Decisions by Judge Mark W. Bennett
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-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