Decisions by Judge Paul A. Zoss
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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-Arnzen v. Palmer, et al -- Report and Recommendation recommending granting of plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, in light of Dataphase/Winter factors, where plaintiffs showed likelihood of success on the merits and likely irreparable harm absent an injunction. Furthermore, the court's consideration of the balance of equities and the public interest favored the issuance of a preliminary injunction.04/12/2012
-Scott v. Benson, et al, -- Report and Recommendation recommending denial of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, in light of Dataphase/Winter factors, where plaintiff showed neither likelihood of succes on the merits nor likely irreparable harm absent an injunction. Furthermore, the court's consideration of the balance of equities and the public interest did not favor the issuance of a preliminary injunction.03/21/2012
-Jackson v. Green, et al -- Report and Recommendation recommending denying as moot pro se plaintiff's motion to change venue. Because case had been removed to federal court, plaintiff's request to change venue to different state court was moot.01/17/2012
-Fraserside v. Letyagin -- Order granting the plaintiff's motion for leave to serve the summons and complaint on the defendants by electronic mail pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(3) and 4(h)(2). The court found that this method of service in this case fulfilled the requirements of due process and that reasonable efforts by the plaintiff to serve the defendants had already been made.01/12/2012
-Seaman v. Hacker Hauling -- Order granting defendants' motion for spoliation sanctions, finding that plaintiff's attorney had destroyed evidence with intent to suppress the truth, which prejudiced defendants. Court struck testimony and report of plaintiff's expert from evidence at trial, plaintiff could designate another expert to testify on plaintiff's behalf.10/18/2011
-Freie v. Fayram - Report and Recommendation recommending granting respondent's motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Court found that tollign of AEDPA's limitations period did not apply to petitioner's untimely petition06/09/2011
-Smith v. Quality Refrigerated Services, Inc. -- Order granting defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's pro se complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Court found that, even after affording pro se plaintiff a hearing to show facts that would allow his claims to survive dismissal, plaintiff's claims lacked facial plausibility to withstand dismissal without prejudice.05/10/2011
-Powell v. Fayram -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed ineffective assistance of trial counsel in four respects: (1) failure to move for judgment of acquittal; (2) failure to move for change of venue: (3) failure to give petitioner correct advice during plea negotiations concerning the time he would serve if convicted of attempted murder; and (4) failure to retain an expet witness to establish that brakes on pickup truck were defective. In recommending the petition be denied, the Court found the petitioner failed to show that the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals involved either an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedents to the facts, or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.02/18/2011
-Woodard v. O'Brien -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment. Despite anecdotal evidence suggesting defendants' actions caused plaintiff to suffer needless pain, court reluctantly found plaintiff had failed to meet his burden to offer verifiable medical evidence that defendants' actions caused plaintiff harm. Plaintiff therefore failed to show defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, and the court recommended defendants' motionfor summary judgment be granted.01/10/2011
-Scadden v. Northwest Iowa Hospital Corp. -- Order denying plaintiffs' motion to reinstate wrongful death claim on behalf of unborn child. At the eleventh hour, after expiration of the deadline to amend pleadings and only two months before trial, plaintiffs moved to reinstate wrongful death claim for the death of their unborn child, arguing Nebraska law, rather than Iowa law, should control the issue. Court found motion was untimely, but also analyzed the choice-of-law issues raised by the plaintiffs, finding that in any event, Iowa law controlled.09/22/2010
-Scadden v. Northwest Iowa Hosp. Corp. -- Order denying hospital's motion for summary judgment on technical grounds. Hospital failed to comply with Local Rules in connection with it's "statement of undisputed facts." 09/13/2010
-Collins v. Center for Siouxland -- Order denying defendant's motion for separate trials in case where plaintiffs, who consecutively held same job, both allege wrongful discharge for violation of whistle blower statute.05/07/2010
-Smithco Manufacturing, Inc. v. Haldex Brake Products, Corp. -- Order denying motion for leave to amend Complaint. Court found plaintiff failed to show good cause for the delay in seeking to amend its Complaint as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 16.04/05/2010
-Peteson v. Prosser -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in case seeking damages from various police officers and government officials for false arrest, criminal assault, falsifying public documents, criminal conspiracy to falsify public records, evidence tampering, conspiracy to induce false testimony, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of characater, violation of civil rights, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, perjury, criminal conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, and obstruction of justice. Court found material issues of fact existed for trial on claims of false arrest and assault against two police officers, and further found the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on those claims. Court recommended all other claims and parties be dismissed.03/04/2010
-Chisley v. Lund -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed state court should not have allowed hearsay testimony into evidence. Court found the claim to be unreviewable because Iowa courts decided the claim on state law grounds, and petitioner had failed to exhaust the claim on federal constitutional grounds.02/09/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland -- Order on motion to appear pro hac vice. Court held that attorney who is likely to be witness at trial could appear in the case for purposes of pretrial litigation activities, but could not act as trial counsel and could not participate as an advocate during depositions.02/09/2010
-Williams v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed trial court erred in failing to suppress identification testimony resulting from photo array; evidence was insufficient to prove he aided and abetted in murder and robbery; and trial counsel were ineffective in failing to object to jury instruction on alternative theories of prosecution, failing to enforce a plea agreement, and failing to advise him of his right to testify. Court found petitioner failed to show Iowa appellate court decisions were contrary to clearly-established federal law, or that his counsel's performance, even if deficient, prejudiced him. 01/19/2010
-Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleged defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, causing him to suffer ongoing, severe pain and ultimately resulting in removal of his left eye. Court found material issues of disputed fact existed, precluding summary judgment as to all but one of the defendants. Court further found that either plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies, or alternatively a material issue of material fact existed regarding whether he properly exhausted his remedies. Court further found defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. 01/14/2010
-Iowa Municipal Ins. Ltd. v. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Cas. -- Order granting defendant's motion to compel arbitration and staying action pending completion of arbitration proceedings. Court found arbitration clause was valid, and all of plaintiff's claim fell under the coverage of the arbitration agreement.12/22/2009
-Great Lakes Comm. Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board -- Report and Recommendation on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of one clause of IUB Order requiring reclamation of all telephone numbers assigned to Great Lakes. In considering the Dataphase factors, and in particular the plaintiff's likelihood of prevailing on the merits, the court analyzed the IUB Order and applicable regulations and recommended that a preliminary injunction be issued.11/17/2009
-Great Lakes Comm. Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board - Order on Motions to Intervene and to Add Parties. In action to enjoin enforcement of order issued by Iowa Utilities Board, court found Qwest Communications Corp. and Sprint Communications Co. to be indispensable parties, and granted their motions to intervene under Fed. R. Civ. P. 24, and the Board's motion to join them as parties under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19.11/10/2009
-Whitacre v. Energy Panel Structures, Inc. -- Order on plaintiff's motion for leave to amend Petition at Law. Court found plaintiff was not seeking to add non-diverse parties for the purpose of defeating federal jurisdiction, and held the amendment should be allowed.09/30/2009
-McFarland v. McFarland -- Order on plaintiff's motion for voluntary dismissal without prejudice of certain defendants, who asked that their dismissals be with prejudice. Court found FRCP 41(a)(1) mandated dismissal without prejudice08/25/2009
-Ohlendorf v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. -- Order denying defendants' motion to dismiss. Court found plaintiff had stated a marginally plausible claim for relief, and further development of the record was necessary before case could be summarily dismissed.08/11/2009
-Hart v. Baldwin -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in prisoner 1983 case where plaintiff claimed unconstitutional retrictions on his mail. Court found plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies with regard to claims for monetary damages, and claims for equitable relief were rendered moot when prisoner was transferred to another facility.07/23/2009
-Redd v. McKinney -- Report and Recommendation on respondent's motion for partial summary judgment. Parties conceded, and court concluded, that only one issue raised in 2254 petition had been properly exhausted and was ripe for decision.07/20/2009
-Heimlicher v. Steele, et al -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' post-trial motions in action for damages arising from stillbirth of plaintiffs' child. Jury awarded $1.7 million in damages against doctor and hospital for common law negligence and violation of federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 USC section 1395dd. Defendants moved, on numerous grounds, for judgment as a matter of law, for new trial, and to amend the judgment. Court found remittitur was appropriate because the amounts the jury deducted for past and future expense of raising the child were unreasonably low. Court therefore conditionally granted motions for new trial, and denied all other motions. 05/14/2009
-Accurate Controls, Inc. v. Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors - Order on plaintiff's motion for protective order regarding defendants' request to discover plaintiff's internal bid worksheet and plaintiff's purchase orders for materials used in construction of county jail. Court held plaintiff is entitled to recover more than its actual cost of labor and materials under Iowa Code chapter 573, but not necessarily the full amount of its contract. Plaintiff must show its contract price was "just" and "established by law." Motion granted as to internal bid worksheets, and denied as to pruchase orders for materials, subject to concurrent protective order.02/23/2009