former employee’s state lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination and sexual assault; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: “probable cause” and “special injury” elements of malicious prosecution, “improper purpose” element of abuse of process, and relationship of civil conspiracy claim to other tortious conduct.) 07/07/2006
-Van Natta v. Sara Lee Corporation (Plaintiffs filed complaint against Sara Lee Corporation in state district court asserting state law causes of action for the defendant’s alleged wrongful denial of insurance benefits to the plaintiffs under the Sara Lee Corporation Employee Health Benefit Plan; defendant removed to federal court and filed motion to dismiss; defendant alleged the plaintiffs’ claims were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); defendant’s motion to dismiss conditionally granted; plaintiffs claims were preempted under both ERISA 514 and 502; complete preemption under 502 confers removal jurisdiction and operates as an exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule; plaintiffs’ claim still require dismissal, however, because of their failure to comply with ERISA-specific pleading requirements; defendant’s motion granted to the extent the plaintiffs must file an amended complaint remedying the identified decencies. ) 06/29/2006
-Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; concluding that when defendants joined the alleged conspiracy they purposefully availed themselves of the privileges of conducting activities in Iowa, the forum state; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)06/26/2006
-Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to reconsider ruling on motion to dismiss to consider alternative motion to stay and plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint: motion to amend should be addressed before motion to reconsider, because it might, and in this case did, moot portions of the motion to reconsider; standards for reconsideration of an interlocutory order and standards for a stay of proceedings: claims of amended complaint that required determination of issue of whether the plaintiff was infringing the defendants’ Canadian patent were stayed pending determination of infringement issue by Canadian court).06/21/2006
-International Motor Contest Association, Inc. v. Staley, et al. (copyright litigation between sponsors of automobile racing involving copyrights on plaintiff’s contest rules; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ counterclaims and to strike defendants’ affirmative defenses of “copyright misuse” and “unclean hands” under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and because they are legally insufficient)06/19/2006
-Conrad v. Iowa Central Community College & Robert Paxton (Suit by former employee against the place of her employment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Iowa law; defendants’ motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss; plaintiff did not resist defendants’ motion for summary judgment in regard to her First Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; with respect to defendants’ motion to dismiss, analysis of whether, with the elimination of § 1983 claim, the court should decline to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining state law claims)06/01/2006
-Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of other bad faith lawsuit against it, its incentive plans for employees, a report of an “in house” doctor, and damages other than emotional distress; plaintiff’s motion to exclude a variety of evidence, including evidence of the defendant’s handling of the plaintiff’s other workers compensation claims, his sexual activities, penalty benefits on workers compensation claims, government benefits such as unemployment compensation, settlement negotiations concerning the bad faith claim, the “good acts” of the defendant, the defendant’s reliance on advice of counsel, and information learned by the defendant after the arbitration hearing)06/01/2006
-Langel v. Burt (Petition for habeas corpus relief from state court conviction under § 2254; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge recommended denying petitioner’s petition; petitioner filed objections to report and recommendation; upon review of magistrate judge’s findings and conclusions, the court accepted report and recommendation, concluded that magistrate judge correctly determined that petitioner’s counsel’s performance was not ineffective since petitioner’s waiver of jury trial was voluntary, knowing, and intelligent. Petitioner did not object to magistrate judge’s recommendation that petition’s counsel recommended the bench trial as a tactical matter, and his performance was not ineffective.) 05/25/2006
-Laffey v. Burt (Habeas petition by state prisoner; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on the merits of the petition: alleged insufficiency of the evidence of sexual abuse of children under twelve in violation of due process; alleged Eighth Amendment violation asserting disproportionality between the offenses and two consecutive twenty-five year sentences imposed for them)05/08/2006
-Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss: individual defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and forum non conveniens, and to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process; corporate defendant’s joinder in motion to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process, and to dismiss commercial tort claims for forum non conveniens and failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted; plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against corporate defendant on unchallenged claim of infringement of United States patent).05/08/2006
-Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District, et al. (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, and slander, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning slander claims; analysis of whether statements attributed to defamatory, and alleged to be defamatory, are true and therefore do not support a claim of slander; analysis of whether statements attributed to defendant are protected opinion even if untrue.)05/03/2006
-Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: admissibility of evidence that goes to both liability and damages, particularly punitive or exemplary damages; the plaintiff's ability to use excerpts of videotaped depositions of the insurer's adjustors in his case-in-chief, when those adjustors will be present at the trial; and the extent to which the plaintiff can obtain and present to the jury financial information concerning the insurer's parent company for purposes of punitive damages; defendant’s motion to bifurcate compensatory damages and punitive damages issues for trial: pertinent factors for bifurcation, including prejudice)05/03/2006
-Lopez & Vellalpondo v. Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel, Inc. (Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims of hostile environment sexual harassment and retaliation against their former employer, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law and, alternatively for new trial and remittitur of all amounts awarded an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial; Court held: (1) judgment as a matter of law was not warranted on any of the grounds asserted by the defendant; to accept the defendant’s argument and conclude otherwise would necessarily require this court to weigh the conflicting testimony in the case, an analysis that would be wholly inappropriate on renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law; (2) The defendant’s due process claim as to the amount of punitive damages awarded to the plaintiffs is rejected; on balance, in light of the factors set forth by the United States Supreme Court, the punitive damages award of $260,000.00 per plaintiff is reasonable and does not violate the defendant’s due process rights; (3) The defendant’s motion for remittitur of all amounts awarded is denied; there is sufficient evidence to support the imposition of both the compensatory and punitive damages against the defendant in this case and the amounts the jury awarded are neither monstrous nor shocking; (4) A new trial was not warranted on the grounds the jury’s award of punitive damages to the plaintiffs was against the great weight of the evidence or resulted in a miscarriage of justice; and (5) The defendant’s motion is denied in its entirety.)04/13/2006
-Pro-Edge L.P., et al. v. Gue (Partial motion for summary judgment and motion to dissolve preliminary injunction; motion sought summary judgment with respect to Count I of the plaintiffs’ complaint, which requested injunctive relief enjoining the defendant from violating the non-competition provisions of his employment contract; motion further sought dissolution of the preliminary injunction enjoining the defendant from performing any services similar to those he provided while employed by the plaintiffs; defendant contended the plaintiffs could not demonstrate they obtained the defendant’s written consent prior to assigning the employment agreement to a different business entity that resulted from the corporation’s transformation in business structure; plaintiffs argued the defendant’s consent could be inferred by virtue of his consent to the transactions in his capacity as a shareholder, his later ratification of the assignment, and his continued employment; court held that (1) sufficient evidence existed to infer the defendant’s employment agreement was included in the global of transfer of assets to the new business entity; (2) based on the complexity of the transaction, an “assignment” within the meaning of the employment agreement occurred, thereby requiring the defendant’s prior written consent; (3)the plaintiffs could not demonstrate the defendant’s prior written consent had been obtained by relying on the Stock Purchase Agreement and Statement of Unanimous Consent signed by the defendant as a shareholder; (4) the doctrine of ratification was not appropriately applied to the facts of the case; (5) even if a theory of ratification was a viable option in this case, the defendant’s continued employment, in and of itself, is insufficient indicia of ratification; (6) summary judgment is granted with respect to Count I and the preliminary injunction is dissolved based on the plaintiffs’ inability to prevail on the merits of their claim.)03/07/2006
-Dewey v. Chertoff (action involving a federal employee’s claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: proper defendant for such an action, whether untimeliness of a first report of harassment under 29 C.F.R. § 1014.105(a)(1) bars such a claim, whether the defendant knew or should have known of the harassment, and whether the plaintiff could generate genuine issues of material fact on a causal connection between her report of harassment and her termination where she failed to comply with her employing agency’s request for medical documentation in support of her extended absence) 02/27/2006
-Lopez & Villalpondo v. Armark Uniform & Career Apparel, Inc. (Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims of hostile environment sexual harassment and retaliation against their former employer, the defendant filed a supplemental motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial based on information allegedly obtained during an interview with one of the jurors; the defendant contends two female jurors deliberately concealed their sexual abuse during voir dire and that an evidentiary hearing is necessary in order to determine whether it received a fair and impartial jury in the trial of this matter (1) Defendant failed to demonstrate allegations of juror misconduct based on concealed bias warranted further investigation; jurors did not deliberately conceal any bias or answer voir dire questions incorrectly; even if answers were dishonest, defendant failed to make a sufficient showing the jurors were motivated by partiality; and considerable doubt existed as to whether jurors’ past experiences with sexual abuse would have supported striking the jurors for cause; (2) even if standard for an evidentiary hearing was satisfied, defendant would be unable to produce evidence not barred by Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b); and (3) the defendant’s supplemental motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial is denied.)02/22/2006
-Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; defendant’s second summary judgment motion: rejecting the defendant’s contention that Bellville v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, 702 N.W.2d 468 (Iowa 2005), changed Iowa law for the “fairly debatable” element of a bad faith claim; granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability for bad faith, but leaving damages for trial)02/06/2006
-Bunda v. Potter (Defendant employer, as the prevailing party in an employment discrimination lawsuit, requested $6,997.92 be taxed against the plaintiff employee for expenses associated with the litigation of this matter; Court held (1) process server fees are disallowed because service was not provided by the U.S. Marshals Service as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and therefore, constitute special process fees, which are not recoverable within the Eighth Circuit; (2) Fees of the court reporter for depositions necessarily obtained for use in the case are recoverable; however, defendant failed to meet its burden with respect to one deponent, therefore, all of the costs associated with this witness are disallowed, the remainder of the costs are taxable; (3) defendant is not entitled to recover full amount of costs incurred for obtaining copies of certain depositions transcripts as such fees were unreasonable; (4) defendant not allowed to recover costs incurred for postage or ASCII disks; (5) defendant could recover the entire amount of the expert witness fees it incurred with the exception of the costs associated with a nontestifying expert’s out-of-court-preparation fees; (6) defendant awarded costs incurred for reproducing trial exhibits and obtaining copies from county clerk’s office; (7) costs taxed against plaintiff in the amount of $2,800.17. ) 01/31/2006
-Pro Edge L.P., et al. v. Gue (Motion to modify preliminary injunction; motion sought to modify the preliminary injunction previously issued by this court on June 1, 2005 by fixing a specific date, prior to the anticipated trial date, on which the preliminary injunction would dissolve; defendant contended the expiration date should be set for one year from the date he quit his employment with the plaintiff; plaintiff contended the date should be set for one year from the date the defendant actually quit providing competing services; court held that (1) modification of the preliminary injunction was warranted in light of changed circumstances, and (2) equity demanded the injunction continue for one year after the date the defendant quit providing competing services with the plaintiff; the prelminary injunction modified to reflect an expiration date of May 18, 2006.)01/31/2006
-Dible v. Steve Scholl & Gary Maynard (Suit by former prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two prison officials for monetary damages associated with alleged violations of the prisoner’s due process rights; motion to dismiss; motion to dismiss denied as former prisoner was unable to pursue habeas relief on mootness grounds leaving an action under § 1983 as the only available remedy to the plaintiff; in the absence of binding United States Supreme Court or Eighth Circuit precedent, plaintiff could proceed with § 1983 action without first satisfying Heck v. Humphrey’s favorable termination requirement.)01/24/2006
-Maytag Corporation v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc., d/b/a Frigidaire : (Patent infringement action by assignee of patents for plastic washing machine baskets and the process for making them; ruling after Markman hearing on patent claim construction)01/19/2006
-Baxter v. Briar Cliff College Group Insurance Plan, et al. : (Suit by ERISA plan beneficiary against the plan, the plan administrator, and the plan insurer for judicial review of reduction of disability benefits; cross-motions for summary judgment; whether the insurer of the ERISA plan properly reduced the plaintiff’s disability benefits under the plan by the amount of estimated Social Security disability benefits to which the insurer contended that the plaintiff had a “right,” even though the plaintiff had not been awarded, or even applied for, such Social Security disability benefits; whether the plan administrator or insurer timely provided the plaintiff with copies of all plan documents upon her request as required by ERISA and pertinent regulations) 01/18/2006
-Cook v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Former employee’s FMLA retaliation claim; employer’s motion for summary judgment; plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact on the question of whether she suffered from a serious medical condition; material fact question generated as to whether employer failed to follow through with the regulation that it was required to give employee fifteen days in which to submit the requested medical certification, and whether employers did not give employee notice of what it viewed as the deficiencies in the medical certification form submitted by employee; genuine issue of material fact generated on the question of whether employer gave employee an opportunity to cure any alleged deficiencies in the medical certification form; genuine issue of material fact generated as to whether the reasons articulated by employer for employee’s termination are pretextual; and, the court found that the temporal proximity of employee’s request for FMLA leave and the adverse employment action, in conjunction with the circumstances surrounding employer’s firing of employee, raised a genuine issue of material fact that employer’s action in firing employee was not taken in good faith.)11/28/2005
-The Conveyor Company v. Sunsource Technology Services, Inc. (Suit by manufacturer of stinger stacker that collapsed against supplier of hydraulic lift package; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment: distinctions between claim for breach of warranty of merchantability and claim of breach of warranty for a particular purpose, “economic loss rule” as bar to tort claims for strict liability and negligent misrepresentation, and nature of the duty required to support a claim for negligent misrepresentation)11/02/2005
-Van Horn, et. al. v. Van Horn, et. al. (Dispute between father and two children as to ownership in holding company; action was stayed in this court pending arbitration of the parties’ dispute; following issuance of arbitral award and disposal of post-arbitration motions, defendant-children filed a motion to lift the stay and confirm arbitration award in this court; defendants further filed motions to dismiss their remaining counterclaims against the plaintiff and involuntary plaintiff; plaintiff-father resisted the defendants’ motion to confirm the arbitral award asserting the dispute should have never been submitted to arbitration or, in the alternative, that the award should be vacated on a number of grounds; finding the matter fully arbitrated and submitted to the court, the motion to lift the stay is granted; the court would not reconsider its prior ruling compelling arbitration of the parties’ dispute based on the employment of the law of the case doctrine; the plaintiff failed to proffer sufficient evidence demonstrating any statutory or extra-statutory ground for vacation or denial of confirmation under § 10 of the FAA; motion to confirm arbitration award granted; motion to vacate arbitration award denied; motions to dismiss counterclaims against plaintiff and involuntary plaintiff granted; parties ordered to divide costs are evenly among the parties, with each party bearing the expense of their own witnesses.)10/19/2005
-Gordon v. Gerard Treatment Programs, LLC (Former employee’s FMLA retaliation claim; employer’s motion for summary judgment: Although 29 C.F.R. § 825.311(c) expressly authorizes an employer to terminate an employee who fails to provide a fitness-for-duty certification at the time that FMLA leave is concluded, the employee generated genuine issues of material fact that her termination pursuant to that regulation was nevertheless retaliatory) 10/03/2005
-Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City, et al. (Challenge to city’s superseded amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment: mootness and plaintiff’s standing to challenge superseded ordinances; unconstitutionality of superseded ordinances under the First Amendment, to the extent that they regulated “adult media”; fact questions on extent of adult entertainment business’s stock of “sex toys,” precluding determination of constitutional protection of sale of such items under “substantive due process” right to “privacy”)09/28/2005
-Morris v. Conagra Food (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging racially hostile work environment under Title VII, pendent state law claim under Iowa Code Chapter 216, and state law claim of retaliatory discharge under Iowa Code Chapter 91A; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment granted as to racially hostile work environment claim under both federal and state law where plaintiff did not come forward with evidence sufficient for a reasonable juror to find he was subjected to a continuous pattern of harassment based on his race or that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive; summary judgment granted as to retaliation claim under Iowa Code Chapter 91A where at-will employee was not denied any wages, but was in fact, overpaid.)09/28/2005
-Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity and for lack of personal jurisdiction; fraudulent concealment claim not plead with requisite particularity where; plaintiff granted leave to replead fraud based claims; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)09/16/2005
-Nock v. GKN Armstrong Wheels, Inc. (Disability discrimination claims under ADA and Iowa law; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he suffered from a qualifying disability within the meaning of the ADA and the ICRA; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he had a record of a qualifying disability; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether plaintiff was regarded as unable to perform a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs.09/09/2005
-White v. Kautzky, et al. (Prisoner’s § 1983 action for denial of access to the courts; review of magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on the merits: legal assistance system at the prison, which precluded all legal research on the inmate’s improper extradition claim, even where such legal research would have been reasonably necessary, in the exercise of a legal advisor’s reasonable professional judgment, to provide reasonably competent legal advice on the merits of the inmate’s claim, violated the inmate’s right of access to the courts, and the inmate suffered “actual injury,” because the legal assistance system itself so stymied his ability to obtain adequate legal advice that he could not file any claim based on improper extradition; appropriate remedy, where the statute of limitations on any claim had expired, was nominal damages and declaratory relief)09/08/2005
-Pierce v. Fort Dodge Animal Health (disability discrimination in employment suit under Iowa and federal law; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the plaintiff’s prima facie case)08/17/2005
-Park v. Hill v: (diversity action by bank president against unsuccessful bidder in tender offer for bank alleging defamation under Iowa law; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: applicability of “protection of the publisher’s interest” and “common interest” qualified privileges, abuse of the privileges)08/08/2005
-Pro Edge L.P. et al v. Charles S. Gue, III (Motion to amend and/or reconsider preliminary injunction order filed June 1, 2005; motion challenged holding that following corporate reorganizaiton, Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement (“1996 Agreement”) containing the non-compete clause and could enforce it against defendant; on reconsideration court held that: (1) reasonable inference arose from exhibits admitted at preliminary injunction hearing that defendant executed the Stock Purchase Agreement; (2) termination provisions in paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2(b) did not foreclose transfer or assignment of the 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P. prior to the closing date; (3) representative appointed by virtue of defendant’s execution of the Stock Purchase Agreement was vested with the authority to consent to assignment of the 1996 Agreement; and (4) reasonable inference drawn from evidence presented was that representative did consent to assignment and/or transfer of 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P.; motion to reconsider denied.)07/05/2005
-Blakely v. Anesthetix of Iowa, P.C. (Discrimination, contract breach, wage and hour violation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count one race and national origin discrimination granted; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count two breach of contract and integration clause granted and as to calculation of annual pay denied; defendant motion on count four wage hour violation denied; plaintiff generated genuine issue of material fact regarding count two breach of contract as to calculation of pay and count three)06/23/2005
-Pro Edge, L.P., et al. v. Gue, et al. (Plaintiffs, shortly following removal from state court, filed motion to extend temporary restraining order issued by state court and for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from engaging in competing activities in Belgrade, Montana area in violation of employment agreement, which contained a non-compete clause, signed by individual defendant while employed with plaintiffs; defendants resisted and filed a motion to dismiss; day long preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing held; court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant corporation, which was incorporated and had principal place of business in Montana, and had no contacts with Iowa; court had specific personal jurisdiction over individual defendant where that defendant executed the employment agreement in Iowa in 1996, remained in Iowa for a year and a half following execution of employment agreement, remained an employee of Iowa plaintiffs even after relocating to Montana, defendant’s direct supervisor was always in Iowa up until his separation with plaintiffs on April 8, 2005, defendant maintained contact with Iowa main office on weekly basis, defendant received paycheck from Iowa bank account, employment agreement contained an Iowa choice of law clause, and defendant maintained ownership stake, in the form of partnership units, in Pro Edge, L.P.; examining the case under Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 187(2)(b), court found that § 188 factors amounted to a “tie” and deferred to the parties expression of Iowa choice of law in the employment agreement; non-compete clause of employment agreement reasonable and enforceable under Iowa law; as corporation is entitled to use fictitious name in making contracts, fact that plaintiff’s predecessor used fictitious name in signing employment contract with individual defendant did not make contract unenforceable; after examining corporate reorganization of plaintiffs, court held that Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement and could enforce it against individual defendant; on balancing of the Dataphase factors, the court found the factors weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; preliminary injunction would issue following plaintiffs posting of a bond in the amount of $30,000.00; venue was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a); court would not dismiss for forum non conveniens; defendants’ motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted.)06/01/2005
-McMannes v. United Rentals, Inc. (Plaintiff brought action based on alleged unlawful termination her employment with defendant because of her age under ADEA and ICRA; motion for summary judgment; plaintiff relied only on circumstantial evidence of age discrimination, thus making the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis appropriate; defendant conceded that plaintiff had established her prima facie case; defendant proffered a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination: taking of merchandise, specifically two Mylar balloons, without paying for them in violation of company policy; court found genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether McMannes’s direct supervisor was involved in the decision making process and the proffered reason was pretext for age discrimination; viewed in light most favorable to the plaintiff: (1)plaintiff had the authority to write off inventory, and exercised that authority in setting the Mylar balloons aside during a reduction of inventory; (2) direct supervisor knew plaintiff had set aside Mylar balloons before distributing a new policy regarding junked inventory requiring employees pay for any written off merchandise; (3) plaintiff believed that balloons were not covered under new policy as they had been written off prior to the policy being in effect; (4) plaintiff had never been disciplined for her handling of merchandise prior to taking the balloons hom; (5) plaintiff’s direct supervisor asked he if she was “on track to retire” contemporaneously with terminating her; and (6) there was evidence that plaintiff’s younger replacement had violated company rules regarding telephone use, but no investigation was ever conducted, nor was replacement punished; summary judgment denied.) 05/20/2005
-Lang v. Ault (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254; respondent filed motion for partial summary judgment claiming that all but two of petitioner’s claims are procedurally defaulted because petitioner failed to exhaust those claims; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge recommended granting respondent’s motion because it was unresisted; petitioner filed pro se objections to report and recommendation; the court concluded that magistrate judge correctly determined that only two issues that petitioner raised on direct appeal to the Iowa Court of Appeals could be considered in this federal habeas proceeding because petitioner failed to properly exhaust any of his other issues in the Iowa courts; the court concluded that the court could not reach the merits of petitioner’s procedurally defaulted claims because he cannot show cause for his default and prejudice or actual innocence. Respondent’s motion for partial summary judgment was granted.)05/17/2005
-Buenting v. Riley, et al. (Civil Rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; plaintiff’s claims that his constitutional rights were violated by continued harassing conduct by a police officer and the failure of the chief of police to curtail the alleged harassing conduct; the court concludes that defendant police officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he stopped plaintiff on one occasion; the court also concludes that plaintiff was not seized by defendant police officer when police officer pulled up in front of plaintiff’s father’s house and warned plaintiff that the tint on the windshield of plaintiff’s vehicle was too dark; the court finds there has been a showing that defendant police officer violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights by pulling plaintiff over without reasonable suspicion; the court also concludes that defendant police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity as a defense to plaintiff’s claim; the court further concludes that defendant police officer’s conduct does not sufficiently shock the conscience so as to violate substantive due process; the court also concludes that plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendant police chief was deliberately indifferent to the rights of citizens who came into contact with defendant police officer or tacitly authorized the offending acts; finally, the court concludes because the record is sufficient to establish a § 1983 claim against defendant police officer, the defendant city is not entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.)05/13/2005
-Griffiths v. Winnebago, Industries, Inc. (Claim for unequal pay based on sex in violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA), 29 U.S.C. § 203(d); defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that other male employees having same job title did not perform substantially equal work and were not appropriate male comparators to support plaintiff’s prima facie case, and alternatively that it could establish the affirmative defenses of a seniority system and unequal pay based on a factor other than sex; plaintiff had established genuine issue of material fact as to her prima facie case as she identified several males with her position, Production Supervisor II, that obtained higher wages than she did at the time of her retirement and the record raised fact questions as to whether male comparators did substantially equal work to plaintiff; fact that some male Production Supervisor IIs made less did not prevent plaintiff from establishing prima facie case for purposes of summary judgment; defendant failed to establish as a matter of law that a seniority system justified differences in pay rates; defendant also failed to establish as a matter of law that differences were due to factors other than sex, especially in light of fact that some male comparators with less supervisory experience were given higher wages than plaintiff at the time of her retirement; motion for summary judgment as to EPA claim denied; plaintiff withdrew claim for sex discrimination under Title VII, so motion for summary judgment denied as moot as to that claim.)05/05/2005
-Bunda v. Potter, et al. (Female postal service employee asserts claims of hostile environment sexual harassment by a temporary supervisor and retaliation by the supervisor and other managers in violation of Title VII: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: The only proper defendant for the action is the Postmaster General and punitive damages are not available, but the plaintiff is otherwise entitled to proceed to trial on her hostile environment and retaliation claims)05/02/2005
-Steck v. (Female police officer’s claims of hostile environment sexual harassment by police chief and retaliation by police department in violation of Title VII and state law: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: considering the relevance of the status of the harasser as a supervisor or co-worker to the “objective” and “subjective” severity of a hostile environment and postulating a “sliding scale” test on the premise that, as the harasser moves higher in the heirarchy of the employer, incidents of harassment become proportionally more severe; rejecting several incidents of alleged retaliation on the grounds that they did not constitute “adverse employment action” or that the plaintiff failed to rebut the defendants’ legitimate, non-retaliatory explanations) 04/21/2005
-Mallett v. NephCare, Inc. & Nurse "Terry"04/19/2005
-Sioux Biochemical, Inc. v. Cargill, Inc. (Action arising from a dispute over the defendant’s use of the plaintiff’s allegedly secret process for manufacturing chondroitin sulfate; defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, correction of patent inventorship, conversion of intellectual property, and common-law misappropriation, or, in the alternative, to strike the common-law misappropriation claim as redundant of a similar statutory claim)04/11/2005
-Halverson-Collins v. Community & Family Resources (Plaintiff claimed retaliation in violation of Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) for termination following return from FMLA qualified leave; defendant filed motion for summary judgment conceding plaintiff had established her prima facie case of retaliation, but asserting a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination, and arguing that a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext could not be generated from the record; in light of recent Eighth Circuit opinions on the issue, court found McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis was appropriate framework to apply to plaintiff’s FMLA retaliation claim; defendant explanation that plaintiff was terminated as part of a financial downturn as well as the final stage of consolidation of financial department following recent merger was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; temporal proximity of FMLA leave and adverse employment action, unexplained knowledge of plaintiff’s supervisor as to her need for past need for leave due to medical condition, as well as defendant’s job announcement posted days after plaintiffs termination for a position the plaintiff was objectively qualified for generated a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext; summary judgment denied.)04/06/2005
-Laffey v. Ault (Petitioner convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, sentenced to two consecutive 25-year terms; petitioner appealed on four grounds one of which was that consecutive sentences constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment; Iowa Supreme Court affirmed petitioner’s conviction and discussed the Eighth Amendment claim, but vacated the sentence on ground that court abused its discretion in considering an improper sentencing factor; at resentencing petitioner was sentenced to two consecutive 25-year terms; petitioner appealed new sentences, but did not again raise the Eighth Amendment claim; Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed his new sentences; petitioner later filed petition for habeas corpus under § 2254; respondent moved to dismiss petitioner’s habeas petition on grounds that it was “mixed”—specifically claiming Eighth Amendment claim was unexhausted as it was not raised on direct review following resentencing; Report and Recommendation recommended denying the motion to dismiss; on de novo review the court rejected respondent’s argument that the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEPDA”) exterminated futility as a basis for excusing exhaustion of state court remedies, and noted that post-AEDPA Eighth Circuit case law recognized the continued viability of the futility exception to the exhaustion requirement; court further held futility doctrine applied in this instance where Iowa Supreme Court had adversely ruled on the petitioner’s Eighth Amendment claim as to his original sentences and where the new sentences were based on an identical factual predicate as the original sentences; objections overruled; Report and Recommendation adopted; motion to dismiss denied.)04/04/2005
-McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. v. Qwest Corporation & Qwest Communications Corporation (Litigation between telecommunications companies over payment dispute; plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction: application of Dataphase factors, including explanation of “likelihood of success on the merits” factor, extension of term for temporary restraining order for “good cause,” and waiver of bond requirement) 03/23/2005
-Toledo v. North American Kiln (Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on count one breach of contract denied; defendant generated genuine issue of material fact)03/18/2005
-Matlock v. Vilsack, et al. (Plaintiff filed § 1983 claims against Governor of the State of Iowa, Black Hawk County and John Does based on fact that plaintiff’s civil commitment under Iowa Code Chapter 229A was later found unconstitutional by Iowa Court of Appeals; both named defendants moved to dismiss; magistrate judge’s report and recommendation recommended granting motions to dismiss; no abuse of process claim could be sustained as there were no facts alleged that any defendant had used Chapter 229A against the defendant for an improper purpose or with an impermissible motive; further, no § 1983 action could be maintained as both County and Governor, in his official capacity, were immune from such suit; report and recommendation accepted; motions to dismiss granted.)03/10/2005
-O'Brecht v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Plaintiff alleges wrongful termination in violation of public policy—namely, retaliation for filing worker’s compensation claims; motion to dismiss filed by defendant; defendant claimed language in settlement agreement reached by the parties as to plaintiff’s worker’s compensation claim allowed for plaintiff’s termination at defendant’s discretion; plaintiff argues provision in settlement agreement was against Iowa’s strong public policy against retaliation for filing worker’s compensation claims and is therefore void; any interpretation of settlement agreement language that would expressly allow defendant to terminate plaintiff for filing worker’s compensation claim would be void as against public policy; defendant can rely on interpretation of settlement agreement language to allow for plaintiff’s termination for non-retaliatory reasons to rebut motive requirement of plaintiff’s claim; motion to dismiss denied.)03/09/2005
- General Casualty Insurance Co. v. Penn-Co Construction Company (Defendant Penn-Co was general contractor on UNI-Dome roof-replacement project; General Casualty was insurer of one of Penn-Co’s subcontractor; General Casualty brought declaratory judgment suit contending it was not required to provide a defense or indemnify Penn-Co in underlying action in which UNI sued Penn-Co for damage due to leaks in the UNI-Dome roof; cross-motions for summary judgment; applying Iowa law contract construction and interpretation principles the court found that Penn-Co was an insured under the 1999-2000 Contractor’s Policy and 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001 Umbrella Policies, but not an insured under 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 Contractor’s Policies or the Commercial General Liability Policies; genuine issue of material fact prevented summary judgment as to whether Penn-Co had primary insurance under its policies with St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (St. Paul)—which also provided Penn-Co a defense, and funds with which to settle, the underlying action—thereby negating coverage under the General Casualty policies; Penn-Co was not judicially estopped from arguing that General Casualty was collaterally estopped from relitigating whether there had “property damage” resulting from an “occurrence” as defined by the policies, as Penn-Co had not taken an inconsistent position in the underlying action; General Casualty was collaterally estopped from arguing that “property damage” resulting from an “occurrence” did not happen; Penn-Co was in a different position than its subcontractor in terms of compliance with notice requirements of the policies, therefore General Casualty was not collaterally estopped from arguing that Penn-Co had not substantially complied with the notice requirements to the prejudice of General Casualty; Minnesota law governed Miller-Schugart stipulated settlement entered into between Penn-Co and subcontractor; genuine issues of material fact existed as to reasonableness/prudence of stipulated settlement and as to whether stipulated settlement was the results of fraud and/or collusion—therefore requiring partial denial of Penn-Co’s motion for summary judgment seeking to bind General Casualty to the terms of the stipulated settlement; cross-motions) 03/02/2005
-Williams, et al. v. Security National Bank : (Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; parties’ motions in limine: trustee’s motions to exclude evidence of insurance, settlement negotiations, “expert” opinions of consultant, revision of internal policies, amendment of petition in probate action, a beneficiary’s supposed right to growth of the trust, certain familial and corporate relationships, stock indices, and testimony of certain experts; beneficiaries’ motions to exclude evidence of purported offsets against damages for trustee fees and the life beneficiary’s right to principal of the trust)02/25/2005
-Van Horn v. Van Horn, et al. (Dispute between father and two children as to ownership in holding company; defendant-children filed motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party under Rule 19, or alternatively to stay litigation and compel arbitration pursuant to letter executed by all memorializing telephone conference with federal and state banking authorities; as alleged ownership of the holding company was between the plaintiff, the two defendants, and a third child of the plaintiff, and as defendants asserted breach of fiduciary duty claims against their sibling, third child of plaintiff joined as involuntary plaintiff under Rule 19(a) and diversity jurisdiction remained intact; holding company itself was not an indispensable party to ownership dispute where current parties comprised a discrete group of the only possible owners of the shares of the holding company; motion to dismiss for failure to join indispensable parties denied; letter memorializing teleconference, which was signed and notarized by all parties, did touch upon commerce and thereby did fall under the Federal Arbitration Act; letter was a valid contract to arbitrate specific dispute at issue in the litigation; defendants’ motion to stay litigation and compel arbitration granted; litigation stayed, and parties ordered to submit ownership dispute issues to arbitration consistent with the terms of the letter.)02/04/2005
-Cook v. Electrolux (Prior court order confirmed arbitration award awarding grievant (here plaintiff) reinstatement and backpay in dispute between defendant and representative union; plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of the FMLA and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (“IWPCL”); defendant filed motion for summary judgment contending prior court order precluded the plaintiff’s claims on res judicata grounds; plaintiff filed cross-motion for summary judgment contending arbitration decision collaterally estopped defendant from asserting that it had not violated the FMLA in terminating her employment; defendant filed second motion for partial summary judgment on IWPCL claim; court held prior court order confirming arbitration award was not accorded a claim or issue preclusive effect under Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 94 S. Ct. 1011, 39 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1974), and its progeny, and therefore denied the cross-motions for summary judgment as to the FMLA claim; defendant’s partial motion for summary judgment as to IWPCL claim granted as a backpay award was not “wages” as defined by the IWPCL.) 01/26/2005
-Karen M.Schmidt and Daniel J. Schmidt v. Fortis Insurance Company (Defendant rescinded plaintiffs’ insurance policy on basis of fraudulent misrepresentations on enrollment form; plaintiff sued seeking declaratory judgment that rescission was unlawful and also asserted a breach of contract claim based on the wrongful rescission; defendant then claimed a right to declaratory judgment that responses on application were false and rescission was lawful; cross-motions for summary judgment; court found that individual assisting the plaintiffs to procure replacement health insurance was an ‘agent’ under Iowa law—and therefore, his knowledge of plaintiff’s health history was imputable to defendant, though a genuine issue of material fact as to what agent actually knew was generated by the record; the record did not support defendant’s allegation that plaintiffs and agent colluded to perpetrate a fraud upon defendant, and therefore as to this point of contention the defendant’s motion for summary judgment was denied in part and plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment was granted in part; application question regarding whether any proposed insured had been “treated for . . . cancer” in the previous ten years was ambiguous and question of whether plaintiff’s prescription drug (tamoxifen) use constituted “treatment” could be resolved only via resort to extrinsic evidence—thereby generating a genuine issue of material fact which precluded summary judgment for either party; application question regarding whether any proposed insured had “consulted with a physician concerning . . . cancer” in the past ten years was also ambiguous and question of whether plaintiff’s doctor visits in the previous ten years fell within the ambit of this phrase could not be resolved without turning to extrinsic evidence—therefore, summary judgment for either party was not appropriate as a genuine issue of material fact had been generated; genuine issue of material fact also existed as to whether plaintiffs’ “no” response to application question inquiring into whether they had ever previously been declined medical insurance; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment granted in part as related to the defendant’s fraud upon the principal claim, but denied in all other respects; defendant’s motion for summary judgment denied in its entirety.) 01/03/2005
-Knudsen v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) fee calculation): objections by the commissioner as to method used by plaintiff to calculate attorney’s hourly rate; court provides computation method of hourly rate; rates are to be adjusted according to the year the service was performed; court requires itemization of hours and block billing does not conform to the local rules to provide a description of services provided; prejudgment interest is precluded; attorney must provide documentation to support an award of an hourly rate greater than that established by statute; court finds the appropriate CPI to use is the CPI tied to the area where the service was performed and the court will use the Midwest Urban CPI available through www.bls.gov website)12/23/2004
-Tinius v. St. Anthony Regional Hospital, Inc., et al. (Claims arising from an incident at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Iowa, during which plaintiff contends that he was unlawfully confined against his will and was catheterized without his consent. Plaintiff asserts claims of false imprisonment, medical battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and negligence.)12/22/2004
-Tinius v. Carroll County (Civil rights; motion to dismiss; where as a result of the court’s prior rulings all of plaintiff’s claims which would confer original jurisdiction on the court have been dismissed, defendants request that the court decline to continue to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims against them; assessment of whether that the values of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity require the court to dismiss plaintiff’s remaining state law claims.)12/20/2004
-Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad v. Pay Load, Inc., et al. (Diversity tort action; motion for partial summary judgment; analysis of appropriateness of recover by leasee of locomotive for liquidate loss value set in locomotive lease as compensatory damage where locomotive is damaged in collision with semi-truck; review of damages permitted under Restatement (Second) of Torts § 928 versus Restatement (Second) of Torts § 927; analysis of whether plaintiff could meet its burden of proof as to claim for punitive damages under Iowa Code § 668A.1(1)(a) as to either the truck driver or his employer.)12/15/2004
-Lorenzen v. GKN Armstrong, Inc. (Employment discrimination and wrongful discharge; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: plaintiff’s burdens to prove sex discrimination in pay under the Equal Pay Act; “actual disability” and “perceived disability” under the ADA; constructive discharge in violation of public policy for filing a workers’ compensation claim)11/22/2004
-Oldcastle Materials, Inc. v. Rohlin, et al. (Contract dispute involving allegations of conflicting agreements for sale and purchase of majority shareholders’ shares in closely-held corporation; cross-motions for specific performance by third-party buyers and assignee of minority shareholders: determination of whether a letter from the third-party buyers constituted an offer, whether the majority shareholders accepted that offer, whether the minority shareholders properly exercised a right of first refusal to buy the shares on the same terms as the third-party buyers, and whether the assignee of the minority shareholders was entitled to specific performance of the agreement to sell the shares; court’s sua sponte determination to certify entry of judgment on some but not all of the claims in the action pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) 11/18/2004
-Electrolux Home Products, Inc. v. The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implemetn Workers of America, et al. (Labor Law; judicial review of arbitration award regarding termination of union member; cross-motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether arbitrator’s decision draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement; review of whether arbitrator engaged in manifest disregard for the law; assessment of whether attorneys’ fees for the costs of defending arbitration decision was warranted.)11/17/2004
-North Central Construction v. Siouxland Energy and Livestock Cooperative (Following arbitration award plaintiff moved to (1) vacate, modify or correct award with respect to arbitration panel’s denial of its claim for attorneys’ fees, (2) for selective confirmation of the award except for the denial of attorneys’ fees, (3) for this court to award plaintiff attorneys’ fees; plaintiff challenges award on ground that attorneys’ fees was not submitted for arbitration and the arbitration panel acted outside its authority in ruling on the issue and that it reserved the issue of attorneys’ for determinate by this court in its pre-hearing brief submitted to the arbitration panel; motion to vacate, modify or correct award denied where plaintiff had moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the parties’ contract, where contract provided for arbitration of all unresolved disputes arising from the contract, and where plaintiff had claimed attorneys’ fees as portion of relief in documents filed with arbitration panel; motion for selective confirmation denied where no grounds existed to vacate, modify or correct the arbitration award; motion for attorneys’ fees to the extent it requested fees incurred by plaintiff prior to arbitration award denied as moot; motion for attorneys’ fees to the extent it requested post-arbitration attorneys’ fees denied.)10/28/2004
-O'Connor v. Barnhart09/28/2004
-Edwards v. Ault (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254; respondent filed motion to dismiss claiming petition contained both exhausted and unexhausted claims; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge; petitioner’s objection to recommended dismissal of the fourth claim in his petition (ground D) was overruled as claim had not been properly raised before any Iowa Court and could not be raised as limitations period had passed; three remaining claims exhausted, therefore motion to dismiss mixed petition denied; three remaining claims involved ineffective assistance of counsel revolving around trial counsel’s counseling defense DNA expert to use the term “exclusion” in his testimony in front of and FBI agent; as petitioner failed to show an actual conflict of interest, prejudice was not presumed under Cuyler; petitioner could not show Strickland prejudice as a result of trial counsel’s mistake, therefore ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim failed; as trial counsel was not ineffective, appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise trial counsel’s ineffectiveness on appeal; report and recommendation accepted; motion to dismiss denied; ground four (D) dismissed as unexhausted and procedurally defaulted; writ of habeas corpus denied on the merits; certificate of appealability would not issue.)09/27/2004
-Catholic Order of Foresters, et. al. v. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Inc., et al (Securities fraud and related claims; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for improper venue: venue pursuant to the “special” venue provision for federal securities fraud claims, 15 U.S.C. § 78aa; one defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted: circumstances under which a non-debtor falls within the scope of the automatic stay in bankruptcy, whether plaintiffs seek property of the bankruptcy estate)09/27/2004
-McInnis v. Barnhart (Social Security; overpayment of benefits, Commissioner’s objection to report and recommendation recommending judgment finding claimant was “without fault” in receiving overpayment of benefits: the ALJ did not err in finding the claimant was “not without fault” in receiving overpayment of benefits when claimant testified that he had met with SSA representative, knew there was a monthly earning limitation, knew he was going over the monthly earning limitation, and knew that his benefits were at jeopardy because he was earning over the monthly limitation, yet continued to receive benefits; claimant received notice by mail and through discussion with SSA representative that he was required to report earnings that might impact his benefits; ALJ properly evaluated the record and concluded that the claimant should have known or understood that he was required to report earnings that might affect his benefits; claimant accepted payment of benefits that he knew or could have been expected to know was incorrect; report and recommendation rejected.)09/27/2004
-Wells' Dairy, Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; motion to modify prior orders regarding insurer’s duty to defend insured; review of standard of review under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b); review of standards for permitting insured to terminate its duty to defend; analysis of when dismissed claims become final so as to permit an insurer to withdraw its defense) 09/23/2004
-Edward Branstad & Monroe Branstad v. Veneman ((Action for judicial review of USDA action under the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3821-24; renewed motion for attorney fees and expenses pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, after favorable result on remand to agency: plaintiff’s “prevailing party” status, “substantial justification” for the USDA’s position or lack thereof, presence or absence of “special circumstances” warranting denial of fees, and appropriateness of amount of fees based on enhanced hourly rate)09/21/2004
-Edward Branstad & Monroe Branstad v. Veneman (Action for judicial review of USDA action under the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3821-24; renewed motion for attorney fees and expenses pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 U.S.C. § 2412, after favorable result on remand to agency: plaintiff’s “prevailing party” status, “substantial justification” for the USDA’s position or lack thereof, presence or absence of “special circumstances” warranting denial of fees, and appropriateness of amount of fees based on enhanced hourly rate)09/21/2004
-Engineered Products Co. v. Donaldson Co. Inc. ((Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; ruling on defendant’s motion to alter or amend judgment: double recovery and improper enhancement; plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and expenses pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285 and expert witness fees pursuant to the court’s inherent power: “willfulness” of infringement as basis for finding an “exceptional case,” appropriateness of awarding fees, reasonableness of hours and application of Minneapolis-St. Paul rates instead of local rates, and standards for awarding expert witness fees as a sanction)09/21/2004
-Marvin v. North Central Iowa Mental Health Center, Inc. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether defendant community mental health center was a state actor; determination of of whether there was pervasive entwinement of public officials and actions of defendant.) 09/17/2004
-Nelson v. Long Lines, et al. (Employment discrimination-age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. and claims for overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact that defendants acted on the basis of a discriminatory motive; examination of whether defendant employer was covered by the overtime requirements of the FSLA; analysis of whether Iowa has recognized the claim of breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the employment context; analysis of plaintiff’s promissory estoppel claim and determination as to whether statement rose to the level of a clear and definite promise; consideration of plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim and determination of whether plaintiff performed services for defendants which were known and accepted by defendants when he used his own tools and equipment to accomplish tasks during his employment.)09/15/2004
-Jasa v. Mathes (Motion to dismiss habeas corpus petition on grounds of procedural default; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge; petitioner does not object to recommendation that motion to dismiss be granted as to jury misconduct claim; no plain error in magistrate’s analysis of petitioner’s jury misconduct claim, therefore recommendation that claim is accepted; petitioner asserted that his mental illnesses prevented him from appealing from denial of his postconvicion relief application which asserted ineffective assistance of counsel; petitioner failed to show that his mental disorders made him unable to comprehend his legal rights and responsibilities at the time during which he should have pursued postconviction relief; procedural default not excused; report and recommendation accepted; motion to dismiss granted.)09/13/2004
-Engling v. Barnhart (Social Security; Commissioner’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of claimant: the ALJ erred in not giving more weight to counselor’s opinion when counselor treated claimant over period of time and was consistent with the record, versus the opinion of one time consultative examining psychologist; ALJ’s credibility analysis was in error because evidence did not supported a finding that claimant was not credible; evidence supported a finding that claimant suffered from a mental impairment and would be unable to sustain gainful employment)09/08/2004
-Storm, et al. v. Van Beek, et al. (Diversity action for breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to name indispensable party and pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, both premised on failure to name a defunct partnership as a party before suing the partners who continued the business of the partnership)09/02/2004
-Jacobsen v.Department of Transportation, et al. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) failed as a matter of law because of a lack of evidence that the alleged conspiracy was motivated by an invidious, class-based animus against plaintiff; consideration of the defendants’ arguments that the doctrine of sovereign immunity precludes plaintiff’s claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants in their official capacities; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact that governor took a prohibited action himself or failed to take any required action that caused plaintiff’s alleged constitutional deprivation; assessment of whether plaintiff could generate a genuine issue of material fact that assistant attorney general took an action which deprived plaintiff of a protected right; analysis of whether certain defendants’ actions in moving plaintiff’s news racks were reasonable in light of the department of transportation’s ability to regulate such conduct in a non-public fora. ) 08/26/2004
-B & D Land and Livestock Co. v. Veneman (Judicial review of administrative action by the USDA finding a wetland “conversion” in violation of the “Swampbuster” Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3801, 3821-24: reviewability by the USDA of prior certified wetland determination, as to which the producer withdrew its administrative appeal, in the course of administrative proceedings challenging agency finding of “conversion” of the same wetland)08/18/2004
-Riker-Vanholand v. Transouth Financial Corporation, et al. (Motion to dismiss; pro se complainant; plaintiff alleges harassment by defendants over loan that was not her responsibility; defendants moved to dismiss amended complaint; civil RICO claim asserted in amended complaint was previously dismissed by this court by order dated May 7, 2004, therefore defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted; plaintiff failed to plead fraud with the particularity required by Rule 9(b) and, as no actual damages were asserted in any pleading, even the most liberal reading of the complaint could establish reliance; motion to dismiss fraud claim granted; remaining IDCPA claim dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as maximum damages recoverable, in light of fact that no actual damages were alleged, was $1000.00 and only basis for federal jurisdiction was diversity.08/16/2004
-Engineered Products, Inc. v. Donaldson, Co. (Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; ruling on equitable defenses tried to court and post-trial motions following jury verdict for plaintiff: (1) defense of obviousness-type double patenting; (2) defenses of laches and estoppel; (3) post-trial motions: (a) erroneous claim construction; (b) infringement; (c) “lost profits” damages; (d) “willfulness” of infringement; (e) errors in instructions and verdict form; (f) juror confusion over ability to find both “literal” infringement and “doctrine of equivalents” infringement; (g) court’s comments to defendant’s damages expert; (h) use during jury selection of a videotape providing an introduction to patent law; (i) enhanced damages; and (j) pre- and post-judgment interest)08/12/2004
-Berg v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Commissioner’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of claimant: the ALJ did not err in discounting claimant’s allegations as to the level and severity claimed regarding his asthma and allergies, as his description of his daily activities, lack of documented attacks requiring medical or emergency intervention and medical regime were inconsistent with the allegations; ALJ properly evaluated the medical evidence in the case; hypothetical question posted to the vocational expert included limitations the ALJ found credible; and medical record was sufficient for ALJ to make a determination.) 08/02/2004
-Stewart v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; Claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending a remand for further development of the record: ALJ failed to conduct a proper credibility analysis, failed to follow the recommendations of disability service examiners to obtain additional tests, failed to obtain treating physician’s opinion, and failed to pose a hypothetical question to the vocational expert that accurately included all of claimant’s limitations; discussion of other work, past relevant work and unsuccessful work attempt; case remanded for further development of the record and with direction to reconsider the evidence and make a proper evaluation of claimant’s limitations in accordance with the regulations).08/02/2004
-Atwood v. Mapes (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254;petitioner convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide and sentenced to two indeterminate terms not to exceed ten years; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge; petitioner contends his right to an impartial verdict was violated when trial judge, outside the presence of petitioner and his trial counsel, informed the jury of an anonymous telephone threat received prior to closing arguments; Remmer presumption is not clearly established federal law and therefore failure to apply the presumption does not amount to a constitutional violation; additional questions surround application of Remmer as communication was not related to the defendant or facts bearing on the indictment; burden of demonstrating prejudice lies with petitioner; petitioner failed to provide any evidence of prejudice or partiality, therefore objection was overruled; petitioner did not request to be present when trial judge informed jury of the threat, and therefore his right to be presence was waived; alternatively, any violation of petitioner’s right to be present was harmless error; ineffective assistance of counsel claim failed as petitioner could not establish Strickland prejudice arising from his trial counsels’ failure to request presence at the meeting or request to voir dire the jurors to ascertain if they were prejudiced; report and recommendation accepted; writ of habeas corpus denied; certificate of appealability would issue.)07/19/2004
-"PSA Cases" (Kinkaid v. John Morrell & Co.; Hoefling v. John Morrell & Co.; Sokolowski v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.) (Separate actions by hog producers against packing companies pursuant to the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA), 7 U.S.C. §§ 181-231, alleging unfair and deceptive practices in relation to "transfer of risk" provisions of their contracts that were not licensed insurance; packing companies' motions to dismiss: meaning of "insurance" under Iowa law, determination of whether the producers alleged "insurance" or merely provisions for the "transfer of risk" of loss of hogs during shipment, determination of whether the producers have a cognizable PSA claim if the contracts are or are not "insurance")06/18/2004
-Tiniuis v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, et al. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether plaintiff’s allegations of unlawful detention can support a substantive due process claim or must be analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment’s reasonableness standard governing searches and seizures; analysis of law enforcement officer defendants’ claim of that they were justified in detaining plaintiff under the officers’ “community caretaking” function, in order to investigate plaintiff’s physical and mental condition; consideration of the defendants’ arguments that they are shielded from liability because they are entitled to qualified immunity for their actions; analysis of whether the defendant officers were properly performing their "community caretaking" function when they detained plaintiff and later restrained him during catheterization procedure such that they are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for assault and battery; examination of whether plaintiff can establish that the defendants' conduct was sufficiently extreme and outrageous to support plaintiff’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; analysis of whether as a matter of law the defendants’ actions constituted an intrusion which would establish an invasion of privacy tort; assessment of whether plaintiff could establish that the law enforcement officers breached a duty of care owed to him such as would support plaintiff’s claim of negligence; with respect to claims against medical personnel, analysis of whether plaintiff’s claim of lack of consent is controlled by the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or by Iowa state law.)06/14/2004
-Saenz v. Barnhart (Social Security; adoption of report and recommendation finding ALJ failed to properly conduct Polaski analysis; discussion of “acceptable medical source” opinion, “other medical source” opinion and “treating source” opinion; finding ALJ failed to properly consider “other medical source” opinion and requiring on remand consideration of the factors enumerated and defined by the regulations)06/02/2004
-Kaydon Acquisition Corp. v. Custum Manufacturing, Inc., et al. : (Action for indemnity following settlement of a third party’s claims in litigation in California; motion to “clarify” ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment as to indemnity for attorneys fees and costs: authority to “clarify” or “reconsider” prior summary judgment ruling, “clarification” of what the prior ruling meant, and “reconsideration” of the prior ruling regarding proof required of a settling indemnitee to recover indemnification, based on contractual exception rather than general rule; motion for summary judgment on counterclaim for failure to pay sales commissions)05/12/2004
-Riker-Vanholland v. Transouth Financial Corporation & Robert Hunter (Motion to dismiss; pro se complainant; plaintiff alleges harassment by defendants over loan that was not her responsibility; claim for violation of constitutional rights dismissed as no facts plead to support requirement that defendants were state actors or acted under color of law; civil RICO claim dismissed as pleadings did not evidence more than two predicate acts within the last ten years; two-year statute of limitations applied to plaintiff’s state law personal injury claims—state tort claims dismissed as action was filed more than three years after alleged injury; state law fraud claim subject to five-year statute of limitations; plaintiff’s state law fraud claim survives statute of limitations challenge and hence also survive motion to dismiss; pleadings place defendants on notice of possible claim under Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.—though such a claim cannot be maintained as case was filed outside the two-year limitations period; pleadings also place defendant on notice of possible claim under the “Iowa Debt Collections Practices Act,” Iowa Code § 537.7101, et seq. (“IDCPA”) which is subject to a five-year statute of limitations; plaintiff’s state law fraud claim and “IDCPA” claims survive motion to dismiss; plaintiff given additional time to file amended complaint which: (1) pleads fraud with particularity; (2) specifically pleads a claim under the IDCPA; and (3) adequately avers that the amount in controversy is sufficient for the court to maintain diversity jurisdiction.)05/07/2004
-Soto v. John Morrell & Company (Renewed motion for summary judgment; change in controlling law potentially impacted classification of alleged harasser as a ‘supervisor’ for purposes of sexually hostile work environment claim; recent Eighth Circuit decisions of Weyers v. Lear Operations Corporation, 359 F.3d 1049 (8th Cir. 2004) and Joens v. John Morrell & Co., 354 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2004) adopted a ‘narrow’ definition of who is considered a supervisor; definition required individual to have the power to take tangible employment actions such as the authority to hire, fire, promote or reassign to significantly different duties; even under this ‘narrow’ definition the record still generated genuine issue of material fact as to whether the alleged harasser was a ‘supervisor’; in light most favorable to the plaintiff, the record showed that alleged harasser exercised apparent authority to fire and permanently reassign plaintiff as well as the actual authority to both control the frequency and duration of the plaintiff’s bathroom breaks, and to control her pay to some extent by assigning her to different positions on the kill floor; renewed motion for summary judgment denied.) 05/03/2004
-Williams, et al. v. Security National Bank : (Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; trustee’s motion to stay proceedings in favor of action in Iowa probate court: applicability of the “first-filed rule” and the “Colorado River abstention doctrine” to concurrent actions in state and federal courts; determination of whether the concurrent actions are “parallel”; and consideration of other applicable factors)04/26/2004
-Wallace v. Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; plaintiff’s attorney’s request for attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b): lodestar methodology is no longer used to calculate fees requested pursuant to contingency fee agreement; continency fee agreement is starting point for court’s determination of reasonable fees; court can only award fees for time before the court; the court will not award twenty-five percent of past due benefits, even with contingency fee agreement, if such an award is unreasonable).04/22/2004
-Sherman, et al. v. Kasotakis d/b/a The Horizsons Family Restaurant (Race discrimination in a public accommodation case under § 1981, § 2000a, and Iowa Code § 217.6; jury verdict for each of the four individual plaintiffs in the amount of $1.00 in nominal damages and $12,500.00 in punitive damages; defendant’s motion for partial judgment as a matter of law, partial new trial or remittitur as to punitive damages award; plaintiffs’ motion to amend the judgment to include injunctive relief and application for attorney’s fees; failure to renew motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all the evidence or object in any way to jury instructions constituted waiver; under plain error analysis evidence supported holding employer liable for offending actions of employee where offending employee’s actions were ratified or approved of by supervising night manager; under plain error analysis jury instructions on punitive damages conformed to the law and adequately conveyed the rights and burdens of the respective parties; partial motion for judgment as a matter of law denied; partial motion for new trial on the issue of the constitutionality of the punitive damages award; application of the factors enumerated in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 116 S. Ct. 1589, 134 L. Ed. 2d 908 (1996) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513, 155 L. Ed. 2d 585 (2003); conduct in the upper echelon of reprehensibility; ratio not as important in civil rights cases where only nominal and punitive damages are awarded—reducing ratio to single digit multiplier in this instance would eviscerate the intent behind punitive damages; predictably, no similar civil penalties—which is precisely the reason for the creation of federal civil rights law; punitive damages award under the particular facts and circumstances was reasonable; motion for partial new trial denied; remittitur not warranted as the differential between nominal and punitive damages was neither monstrous nor shocking to the conscience; plaintiffs’ motion to amend judgment granted; equitable relief ordered included two-year injunction, posting of notice, dissemination of anti-discrimination in a public accommodation policy, and maintenance of records; application for attorney’s fees granted with some modification to the claimed rates and reasonable hours; attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19,692.46.04/19/2004
-Engineered Products Co. v. Donaldson Co., Inc. (Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; pre-trial motions in the following categories: (1) motions relating to EPC’s case-in-chief (infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, willful infringement); (2) motions relating to Donaldson’s defenses (obviousness-type double patenting, patent misuse, separate patentability); (3) motions relating to experts (qualification, reliability, untimely disclosure); (4) waiver of privilege as to communications to or from EPC’s prior patent counsel; (5) admissibility of a videotape on practices and procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO); and (6) the release of summary judgment exhibits for use at trial.04/13/2004
-John Morrell & Co. v. ISO Pig (breach-of-contract claim involving hog contract; hog buyer’s motion for summary judgment: failure to comply with local rules for summary judgment motions; affidavit differing from deposition testimony; contractual right to modify pricing)04/12/2004
-In Re McCleod USA Incorporated Securities Litigation (Class action for violation of Federal Securities Laws; defendants’ motion to dismiss; objections to United States Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation that motion to dismiss be denied; analysis of whether complaint sufficiently particularize each defendant’s role in the alleged fraud as required by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b), through use of the group-published information doctrine; review of whether the complaint adequately plead facts giving rise to a strong inference of scienter; determination of whether plaintiffs alleged specific examples of statements and omissions alleged to have been materially false and misleading.)03/31/2004
-Knudsen v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of the claimant: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of the medical opinions of an acceptable medical source who was also a treating source; whether the progress notes signed by both a social worker and an acceptable medical source who was also a treating source were improperly discounted; the Commissioner’s burden at step five of the sequential analysis)03/30/2004
-Webster Industries, Inc., et al. v. Northwood Doors, Inc., et al. (Removed action by creditors against insolvent corporation and related entities to recover for failure of the insolvent company to pay for goods and services that the plaintiffs provided to that defendant: plaintiffs’ unresisted motion for partial summary judgment against insolvent company on “contract” and “unjust enrichment” claims; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on “quantum valebant,” “fraudulent transfer,” “corporate opportunities and duties,” “fraud,” and “RICO” claims)03/25/2004
-Dunkerson v. Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security; claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s consideration of medications as required by Polaski; whether ALJ’s RFC contained limitations documented by the medical evidence; whether hypothetical question reflected claimants abilities) 03/24/2004
-Austin v. Ault : (Petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; objections to report and recommendation recommending denial of all claims: de novo review of claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, based on “unpreparedness,” and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, based on failure to assert trial counsel’s “unpreparedness”)03/22/2004
-Butler v. Smithway Motor Express, Inc. (Employment discrimination case dismissed as sanction for failure to respond to order compelling discovery; Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment: “excusable neglect”)03/22/2004
-Foell v. Mathes (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254;petitioner convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of a 69-year-old woman; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge; petitioner’s objections omission of certain facts from report and recommendation granted in part and denied in part; petitioner contends trial counsel was ineffective for not asserting a diminished responsibility defense; trial counsel recognized availability of mental defenses other than insanity; trial counsel’s decision not to offer a diminished responsibility defense reasonable in light of express wish of defendant that information in mental evaluations not be made public and in light of fact that information in mental evaluations would likely bolster State’s theory; trial counsel’s assertion of defense based on intoxication and petitioner’s suggestibility was reasonable; petitioner could not show outcome of trial was prejudiced by trial counsel’s assertion of this defense; report and recommendation accepted; writ of habeas corpus denied; certificate of appealability would not issue.)03/19/2004
-Robert Connor, et al. v. Ault (Prisoners’ § 1983 claims; bench trial; objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment in favor of the defendants and against plaintiffs; analysis of Muslim inmates’ claims arising under the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause; prison policies pursuant to the factors articulated in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89-90 (1987); consideration of the impact accommodation of the asserted constitutional right would have on guards and other inmates, and on the allocation of prison resources generally; review of whether plaintiffs could point to any alternatives that fully accommodated their rights at de minimis cost to valid penological interests)03/11/2004
-Demaris v. Barnhart, Commisioner of Social Security (DeMaris v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security; claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s reliance on non-examining sources; whether substantial evidence existed that claimant could perform light work; review of other claimed limitations including medical evidence, daily activities, financial inability to obtain additional treatment, whether pain is controlled, work history, and claimant’s own subjective complaints)03/04/2004
-Wegener, et al. v. Gehrke Construction, et al. (Two separate cases by injured workers after construction accident; general contractor’s motion in one case for partial summary judgment on indemnity issues and motions in both cases for partial summary judgment that it had no duty to protect subcontractors’ employees: general rule regarding general contractor’s lack of liability and exceptions; analysis of applicability of “contractual duty” exception)03/03/2004
-Cochran v. Gehrke Construction, et al. (Two separate cases by injured workers after construction accident; general contractor’s motion in one case for partial summary judgment on indemnity issues and motions in both cases for partial summary judgment that it had no duty to protect subcontractors’ employees: general rule regarding general contractor’s lack of liability and exceptions; analysis of applicability of “contractual duty” exception)03/03/2004
-Doctor John's v. City of Sioux City, et al.(Challenge to city’s newly amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; putative adult entertainment business’s motion for preliminary injunction: Dataphase standards for a preliminary injunction; plaintiff’s likelihood of showing constitutional invalidity of a municipal zoning ordinance regulating adult entertainment businesses under the test in City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986), threat of irreparable harm to First Amendment rights from potentially defective ordinance, balance of harms, and public interest in protection of First Amendment rights; scope of injunction necessary to address constitutional defect; bond requirement under Rule 65(c) and grounds for waiver; and preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of city’s newly amended ordinances)02/26/2004
-Conrad v. Eaton Corporation (Summary judgment; only issue before the court is whether summary judgment is appropriate on plaintiff’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) claim; plaintiff’s erratic and unusual behavior on the days preceding his leave, as well as the doctor’s note that plaintiff provided on the first day of his leave which stated that plaintiff should not work until further notice, were sufficient to apprise employer of plaintiff’s potential need for leave under the FMLA; after employee has notified employer of need for leave, the employer either may count the leave as FMLA leave or request medical certification; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant requested medical certification from plaintiff; under FMLA plaintiff must establish he suffered from a “serious health condition” and due to that condition, experienced three consecutive days, or more, of incapacity; fact that plaintiff’s psychiatrist testified that plaintiff was able to perform functions of his job for another employer, just not the defendant, did not necessitate grant of summary judgment; key inquiry under the FMLA is whether plaintiff is unable to work in his current employment due to a “serious health condition”; plaintiff provided sufficient evidence to generate a genuine issue of material fact as to his inability to perform his essential job functions at Eaton Corporation; summary judgment denied.)02/17/2004
-EEOC v. Wyeth (Employment discrimination lawsuit involving claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; defendant’s motion for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether the "harassment" employee suffered was because of employee’s sex; whether the "harassment" in question was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable, and whether defendant knew or should have known that the "harassment" was because of employee’s sex.)02/17/2004
-Knutson v. AG Processing (Judgment of this court on ordered reinstatement, back pay, attorney’s fees and damages to plaintiff; on appeal to Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; plaintiff moved to compel reinstatement or in the alternative front pay; defendant subsequently moved to stay execution of judgment; monetary judgment stayed pending posting of supersedeas bond in amount agreed to by the parties; reinstatement of plaintiff to former position did not result in irreparable harm to defendant; balancing of equities favored denying motion to stay execution of the order of reinstatement; even when matter is on appeal the court retains authority to enforce its original judgment; plaintiff’s motion for reinstatement granted; interim pay from the time of original judgment until the earlier of the plaintiff’s reinstatement or decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered, but stayed pending posting of an additional supersedeas bond by defendant; as front pay was a key issue on appeal, court likely without jurisdiction to alter its original ruling denying front pay; defendant subject to civil contempt proceedings if it fails to obtain a stay from Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of this court’s order of reinstatement and does not reinstate plaintiff.) 02/13/2004
-Kaydon Acquisitions v. Custum Manufacturing, et al. (Action for indemnity following settlement of a third party’s claims in litigation in California; cross-motions for summary judgment: interpretation and construction of the indemnity provisions of the parties’ Asset Purchase Agreement, including determination of whether the indemnitor had a duty “to defend” the indemnitee or an “on-going” duty to pay the indemnitee’s attorneys’ fees and costs, whether the indemnitor anticipatorily repudiated the indemnity agreement, the effect of the indemnitee’s failure to obtain the indemnitor’s written consent to settlement of the third party’s claims, and whether the resulting construction was “unreasonable” or “absurd”)02/11/2004
- Wilson v. Sergeant (Appeal from United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa; debtor/appellants appeal from bankruptcy court’s ruling sustaining Trustee’s objection to exemption of debtor’s direct payments under Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (“Farm Bill”) as public assistance benefits under Iowa Code § 627.6(8)(a); as phrase “public assistance benefit” not defined by statute, court adopts plain meaning accorded to the phrase by In re Longstreet, 246 B.R. 611, 614 (Bankr. S.D. Iowa 2000); purpose behind direct payments under the Farm Bill matched purpose behind exempting public assistance benefits; exemption of public assistance benefits by Iowa legislature without any further elaboration left to local, state, and federal governments to determine which classes of persons were ‘needy’; exemption of Farm Bill payments consistent with statutory placement of “public assistance benefits”; exemption of Farm Bill payments furthered principles behind the Farm Bill as well as general purposes behind Iowa exemption statute; judgment of bankruptcy court respectfully reversed.)01/28/2004
-Dethmers Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. Automatic Equipment Mfg. Co. : (patent infringement action; defendant’s motion to reconsider summary judgment of invalidity of plaintiff’s “reissue patent,” after district court’s ruling and appellate review: “reconsideration” based on purported “new authority,” the Supreme Court’s decision in Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., Ltd., 535 U.S. 722 (2002), including the impact of the “law of the case” doctrine and “mandate rule” in the circumstances presented, and the extent to which the Festo decision, concerning prosecution history estoppel for infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, was “new” and applicable to the “recapture rule” for the validity of a reissue patent)01/14/2004
-Bartleson v. Winnebago Industries (Class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act (IWPCA) for overtime pay pursuant to the FLSA; plaintiff’s motion for certification of class on IWPCA claim and defendant’s objections to magistrate judge’s order granting leave to amend to add the IWPCA claim; the court considered, first, the defendant’s objections regarding “futility” of the proffered amendment and limitations on supplemental jurisdiction over the IWPCA class claim; second, the court considered the impact of its ruling with regard to supplemental jurisdiction on the plaintiff’s motion for certification pursuant to Rule 23 of a class on the IWPCA claim)12/24/2003
-Purina Mills, LLC v. Less, et al. (Defendant-buyer repudiated long-term contract to purchase weanling pigs; aggrieved seller seeks actual damages for goods received and not yet paid for under Iowa Code § 554.2709 and contract/market damages under Iowa Code § 554.2708(1); summary judgment; plaintiff’s conversion from an incorporation to a limited liability company did not preclude plaintiff from being a proper party in interest; summary judgment granted as to seller’s claim for damages for goods received by defendants not yet paid for under Iowa Code § 554.2709; plaintiff-seller restricted to lost profits damages under Iowa Code § 554.2708(2) where undisputed material facts showed that the seller (1) insulated itself from market price fluctuations through adjacent third-party supply contract, (2) was given option by supplier to buyout of its adjacent third-party supply contract days after defendants repudiation, and (3) would be overcompensated by an award of contract/market damages; amount of award representing future lost profits reduced to present value; plaintiff entitled to interest on damages award.)12/22/2003
-In Re Application of Brant : (Application to proceed in forma pauperis; order requiring filing of application effective date that applicant attempted to file it, but denying application for failure to comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1915, because application fails to identify the “nature of the action”) 12/22/2003
-Ricklefs v. Orman, et al. (Employment discrimination (sexually hostile work environment) pursuant to Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act; defendant’s motion for summary judgement; analysis of whether plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact that defendant’s alleged acts of sexual harassment led to her constructive discharge; examination of whether plaintiff could prove that she was subjected to intolerable working conditions; analysis of whether plaintiff’s constructive discharge claim fails as a matter of law because she abruptly quit without giving her employer a chance to work out the alleged problem; consideration of defendants’ claim that that they were entitled to summary judgment pursuant to the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense; analysis of whether defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the ground that after-acquired evidence of plaintiff’s drug use bars recovery for her unlawful discharge)12/19/2003
-McKinney v. New Cooperative, Inc., et al. (Employment discrimination lawsuit pursuant to Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act: defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims of a sexually hostile work environment, retaliation, and constructive discharge)12/11/2003
-Cochran v. Gehrke, Inc. and National Tank Corporation(Litigation after construction accident; general contractor’s motion for partial summary judgment on cross-claim of contractual indemnity against sub-contractor: principles of Iowa law regarding contractual indemnity, including interpretation and construction of indemnity provisions, indemnity for indemnitee’s own negligence, and roles of court and jury in determination of indemnity claim)11/24/2003
-Peda v.Fort Dodge Animal Health (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging a claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act for recovery of lost wages and an Iowa common law claim of wrongful termination in violation of public policy; summary judgment; diversity jurisdiction; Iowa conflicts of law principles dictated that Iowa statute of limitations be applied to wage collection claim; wage collection claim could not be saved by Iowa’s “savings statute” (Iowa Code § 614.10) as claim when originally filed was outside of the applicable two-year statute of limitations; federal law applied to determine the preclusive effect the prior judgment had on the wrongful termination claim; state-law wrongful termination claim barred by doctrine of res judicata; defendants’ motion for summary judgment granted and plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment denied.)11/24/2003
-Williams, et al v. Security National Bank ((Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; remainder beneficiaries’ motion to dismiss trustees counterclaims for breach of contract, fraud, and conspiracy: whether claims as pleaded are so at odds with documents supporting those claims as to require dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted)11/06/2003
-Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. v. Ottawa Plant Food, Inc. (Patent infringement action for unlicensed resale of seed corn; parties’ motions in limine: motions to exclude evidence from experts under Daubert, to exclude evidence of settlement with other defendants, to exclude evidence of equitable defenses in jury trial, to exclude statements defendant purportedly obtained from state and federal agencies regarding lawfulness of its conduct, to exclude evidence of an opinion of counsel of non-infringement purportedly obtained by defendant but as to which defendant has asserted attorney-client and work-product privileges, and to exclude plaintiff’s evidence of reasonable royalties as sanction for failure to disclose other royalty agreements; defendant’s motion for advisory jury on equitable defenses)10/24/2003
-Jimenez v. Duran (Employees’ action for violation of FLSA overtime and payroll deduction provisions, breach of contract, and wrongful discharge; parties’ cross-motions for partial summary judgment on overtime pay portion of FLSA claim: application of the “Holly Farms analysis” to assertion of an “agricultural employee” exemption from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(12)) 10/20/2003
-Dunbar v. Pepsi-Cola Bottlers of Iowa, Inc. (Race discrimination (disparate treatment) pursuant to Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: elements of the plaintiff’s prima facie case, including “qualification,” adverse employment action, and treatment of similarly situated persons; further showings required and modification of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting paradigm in light of Desert Palace v. Costa, 539 U.S. ___, 123 S. Ct. 2148 (2003), and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m))10/07/2003
-Soto v. John Morrell & Co. (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging sexually hostile work environment, retaliation, racially hostile work environment,quid pro quo sexual harassment and pendent state law claims under Iowa Code Chapter 216; motion for summary judgment; defendant not entitled to summary judgment on claim of sexually hostile work environment as genuine issues of material fact remains as to whether plaintiff suffered a tangible employment action and whether employer’s anti-harassment policy was effective; quid pro quo claim reasonably related to allegations in plaintiff’s administrative complaint; employer not entitled to summary judgment on quid pro quo claim as genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether plaintiff suffered tangible job detriment; summary judgment granted as to racially hostile work environment claim where only evidence of racial harassment was that offending supervisor used Spanish slang to describe female genitalia; summary judgment granted as to retaliation claim where no actionable adverse employment action taken.)10/06/2003
-Kenyon v. State of Ia. & Honorable Gary Wenell (Public employee’s suit for wrongful discharge against State of Iowa and state court judge; defendants’ motion to dismiss: Eleventh Amendment immunity of the State and a state official to suit, including whether 42 U.S.C. § 1983 abrogates such immunity, whether the Iowa Tort Claims Act waives immunity to suit in federal court, the extent of immunity for a state official in his official and individual capacities, and the presumption of official capacity where no capacity is pleaded; whether other officials who voted on the public employee’s termination are indispensable parties to the suit)09/30/2003
-Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. v. Ottawa Plant Food, Inc. (Patent infringement action for unlicensed resale of seed corn; parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment on liability issues: applicability of "first sale" or "patent exhaustion" doctrine, restrictions and notice of restrictions in "limited label license," enforceability of "limited label license"; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on damages issues: satisfaction of "marking" statute, 35 U.S.C. § 287, damages for infringement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 284, full compensation from prior sale, and increased damages for "willful" infringement)09/29/2003
-Schultzen v. Woodbury Central Community School District (Joint Motion to Dismiss; Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e); review and discussion of factors the court considers when deciding whether parties’ joint motion to dismiss should be granted).09/16/2003
-Furleigh v. Allied Group, Inc. (Suit by former employee against former employer claiming entitlement to ERISA benefits; motion for summary judgment; plaintiff claims total disability; defendants not entitled to summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds as application of plan’s reasonable contractual limitation period to the accrual date dictated by the discovery rule resulted in finding that plaintiff’s suit was timely commenced; summary judgment appropriate as plaintiff unable to generate genuine issues of material fact that he was disabled under the plan before his retirement.)09/08/2003
-Central States, et al. v. McCullough : (Action by former employer against former employee for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of Iowa Trade Secrets Act; defendant’s motion to strike affidavits in resistance to summary judgment motion: Rule 56(e) requirements, contradiction of prior testimony, Rule 37 sanctions for failure to disclose witness; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: contract claims: capacity to contract, adequacy of consideration, whether contract was superseded, breach by removal, retention, and disclosure of secret or proprietary information; Trade Secrets Act: "trade secrets" and "misappropriation"; breach of fiduciary duty: scope of duty of loyalty, disclosure of proprietary information, solicitation of employees)09/03/2003
-Morgan v. Morgan (Petition for Return of Child pursuant to The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (CCAICA), and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq.; Temporary Restraining Order and Order for Expedited Hearing; Order to Appear at Show Cause Hearing)08/28/2003
-Terra Industries, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company (Terra Industries, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance, Commercial litigation, diversity action; cross-motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether insured’s claimed losses from products liability lawsuits exceeded the applicable limits of underlying insurance coverage required by an excess insurance policy such that the insurer would be required to pay insurer under its excess policy)08/27/2003
-Eischeid v. Dover Construction, Inc., et al. (Suit by injured employee of subcontractor against general contractor and third-party indemnity claims by and among general contractor and two subcontractors; employee’s motion to extend dispositive motion deadline granted; employee’s motion for summary judgment on liability portion of “direct” negligence claim against general contractor, based on “contractual” and “control of the job” liability theories, granted; employee’s motion to sever trial on indemnity claims from trial on damages issues on “direct” negligence claim granted; and employee’s motion to intervene in third-party indemnity action as of right pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2) denied, but permissive intervention pursuant to Rule 24(b) granted).08/25/2003
-Silent Drive Inc. v. Strong Industries, Inc., et al. (Patent law; motion to transfer, stay or dismiss; determination of whether the balance of convenience exception or the compelling circumstance exception to the first-filed rule warrants the dismissal of the case; analysis of whether the court should abstain from considering case pursuant to the Pullman abstention doctrine.) 08/07/2003
-Deakins v. Barnhart (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of the medical opinions of doctors; whether ALJ conducted a proper credibility analysis when she considered personal observations of claimant during hearing, claimant’s daily activities, and alleged short attention span)08/06/2003
-Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. v. Gerard Treatment Programs, L.L.C. (Action by advocacy agency for the developmentally disabled and mentally ill against treatment institution regarding access by the advocacy agency to patients, facilities, and records of the treatment institution; advocacy agency’s motion for contempt of court’s "final order" for failure of treatment facility to disclose of the names of residents and the names and addresses of legal guardians: standards for civil contempt; determination of whether either terms of the "final order" or governing statutes and regulations incorporated into the "final order" required the disclosures demanded by the advocacy agency) 08/04/2003
-State Auto Mutual Insurance v. Dover Construction, Inc. (Plaintiff insurer’s motion for declaratory relief. Plaintiff sought declaration that it had no duty to defend the defendant, Dover, in underlying personal injury action against Dover, nor a duty to indemnify Dover for any damages arising out of its own negligence. Dover conceded there was no duty to indemnify for its own negligence but argued it was subject to being held liable for the negligence of its subcontractor and, therefore, under the Subcontract Agreement between Dover and the subcontractor, the duty to defend extended beyond its concession that there was no duty to indemnify Dover for its own negligence. Plaintiff argued that the personal injury plaintiff sought only to hold the defendant liable for its own negligence, but the court found that the personal injury plaintiff’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to plead a "nondelegable duty" theory, which would subject Dover to potential liability for the subcontractor’s negligence. Therefore, because there is a potential duty to indemnify, there is a coterminous duty to defend. ) 07/30/2003
-Knutson v. AG Processing (Post-trial motions on perceived disability case after jury entered judgment in favor of plaintiff. Plaintiff worked as boiler operator and suffered from several injuries that impeded his ability to perform the manual labor portion of his job but did not affect his ability to supervise the control room. Evidence was sufficient to conclude that manual labor tasks were ordinary functions of the boiler operator position, but marginal, nonessential functions. Evidence was also sufficient to support jury’s conclusion that employer-defendant regarded the plaintiff as disabled and discharged him because of his perceived disability. Punitive damages were also appropriate based, in part, on substantial evidence that employer’s offered reason for termination was pretextual. Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law denied. Plaintiff’s request for attorney’s fees, at hourly rate of $200, and expenses granted.) 07/28/2003
-Sanft, et al. v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. et al. (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; Motion for Amendment of Order Denying Class Certification in which plaintiffs request that the court reconsider its decision to deny class certification in this case and grant class certification to the proposed class, and Motion To Strike Affidavit; analysis of whether statements in affidavit from putative class members constitute "mental impressions" that are an exception to the hearsay rule pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 803(3); analysis of whether the fact that some potential class members remain employed by defendant supports a finding that the numerosity requirement has been satisfied and is sufficient to require the court to reverse its previous decision that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the proposed class meets the numerosity requirement of Federal Rule of Evidence 23(a)(1).07/28/2003
-Henrich v. Barnhart (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending reversal and award of disability benefits: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of claimant's subjective complaints; rejection of the opinions of medical and vocational experts relying on those complaints; whether ALJ conducted proper Polaski analysis)07/10/2003
-Wells' Dairy v. Travelers Indemnity Co, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; motion to enforce court order regarding insurer’s duty to defend insured; review of the degree of autonomy insured may exercise in selecting its own defense counsel, and analysis of whether insurer is liable for insured’s attorney’s fees, in light of the fact that insurer refused to defend insured under a reservation of rights; analysis of whether, under Iowa law, the question of what amount constitutes a reasonable attorney's fee is an issue of fact to be determined as any other issue of fact.)07/09/2003
-White v. Kautzky (Prisoner’s § 1983 "access to courts" claim; review of magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether there are genuine issues of material fact on "reasonable opportunity to present claims" and "actual injury" elements where "contract attorneys" at prison allegedly failed to provide any advice on the viability of a potential claim for post-conviction relief)07/03/2003
-Schneider v. Jergens, et al. (Habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; motion to dismiss challenge to constitutionality of the review procedure for criminal contempt convictions: procedural default, exhaustion of state remedies and alleged "ineffectiveness" of such remedies, and dismissal or amendment of a"“mixed petition" asserting exhausted and unexhausted claims)06/26/2003
-Faber v. Menard, Inc. (Employee’s claims of age discrimination and retaliation under the ADEA and state law; defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and plaintiff’s post-Circuit City challenge to enforceability of arbitration clause under state law: adequacy of consideration in mutual promises and continued employment, and procedural and substantive unconscionability of arbitration clause in adhesion contract that requires employee to bear his own costs and attorney fees in arbitration and half the costs of the arbitrator; court’s sua sponte certification for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b))06/17/2003
-LeStrange v. Fortis Beneficiary Insurance Co. (Lawsuit filed pursuant to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in which plaintiff alleges that defendant's denial of coverage for long term disability benefits breached defendant's long term disability insurance benefits policy) 06/13/2003
-Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, plaintiff moved to amend her complaint to add parallel state-law claims. Court denied amendment on March 17, 2003, and plaintiff moved to reconsider. Motion to reconsider granted, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8, 15(b), and 54(c). Accordingly, Title VII’s statutory damages cap did not limit plaintiff’s recovery to $300,000. Court then considered defendant’s motion to amend judgment because, post-trial, defendant sought remittal of the emotional distress damages and punitive damages --- arguments the court did not address in its previous ruling because of the damages cap. Evidence was sufficient to support jury’s awards of compensatory and punitive damages and awards were not grossly excessive. Punitive damages reduced in accordance with statutory damages cap.) 06/11/2003
-Nelson v. Long Lines (LTD; Rule 8(a)(2); Rule 8(a)(3); defendants’ motion to strike and application of standards; determination of whether complaint contained immaterial, impertinent and redundant matter, prejudiced the defendants, included events occurring outside the limitations period, and included legal conclusions; defendants’ motion for more definite statement as to time the alleged events occurred; defendants’ motion to dismiss claim of breach of good faith and fair dealing during employment and application of standards.)06/11/2003
-Lyons v. Midwest Glazing, d/b/a Eddy's Glass & Door (Bench trial on the merits; plaintiff was third-party beneficiary to contract selling business, sales agreement provided plaintiff "for cause" job protection; defendant terminated plaintiff for abusing company’s paid time off policy and for being poor influence on workforce’s morale; plaintiff alleged breach; court found defendant’s reasons for terminating the plaintiff were bona fide reasons and were cause for termination; defendant also counter-claimed for tortious interference with contractual relationships and breach of fiduciary duty; court found that, by failing to identify counter-claims and bases thereof in final pre-trial order, the counter-claims were waived.)06/06/2003
-Eischeid v. Dover Construction, et al. ("Direct" and third-party claims arising from a construction accident; motions for summary judgment on claims by and against defendant, third-party defendant, and third-party plaintiff Woods Masonry: whether plaintiff’s "direct" negligence claims against his employer/subcontractor are barred by the "exclusive remedy" provisions of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA); whether the contractor’s contribution, indemnity, and breach-of-contract claims against the subcontractor/employer are also barred by the IWCA; whether the subcontractor/employer’s third-party claim against another subcontractor are barred by purported admissions of the subcontractor/employer’s president that the subcontractor and its employees "did nothing wrong")06/03/2003
-Van Beek Global, et al. v. Ninkov (Diversity Tort Actions; motion to remand; motion to dismiss, stay or transfer; analysis of a limited liability company's citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction; review of local action doctrine and analysis of whether case here was local or transitory in nature.)06/02/2003
-Van Beek, et al. v. Ninkov, et al.(Diversity Tort Actions; motion to remand; motion to dismiss, stay or transfer; analysis of a limited liability company's citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction; review of local action doctrine and analysis of whether case here was local or transitory in nature.)06/02/2003
-Munsen v. Wellmark (ERISA; trial on the merits in case involving administrator’s discontinuation of benefits for private duty nursing for five-year-old quadriplegic child; applicable standards of review for plan administrator’s factual findings and interpretations of plan terms; review of interpretation of terms under five-factor test and review of factual determinations under "substantial evidence" standard; relief available in action under ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B))05/27/2003
-Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (Post-trial motion to amend judgment and motion for attorney’s fees in employment discrimination case; plaintiff prevailed at trial in sexual discrimination Title VII suit; plaintiff seeks front pay; consideration of mitigation of damages for quitting job for personal reasons and whether plaintiff’s decision to change career fields would make an award of front pay equivalent to a subsidy of her decision to change careers; determination of "reasonable fee"; considering reductions for duplicative efforts and time not reasonably compensable, partial success) 05/21/2003
-Walker Manufacturing, Inc. v. Hoffmann, Inc, et al. (Suit for interference with intellectual property rights and business; defendant’s second motion for partial summary judgment: applicability of doctrine of de minimis non curat lex to "reverse palming off" claims under the Copyright Act and Lanham Act; cognizability of "copying" claim as "reverse palming off"; requirement of "actual consumer confusion" to obtain money damages for "reverse palming off"; availability of permanent injunctive relief; impact of possibility of "reverse engineering" on definition of a "trade secret"; and availability and measure of money damages, including a "reasonable royalty," for misappropriation of trade secrets)05/12/2003
-Sanft, et al. v. Winnebago Industries, Inc., et al (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; motion for class certification; discussion of the prerequisites for a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a); analysis of first requirement of Rule 23(a), that plaintiff show that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,” including consideration of: the size of the proposed class, the geographical dispersion of the class members, whether members of a prospective class are able to be identified, the financial resources of the potential class members with regard to their ability to institute individual lawsuits, that some potential class members are still employed by defendant, and the judicial efficiency in certifying a class versus trying individual lawsuits.)05/07/2003
-Gaston v. The Restaurant Co. (Disparate treatment claim under Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, chapter 216 of the Iowa Code, disability discrimination claim under ADA, and supplemental state law claim alleging violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff worked as a food production manager for defendant until his termination, defendant moved for summary judgment on ground plaintiff could not generate jury questions on his claims; analysis of whether (a) plaintiff established that disability was a factor in his discharge, (b) requisite adversity of alleged employment actions in context of disparate treatment claim, (c) whether plaintiff established causal connection between plaintiff’s pursuit of his workers’ compensation rights and the consequent termination of plaintiff.)05/05/2003
-Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corporation v. Pay Load, Inc. (Diversity tort action; motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); analysis of corporation's principal place of business for purposes of ascertaining the existence or lack of federal diversity jurisdiction.04/29/2003
-Millage v. City of Sioux City (ADA suit alleging "perceived disability" discrimination and "record of disability" discrimination; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: timeliness of an administrative charge filed first with the EEOC, not a state agency, in a "deferral state"; ability of plaintiff, an insulin-dependent diabetic, to perform the "essential functions" of his job as a City bus driver, including consideration of the validity of "blanket exclusions," the need for "individualized assessment" of a claimant’s ability to perform a job, and the impact of purportedly inconsistent statements by the claimant concerning his ability to perform the job and the adequacy of his explanations for such inconsistencies) 04/25/2003
-Dahlin v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (ERISA; cross motions for summary judgment: abuse of discretion; interpretation of plan and analysis of factors to be considered; determination of whether there was substantial evidence to support plan administrator’s decision. )04/09/2003
-Tinius v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, et al. (Civil rights; motion to dismiss; assessment of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a); analysis of defendants’ claim of Eleventh Amendment immunity.)04/07/2003
-DIRECTV v. Meyer, et al. (Suit involving alleged piracy of satellite television broadcasts; plaintiff’s motion for entry of default judgment and defendant’s motion to set aside default: standards to set aside entry of default as opposed to entry of default judgment)04/04/2003
-Miller v. Wells Dairy, Inc. (Disability and Age discrimination in violation of the ADA and ADEA, and supplemental state law claim alleging violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff worked as a lab tech for defendant until her termination, defendant moved for summary judgment on ground plaintiff could not generate jury questions on her claims; analysis of whether (a) plaintiff established that age was a factor in her discharge, (b) plaintiff was actually disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act or whether defendant regarded plaintiff as disabled, and (c) whether plaintiff established causal connection between plaintiff’s pursuit of her workers’ compensation rights and the consequent termination of plaintiff.)03/25/2003
-Bushman v. Electorlux Home Prod., et al. (Employment discrimination claims under the ADA, ADEA, and ICRA; defendant's motion for summary judgment; considering actual and perceived disability claims under the ADA and ICRA; analysis of whether plaintiff was substantially limited in any major life activities or was perceived by employer to be substantially limited in any major life activities.) 03/24/2003
-Wordekemper v. Western Iowa Homes, et al. (Employment disability discrimination claims under the ADA and ICRA and common-law claim of retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: considering "actual," "perceived," and "record of" disability and legitimate reason/pretext; assuming a claim of "retaliatory failure to hire" will lie against a new employer for allegedly refusing to hire a prospective employee based on his workers’ compensation claims in prior employment, considering evidence of retaliatory intent)03/17/2003
-Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sex discrimination case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law or, in alternative, new trial. Defendant also moved to amend judgment, seeking remittal of the emotional damages and punitive damages. Defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to support jury’s verdict and argued that several evidentiary rulings warranted a new trial. The court overruled these arguments and denied the defendant’s motion. Plaintiff moved under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(b) to amend complaint to add parallel state-law claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Court found plaintiff did not intend to try state law claims and, therefore, that amendment was not permitted under Rule 15(b). Because court denied motion to amend, plaintiff could not allocate portion of damages to state-law claim and was, therefore, bound by Title VII $300,000 statutory damages cap. Court found that evidence supported award of $300,000 in emotional distress damages. Because of damages cap, court did not reach issue of whether punitive damages were excessive, although noting that they were supported by the evidence. Court remitted emotional damages award to $300,000, exclusive of backpay and post-judgment interest, as provided by federal law.)03/17/2003
-Frazier v. Rogerson (Habeas corpus; motion to dismiss; review of magistrate judge's report and recommendation and petitioner's objections to report and recommendation recommending dismissal: timeliness under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)(deadline runs from date judgment is "final" and § 2244(d)(1)(D) (date factual predicate could have been discovered by due diligence); applicability of doctrine of equitable tolling of statute of limitations based on "extraordinary circumstance.")03/04/2003
-Canady v. John Morrell & Co. (Employment case involving claims of racial and sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: evidence of animus in race- and gender-neutral harassment; sufficiency of notice to employer that harassment is allegedly based on race or sex; evidence of adverse employment action in the form of constructive discharge, and causal connection between that adverse action and protected activity, in support of a retaliation claim)03/03/2003
-Schultzen v. Woodbury Central Comm. School District, et al. (Claims against defendant Bumsted in individual and official capacities under Title IX, section 1983, and Iowa Code Chapter 216: plaintiff was a student at Woodbury Central High School and suspended from participation in extra curricular activities after defendant reported, to school administration, plaintiff’s smoking in violation of the school district’s Good Conduct Code; defendant Bumsted moved for summary judgment on grounds that he (a) could not be liable in his individual capacity under Title IX, (b) could not be liable under section 1983 based on a violation of Title IX, (c) was not acting under color of state law or deprived plaintiff of her rights pursuant to section 1983, (d) was entitled to qualified immunity, and (e) was not liable under Iowa Code Chapter 216 because the plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination against him.)02/19/2003
-Webster Industries, Inc., et al. v. Northwood Doors, Inc. (Removed action by creditors against insolvent corporation and related entities to recover for failure of the insolvent company to pay for goods and services that the plaintiffs provided to that defendant; plaintiffs’ motion for default and default judgment and defendants’ countervailing motion to set aside default entered by Clerk of Court: adequacy of personal service and service by publication under applicable federal, Iowa, and Minnesota rules of civil procedure)02/13/2003
-Joens v. John Morrell & Co. (Sexual harassment, disparate treatment based on sex, and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sexual harassment claim: sufficiency of evidence of gender-neutral comments to generate a genuine issue of material fact on sexual harassment, whether harassment affected a term or condition of employment based on severity and prevasiveness, whether the alleged harasser was a supervisor" or "co-worker" for purposes of employer liability based on his status as "a foreman," what notice is sufficient to inform employer that alleged harassment is "based on sex"; disparate treatment and retaliation claims: whether an overtime disparity constitutes "adverse employment action," and sufficient of evidence to generate a genuine issue of material fact on discriminatory or retaliatory animus)02/07/2003
-Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; cross-motions for partial summary judgment; motion to strike affidavit filed in support of motion for partial summary judgment; appeal of magistrate judge’s decision denying motion to stay; review of standards for construing terms in an insurance contract; review of insurer’s duty to defend its insured; analysis of whether claims had been asserted against the insured for "property damage," as defined in a commercial general liability policy and a commercial excess insurance policy; analysis of insured’s first-party bad faith claim and review of whether insurer’s denial of coverage and refusal to defend insured was fairly debatable; analysis of whether two defendant insurance companies were properly named as defendants in case when neither defendant issued either policy at issue in the litigation; analysis of the appropriateness of staying declaratory relief action concerning insurance coverage pending resolution of the underlying state cases.)01/31/2003
-dePape v. Trinity Health Systems et al. (Bench trial; foreign physician (Canadian) contracted with defendants Trinity and Trimark to be family physician, Trinity retained an out-of-state law firm to represent physician in his immigration to United States; law firm never contacted physician or explained immigration process; physician showed up at United States border ready to begin his new life and career in the United States, but because his position did not match the position described in the INS application, INS denied his entry and physician was unable to gain entry to U.S.; physician sued Trinity and Trimark under theories of contract and promissory estoppel, but there was no basis in fact or law to hold these defendants liable; law firm, however, breached its duty to advise and communicate with the plaintiff; the law firm’s breach caused the plaintiff to forego employment options in Canada; court awarded $278,736.20, plus pre-judgment interest, for lost income and emotional distress damages.)01/20/2003
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-U.S. v. Michael Clayton (Post-trial motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial, concluding: that defendant’s due process rights were not violated by the police’s interview technique with two witnesses because the police’s conduct was not an attempt to “spoon feed” the witnesses facts but an effort by the police to convince the witnesses to abandon their efforts at minimization and deception, and to be truthful, and defendant was not unfairly prejudiced by the police’s interview technique since the jury was fully aware of witnesses prior inconsistent statements and was free to take them into account in assessing the witnesses’ credibility; and that the evidence supporting the jury’s verdict did not lead to the conclusion that a serious miscarriage of justice may have occurred.)07/22/2014
-U.S. v. Darran Lohse (Motion to dismiss, order granting in part and denying in part motion. Finding that the four possession counts are not multiplicitous because each count of possession required the jury to determine that the defendant possessed a video containing child pornography on a separate device. Therefore, this portion of the motion was denied. Additionally, finding that, as to possession count 3, the defendant was convicted of receiving the same images that he was also found to have possessed, and a double jeopardy violation would occur if he was sentenced for both convictions. Therefore, the defendant’s motion was granted as to Count 3. However, possession counts 4, 5, and 6 were supported by separate conduct from the defendant’s receipt of child pornography underlying Count 2, and the defendant’s motion was denied as to possession counts 4, 5, and 6.)06/30/2014
-U.S. v. Kailib David Hendrickson (Granting a sua sponte downward variance under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) based on Defendant’s youth and addiction)06/11/2014
-U.S. v. Charmagne LaPoint (Proposed Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement to probation in case involving mail theft by a postal worker; issue involved fairness of agreed-upon sentence of probation; ruling rejecting the plea agreement as unfair in light of significant non-monetary harm caused by the theft)05/01/2014
-U.S. v. Darran Lohse (Motion by defendant for a judgment of acquittal and a new trial; issue involves whether nine photographs produced by defendant depicted “lascivious exhibition of genitals”; ruling denying defendant’s motions)01/21/2014
-U.S. v. Jose Sandoval (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that the information in search warrant application was not stale; that the issuing judge could reasonably consider and rely upon the information from all of the informants mentioned in the search warrant application to conclude that probable cause existed; that, based on the totality of circumstances, probable cause supported the state judge’s issuance of the search warrant, and alternatively finding, that, if the search warrant application was not supported by probable cause, the Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies because the law enforcement officer obtaining the search warrant acted in reasonable reliance on the state magistrate's determination of probable cause for issuance of the warrant.)10/23/2013
-U.S. v. Douglas Young (Sentencing memorandum for defendant who pled guilty to drug charges pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 851: Although the defendant was safety-valve eligible, so that he had no mandatory minimum sentence to double, he remained subject to the doubling of his maximum; examination of data from the US Sentencing Commission’s 2011 Report To Congress, the only assembly of data concerning § 851 application, demonstrating shocking intra-state, intra-Circuit, regional, and national disparities in the application of § 851 enhancements, at least prior to the Holder 2013 Memo; discussion of continuing concerns with tracking and transparency in § 851 applications after Holder 2013 Memo)08/16/2013
-U.S. v. Ryan Gene Hansen (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that Deputy’s noncompliance with Iowa law in applying for warrants to install Global-Positioning-System (“GPS”) tracking devices on automobile was not deliberate and intentional where deputy assumed, incorrectly, that a warrant application to install GPS devices was governed under the same rules and requirements as other search warrant applications and that he was authorized to apply for and execute GPS warrants. Thus, suppression of the evidence was not required.)07/31/2013
-U.S. v. James Edward Poole (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that state trooper’s expansion of the traffic stop was justified and the length of the traffic stop reasonable, and that there was sufficient reason to trust the drug-detection dog’s alert and indication based on his training and history, and thus probable cause to search defendant’s vehicle.)07/22/2013
-U.S. v. Angel Amaya (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine or a mixture or substance containing 500 grams of methamphetamine, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, and marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846, and conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(ii), and 1956(h). Facing a possible life sentence, defendant moved for a downward variance from his advisory guideline sentence based on what he characterized as the prosecution’s “double jeopardy violation” as well as the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparity among defendants. Applying the § 3553(a) factors, the court granted a downward variance because a sentence within the advisory guideline sentence range was “greater than necessary” to accomplish the goals of sentencing, in light of all of the pertinent factors, and imposed a sentence of 180 months imprisonment followed by 120 months of supervised release.)06/11/2013
-Rogers v. U.S. : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, on guilty plea to bank fraud via a check cashing scheme: ruling without evidentiary hearing: granting a new sentencing on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to object to a two-level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(10), for use of an “access device” because the bad checks used to perpetrate the bank fraud scheme in this case did not constitute an “access device,” and ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to investigate adequately the petitioner’s mental health as an explanation of his prior violent conduct for which his sentence had been enhanced) 06/11/2013
-U.S. v. Willie Hayes (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 35 grams or more of methamphetamine actual, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(B). The court granted defendant’s objection to the career offender enhancement, in part. Based on a policy disagreement with the methamphetamine Guidelines, the court found that the methamphetamine Guidelines are not based on empirical data and national experience and they yield an excessive sentence, when individualized consideration is given to the 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) factors. After considering these factors, the court varied downward by one third to the sentencing range of 100 to 124 months. The court further granted the prosecution’s motion for substantial assistance, reduced defendant’s sentence by 25%, and imposed a sentence of 75 months.)06/07/2013
-U.S. v. Nathan Melton (1 Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s order granting prosecution’s motion to disqualify defense counsel because his representation of defendant at trial would make defense counsel an unsworn witness, and because of the possibility that defense counsel might be called as either a prosecution or defense rebuttal witness; concluding magistrate’s decision was contrary to law because the prosecution had not met its heavy burden of demonstrating that defense counsel’s continued representation would cause him to be an unsworn witness that would impair the fact finding process or prejudice the prosecution and because defense counsel was not a necessary witness likely to be called under Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:3.7, which requires disqualification of an attorney as a necessary witness only if that attorney has relevant and material information that no one else can provide.)06/06/2013
-U.S. v. Lori Newhouse (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of manufacturing or attempting to manufacture 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, or a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 841(b)(1)(C). Based on quasi-categorical policy disagreements with the Career Offender guideline, the court rejected because the defendant was a low-level, non-violent drug addict engaged in the drug trade to obtain drugs to feed her addiction. Alternatively, the court found that application of the Career Offender guideline yielded an excessive sentence, when individualized consideration is given to the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors. After considering these factors, the court varied downward from the advisory Career Offender guideline sentencing range of 262 to 327 months to the mandatory minimum of 120 months. The court further granted the prosecution’s motions for substantial assistance, reduced defendant’s sentence by 20%, and imposed a sentence of 96 months imprisonment followed by 96 months of supervised release.)01/30/2013
-U.S. v. Jaime Almazan (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding sentencing of defendant convicted of producing child pornography. After considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that no downward variance was warranted and imposed a sentence at the statutory maximum of 360 months imprisonment, followed supervised release for life.) 12/03/2012
-U.S. v. Britt Lander (considering whether motion for substantial assistance pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e) and U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 may be based in part on substantial assistance of a third party; granting prosecution’s motion for substantial assistance based in part on the substantial assistance rendered by defendant’s spouse) 10/23/2012
-U.S. v. Dana Gleaves Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his residence conducted pursuant to a search warrant, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that evidence of the sexual exploitation of a minor would be found at defendant’s residence. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization.(07/02/2012
-U.S. v. Jason Dodd (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his vehicle conducted pursuant to a search warrant, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that a firearm would be found in defendant’s vehicle. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization.)05/24/2012
-U.S. v. Angel Amaya (granting prosecution’s motion to reconsider the court’s finding that DEA special agent acted in bad faith; imposing no sanctions for prosecution’s discovery violation)05/01/2012
-U.S. v. Angel & Javier Amaya (considering defendant’s motion to suppress GPS evidence based on United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012); analyzing whether good faith exception applies under Davis v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2419 (2011); evaluating whether GPS evidence should be suppressed as a sanction for prosecution’s discovery violation). 04/10/2012
-U.S. v. Isaiah Earl Thomas (Motion to withdraw guilty pleas pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11; after pleading guilty to the charged offenses, defendant sought to withdraw guilty pleas on the ground that his guilty pleas were invalid because he did not understand the nature of the conspiracy offense and that his counsel, as well as the prosecutor, grossly underestimated his guideline sentencing range at the change of plea hearing; analysis of whether these grounds constituted a fair and just reason to permit defendant to withdraw his guilty plea)04/05/2012
-U.S. v. Russell T. Hawley & Hawley Insurance Co.10/13/2011
-U.S. v. Amaya (Motion to suppres, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his residence conducted pursuant to a search warrant, during a consent search of his parents’ trailer home, and during a search of his vehicle, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that drugs or evidence of drug sales would be found in defendant’s residence. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization. Finally, considering the totality of the information provided to the state magistrate, the search warrant for defendant’s residence was not based on stale information. 09/06/2011
-U.S. v. Billy Williams, Sr. (sentencing of a defendant on four crack cocaine offenses after the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act and amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines reduced the crack-to-powder ratio from 100:1 to 18:1: consideration of whether to reject the “new” ratio in the Guidelines, on categorical, policy grounds, as the court had previously rejected the 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio; adoption of a methodology for imposing sentence using an initial guidelines calculation with an 18:1 ratio and an alternative guidelines calculation using a 1:1 ratio, both recognizing new guidelines enhancements for aggravating circumstances, and ultimate determination of the appropriate sentence in light of the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a))04/07/2011
-U.S. v. Kent Robert Stewart (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding joint sentencing of two defendants convicted of anitrust violations of the Sherman Act. For one defendant, after considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that a upward variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was warranted and imposed a sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which defendant will be required to complete 500 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 25 hours per month. The court further found that an upward variance from the advisory guidelines fine range was warranted for the defendant and imposed a fine of $829,715.85, and a special assessment of $100. The court, alternatively, imposed sentences of 27 months imprisonment on each Count; with all 27 months of the sentence on Count 3, 15 months of the sentence on Count 1, and 6 months of the sentence on Count 2 running consecutively; for a total sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. With respect to the second defendant, the court found that the prosecution did not breach its plea agreement with the defendant and, as a result, the court could proceed with his sentencing. The court denied his requests for downward departure under U.S.S.G. §§ 5K1.1, 5K2.0, 5K2.11, and 5K2.12. The court further found that a variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was unwarranted for the defendant and imposed a sentence of 12 months and a day of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which the defendant will be required to complete 100 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 20 hours per month. The court also imposed a fine on the defendant in the amount of $83,427.09. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to Tri-Zack Contractor in the sum of $25,981.80.)02/08/2011
-U.S. v. Steven Vandebrake (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding joint sentencing of two defendants convicted of anitrust violations of the Sherman Act. For one defendant, after considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that a upward variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was warranted and imposed a sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which defendant will be required to complete 500 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 25 hours per month. The court further found that an upward variance from the advisory guidelines fine range was warranted for the defendant and imposed a fine of $829,715.85, and a special assessment of $100. The court, alternatively, imposed sentences of 27 months imprisonment on each Count; with all 27 months of the sentence on Count 3, 15 months of the sentence on Count 1, and 6 months of the sentence on Count 2 running consecutively; for a total sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. With respect to the second defendant, the court found that the prosecution did not breach its plea agreement with the defendant and, as a result, the court could proceed with his sentencing. The court denied his requests for downward departure under U.S.S.G. §§ 5K1.1, 5K2.0, 5K2.11, and 5K2.12. The court further found that a variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was unwarranted for the defendant and imposed a sentence of 12 months and a day of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which the defendant will be required to complete 100 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 20 hours per month. The court also imposed a fine on the defendant in the amount of $83,427.09. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to Tri-Zack Contractor in the sum of $25,981.80.)02/08/2011
-U.S. v. Villagomez: (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; ruling after evidentiary hearing settling the record, pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, concerning closure of the courtroom to members of the public during jury selection) 11/24/2010
-U.S. v. Mayer (criminal prosecution on charges of sexual exploitation of children in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a) and 2251(e); receiving child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2)(A) and 2252A(b)(1); and possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and 2252A(b)(2); prosecution’s Rule 104 motion to admit evidence of factual stipulations in a plea agreement on which the defendant failed to follow through, pursuant to a waiver of the rights protected by Rule 410 of the Federal Rules of Evidence if the defendant breached the plea agreement)10/19/2010
-U.S. v. Kevin Mcmanaman (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress statements made after his arrest as well as a evidence recovered from his home, finding: that the rule of collateral estoppel applied in this case, and concluded that defendant was estopped by prior ruling from relitigating the issue of probable cause to search his house for drugs and drug paraphernalia; that based on the evidence the law enforcement officers had at the time of the defendant’s arrest, a search warrant could have been issued which would have allowed the police to search for guns and ammunition, drugs, and drug paraphernalia, and the ensuing search would have led inevitably to discovery of incriminating photographs which appear to depict underage females; that the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel for the current charges had not attached at the time of his questioning in 2008, and, therefore, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel did not bar the officers from questioning defendant in regard to the current offenses; that the non-testimonial evidence obtained as a result of defendant’s incriminating statements made in violation of Miranda are admissible because the defendant’s statements were made voluntarily, and were not the result of coercion; and that defendant’s wife consented to a search of a locked room and a locked closet in the house they shared and that defendant’s wife had either actual or apparent authority to consent to a search of the entire residence. )10/18/2010
-U.S. v. Miell (sentencing of landlord convicted of 18 counts of mail fraud, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of filing of false tax returns arising from insurance fraud and damage deposit fraud schemes: restitution for fraud schemes pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3663A, and “restitution” for tax offenses in the conditions for supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d))10/04/2010
-U.S. v. Miell : (sentencing of landlord convicted of 18 counts of mail fraud, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of filing of false tax returns arising from insurance fraud and damage deposit fraud schemes: applicability of upward adjustments for amount of loss, number of victims, sophisticated means, substantial interference with administration of justice, abuse of a position of trust, and obstruction of justice; applicability of downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility; determination of whether and to what extent to vary upward from the advisory sentencing guidelines range in light of the damage deposit fraud scheme, which preyed on people too economically vulnerable or unsophisticated to contest the landlord’s claims for relatively little gain in individual cases, but amounting to over a million dollars in losses in aggregate)09/27/2010
-U.S. v. Villagomez, et al.(criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; reconsideration of denial of defendants’ motion pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to settle the record concerning whether members of the public were entirely excluded from jury selection) 09/07/2010
-U.S. v. Villagomez, et al (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; defendants’ motion pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to settle the record concerning whether members of the public were entirely excluded from jury selection) 08/06/2010
-U.S. v. Kent Robinson (Motion for change of venue; analysis of ten factors identified in Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240 (1964)-(1) the location of the defendant, (2) location of possible witnesses; (3) location of events likely to be in issue; (4) location of documents and records likely to be involved; (5) disruption of defendant’s business unless the case is transferred; (6) expense to the parties; (7) location of counsel; (8) relative accessibility of the place of trial; (9) docket condition of each district; and (10) any other special elements which might affect the transfer-in deciding whether to transfer the case from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to the District of Columbia.)07/29/2010
-U.S. v. Kevin Moes (Motion to dismiss, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to dismiss, concerning charges that defendant knowingly failed to register and update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), the court held that SORNA applies to defendant because both Iowa and Nebraska had sex offender registries during the time the defendant is alleged to have traveled between these states and failed to register in accordance with SORNA, and concluding that application of SORNA’s penalty provision to defendant did not violate due process because the defendant received adequate notice of his duty to register in Iowa to satisfy due process.)05/11/2010
-U.S. v. Kent Robinson (criminal prosecution on charges of fraudulent uttering of a private security, with making and uttering a fictitious obligation, and mail fraud; prosecution’s motions to supplement the record regarding the defendant’s detention after the court expressed serious concerns about the prosecution’s failure to seek a detention hearing or written detention order during a hearing on the pro se defendant’s motion to revoke the detention order) 05/11/2010
-U.S. v. Miell (Motion to withdraw guilty pleas pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11; after pleading guilty to the charged mail fraud and perjury offenses, defendant sought to withdraw guilty pleas on the ground that his guilty pleas were invalid because the court failed to advise him of the maximum possible sentence he faced and the court’s authority to order restitution; defendant also asserted that his counsel’s ineffective assistance constituted a fair and just reason to permit him to withdraw his guilty pleas; examination of whether the court informed defendant of the maximum penalties he was facing for each of the mail fraud and perjury counts; analysis of whether Rule 11 requires a court to specifically advise the defendant of the possibility of consecutive sentencing; assessment of whether the court’s error in failing to inform defendant of the possibility of restitution affected his substantial rights; analysis of whether defendant should be permitted to withdraw his guilty pleas because he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel; assessment of other Rule 11 factors of defendant’s innocence, the timing of his motion, and whether the prosecution will be prejudiced by defendant’s withdrawal of guilty pleas)05/10/2010
-U.S. v. Paul Riesselman (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation regarding motion to suppress, granting in part and denying in defendant’s Motion to Suppress; concluding that defendant’s Motion to Suppress should be granted as to drugs seized from his person because the prosecution conceded the pat-down search of defendant by law enforcement officers was neither authorized by a search warrant nor reasonable under the circumstances; finding that a cellular telephone, that was also seized during the same search of defendant’s person, should be suppressed for the same reasons as the drugs; rejected defendant’s argument that all evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant for his residence should be suppressed because law enforcement officers executing the search warrant failed to provide him with a complete copy of the search warrant; rejecting defendant’s contention that statement he made to law enforcement officers should be suppressed because it was the product of the unlawful search of his person; and, finding that, with respect to defendant’s statements concerning drugs and cellular telephone found on him, that the prosecution had met its burden of proving that the connection between the illegal search of defendant’s person and his statement was so attenuated as to dissipate the taint of the illegal search, and concluding that defendant’s statement was given freely, and was not coerced or procured though exploitation of the illegal seizure of the drugs or cellular telephone. 04/28/2010
-U.S. v. Villagomez, et al (08cr20) : (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; defendants’ joint renewed motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b) for release from custody while their convictions are on appeal, heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan): whether the defendants asserted a “fairly debatable” claim of violation of their Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, arising from the trial judge’s refusal to release unoccupied reserved seats to members of the general public) 04/22/2010
-U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); prosecution’s motions in limine to exclude evidence of defendants’ drug addiction, any mention of penalties, to exclude prior criminal histories of confidential informants) 04/07/2010
-U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); one defendant’s motion to reconsider denial of prosecution’s motion to dismiss indictment)04/06/2010
-U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); prosecution’s motion to dismiss indictment rather than produce DEA manuals as ordered as a sanction for failure to disclose sections of the manuals: court’s determination that the motion to dismiss was moot upon reconsideration of the underlying discovery dispute) 04/02/2010
-U.S. v. Sablan (Motion to suppress, order finding that defendant had made sufficient showing to be entitled to evidentiary hearing under Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), but denying motion to suppress because defendant had not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the search warrant affiant knowingly and intentionally included false information, or did so with reckless disregard for the truth, and alternatively, even were the court to assume, arguendo, that defendant could show that the affiant included intentional falsehoods or statements made with reckless disregard for the truth and set aside those allegations, the court would nevertheless conclude that the supporting affidavit otherwise provided probable cause for the search.)03/31/2010
-U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); defendants’ pretrial motions for discovery sanctions against the prosecution for failure to disclose sections of a DEA Laboratory Operations Manual and sections of a DEA Agent’s Field Manual, one defendant’s motion to sever the gun charge against the other defendant for separate trial, and one defendant’s motion for appointment of her retained counsel pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act) 03/29/2010
-U.S. v. Sandra Hanson (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that while the search and seizure occurred after a warning citation had been issued, the law enforcement officer’s continued detention of defendant in order to permit a drug dog sniff was justified by that officer’s reasonable suspicion that criminal activity unrelated to the stop was afoot; that the information from the informant was not stale and could be relied upon to support a finding of reasonable suspicion; that the fact that a drug dog’s initial failure to indicate on defendant’s pickup truck did not negate the other facts and information supporting the existence of reasonable suspicion; that defendant consented to having a drug sniffing dog enter the back of her truck, which resulted in the discovery of marijuana in the vehicle.)03/19/2010
-U.S. v. Tony Golden (Sentencing on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack, and distributing crack within 1,000 feet of a public playground or school in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841, and 860; reiteration of categorical rejection in Gully of 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio in Sentencing Guidelines and selection of 1:1 ratio as the reasoned alternative in this and all crack cases, demonstrating appropriateness of applying 1:1 ratio in all cases, then varying (upward, in this case), if necessary, based on case-specific factors, including this defendant’s prior conviction for attempted murder, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a))01/12/2010
-U.S. v. David Stephens (Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s order denying prosecution’s request to amend defendant’s conditions of release, concluding the Adam Walsh Amendments to the Bail Reform Act, which require that those on pretrial release for specified offenses be subject to curfew and electronic monitoring requirements, regardless of individual circumstances, facially violate the Due Process Clause.)11/17/2009
-U.S. v. Eric Graham (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that the supporting affidavits for search warrant application clearly contained information which provided a substantial basis for finding a “fair probability” that contraband or evidence of illegal activity could be found in the buildings at defendant’s residence, and that law enforcement officers did not impermissibly exceed the scope of search warrant in their search.10/15/2009
-U.S. v. Mosley (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that defendant’s freedom of movement was not restrained to the degree associated with a formal arrest at the time he was interviewed by the police and no Miranda warning was required to be given to defendant prior to interview, and that defendant’s statements were made of his own free will.)09/09/2009
-U.S. v. Eric Yockey (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: the plain view doctrine was established in this case with respect to officer’s viewing of the pornographic image on defendant’s cellular telephone, and that a police detective’s questioning of defendant and his search of defendant’s’s cellular telephone were not tainted by the arresting officer’s actions because any taint from the arresting officer’s unlawful conduct was sufficiently attenuated by other circumstances so as to purge it.)08/28/2009
-U.S. v. Earl Foy, Jr. (criminal prosecution on charges of sending threatening communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(b) and (c): upward variance from 262 to 480 months of imprisonment, achieved by running the two longest statutory maximum sentences consecutively, with other sentences to run concurrently, based primarily on the § 3553(a)(1) and (a)(2) factors, including the defendant’s substantial history of violence and violence toward women) 08/24/2009
-U.S. v. Jacob : (criminal prosecution on charges of using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity prohibited by state law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2242(b), and interstate transportation of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1); sentencing memorandum: the merits of the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines for defendants convicted of child pornography offenses, U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2, and child exploitation offenses, 18 U.S.C. § 2G2.1, including the impact of congressional mandates rather than the United States Sentencing Commission’s exercise of its institutional expertise and empirical analysis; rejection of both guidelines on categorical policy grounds and on individualized application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors) 06/26/2009
-U.S. v. Gully: (Sentencing on charges of distributing crack cocaine and distributing crack within 1,000 of a public playground or school, after a prior felony drug conviction in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 851, and 860; rejection on categorical policy grounds of 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio is Sentencing Guidelines and selection of 1:1 ratio as the reasoned alternative in this and all crack cases; methodology for imposing sentence using 1:1 crack-to-powder ratio and to enhance sentences, where appropriate, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) for violence, chronic offenders, weapon possession, and other aggravating factors) 05/18/2009
-U.S. v. Ingram : (Sentencing for on charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine after a prior felony drug conviction in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 851; appropriateness sua sponte review of remand from appellate court for second chance for prosecution to prove prior conviction; sufficiency of proof of defendant’s prior conviction on second chance, including applicability of Federal Rules of Evidence to proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” of a prior conviction pursuant to § 851)05/11/2009
-U.S. v. Gary Visser (Sentencing on “felon in possession of a firearm” charge: applicability of the reduction to the defendant’s base offense level under the “sporting and collecting” exception in U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(2), where he had pawned several of the firearms in his collection) 04/15/2009
-U.S. v. Beiermann : (criminal prosecution on charges of possessing, receiving, transporting, and shipping child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A; sentencing memorandum: the merits of the advisory United States Sentencing Guideline for defendants convicted of child pornography offenses, U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2, including the impact of congressional mandates rather than the United States Sentencing Commission’s exercise of its institutional expertise and empirical analysis; rejection of the guideline on both an individualized application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors and categorically on policy grounds) 02/24/2009
-U.S. v. Maurice Haltiwanger (Defendant’s objection to the prosecution’s notice of intent to seek enhanced penalties, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851(a), order rejecting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding defendant’s objection to § 851 notice, finding: that defendant’s Kansas tax stamp conviction can form the basis for an enhanced sentence because it meets the federal definition of a “felony drug offense” since under Kansas’s sentencing scheme, a drug stamp conviction may result in a maximum sentence of imprisonment for more than one year.)02/23/2009
-U.S. v. Montreail Dungy ( Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting as grounds the ineffective assistance of trial, sentencing and appellate counsel for the following reasons: (1) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to call certain witnesses; (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present an alibi defense; (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the introduction of certain bad acts which occurred when defendant was a juvenile; (4) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request a buyer-seller jury instruction; (5) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the lack of proof that the drug involved in the conspiracy was crack cocaine; (6) that his sentencing counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the sentencing stipulation; (7) that his sentencing counsel failed to object to his two prior felony drug convictions being used to determine his criminal history as well as for a § 851 enhancement; (8) that his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to call certain witnesses. Defendant also asserted that prosecution witness had recanted his testimony. Motion denied in its entirety: first, claim that trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to interview and call as witnesses individuals who could have testified at trial was denied because issue was raised on direct appeal and a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence by person in federal custody may not be used to relitigate an issue that was raised on appeal; second, defendant did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to present an alibi defense at trial because defendant charged with drug conspiracy was not entitled to alibi instruction where conspiracy allegedly lasted for a period of years and defendant’s presence at scene of drug transaction was not a required element of the conspiracy; third, his trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to object to the admission of testimony concerning actions done when defendant was a juvenile because evidence of defendant’s juvenile actions, which took place during the pendency of the conspiracy, was relevant and admissible as part of the res gestae of the charged offense; fourth, defendant’s counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a buyer-seller instruction because he, in fact, did so, and such an instruction was given in this case; fifth, given the weight of all the evidence in the case, defendant did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to object to the lack of proof that the drug that was the object of the conspiracy was crack cocaine; sixth, considering that defendant faced a mandatory life sentence, defense counsel’s advice to defendant that he accept the sentencing stipulation was a reasonable strategic choice made after sufficient investigation of the law and relevant facts and one which clearly fell within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance and thus did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel; seventh, defendant has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to lodge an objection to the court’s use of his two prior drug convictions to determine his criminal history as well as for a § 851 enhancement where evidence exists in the record of a number of overt acts committed by defendant in furtherance of the charged conspiracy which occurred after the date of his convictions; finally, defendant had not established that a portion of witnesses’s testimony was false.)02/02/2009
-U.S. v. Miell (criminal prosecution on charges of mail fraud, arising from a fraudulent scheme to obtain insurance proceeds for hail-damage roofs and a fraudulent scheme to retain renters’ damage deposits, perjury, and failure to file tax returns: defendant’s motion in limine to exclude the following evidence: (1) evidence from the prosecution’s “expert,” a “certified fraud examiner,” concerning damage deposits received and retained by the defendant; (2) evidence relating to the so-called “Beckfield litigation,” which included one of the present defendant’s business entities, Advanced Equities, as a defendant; (3) evidence described as “miscellaneous tenant complaints”; (4) evidence from various small claims court judges; (5) depictions of the defendant as a “slum lord”; (6) evidence of the so-called “Bat Cave,” in which the defendant purportedly retained property belonging to tenants who had been evicted or moved out; (7) photographs of the defendant’s personal residence; (8) evidence of health insurance and mileage reimbursements that the defendant pays to some of his employees; and (9) evidence of alleged destruction of documents by the defendant’s “handyman”) 12/26/2008
-U.S. v. Kenneth Siepker : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling without evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel on the following grounds: failure to move for severance of drug and gun counts, failure to request an “Old Chief instruction,” failure to file a motion in limine to preclude non-coconspirator hearsay evidence, failure to object to count charging commission of offense while on pre-trial release as an illegal Bill of Attainder, failure to request a buyer-seller instruction, failure to object to hearsay, stipulation that firearms were possessed “in or affecting commerce,” failure to object to a constructive amendment of the indictment on the gun charges, and failure to assert an “Apprendi claim” based on court determination of drug quantity; constitutional claims based on admission of hearsay evidence in violation of the Sixth Amendment confrontation clause, and insufficient evidence on the drug conspiracy count of an illegal agreement; denial of a certificate of appealability)12/18/2008
-U.S. v. Miell : (criminal prosecution on charges of mail fraud, arising from a fraudulent scheme to obtain insurance proceeds for hail-damage roofs and a fraudulent scheme to retain renters’ damage deposits, perjury, and failure to file tax returns: prosecution’s motion in limine to exclude any reference to or introduction of evidence by the defendant that he repaired the hail-damaged roofs at a point in time after he obtained insurance proceeds based on fraudulent claims that he had already repaired the roofs, and any reference to or introduction of evidence by the defendant that he had or believed that he had only one year to repair the roofs) 11/25/2008
-U.S. v. Beiermann (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/31/2008
-U.S. v. Kelly Jacob (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/31/2008
-U.S. v. James Callanan (sentencing of criminal defendant: determination of appropriate remedy for another incident of prosecutorial misconduct involving breach of a plea agreement, including consideration of sanctions against prosecutor personally) 10/24/2008
-U.S. v. Matthew Kashas (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/21/2008
-U.S. v. Charles Schrage criminal defendant’s motion in limine before trial on “felon in possession of a firearm” charge: evidence of telephone calls and correspondence from the defendant while incarcerated; evidence of the defendant’s and a witness’s prior convictions) 10/02/2008
-U.S. v. David Dicus: (sentencing of criminal defendant: sentence reduction as a sanction for prosecution’s serious misconduct consisting of breach of a plea agreement) 09/24/2008
-U.S. v. Brett & Cory Kamerud: (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; petitioners claim that guilty verdict for conspiracy to (1) “distribute methamphetamine,” (2) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” and (3) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine to one or more persons under twenty-one years of age should be set aside; the court decided whether the petitioners were provided with ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution by analyzing an extensive list of possible grounds for petitioners’ claim.)09/16/2008
-U.S. v. Yuot & Puok (defendants’ motions in limine in criminal trial: opinions about a defendant’s guilt, or, more specifically, that he “is” a drug dealer, or that he was part of a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, or that he is a “known” drug dealer; opinions that a sock located in a defendant’s pocket at the time of a traffic stop was the match for a sock containing crack cocaine located in the vehicle in which the defendant was a passenger; use of nicknames or aliases; evidence of a defendant’s employment history or lack thereof; evidence of and references to a defendant’s various prior arrests, charges, or convictions) 07/23/2008
-U.S. v. Jose Islas-Bravo (defendant’s motion in criminal trial to admit “reverse 404(b)” evidence of separately tried co-defendant’s prior conviction on state drug offense to support third-party guilt defense) 07/16/2008
-U.S. v. Douglas Dean Johnson (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to suppress, finding: that a search warrant application for defendant’s Primghar residence failed to support the state magistrate’s probable cause determination and that the search warrant application was so facially deficient that the state magistrate’s issuance of a search warrant constituted “a rubber stamp for the police”, so that the exclusionary rule should be applied and the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant for the Primghar residence should be excluded; that with respect to a search warrant for defendant’s Clay County property, the totality of the information presented to the state magistrate supported the state magistrate’s probable cause determination and that the information contained in the search warrant application was not stale; and, that it was not objectively unreasonable for the law enforcement officers here to proceed to execute the search warrant for the Clay County property in these circumstances.)05/14/2008
-U.S. v. Michael Ingram (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that defendant’s freedom of movement was not restrained to the degree associated with a formal arrest when he was asked one question by a law enforcement officer which was designed to protect the officer’s safety during a traffic stop, as such, defendant was not in custody at the time and his response to the officer’s question should not be suppressed; that any statements made by defendant between the time of his arrest and the time he was advised of his rights should be suppressed; and, that, defendant’s challenge to the search warrant should be denied because even without defendant’s pre-arrest statement and the evidence seized from his person, the warrant affidavit contained sufficient evidence for a reasonable magistrate to find probable cause to issue a warrant to search the apartment.)02/25/2008
-U.S. v. David Matthew Howell (Motion to dismiss, order accepting in part and rejecting in part Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to dismiss, concerning charges that defendant knowingly failed to register and update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), court concluded that Congress’s delegation of authority to the United States Attorney General in 42 U.S.C. § 16913(d) was not a violation of the nondelegation doctrine, finding that SORNA’s registration requirements and criminal provisions constitute permissible exercises of Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause; determining that application of SORNA’s penalty provision to him did not violate due process, that application of SORNA to him constituted a violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause, finding that SORNA was effective as to all convicted sex offenders as of the date of its enactment, but that application of SORNA to defendant’s conduct that pre-dated the interim rule’s enactment would constitute an unconstitutional ex post facto application of the law.)02/01/2008
-U.S. v. Hugo Salazar-Montrero (criminal defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to determine elements of “aggravated identity theft” offense defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1028A: court’s authority to determine pretrial the elements of an offense; determination of elements)10/25/2007
-U.S. v. Mark Donisi : (criminal defendant’s motion in limine: prior drug use and evidence from his proffer interview)09/25/2007
-U.S. v. Hernandez (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling after evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to file notice of appeal after prisoner’s request that counsel do so) 08/29/2007
-U.S. v. Francisco Marcos-Quiroga (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that the police had probable cause to arrest defendant and, as a result, money found on defendant’s person was found during a lawful search incident to his arrest and not subject to suppression.)07/17/2007
-U.S. v. Travis John O'Connor (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that upon viewing the affidavit in support of the search warrant application in a common sense manner, the court could not conclude that the issuing state judge did not have a substantial basis to believe that the items sought in the warrant would be found at defendant’s residence.)07/09/2007
-U.S. v. Francisco Marcos-Quiroga (Criminal defendant’s motion in limine: prior convictions, chain of custody of drug evidence, and plea agreement from conviction set aside by the court)06/12/2007
-U.S. v. Todd Becker (motions in limine in criminal trial: government’s motion to admit evidence of the defendant’s probation status as “intrinsic” or Rule 404(b) evidence; defendant’s motion to exclude nineteen-year-old felony drug conviction pursuant to Rule 404(b)).05/31/2007
-U.S. v. Lee, et al. (Criminal defendants’ motions in limine: first defendant’s prior misdemeanor and felony convictions and “bad acts” as Rule 404(b) and/or “direct” evidence; second defendant’s prior criminal history, opinions that he is a drug dealer or convicted felon, lay identifications of his voice on a particular tape or monitored call, identification of him as the “Rock,” his lack of employment history; and co-conspirator hearsay allegedly exculpatory hearsay statement; third defendant’s “bad acts,” references to his presence at “crack houses,” residence at places where drugs or guns were found, discovery of baggies on his person, prior convictions, and identifications as a “drug dealer”)05/17/2007
-U.S. v. Lee Cobb (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judges report and recommendation that defendant’s motion to suppress be granted; concluding that defendant made the requisite showing to warrant a Franks hearing, that one law enforcement officer communicated false information to another that was then included in the warrant application and that if the false information is set to one side, the affidavit’s remaining content is insufficient to establish probable cause for a search of defendant’s residence.) 05/16/2007
-U.S. v. Justin Cole (criminal defendant’s and prosecution’s motions in limine and Rule 104 motions to determine admissibility of evidence: defendant’s prior convictions and “bad acts” as Rule 404(b), “direct,” or res gestae evidence; allegedly exculpatory hearsay statement, considered under Rules 804(b)(3), 607, and 613(b); and the meaning of “cocaine base” as “crack cocaine” under 21 U.S.C. § 841)04/30/2007
-U.S. v. Marcos-Quiroga (defendant’s objections to PSIR, motion to withdraw guilty plea, and motion for new counsel: defendant’s Sixth Amendment objection to use of a prior conviction as both a statutory sentence enhancement and a career offender guideline enhancement; reconsideration of motion to withdraw guilty plea based on bad advice of counsel concerning career offender status; motion for new counsel based on prejudicial conduct of current counsel)03/23/2007
-United States v. Honken : (appeal by defendant convicted of capital offenses and sentenced to death; defendant’s request for discovery of government’s records and recollections of four unrecorded conferences to prepare the defendant’s statement pursuant to Rule 10(c) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure concerning unrecorded portions of the record for appeal)02/28/2007
-United States v. Saucillo (Federal prisoners motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 asserting allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted his counsel was ineffective in failing to file an appeal; motion denied in its entirety; defendant did allege that he expressly direct his attorney to file an appeal )02/14/2007
-U.S. v. James J. Parsons (Motion for return of property pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g); after pleading guilty to the charged felony offenses, defendant sought to designate that his firearm collection, which was seized and held by the government, should be given to a friend; analysis of the competing equities in order to decide whether defendant, who was in lawful possession of the firearms at the time of his arrest and was not a convicted felon when he acquired the three firearms, may be permitted to designate to whom his firearm collection should be given. )02/07/2007
-U.S. v. Enrique Aragon-Hernandez (criminal defendant’s motion in limine: inaudibility of recordings rendering them untrustworthy as a whole and, therefore, inadmissible) 01/31/2007
-U.S. v. Ryan Keith Mathison (Following a jury verdict of guilty on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment, both defendant filed timely motion for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial pursuant to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; court holds that (1) viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, a reasonable jury could have found the defendant guilty on Counts One through Seven, as alleged in the Second Superseding Indictment;(2) no grounds for a new trial on the defendant’s convictions exist because the evidence presented at trial overwhelmingly weighs in favor of the jury verdict on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment ; (3) the mid-trial publicity that resulted after the defendant voluntarily absconded did not prejudice the defendant and his Sixth Amendment rights were adequately protected;(4) the defendant’s post-trial motions are denied in their entirety.)01/05/2007
-U.S. v. Edward Valenciano (Motion to transfer trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 21; analysis of whether defendant had met the high threshold of proof to show that case was one of the “rare and extreme cases” in which the court can presume “inherent prejudice” based on pretrial publicity, such that a transfer pursuant to Rule 21(a) was appropriate; alternative analysis of whether it was necessary to transfer the trial on the grounds of convenience of the parties and witnesses pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 21(b)).12/27/2006
-U.S. v. Vincent & Karl Raymond Bertling (Following a jury verdict of guilty on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment, both defendants filed timely motions for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and motions for a new trial pursuant to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; court holds that (1) viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, a reasonable jury could have found both defendants guilty of conspiracy to corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impeded the due administration of justice in United States v. Vincent Bertling, CR05-4125-MWB, by intimidating witnesses, as alleged in Count One; (2) a reasonable jury could have found defendant Vincent guilty of the three counts of being an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm, as alleged in Counts Two, Three and Four; (3) with respect to the verdicts rendered on Counts Two, Three and Four against defendant Vincent, no miscarriage of justice has occurred; (4) the evidence supporting the convictions of the defendants on Count One weighs heavily enough against the verdict that a miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case; (5) the verdict as to Count One against defendants Vincent Bertling and Karl Raymond Bertling is set aside and Vincent Bertling and Karl Raymond Bertling are granted a new trial on this count; and (6) in all other respects, the defendants’ motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial are denied.)11/13/2006
-U.S. v. Jesse John Wendelsdorf (Objections to the PSIR launched by the defendant requesting the court to exclude certain amounts from its drug quantity determination; Court held: (1) Although acts surrounding a tank of anhydrous ammonia by the defendant were relevant, court would not include theoretical amount that could have been yielded from the tank because the uncontroverted evidence introduced at trial showed the anhydrous ammonia leaked out of the tank and was unusable; furthermore, even if tank should have been included, the government failed to meet its burden of proof with respect to the amount of methamphetamine that could have been produced from the anhydrous in the tank because no reliable evidence was produced as to not only how much methamphetamine could be produced from the tank, but also how full the tank actually was when it was taken by the defendant; (2) PSIR inappropriately inflated the quantity that can be attributed to the defendant based on the testimony of a coconspirator with respect to the amount of methamphetamine that was traded in exchange for prescription pills; (3) A review of the entire trial transcript reveals that the coconspirators’ testimony has sufficient indicia of reliability and amounts attributed to the defendant by the coconspirators’ testimony is properly included in the court’s drug quantity calculation; while it is true that the coconspirators’ testimony produced some discrepancy with respect to the amount of methamphetamine involved, the court, in accord with applicable case law has erred on the side of caution and utilized the most conservative estimate proffered by the defendants’ coconspirators.) 11/01/2006
-U.S. v. Arturo Ruiz-Ahumada (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) that his plea was the product of coercion and therefore, not entered into voluntarily; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, the defendant’s own statements during the plea hearing demonstrate he pled guilty knowingly and voluntarily; defendant also filed separately a pro se Motion to Amend and a pro se Motion to Supplement; both motions are denied as untimely, as they do not relate back to his original § 2255 petition.)10/24/2006
-U.S. v. Perez-Sanchez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on the following grounds: (1) a “Booker error,” based on the defendant’s contention that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes; (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841 to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity and role determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); and (3) failure of appellate counsel to argue that the defendant’s rights under the Vienna Convention were violated during his plea hearing on appeal; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, neither trial counsel’s nor appellate counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )10/17/2006
-U.S. v. Alfredo Luna (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting as grounds the ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel for the following reasons: (1) that his trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to fully impeach government witnesses; (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the edition of the federal guidelines used at the time of sentencing; (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the criminal history for defendant that was set out in his presentence investigation report; (4) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the standard utilized by the court in determining the applicability of a two-level weapons enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b); (5) that his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise the issue of trial counsel’s ineffectiveness in failing to fully impeach government witnesses; (6) that appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise the issue of the edition of the federal guidelines used at the time of sentencing; and, (7) that his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise on appeal the issue of the court’s calculation of defendant’s criminal history. Defendant also challenged his sentence in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), arguing that the Booker decision must be given retroactive effect; motion denied in its entirety, first, the Booker decision does not apply retroactively to cases on collateral review, second, defendant had not established that his trial or appellate counsel were ineffective in representing defendant, specifically, defendant did not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s cross-examination of government witnesses at trial; defendant did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by the use of the 2000 edition of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines because the punishment under the 2000 and 1998 Sentencing Guidelines remained the same, because defendant’s criminal history was not manifestly less serious than that of defendants typically labeled category II, defendant did not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to seek a downward departure on the grounds that his assessed criminal history category overstated the seriousness of his criminal history; defendant’s counsel could not be faulted for not challenging the court’s application of § 2D1.1(b)’s two-level weapons enhancement to defendant where trial testimony showed that during the course of the drug conspiracy defendant possessed several firearms, including several pistols and an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle and threatened to use his AR-15 rifle on a possible informant and pointed a pistol at an individual during several drug transactions)10/03/2006
-U.S. v. Juan Carlos Vazquez-Munoz (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting three allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted his counsel was ineffective in (1) failing to file an appeal after being expressly directed to do so by the defendant; (2) failing to file an appeal without obtaining the defendant’s consent; and (3) failing to object to the PSIR regarding the defendant’s role in the offense; motion denied in its entirety; defendant did not expressly direct his attorney to file an appeal and he could neither prove breach of duty nor prejudice on either of his remaining claims.)09/28/2006
-U.S. v. Hernandez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to anticipate Booker, in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), which had been decided at the time of the defendant’s sentencing; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )09/25/2006
-U.S. v. Renee Carlson (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; specifically, the defendant asserted that (1) her plea was the product of coercion, (2) she was forced to incriminate herself, presumably by admitting to her involvement in the conspiracy during her plea hearing, (3) the government failed to disclose the evidence against her because she never personally viewed the evidence; additionally, the defendant contends her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea, (2) failing to ensure she was read her Miranda rights, and (3) failing to inform her of her right to appeal; motion denied in its entirety; defendant was not entitled to relief on any of the alleged grounds.)09/11/2006
-U.S. v. Hernandez : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: alleged “Booker error,” and allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before, during, and after trial, including (1) failure to assert “Apprendi claim”; (2) failure to investigate the facts of the case, including facts that would have provided the basis to challenge the credibility of the government’s witnesses and the falsehoods in their trial testimony; (3) failure to challenge, at trial and on appeal, sentencing enhancements for obstruction of justice, possession of a firearm, and drug quantity, and (4) failure to assert that the evidence showed multiple conspiracies instead of the single conspiracy with which Hernandez was charged, supplemented at evidentiary hearing to include (5) failure of trial counsel to advise him adequately of the law applicable to his consideration of whether to go to trial, plead guilty; determination of whether resentencing was appropriate relief on the last claim)08/30/2006
-U.S. v. Jeffrey Determan (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on one ground: that he received an illegal sentence based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence.) 08/18/2006
-U.S. v. Roberto Alvarez-Delgadillo (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(A) and (B) to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant.)08/14/2006
-U.S. v. Pinkerton (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting two allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea and (2) in representing to the prosecutor that the defendant was dishonest in her debriefings; motion denied in its entirety; defendant could neither prove breach of duty or prejudice on either claim.)08/11/2006
-U.S. v. Robert Lee Kriens (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal, including failure to investigate and present evidence that would purportedly prove that the defendant’s prior conviction for attempted burglary under Iowa law was not a “violent felony” for purposes of the armed career criminal enhanced mandatory minimum sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)).07/25/2006
-U.S. v. Lori Clare Kavitz : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ten allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and request to reopen Apprendi claim, which had been dismissed on initial review, in light of Blakely).07/17/2006
-U.S. v. Javier Barajas Ramirez (federal defendant’s post-conviction motion to vacate sentence on a drug-trafficking charge pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 2255 based on ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to move for a safety-valve reduction in the defendant’s sentence and failure of appellate counsel to appeal the omission of a safety-valve reduction)06/13/2006
-U.S. v. Homero Bustos Flores (federal defendant’s post-conviction motion to vacate sentence on a drug-trafficking charge pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 2255 based on (1) ineffective assistance of trial counsel, consisting of (a) denial of his right to testify; (b) failure to challenge the drug quantity calculation; (c) failure to raise a challenge pursuant to Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), at sentencing; and (d) failure to make a timely objection to omission of safety-valve eligibility in the PSIR; (2) ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, who was the same as his trial counsel, consisting of failure to raise issues (1)(b), (1)(c), and (1)(d); and (3) imposition by the trial court of a sentence in violation of the defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights as established by Apprendi, consisting of judicial fact-finding regarding drug quantity and enhancement of his sentence based upon such improper fact-finding)06/13/2006
-U.S. v. Douglas Wayne Nielsen (Resentencing on remand pursuant to a written order; government’s motion to correct sentence by imposing the sentence with the defendant in open court; Court held: (1) Both the government and the defendant expressly waived objections during resentencing hearing; (2) The purposes of Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were served as defendant, during the resentencing hearing, was afforded the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of any information presented by the government or on which the court might otherwise rely, argue about the reliability and weight such information should be given, and present any mitigating evidence; (3) The government’s motion is denied to impose sentence in open court is denied and the amended judgment shall stand.) 05/04/2006
-U.S. v. Saenz (resentencing on remand pursuant to a written order; government’s motion to “correct sentence” by imposing the sentence with the defendant present in open court: holding that the defendant had waived her presence, if it was required)04/24/2006
-U.S. v. Douglas Wayne Nielsen (Resentencing on remand from the circuit for consideration in light of United States v. Booker; Court held: (1) Traditional departure under U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 for overrepresentation of the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal history was warranted; (2) Pursuant to § 4A1.3, the departure is limited to one criminal history category; (3) A non-Guidelines sentence is appropriate after consideration of all the § 3553(a) factors; and (4) The defendant is committed to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for 188 months on Count One of the Indictment, 188 months on Count One of the Information, and 92 months on counts Two through Seven of the Indictment, all to be served concurrently. )04/13/2006
-United States v. Barnett (Motion to withdraw guilty plea to one of four counts after remand for resentencing: Rule 11(e) neither foreclosed the defendant from asserting, nor foreclosed the court from hearing, a motion to withdraw the defendant’s guilty plea on jurisdictional grounds, and the defendant had not waived that motion by failing to assert it either at his original sentencing or on his original appeal; making, receiving, and possessing unregistered short-barreled shotguns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5845, 5861 and 5871, are not “crimes of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3), for purposes of a charge of using and carrying a short-barreled and shortened-length firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A), 924(c)(1)(A)(iii) and 924(c)(1)(B)(i)). 04/05/2006
-United States v. Jesse John Wendelsdorf (Sentencing motion in limine brought by defendant requesting the court to exclude from its sentencing determination certain conduct of which the defendant was acquitted; Court held: (1) Based on the court’s firsthand knowledge and subsequent review of this evidence, the Government failed to prove the acquitted conduct a preponderance of the evidence, and that therefore, it could not be considered as relevant conduct during the defendant’s sentencing hearing; (2) Even if the Government had proved its case by a preponderance of the evidence, the court would exercise its discretionary powers and not consider the acquitted conduct based on the extraordinary facts and unique circumstances surrounding the case; (3) In the event the court is required to consider the acquitted conduct and apply the appropriate upward adjustment, a downward departure in the same amount would be authorized under the circumstances presented in this case, effectively vitiating any net gain to the defendant’s term of incarceration; (4) Therefore, during the defendant’s sentencing, the court will not consider additional evidence with respect to the acquitted charges.)03/24/2006
-United States v. Saenz : (resentencing on remand after the circuit court found the original 68% reduction in the defendant’s sentence for “substantial assistance” was “unreasonable” and “excessive”: suggesting that neither prior precedent nor recent data compiled by the United States Sentencing Commission supports labeling a 50 percent reduction for substantial assistance “extraordinary” and suggesting other lessons from the Sentencing Commission’s Special Post-Booker Coding Project Report; finding that the defendant was entitled, on resentencing, to a 68% reduction from a minimum Guidelines sentence of 63 months to 20 months for substantial assistance, based on § 5K1.1 factors fully present)03/23/2006
-U.S. v. Rudy Balmore Zavala Villalobos (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claim that the court employed the wrong standard in determining drug quantities at his sentencing; review of whether the indictment was fatally flawed because it failed to reference 21 U.S.C. § 841(b); analysis of whether the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490 (2000), rendered 21 U.S.C. § 846 facially unconstitutional; relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/30/2004
-U.S. v. Juan Carlos Mier-Godinez (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claim of ineffective assistance of counsel; examination of whether claim that defendant’s conviction was obtained in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights because his plea was not knowing and voluntarily made was procedurally defaulted; analysis of whether defendant procedurally defaulted on his claim that he was improperly sentenced based on facts that he did not admit at his plea hearing but that were later proved by a preponderance of the evidence at his sentencing hearing and used in calculating his sentence; relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/29/2004
-U.S. v. Marcelino Garibay-Gomez (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel; analysis of whether defendant could challenge correctness of sentence in view of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); examination of whether claim that defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated by delays was procedurally defaulted; analysis of whether defendant procedurally defaulted on claim that the court departed upward in sentencing him without first providing him with notice of its intent to possibly depart upward; analysis of whether defendant’s claim that the government failed to establish the amount of methamphetamine attributed to him at sentencing was procedurally defaulted; relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/29/2004
-U.S. v. Ira Jerome Moore (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel; analysis of whether claim, that a prior conviction for burglary of a commercial building should not have qualified as a “crime of violence” under the Career Criminal Act because it did not qualify under section 4B1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, was procedurally defaulted; analysis of whether defendant could challenge correctness of sentence in view of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues) 09/28/2004
-U.S. v. Benjamin Franklin Moore (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel; analysis of whether defendant could challenge correctness of sentence in view of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/28/2004
-U.S. v. Thomas Kosek (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for for failing to challenge his conviction for methamphetamine as a schedule II drug, for failing to challenge Kosek being sentenced as a career offender pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1, and for failing to seek a downward departure under Rule 35(b); relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/28/2004
-U.S. v. Raul Sanchez (Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to object to the probation report which did not indicate whether the controlled substance was l-methamphetamine or d-methamphetamine, for failing to object to the failure of the government to show the type of narcotic involved by a preponderance of the evidence as to support the base level offense, for failing to object to the testing of the Iowa Department of Public Safety since it did not determine whether the narcotic was l-methamphetamine or d-methamphetamine, for failing to object to the lack of determination of the type of methamphetamine involved, the lesser of the two types of methamphetamine should have been used to determine his base offense level; for failing to object to the firearm which was found in a closed drawer of a dresser at defendant’s residence; for failing to raise the argument that it was not unlawful for him to possess that firearm at the time of the search of his residence; for failing to argue that he was not present in the bedroom and did not have access to the firearm at the time of the search; for failing to argue that mere possession of the firearm was insufficient to sustain the firearm enhancement; for not making a request for a downward departure on the basis that defendant would be subject to deportation after the completion of his sentence; for not objecting to the probation officer’s finding that there were no other grounds for downward departure; for failing to provide a full and fair hearing on all available issues and arguments; for not appealing the dismissal of the indictment without prejudice even though the issue was preserved for appeal in his plea agreement; analysis of whether defendant could challenge correctness of sentence in view of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); relief under § 2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)09/27/2004
-U.S. v. Gary O'Dell (Motion under 28 U.S.C. §2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to object to leading questions; for failing to obtain a handwriting analysis of defendant in regard to the forged cashier checks; for failing to ask for a limited instruction regarding cooperating witnesses; for being careless in the way he phrased questions to witnesses; for failing to object to coconspirator testimony; for failing to make a record regarding the advice he had given to defendant about whether to testify at trial; for not objecting to remarks made during the prosecutor’s rebuttal summation; for failing to obtain a copy of the trial transcript; for failing to understand the admissibility of polygraph examination results; for failing to seek a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on the conspiracy charge; relief under §2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues )08/26/2004
-U.S. v. Daniel Castro (Motion under 28 U.S.C. §2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody; claims of ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to conduct an adequate pretrial investigation; for failing to prepare a blame shifting defense, for failing to file a timely motion to suppress, for failing to move for severance, for failing to appeal a magistrate judge’s decision to deny defendant’s motion to continue trial and extension of time to file a motion to suppress, for failing to withdraw from the case, for failing to resubmit defendant’s motion to suppress and motion to continue trial after the superseding indictment was filed against him, for failing to move to dismiss the Superseding indictment, for failing to withdraw after trial; for not raising ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal, for failing to request that defendant be sentenced for a schedule III controlled substance, for failing to request a minimal or minor role adjustment in his sentence; claim that defendant’s sentence was incorrect because his criminal history category was in part based on a conviction that was subsequently vacated; relief under §2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)08/04/2004
-United States v. Howard Harp (28 U.S.C. §2255; claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel’s alleged refusal to file timely appeal; failure to advise defendant to plead only to drug charges; failure to advise defendant to pursue trial on only gun possession charge; §2255 denied; certificate of appealability denied as to all issues)07/22/2004
-Hepperle v. Ault (Petition for habeas corpus relief from Iowa state court conviction under § 2254; petitioner convicted of first-degree murder for the stabbing death of a neighbor and sentenced to life imprisonment; report and recommendation prepared by magistrate judge; petitioner does not object to recommended dismissal of his Miranda claim; no plain error in magistrate’s analysis of petitioner’s Miranda claim, therefore recommendation that Miranda claim be denied is accepted; petitioner’s objection to the standard used by magistrate in analysis of petitioner’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim overruled; petitioner contends trial counsel was ineffective for proffered victim’s husband as alternate perpetrator rather than the neighborhood ‘window peeper’ who admitted to attempting to window peep at the time the crime was committed; trial counsel’s decision to offer husband as alternate perpetrator was strategic in nature, and was not unreasonable; petitioner admitted knowledge of intended trial strategy in offering victim’s husband as alleged perpetrator; trial counsel’s performance was not deficient or ineffective; petitioner could not show outcome of trial was prejudiced by trial counsel’s ; report and recommendation accepted; writ of habeas corpus denied; certificate of appealability would not issue.)06/23/2004
-United States v. Betterton (Prosecution for possessing methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, order regarding report and recommendation concerning defendant’s motion to suppress evidence; analysis of whether the car defendant was driving was lawfully impounded pursuant to police department policy and review of whether police officers conducted a lawful inventory search of the car. )01/20/2004
-U.S. v. Elmer Taylor (Criminal prosecution for robbery affecting commerce, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, order regarding report and recommendation concerning defendant’s motion to suppress evidence; analysis of whether defendant entered into a plea agreement knowingly and intelligently, whether deputy could lawfully stopped vehicle for failing to signal a turn, and whether defendant made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of his right to remain silent.)01/06/2004
-United States v. Yahnke (Prosecution for “maintaining a drug establishment” in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856; sentencing upon plea of guilty: upward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 on the ground that the defendant’s criminal history category did not adequately reflect either “the seriousness of the defendant’s past criminal conduct or the likelihood that the defendant will commit other crimes,” in light of the defendant’s prior conviction for second-degree murder, parole violations not resulting in criminal charges or convictions, and other uncharged criminal conduct to which the defendant admitted)12/24/2003
-U.S. v. Ameling & Brown (Motion to suppress evidence obtained during search of motor vehicle; analysis of whether law enforcement officers had reasonable suspicion that defendants were involved in criminal activity, and thus could conduct investigatory stop of defendants’ vehicle, where officers were told that defendants had each purchased two boxes of pseudoephedrine, known to be a methamphetamine precursor, that defendants did not leave the store together and reunited in the vehicle, that defendants traveled to another store and purchased a battery, which officer believed to be another methamphetamine precursor-- ruling overturned by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)12/23/2003
-United States v. Thongmy Thammavong (28 U.S.C. §2255; claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on explanation of plea and INS hold; failure to seek safety valve; failure to request continuation of sentencing hearing to pursue safety valve; interpreters performance during proceedings; §2255 denied; certificate of appealability granted as to safety valve issue)09/04/2003
-United States. v. Nieman (Criminal prosecution for bank fraud and embezzlement; defendant’s motions to dismiss a superseding indictment for pre-indictment delay and failure to state offenses: application of the "prejudice" and "intentional delay" standard to a claim of pre-indictment delay; sufficiency of the charges in terms of allegation of the essential elements of the offense, including allegation of "intent to defraud" in bank fraud count and conduct constituting "embezzlement" or "misapplication" in embezzlement counts, and the defendant’s ability to prepare a defense or to plead acquittal or conviction as a bar to subsequent prosecution) 05/30/2003
-United States v. Nguyen (§ 2255 motion, ineffective assistance of counsel; claims his counsel failed to investigate and raise the fact that there can be no indictable conspiracy involving only the defendant and government agents and informers; claims his counsel failed to raise an entrapment defense at trial.)04/03/2003
-United States v. Mansker (Renewed motion for sanctions and post-trial motion for judgment of acquittal and post-trial motion for new trial. Defendant convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; government failed to turn over exculpatory materials and court excluded three witnesses at trial as a sanction; on renewed motion, court affirmed its ruling that government committed a Brady and discovery rule violation, but declined defendant’s request for dismissal with prejudice as sanction, finding that exclusion of witnesses was adequate sanction; denial of motion for judgment of acquittal because testimony of government’s cooperating witnesses sufficient to convict, especially in conjunction with defendant’s own testimony, in which he testified to sharing methamphetamine with friends; and denial of motion for new trial, finding that case presented close call because sole evidence against defendant government presented was testimony of government’s 6 cooperating witnesses.)01/20/2003
Hide details for Death Penalty CasesDeath Penalty Cases
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: prosecution’s motion to reconsider parts of the ruling on scope of the scope of the “penalty retrial” challenging rulings: (1) that the new jury will not redetermine the defendant’s eligibility for the death sentence; (2) that the court will instruct the new jury that the defendant’s only possible sentences are death or life without parole; and (3) that evidence of the defendant’s future dangerousness outside of prison will be excluded; defendant’s motion to reconsider ruling that non-statutory aggravating factors, like mitigating factors, may assert separate incidents as separate factors)03/05/2013
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: defendant’s first set of motions: (1) “omnibus motion” to dismiss the “special findings” from the second superseding indictment and to strike notice of intent to seek the death penalty; (2) motion to dismiss particular aggravating factors from the second superseding indictment, and to strike particular aggravating factors from the second notice of intent to seek the death penalty, and for other relief; (3) motion to compel discovery of evidence in support of United States Attorney’s reasons not to seek the death penalty, or, in the alternative, for in-camera review of the death penalty evaluation form; (4) motion to preclude capital sentencing hearing; and (5) motion for discovery to support a motion to strike the death penalty based upon the influence of arbitrary factors of race and gender of victims)10/25/2012
-Angela Johnson v. U.S. : (capital defendant’s § 2255 Motion asserting 64 grounds for relief from her convictions and death sentences for murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder) pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2: grounds that the petitioner chose to emphasize in her post-hearing brief included the following: her attorneys' failure to pursue a disposition for a sentence less than death before trial; her attorneys' failure to adjust her medications or otherwise address the effects of her medication on her demeanor and competence during the merits phase of her trial; her attorneys' failure to confront aggravating evidence, or to prepare and present an effective mitigation case, and prosecutorial misconduct during the penalty phase of her trial; and a claim that the Bureau of Prisons' method of carrying out her execution would violate the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Controlled Substances Act. Convictions upheld, but relief from death sentences granted, and new penalty-phase trial ordered, on 4 of 48 claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.)03/22/2012
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (8th Circuit Decision)07/30/2007
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (297 page opinion denying defendant's request for post-trial relief)12/16/2005
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken (206 page ruling denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal or in the alternative new trial)07/29/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order on defendant’s motion to exclude hearsay testimony during “penalty phase” on confrontation clause, due process clause, and statutory grounds) 06/06/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to exclude evidence and argument that she acted as a “principal” in the alleged killings)05/03/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s renewed motion to strike death penalty where government is no longer asserting guilt as a “principal”)05/03/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to charge offenses owing to omission of “substantive connection” between killings and drug conspiracy or CCE)04/11/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); pretrial ruling on the proper degree of case-specific questioning, if any, that is permissible in the course of life- or death-qualifying prospective jurors)03/31/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order regarding intention of defendant, who had given notice of intent to rely on mental condition evidence in the "penalty phase," to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to questions about her involvement in the charged murders during mental examinations by government mental health experts) 03/17/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling denying defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of identification of remains where defendant has stipulated to identity of remains) 03/10/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for return to defendant of privileged documents obtained by the law enforcement officers)03/02/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on second round of pretrial motions)02/18/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on first round of pretrial motions)01/03/2005
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s request for “residual doubt” instruction in “penalty phase”)09/01/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the government’s motion to have the defendant wear shackles at trial)07/21/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the parties’ second round of pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence) 07/16/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on government’s pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence)06/07/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying motion to reconsider order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)05/14/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)01/29/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken(death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order closing hearing on government’s motion for anonymous jury)01/07/2004
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for hearing and briefing on government’s motion for anonymous jury, including whether the hearing should be closed and the appropriate degree of “anonymity” for the jury)11/26/2003
-U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss capital counts on former jeopardy grounds)07/21/2003
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to reconsider denial of motion to dismiss non-capital offenses on statute of limitations grounds)07/11/2003
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to declare death-penalty provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 848 unconstitutional)01/07/2003
Hide details for Social Security CasesSocial Security Cases
-Lindstrom v. Astrue (Plaintiff’s Application for Attorney Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA); the court awarded EAJA fees directly to the prevailing party’s attorney pursuant to the recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals holding in Ratliff v. Astrue, 540 F.3d 800 (8th Cir. 2008) (holding that “EAJA attorneys’ fees are awarded to prevailing parties’ attorneys.”)) 01/05/2009