Decisions
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.


Case NameDate Filed
-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
-Elizabeth Chacey DeBoom v. Raining Rose, Inc., Chart Acquisition Corp., Charles Hammond and Art Christoffersen; Order reinstating stay in pregnancy discrimination case (Title VII and ICRA); court denied defendants' motion to dismiss as moot and declined to give the state trial verdict preclusive effect where the judgment is pending appeal and where there is "substantial doubt" that state court judgment will be upheld on appeal.10/18/2006
-USA v. Becker -- Report and recommendation that motions to suppress evidence and statements be denied. Court found defendant's state probation officer had reasonable suspicion to search defendant's house pursuant to probation agreement when defendant associated with known drug user who had recent arrests, defendant tested positive for drug use, and defendant failed to obtain drug treatment as directed. 10/18/2006
-USA v. Hoffman -- Report and recommendation that motion to suppress evidence be denied. Court found officers were justified in conducting investigatory stop of defendant, and had probable cause to arrest him after he fled scene of suspected drug activity and failed to comply with officers' orders that he stop and remove his hand from his pants pocket.10/17/2006
-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
-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
-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
-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
-USA v. Nieman -- Report and recommendation on motion to dismiss and motion to suppress. Court found informant's use of drugs with defendant did not constitute outrageous governmental conduct warranting either dismissal of case or suppression of evidence. Court further found probable cause supported issuance of search warrant, and warrant described items to be seized with sufficient particularity.10/05/2006
-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
-Lundgren v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Claimant alleged disability due to fibromyalgia and other causes. In recommending reversal for payment of benefits, court found ALJ erred in discounting treating physician's opinion that claimant would be unable to work; in relying on consulting medical opinions based on outdated information; and in failing to give due consideration to third-party statements.09/29/2006
-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
-Choma v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court affirmed Commissioner's decision, finding substantial evidence existed to support ALJ's consideration of claimant's mental impairments under the regulatory Listings; ALJ gave proper weight to opinions of treating physician and therapist; and hypothetical question to vocational expert accurately reflected claimant's mental residual functional capacity, as determined by the ALJ. 09/28/2006
-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
-US v. Brion Johnson; pretrial matters on remand for child pornography charges, interpreting Adam Walsh Act ,US v. Brion Johnson; pretrial matters on remand for child pornography charges, interpreting Adam Walsh Act 09/25/2006
-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
-Jordan v. Carr -- Findings of Face, Conclusions of Law, and Order on bench trial in case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983. Jordan, a Muslim, alleged jail official violated his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by failing to allow him to attend both Christian and Muslim services within the jail. Court found Joran failed to establish the defendant's actions substantially burdened his sincerely held religious beliefs, or that Jordan's rights were violated. Judgment for defendant.09/22/2006
-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
-Gregg v. Indian Motorcycle -- Order on Daubert motions and requests for preliminary evidentiary rulings09/13/2006
-Almanza v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. In recommending reversal and remand for further proceedings, court found ALJ erred in failing to give proper weight to opinions of nurse practitioner, failing to consider effects of claimant's obesity on her musculoskeletal complaints, and posing an inaccurate hypothetical question to the vocational expert. 09/11/2006
-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
-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
-Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson v. Bruce Macaulay, Michael Parker, Holly Michael, The Iowa State Patrol, Troy Bailey, Rick Busch and Linn County, Iowa; Order granting plaintiff's Rule 56(f) motion in part, granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in part, including Westfall certification, and denying as moot defendants' motion for protective order09/01/2006
-Mark v. Burger (state prisoner's action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254: order granting relief on "Brady" claims)08/31/2006
-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. 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
-USA v. Maldonado-Gutierrez - Report and recommendation on defendants' joint motion to suppress evidence located during search of vehicle incident to traffic stop. In recommending denial of motion, court found officers had probable cause to stop vehicle; to detain occupants beyond scope of initial traffic stop; and to conduct warrantless search of vehicle's interior after drug dog indicated on headlight area of vehicle. 08/22/2006
-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
-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
-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
-United States of America v. Sergio Elizarraras-Sepulveda -- Report and recommendation on motion to dismiss one count of two-count indictment. Court found two counts, both involving possession of the same firearm and ammunition, were multiplicitous, and recommended Government be ordered to elect between counts, or to supersede and include both theories in a single count.08/09/2006
-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
-Magdalene Jo Schepers v. Terex Corp., et al.; State-law defamation suit that is being stayed as a result of a pending state court lawsuit arising out of the same set of facts. 07/25/2006
-Coleman v. Barnhart -- Memorandum opinion and order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. In extremely close cases, court must affirm Commissioner's decision to deny benefits, rather than re-weighing the evidence de novo. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision and affirmed denial of benefits.07/25/2006
-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
-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
-USA v. Kling -- Report and recommendation on three motions to suppress evidence in case involving charges of inducing a minor to engage in sexually-explicit conduct for purposes of producing photos and videos. In recommending that all three motions be denied, court found defendant's Miranda rights were not violated; officers' failure to provide copy of search warrant prior to initiating search did not warrant suppression; information provided by Internet Service Providers provided probable cause for search of defendant's computer and his residence; and probative value of explicit photos and videos outweighed prejudicial effect.07/12/2006
-U.S. v. August L. Holthaus, Jr.; sentencing memorandum opinion resolving advisory guidelines calculation issues relating to loss in bankruptcy proceeding and whether a bankruptcy trustee may recover restutition under the MVRA.07/07/2006
-U.S. v. Mark Lou Meyer; Order revoking defendant's probation after he violated his conditions of probation by traveling out-of-state without permission and by having eight positive sweat patch test results07/07/2006
-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
-U.S. v. Daniel P. Mitchell; sentencing memorandum opinion06/22/2006
-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
-Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd. and TKS, Inc.; Order granting in part Goss's motion for preliminary injunction06/15/2006
-Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd. and TKS, Inc.; Order denying TKS's motion to stay judgment06/15/2006
-Richmond v. Burt -- Report and Recommendation that petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254 be denied. Court found petitioner's claims were procedurally defaulted for failing to properly raise constitutional issue in Iowa courts relating to trial court's admission into evidence of conversation between petitioner and member of the clergy.06/15/2006
-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
-USA v. Mathison -- Order denying applications for return of seized property. Court found proper procedures were followed in administrative forfeiture proceedings, and court lacked jurisdiction to review the merits of those proceedings in the context of this criminal action.06/13/2006
-U.S. v. Kent Raymond Platter; Order denying defendant's motion to dismiss alternate counts pursuant to United States v. Richardson, 439 F.3d 421 (8th Cir. 2006); the court declined to compel the government to elect between multiplicitous counts under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and (3). 06/12/2006
-Palmer v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and title SVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to give proper weight to opinion of treating physician in finding claimant not to be disabled. Court recommended reversal and remand for payment of benefits. 06/09/2006
-USA v. Haberek -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to strike the statutory presumption from 18 USC 228(b), as an unconstitutional violation of his Due Process rights. Court found authorities cited by defendant to be persuasive, and in absence of any resistance by the Government, recommended motion be granted. 06/07/2006
-Sherri Jo Reid dba Colonial Square Tax and Accounting v. Pekin Insurance Co. v. Steve Klocke and Kathy Klocke; Order regarding motion for partial summary judgment06/06/2006
-Stewart v. Kautzky -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment. Court recommended defendants' motion for summary judment be granted on basis of plaintiff's failure to prosecute, as well as on the merits. 06/06/2006
-U.S. v. Steven Bradford; Order granting defendant's motion for specific enforcement of a plea agreement and dismissing the indictment.06/02/2006
-Gerald D. Donnell v. City of Cedar Rapids and Pat Engel; Order re defendants' motion for summary judgment (whistleblower)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
-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
-Mankle v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ correctly discounted treating physician's opinion letter, determined claimant's residual functional capacity, and found claimant's subjective complaints to be less than fully credible. Commissioner's decision affirmed.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
-Kuhn v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. In recommending remand for payment of benefits, count found commissioner gave too much weight to work assessment that predated disability onset date, and failed to give appropriate weight to opinion of examining consultative doctor. 05/22/2006
-Netten v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. ALJ found claimant was engaged in substantial gainful activity, and thus ALJ stopped evaluation of claim at step one of the sequential evaluation process. Court found record did not contain substantial evidence to support ALJ's decision, and recommended remand for further developmnet of the record and further consideration of claim through the sequential evaluation process. 05/12/2006
-Schroder v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review from denial of Title II disability benefits. Court found record did not contain substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant, who suffers from severe scoliosis, asthma, arthritis, and other impairments, was not disabled prior to date last insured. Case reversed and remanded for calculation and award of benefits.05/11/2006
-Ubben v. Sauder Woodworking Co. -- Order denying third-party defendant's motion to dismiss. Third-party defendant, who shares Iowa citizenship with original plaintiffs, argued his addition to the case destroyed diversity jurisdiction. Court found third-party defendant was not indispensable party, and exception to supplemental jurisdiction found in 28 USC 1367(b) did not apply to defeat diversity jurisdiction.05/10/2006
-Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio v. G. Randall Bratton, Gary G. Bratton, Bratton Financial Services Corporation and Bratton International, Inc.; life insurance company sued agents and their independent marketing organization seeking a declaratory judgment; the court analyzed Iowa law and dismissed the claims against AEGON USA, Inc., the holding company that owns WRL; dismissed the negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation counterclaims; and determined that there was a genuine issue of material fact remaining on the counterclaims for breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel05/10/2006
-Clark v. Barnhart -- Memorandum, Opinion, and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider impact of claimant's obesity on his residual functional capacity, and in failing to give proper weight to opinions of physician's assistant and Goodwill evaluator as "other sources" regarding severity of claimant's impairments. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 05/09/2006
-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
-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
-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
-Kennaway v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming Commissioner's decision to deny SSI and DI benefits claiming disability on the basis of a back injury and Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease.05/02/2006
-Gettner v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Commissioner acknowledged ALJ erred in certain respects in sequential evaluation process, and requested remand for further proceedings. Court found record contained substantial evidence to prove claimant was disabled due to seizures, migraine headaches, and mental illness, and recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits. 05/02/2006
- In re H & W Motor Express Company; Larry S. Eide, Chapter 7 Trustee, Plaintiff, vs. Urban R. Haas and Patricia M. Haas, Individually and as Trustees of the Marie C. Haas Trusts, f/b/o Urban Andrew Haas, Christopher James Haas, Aimee Marie Haas, n/k/a Aimee Marie Haas Walsh and Catherine Anthoine Haas, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, vs. Roger Waldner, Third-Party Defendant; Order on motion to withdraw reference of case or proceeding within case 05/01/2006
-Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack, et al; Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc., filed an official capacity suit against Iowa Attorney General Miller and the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in response to the enactment of Senate File 2330, which effectively bans the use of TouchPlay lottery machines in Iowa on May 3, 2006 at 11:59 p.m.; plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctions and a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional because plaintiff owns 724 TouchPlay machines; Court finds that the state law is not a violation of the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution04/26/2006
-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
-Loehr v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record or discuss adequately claimant's allegation that he is unable to sit upright or bend forward without suffering disabling symptoms, and further failed to develop the record adequately regarding the extent to which claimant's mental impairment would affect his ability to function in the workplace. Court recommended reversal and remand for further proceedings.04/20/2006
-USA v. Avise -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Officer stopped vehicle registered to individual whose license was barred. Defendant had recently purchased vehicle and had no registration. Defendant's behavior led officers to believe he was under influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers arrested defendant to perform sobriety testing at police station. Defendant's car and jacket were searched incident to arrest, and drugs and other evidence were found. Search warrant executed at defendant's residence yielded further incriminating evidence. Court found officers had reasonable suspicion defendant was engaged in criminal activity justifying his warrantless arrest; search of vehicle and jacket incident to arrest was proper; and warrant was based on probable cause. 04/18/2006
-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
-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
-Laffey v. Burt -- Report and recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Petitioner, convicted of two counts of sexual abuse of minors, argued (1) inconsistencies in victims' testimony and leading manner in which testimony was elicited rendered evidence insufficient under Due Process Clause to support guilty verdict; and (2) imposition of consecutive sentences violated Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Court recommended petition be denied on both claims.04/12/2006
-U.S. v. L.M. (a juvenile) Order on government's motion to transfer proceedings04/12/2006
-Langel v. Burt -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Court found petitioner failed to show his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to have trial court question defendant about his waiver of jury trial, or in failing to assert justification defense, and court recommended petition be denied. 04/11/2006
Hide details for --USA v. McCall -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss Count 2 of Indictment as multiplicitous. Defendant was charged in two counts of illegally possessing ammunition, in violation of two separate subsections of 18 USC 922(g), and argued the single incident of possession should be charged in only a single count pursuant to United States v. Richardson, 439 F.3d 421 (8th Cir. 2006). Court agreed, and recommended Government be ordered either to elect between the two counts, or to supersede and include both theories or prosecution in a single count. 04/11/2006
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-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
-U.S. v. L.M. (a juvenile); Order granting in part and denying in part government's motion to permit victims access to information and proceedings03/31/2006
-Higgins v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to obtain vocational expert's testimony or to develop other evidence of record with regard to impact of claimant's severe mental impairment on his functional capacity. Court recommended remand for further development of the record. 03/29/2006
-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
-Ulicki v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err in failing to ask medical sources for specific statements regarding claimant's functional capacity when evidence clearly shows impairments are non-disabling.03/15/2006
-Clark v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly with regard to claimant's functional limitations, and as a result, ALJ's assessment of claimant's residual functional capacity was erroneous. Court recommended remand for new hearing.03/10/2006
-Jordan v. Linn County Jail, et al -- Report and recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in this action under 42 USC 1983. Plaintiff alleged defendants denied him the right to practice his religion by not allowing him to attend both Christian and Muslim services, and by denying him literature and a prayer rug. Defendants claimed plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Court found defendants had responded timely to requests for literature and prayer rug, and had provided the items to plaintiff. Court found defendants failed to show plaintiff, in fact, had right to appeal denial of grievance, and recommended motion be denied on claim that plaitniff's right were violated by denial of right to attend both types of religious services.03/10/2006
-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
-Schneiders v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's misstatement of claimant's environmental limitations in hypothetical question to vocational expert was harmless error; ALJ made proper credibility analysis; and record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.03/07/2006
-Offield v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found record did not contain adequate evidence of claimant's ability to work in light of mental limitations, and therefore did not contain substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled. Court recommended remand for further development of the record. 03/03/2006
-Claussen v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation that Commissioner's decision be affirmed on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support ALJ's decision that claimant failed to show she became disabled prior to her date last insured.03/02/2006
-Hamann v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. After ALJ issused decision favorable to claimant, ALJ received income records indicating claimant had worked somewhat longer than originally had been apparent. ALJ issued revised opinion with newly-determined disability onset date, and found that due to waiting period and claimant's pending retirement age, claimant was not entitled to benefits. Court found ALJ's revised determination of disability onset date was arbitrary and erroneous, and recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits based on revised disability onset date.03/01/2006
-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
-United States of America v. Turner -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to sever two counts of Superseding Indictment for trial. Count 1 charged defendant with discrete act of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine. Count 2 charged defendant with perjury in another individual's trial that occurred more than four months prior to act alleged in Count 1. Court found the two offenses did not meet any of the requirements of Fed. R. Crim. P. 8(a), and recommended counts be severed for trial pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 14(a).02/21/2006
-Quee v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider claimant's ability to work during one-year period while she was recovering from multiple shoulder surgeries while managing her other medical complaints. However, court found ALJ properly discounted treating orthopedist's assessment of claimant's residual functional capacity, and therefore ALJ presented proper hypothetical question to vocational expert. Recommendation that Commissioner's decision be affirmed in part and reversed in part. 02/15/2006
-Connie M. Gretillat v. Care Initiatives; Civil Rights/employment discrimination case under American with Disabilities Act; Court finds plaintiff was not disabled and grants defendant's motion for summary judgment02/13/2006
-United States of America v. Yerkes -- Report and recommendation on motions to suppress evidence. Court found officer's approaching defendant to talk to her in parking lot was lawful; defendant consented to search of her vehicle; and evidence seized from defendant's vehicle, and from search of apartment pursuant to warrant, should not be suppressed. Court further found defendant had invoked her right to remain silent and requested an attorney, and officers' re-initiation of contact to interview defendant violated her Fifth Amendment rights; thus her statements to officers during post-arrest interview should be suppressed.02/07/2006
-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
-U.S. v. Shaun Joseph Ruff; Order re remand from Eighth Circuit regarding restitution and double recovery02/02/2006
-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
-Boykin v. Alliant Energy Corp. - Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff brought racial discrimination action against former employer, and slander action against former coworker. Court found plaintiff failed to establish prima facie case of racial discrimination, and granted summary judgment in favor of employer. Court found question of fact existed on one slander issue, and retained supplemental jurisdiction over the issue for trial.01/30/2006
-Lang v. Ault -- Report and recommendation, recommending denial of petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Court found state courts correctly determined petitioner had breached plea agreement, and petitioner could not show prejudice from counsel's failure to object to state's sentencing recommendation.01/26/2006
-U.S. v. Shaun Joseph Ruff; Order denying defendant's motion for recusal01/25/2006
-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
-Bailey v. Barnhart -- Amended Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ properly rejected opinions of consulting psychologist; gave proper weight to opinion of claimant's treating physician; and properly applied Medical-Vocational Guidelines in finding claimant was not disabled.01/23/2006
-Bailey v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ properly rejected opinions of consulting psychologist; gave proper weight to opinion of claimant's treating physician; and properly applied Medical-Vocational Guidelines in finding claimant was not disabled.01/23/2006
-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
-USA v. Williamson -- Order on motion to continue competency hearing. Court discusses interplay between statutes authorizing competency evaluations of criminal defendants in the federal system, and the Speedy Trial Act.01/18/2006
-United States v. Easley -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence from two separate searches. First search took place at Omaha, Nebraska, bus station, when officers observed suspicious actions by defendant and companion, neither was able to produce adequate identification, and companion ran from police. Second search took place at Sioux City, Iowa, motel, after officers learned drugs had been sold in motel room and arrested all occupants for frequenting disorderly house. Court found officers had probable cause to detain defendant and conduct pat-down search at bus station, and to detain, arrest, and search defendant at motel.01/09/2006
-Fuhrman v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on basis of Chiari Malformation type I, which caused her headaches, vertigo, and other symptoms. Court found substantial evidence in record supported Commissioner's decision that plaintiff's complaints were not fully credible, and recommended Commissioner's decision denying benefits be affirmed.01/06/2006
-U.S. v. Daniel P. Mitchell; Order granting defendant's motion for new trial01/04/2006
-Hicok v. Barnhart. Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ improperly discounted opinions of claimant's treatment physicians and vocational rehabilitation evaluators that claimant was unable to work due to fibromyalgia and other medical problems. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed, and case be remanded for payment of benefits. 12/29/2005
-Colleen Benedict and Joseph Benedict v. Zimmer, Inc.; Order on defendant's motion for summary judgment12/16/2005
-U.S. v. Angela Johnson (297 page opinion denying defendant's request for post-trial relief)12/16/2005
-Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. v. Tanager Place and Tanager, Inc., Counterclaim Plaintiff v. Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., Counterclaim Defendant; Tanager Place, Third-Party Plaintiff, vs. Sylvia Piper, Third-Party Defendant; Order regarding federal supplemental jurisdiction12/13/2005
-U.S. v. Kevin Patrick O'Connell; Order setting aside magistrate judge's report and recommendation re motion to suppress12/07/2005
-In Re Francis P. Takes and Mary L. Takes, Debtors; (LaSalle Bank, N.A. and Valley Bank, Appellants v. Frances P. Takes and Mary L. Takes); Order reversing Bankruptcy Court's finding that debtor's residence was completely exempt12/05/2005
-Colleen Benedict and Joseph Benedict v. Zimmer, Inc.; Order regarding Rule 72 motion12/05/2005
-Garcia-Moreno v. Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motion for summary judgment. In ERISA action, Court found plaintiff was entitled to life insurance benefits for death of his son, who had used false identity to obtain employment. Court found Plan administrator had sufficient evidence to identify decedent, and to identify plaintiff as decedent's beneficiary.12/05/2005
-Bell v. Barnhart - Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Claimant alleged disability due to diabetes, hypertension, and heart condition. Court concurred in Commissioner's decision that claimant was able to return to his past work, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.12/05/2005
-Garcia-Moreno v. Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motion for summary judgment. In ERISA action, Court found plaintiff was entitled to life insurance benefits for death of his son, who had used false identity to obtain employment. Court found Plan administrator had sufficient evidence to identify decedent, and to identify plaintiff as decedent's beneficiary.12/01/2005
-USA v. Lamere - Report and recommendation that motions to suppress evidence be denied. Officers stopped vehicle in which Defendant was passenger for purpose of arresting vehicle's driver. Drugs were found in vehicle and Defendant was arrested, as well. Rejecting Defendant's contrary argument, court found officers had probable cause to stop vehicle, arrest driver, search vehicle, and arrest Defendant.11/29/2005
-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
-Wedebrand v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 2254. Petitioner alleged his state and federal attorneys were ineffective in failing to advise him properly concerning plea proposal made by state and federal governments. Court found petitioner failed to show his attorneys were ineffective, and recommended petition be denied.11/17/2005
-USA v. Morris -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence. Defendant arguerd officers lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle and arrest him, and also that his arrest was based on racial profiling. Court recommended motions be denied, finding no evidence to suggest racial profiling and officers had probable cause to stop and arrest defendant.11/17/2005
-Attorney's Process and Investigation Services, Inc. v. Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin an action pending in the Court of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; defendant previously brought a suit in that court against plaintiff alleging various torts; plaintiff alleged the tribal court did not have jurisdiction over it because it is a non-Indian; plaintiff further alleged it would be irreparably harmed if the tribal court action were to proceed because the tribal court is biased, it would not be allowed to assert a counterclaim against the Tribe, and the 2003 contract it entered into with the Tribe contains an arbitration clause; Court found it did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit; court denied plaintiff's claim that exhaustion of tribal court remedies would be futile and stayed the federal action pending the exhaustion of tribal remedies; court determined the tribal court must, in the first instance, determine the extent of its own jurisdiction 11/15/2005
-Fair v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to recognize debilitating nature of fibromyalgia per Eighth Circuit case law, and improperly disregarded claimant's subjective complaints of pain and limitations. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits.11/09/2005
-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
-Peterson v. Weatherly ( Report and recommendation on defendant's motion for summary judgment in this prisoner civil rights case. Plaintiff alleged defendant, who was nurse at facility, ordered his confinement in medical segregation, which led him to develop ischial ulcers. Court found defendant did not order plaintiff's confinement, and she performed no actions that led, or could have led, to plaintiff developing his ulcers, or that otherwise violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Court recommended summary judgment be granted in defendant's favor.)11/01/2005
-U.S. v. Jose De Jesus Ibarra-Castaneda, Luis Armando Varela-Arteaga, Hacienda Las Glorias, Inc., Mexico of Cedar Rapids, Inc., Cuatro, Inc. and Hot Springs, Inc.; Order re defendants' motion for recusal10/31/2005
-Wagner Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a The Jym Bag Company v. John Deere Shared Services, Inc., f/k/a Deere Marketing Services, Inc.; In a case involving an alleged oral modification of a written licensing agreement, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the modification failed for lack of consideration, indefinite terms and lack of mutual assent; defendant argued plaintiff could not claim the contract had been modified and breached, due to the doctrine of merger; defendant further argued the alleged oral statement was too indefinite to establish a claim of promissory estoppel; court agreed with defendant and dismissed plaintiff’s breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims; court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on both counts10/31/2005
-United Fire & Casualty Company v. Applied Financial, Inc.; Order re defendant Applied Financial, Inc.’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative, transfer to Utah 10/28/2005
-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
-U.S. v. Jeremy Ray Hall; Order re defendant's motion to suppress10/13/2005
-United States of America v. Wendel -- Report and recommendation, recommending denial of motion to suppress evidence from search of defendant's residence. Court found defendant's consent to search was voluntary, and officers did not enter residence until written consent was given by defendant. 10/06/2005
-Medical Associates Health Plan, Inc. dba Medical Associates Health Maintenance Organization v. CIGNA Corporation; Order on motions for summary judgment - breach of contract10/06/2005
-GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's application for attorneys fees10/06/2005
-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
-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
-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
-United States of America v. Johnson and Heidzig -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion to suppress, recommending motion be granted as to pre-Miranda statements, and denied as to post-Miranda statements and also as to cocaine found on defendant Heidzig's person. One key issue was whether officer's statement to defendant Heidzig that he wanted item she was concealing, and his directions to her to remove the item from her pants and place it on the floorboard of his vehicle, constituted questioning for purposes of Miranda. Court found that it did; however, court also found defendant Heidzig was undr de facto arrest at the time, and therefore, was subject to search incident to arrest, which would have led to discovery of drugs in any event.09/22/2005
-Talkington v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in making inferences from medical records regarding the impact of claimant's mental impairments on her ability to work. Commissioner's decision reversed and case remanded for further development of the record.09/20/2005
-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
-U.S. v. Araceli Martinez; Order on defendant's motion to recuse09/07/2005
-GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's motion for remand09/06/2005
-O'Brien v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed, finding no error in ALJ's failure to consider State's determination that claimant qualified for certain state benefits, and otherwise finding record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision.09/06/2005
-Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. v. Tanager Place and Tanager, Inc.; Tanager Place v. Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc.; Tanager Place v. Sylvia Piper; Order on motion for summary judgment; Order on motion for pretrial determination of defamation per se08/24/2005
-McGhghy v. Hastings -- Report and recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus/writof coram nobis. Court recommended denial of petition for lack of jurisdiction.08/24/2005
-Berg v. Barnhart - Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant failed to show she was disabled prior to her date last insured, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.08/23/2005
-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
-U.S. v. Scott W. Meiner; Order regarding motion to suppress08/16/2005
-U.S. v. Craig Allen Thomas; Order regarding defendant's motion to suppress08/08/2005
-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
-Shaw v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Social Security benefits. Court found record lacked sufficient evidence to determine whether claimant was disabled on the basis of a mental impairment, and recommended remand for further proceedings.08/04/2005
-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
-Weyerhaeuser Corporation d/b/a Cedar River Paper Company v. D.C. Taylor Company; In a ruling on the merits following a bench trial regarding whether the defendant's construction of two paper mill roofs breached the roofing subcontracts, the court held plaintiff failed to prove that it performed under the contracts and that defendant breached them. 07/29/2005
-United States of America v. Keough -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained in warrantless search of his residence. Court found Government failed to meet its burden to show defendant's consent to search was voluntary, and recommended motion be granted.07/21/2005
-Hedinger v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's denial of benefits, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.07/20/2005
-United States of America v. King - report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress his confession, recommending motion be denied. Court found defendant was not promised leniency in return for information, and he was not mentally impaired by virtue of being under the influence of drugs at time of confession.07/11/2005
-United States v. B.H.; After the defendant was committed under Iowa law to outpatient care and subsequently released, he sought to repossess firearms seized prior to his commitment. The state argued he was not entitled to the return of his firearms under state and federal law; the state court judge ruled against the state and ordered the firearms to be returned to the defendant. The US Attorney's Office subsequently filed a declaratory judgment action asking this court to declare the firearms contraband as to the defendant due to his prior commitment. The court held the US Attorney's Office was virtually represented by the state in the prior proceeding and thus was precluded from pursuing the civil action in this court.07/07/2005
-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
-Cooperative Elevator Association v. General Railway Corporation -- Order reinstating entry of default against defendant, and Report and Recommendation on plaintiff's motion for default judgment. Plaintiff sought equitable relief to prevent defendant from committing further waste of rail line pending proper application to and authorization from Surface Transportation Board to abandon the line. Court found subject matter jurisdiction exists in federal court over plaintiff's equitable claim, and recommended entry of injuction against defendant.06/30/2005
-Lisa Mackie n/k/a Lisa Swalley v. U.S. Manufacturing, Inc. and Global Resources Recovery Organization, Inc.; In a case alleging sex discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation claims in violation of Title VII and ICRA and state common law assault and battery claims, the court found the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination, hostile work environment or retaliation. The plaintiff did not resist the defendants' motion as it related to the assault and battery claims. The court found the defendants were entitled to summary judgment on all counts. 06/29/2005
-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
-Strang v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits. Court found record contained evidence to support both the claimant's position and the Commissioner's decision. Therefore, due to deferential standard of review, court recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.06/23/2005
-Bituminous Casualty Corp. v. Sand Livestock Systems, Inc. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Court reserved ruling and certified to the Iowa Supreme Court the question of whether pollution exclusions in insurance policies relieve plaintiff from any obligation to defend, indemnify, or pay damages resulting from the death of an individual who inhaled carbon monoxide fumes.06/21/2005
-United States of America v. Wendelsdorf -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence arising from execution of search warrant at defendant's residence. Court found probable cause to support the warrant and recommended denial of motion.06/09/2005
-United States of America v. Aguilar-Barraza -- Report and recommendation on defendants' motions to suppress evidence. Court found pre-Miranda questions about whether defendant was in possession of drugs were intended to elicit incriminating statements and should be suppressed. Court found no constitutional infirmity in search of defendant incident to arrest, search of defendant's vehicle, consent search of defendant's room in family home, search of second defendant's vehicle in parking area across alley from residence, search warrant for family residence, and defendant's post-Miranda statements.06/08/2005
-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
-United States of America v. Wendelsdorf -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment on basis of pre-indictment delay, or alternatively to amend or strike one count for insufficiency of evidence. Court found defendant failed to show improper motive for pre-indictment delay and failed to show prejudice resulting therefrom. Court further found question of sufficiency of evidence is one for jury. Court recommended denying motion on all grounds. 06/03/2005
-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
-Thomas W. Prochaska v. Color-Box, L.L.C.; The court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer where the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of age discrimination. Specifically, the plaintiff did not prove he was performing his job duties at a level that met the employer's reasonable expectations prior to his termination. Furthermore, if the plaintiff had demonstrated a prima facie case, the employer produced a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the termination and the plaintiff failed to provide evidence the employer's reason was a pretext for age discrimination. 06/01/2005
-United States of America v. Jones -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Defendant, who was stopped and then arrested for minor traffic violations, claimed officer lacked probable cause to detain him at scene to await drug dog, to arrest him, and to search his vehicle incident to arrest. Defendant also claimed search warrant application lacked probable cause because it failed to show connection between defendant and place to be searched. Court found officer had probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest defendant; to search vehicle incident to arrest; and for magistrate to find probable cause to issue search warrant.06/01/2005
-United States of America v. Wendelsdorf -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to transfer trial to another division within the district. Court recommends trial court reserve ruling on the motion for transfer until voir dire, or at least until responses are received to jury questionnaire.05/27/2005
-Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. CCT Corporation d/b/a Black Hawk Electric Co. and All County Electric; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005
-All County Electric Company v. Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005
-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
-USA v. Hessman -- Report and recommendation, recommending denial of defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for speedy trial violation. Court found no speedy trial violation where neither party had notified the court, as previously ordered, of U.S. Supreme Court's denial of defendant's petition for writ of certiorari.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
-Keene v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Petitioner asserted ineffective assistance of counsel for (1) failing to challenge Iowa Code section 709C.1 as unconstitutionally vague; (2) allowing petitioner to plead guilty in absence of adequate factual basis; and (3) failing to inform petitioner fully about collateral consequences of guilty plea. Court recommended denial of petition on all grounds.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
-Maghee v. Ault (Report and recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner filed petition to challege disciplinary action taken against him in connection with his attempt to mail sealed letter to attorney. Court found (1) state courts failed to address petitioner's constitutional claim at all, with result that state court legal conclusions were entitled to no deference; but (2) no First Amendment violation occurred; and (3) some evidence existed to support administrative sanction.)05/11/2005
-Bolden v. Rogerson (Report and recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 24 USC 2254. Petitioner entered guilty pleas to two burglary charges. He was represented by court-appointed counsel in one case. In the other case, he represented himself pro se, with court-appointed standby counsel. Petitioner claimed his guilty pleas were invalid because he had not made a knowing and intelligent waiver of counsel, and he did not understand all the consequences of pleading guilty. As grounds for habeas relief, he claimed his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise these claims. Court found no merit in any claim and recommended denial of petition, relying on Iowa v. Tovar, 541 US 77 (2004), and Page v. Burger, 2005 WL 100500 (8th Cir. May 2, 2005).05/06/2005
-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
-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 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
-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
-Newkirk v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on the basis of chronic depression. Court found ALJ erred in discounting opinions of plaintiff's mental health treatment team, and recommended reversal and remand for award of benefits.)04/28/2005
-U.S. v. David L. Taylor, Jr.; Order regarding motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence04/28/2005
-U.S. v. David L. Taylor, Jr.; Order regarding motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence04/28/2005
-Powell v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming Commissioner of Social Security's denial of benefits to plaintiff as a disabled adult child.)04/26/2005
-White v. Kautzky (Report and recommendation on merits of this action brought under 42 USC 1983. Plaintiff claimed contract attorney system in Iowa state prisons, and failure ot keep prison law library up to date, denied his right of access to the courts. Court found no violation and recommended judgment for defendants.)04/25/2005
-United States of America v. Hinman, Dose and Weber (Report and recommendation on motions to dismiss Second Superseding Indictment, or to require plaintiff to elect between what defendants claimed to be multiplicitous counts. Defendants raised two double jeopardy arguments against indictment which charged them with violations of 18 USC 1035 and 18 USC 1001. Court rejected both arguments and recommended motions to dismiss be denied. Court also rejected one defendant's claim that indictment failed to charge defendants properly under 18 USC 1516.)04/22/2005
-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
-United States of America v. Nairn (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion pursuant to 28 USC 2255. Defendant sought to withdraw guilty plea to one charge of indictment on basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. Court found counsel was ineffective in failing to recognize, and advise defendant of fact, that plaintiff's Rule 11 letter and court's recitation of elements of one charge were incorrect. Defendant pled guilty to charge of possessing firearms "during and in relation to" a drug crime, when indictment charged him with possessing firearms "in furtherance of" a drug crime. Court recommended defendant be allowed to withdraw guilty plea to that count of the indictment.)04/12/2005
-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
-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
-Kroll v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to evaluate the claimant's mental capacity under Listing 12.05, and in failing to evaluate properly the claimant's physical capacity and his credibility. Court recommended remand for further proceedings.)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
-Coan v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on the basis of chronic back pain. ALJ found plaintiff could return to her past relevant work, and stopped with step four of sequential evaluation process. Court found plaintiff could not return to her past relevant work up to a point, and ALJ should have proceeded with step five of evaluation. In addition, court recommended remand for further proceedings because the record contained no evidence whatsoever of plaintiff's condition or treatment for nearly two years prior to the ALJ's decision.)04/01/2005
-CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., James Howard, Troy Shaver, Larry Uland, Shane Vanden Heuvel, Robert L. Simpson, II, and Keith P. Bell; Defendant J.B. Hunt moves the court to dismiss the case pursuant to the first-filed rule, transfer it for consolidation with pending litigation between CRST and J.B. Hunt in the Western District of Oklahoma, abstain from exercising jurisdiction in favor of an Arkansas state action between CRST and J.B. Hunt, or stay it pending a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit between CRST and another trucking competitor. The court denies the motion on all grounds.03/31/2005
-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
-Krowiorz v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in finding plaintiff could return to her past relevant work, in failing to present hypothetical question to Vocational Expert that included all of plaintiff's impairments, and in failing to make a determination as to whether narcotic addition was contributing factor material to determination of disability. Court recommended reversal and remand for further proceedings.)03/30/2005
-Seitz v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Merck & Co., Inc. Long Term Disability Program for Non-union Employees; plaintiff challenged the plan administrator's decision denying him long-term disability benefits in an ERISA action; Court found the administrator's decision was not an abuse of discretion and granted summary judgment in favor of defendants 03/30/2005
-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
-Wilberding v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion for remand pursuant to sentence four of 42 USC 405(g). Court recommended motion be granted and case be remanded due to ALJ's failure to obtain and consider subsequent claim file, as ordered by the court upon prior remand.)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
-United States of America v. Summers (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for violation of Sixth Amendment right to speedy trial. Applying Barker v. Wingo, court found approximately one-year delay between indictment and defndant's arrest gave rise to presumption of prejudice; delay was due to plaintiff's negligence; defendant had asserted his right timely; and delay had prejudiced defendant's ability to defend against the charges. Finding all four Barker factors weighed in defendant's favor, court recommended dismissal of indictment.)03/18/2005
-Willemssen v. The Conveyor Company (Memorandum Opinion & Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff claimed violation of FMLA, and wrongful termination under common law. Held: Applicable data for determination of whether FMLA applies is date employee's leave begins. Plaintiff was not "eligible employee" under FMLA on date her leave began, so defendant did not violate FMLA when it terminated plaintiff for excessive leave.)03/18/2005
-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. Maurice Wilkins; Court denied defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel 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
-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
-USA v. Ortiz-Martinez (Report and recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss be denied. Defendant sought dismissal of Indictment for violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 5(a) requirements that he be brought before a magistrate judge "without unreasonable delay." Court found defendant was in state custody until one day before his initial appearance, and defendant failed to show any prejudice from delay in arresting him on federal charges and bringing him to federal court.)03/07/2005
- 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
-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
-Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Midwest Regional Director and Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Aurene M. Martin, First Assistant and Principal Advisor; motion to dismiss filed by current election board; case dismissed because the motion to dismiss raises intra-tribal disputes regarding (1) any election board's authority under the Tribe's Constitution to file a lawsuit in federal court and, if so, (2) which election board is the proper plaintiff in this suit 03/02/2005
-Galm v. Eaton Corporation (Order on motion for discovery in ERISA action. Court analyzed plaintiff's discovery requests pursuant to standard of review for decisions of ERISA plan administrators in the Eighth Circuit. Court granted plaintiff limited discovery to determine whether conflict of interest between parties affected defendant's decision to deny plaintiff's claim for benefits.)03/01/2005
-Willis v. Smith, et al (Report and recommendation on the merits in this action under 42 USC s. 1983, brought by a patient confined in a mental health facility under Iowa's sexually violent predator statute. The plaintiff complained his constitutional rights were violated when a package addressed to him, containing a book, was opened outside his presence, and when the defendants decided to withhold the book from him. The book in question, published by an anti-polygraph organization, argues against the validity of polygraph examinations and contains a discussion of countermeasures. The defendants, who use polygraph examiantions extensively in treating patients, found some of the book's contents to be counter-therapeutic, and also objected to the plaintiff's receipt of any information from this publisher. The court found the defendants violated the plaintiff's rights in opening the package outside his presence, but ordered no relief because the plaintiff sought only injunctive relief and the institution had already changed its policy to provide that all packages would be opened in the recipients' presence. The court found it was a violation of the plaintiff's rights to withhold the entire book, and also to make a decision based on the source of the information rather than on its content. The court also found the defendants' current mail and grievance policies and procedures are constitutional, and the defendants are entitled to evaluate whether written materials may enter the unit on the basis of the defendants' reasoned, professional judgment.)02/28/2005
-American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. v. Richard Yantis; This preliminary injunction motion arises in the context of a restrictive covenant in a franchise agreement. After applying the Dataphase factors, the court found the plaintiff/franchisor demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits, the threat of irreparable harm, the balance of harm and the public interest all weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction against the defendant/former franchisee. 02/28/2005
-Brian R. Sillick v. John F. Ault; In the context of a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition, the court found the state courts' analysis of Sillick's ineffective assistance of counsel claims based on the failure to object to allegedly flawed jury instructions did not result in decisions contrary to or involving an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. Furthermore, the state courts' analysis of such claims did not result in a decision based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding. Sillick's remaining ineffective assistance of counsel claims are procedurally defaulted. 02/25/2005
-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
-USA v. Lee (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendant's companion had expectation of privacy in motel room and right to consent to search of motel room; officers' forced entry into motel room occupied by defendant was warranted based on outstanding arrest warrant and on exigent circumstances; search of motel room was valid based on companion's consent to search. Court recommended defendant's motion to suppress be denied.)02/23/2005
-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. Eddie Denton; In a case involving an individual who injured his head after committing the crime but before being indicted, the court found, based on medical evidence, trial counsel's testimony, the defendant's childrens' affidavits, and the court's own recollection of the defendant's trial testimony and demeanor, the defendant received due process and was competent to stand trial and to assist in his defense. 02/16/2005
-Laffey v. Ault (Report and recommendation on State's motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Petitioner filed direct appeal after sentencing, raising Eighth Amendment issue. Appellate court remanded for resentencing, discussing Eighth Amendment issue fully but deciding case on other grounds. On appeal after resentencing, petitioner failed to reassert Eighth Amendment argument, believing to do so would be moot given prior appellate court decision on the issue. Respondent argued the issue was unexhausted. Court found any failure to exhaust could be excused on basis of futility, and recommended motion to dismiss be denied.)02/09/2005
-Mallett v. Naph Care, Inc. (Report and recommendation, recommending defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted in prisoner civil rights action brought under 42 USC section 1983. Prisoner who was given wrong medication suffered allergic reaction. Court found nurse's negligence was not actionable under section 1983; plaintiff failed to show defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs; and liability may not be grounded upon respondeat superior theory.)02/09/2005
-Clay v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended affirming Commissioner's decision that claimant with amputated lower left leg retained capacity to work.)02/04/2005
-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
-Hayes v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to follow directions of Appeals Council to take claimant's obesity into account in assessing his residual functional capacity and in determining he could work. Court further found ALJ improperly implied claimant should have been able to lose weight, and relied on that conclusion in finding claimant was not disabled. Court recommended remand for calculation and payment of benefits.)01/21/2005
-USA v. Dose, et al. (Report and recommendation on numerous motions challenging sufficiency of Superseding Indictment. In light of 1/12/05 Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan, court recommended defendants' motions to strike "Notice of Additional Relevant Facts" from indictment be granted (withdrawing prior R&R to the contrary). Court recommended denying motions to dismiss indictment or require Government to elect between charging defendants under 18 USC 1001 and 18 USC 1035 on basis of double jeopardy; court found Congress intended that conduct may be punishable under both sections. Court recommended striking fraud allegations for lack of specificity, but otherwise recommended denying motion to dismiss for failure to state an offense. Court recommended denying motion to suppress and in limine to prevent introduction of evidence derived from interview between corporation's attorney and defendant Hinman; court found no attorney-client privilege existed between attorney and defendant.)01/12/2005
-Terry Denner v. Deere & Company; The court granted summary judgment in the defendant's favor where the plaintiff, alleging a theory of promissory estoppel, failed to show the defendant made a clear and definite promise of employment. 01/07/2005
-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
-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
-Womack v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to take plaintiff's extreme obesity into account in assessing plaintiff's credibility and determining her residual functional capacity. Court recommended case be remanded with instructions for further consideration.)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
-Ranger Insurance Company v. Farmers National Company, et al (Memorandum Opinion and Order on motion for summary judgment filed by one defendant. In denying summary judgment in this premises liability case, court briefly discusses standard, under Iowa law, for a property owner to be held liable to a lessee's invitee; and effect of a party withdrawing or amending a pleading in which the party initially made an admission.)12/17/2004
-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
-United States v. Piedra (Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained in stop and search of vehicle he was driving. Court found 1. defendant had standing to challenge search of vehicle he was driving with owner's permission; 2. defendant did not commit traffic violation that would provide probable cause for stop of vehicle; but 3. officers had reasonable suspicion that vehicle was involved in criminal activity, and therefore stop of vehicle was valid; and 4. officers were permitted to search passenger compartment of vehicle incident to defendant's arrest for driving without a license. Court recommended motion be denied.)12/15/2004
-Mernka v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to Hepatitis C, scleritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression. Court found ALJ erred in concluding testimony of claimant and her husband was not credible, and in failing to give proper weight to the opinions of claimant's treatment physicians. Court recommended Commissioner's motion for sentence four remand be granted, to allow further evaluation of whether claimant met criteria of Listing 14.09D (inflammatory arthritis).12/03/2004
-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
-Friedel v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant's shortness of breath upon exertion did not prevent him from performing sedentary work, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.)10/27/2004
-Matlock v. Vilsack (Report and Recommendation on motions to dismiss filed by defendants Gov. Thomas Vilsack and Black Hawk County. Plaintiff was civilly committed as a sexually violent predator. The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the commitment order, and remanded the case for dismissal of the commitment petition. Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against Gov. Vilsack and Black Hawk County for damages on grounds of emotional and mental anguish, wrongful imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. Court recommends dismissal on the basis that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted under section 1983.)10/06/2004
-Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services, Inc. v. Tanager Place and Tanager, Inc.; Order on permanent injunction09/30/2004
-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
-In Re Iowa Oil Company, Debtor and Iowa Oil Company, Plaintiff v. Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Defendant; Appeal of bankruptcy court's decision denying setoff of credit card receipts retained by creditor pursuant to terms of franchise agreement for amounts retained both prepetition and postpetition and denying creditor's right to setoff or recoup amount of state fuel taxes paid by creditor on behalf of debtor and ordering that creditor turn over to the bankruptcy estate the full amount of credit card receipts retained by creditor. Reversed in part, affirmed in part and remanded. 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
-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
-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
-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
-Schneider v. Jergens, et al (Report and Recommendation on the merits of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Court found two of petitioner's five claims to be procedurally defaulted, and all five of his claims to be unexhausted. Court recommended dismissal without prejudice to allow petitioner to file an application for post-conviction relief.)09/24/2004
-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
-Havill v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits, and on Commisioner's motion for sentence four remand. Court found ALJ's credibility assessment and determination of claimant's residual functional capacity were supported by substantial evidence in the record. However, court found error in ALJ's reliance on testimony of Vocational Expert, where jobs cited by VE required frequent handling, and claimant's RFC included only occasional handling with left upper extremity. Commissioner's motion for sentence four remand greanted; Commissioner's decision reversed.)09/17/2004
-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
-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. 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
-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
-O'Connor v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in determining plaintiff retained residual functional capacity to work, failing to evaluate all of the evidence, and failing to perform a proper Polaski analysis in determining plaintiff's subjective complaints were not credible. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits; however, court determined plaintiff's disability onset date was later than she claimed because she had been engaged in substantial gainful activity for a period of time following her alleged onset date.)08/20/2004
-United States of America v. Felix Aguin-Guerra (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress un-Mirandized statements he made to USICE agents. Agents interviewed defendant at jail after his arrest on traffic charges. Court found agents' questioning, without advising defendant of his rights, violated Miranda, and did not fall within "routine booking exception." Court recommended suppression of defendant's statements regarding his citizenship and immigration status.)08/20/2004
-Albrant v. Heartland Foods, Inc. (Order on defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs alleged violation of Equal Pay Act and Iowa Civil Rights Act. Court found plaintiffs had made out prima facie case of gender-based pay discrimination as to defendant Heartland Foods, and denied motion on that basis. Court found plaintiffs had failed to show they were employees of defendant Advance Foods, and granted motion as to that defendant.)08/19/2004
-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
-United States v. Spencer (Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during execution of search warrant at his residence. Court found warrant affiant's combination of police officer informant and concerned citizen informant on same page was not fatal to probable cause determination. Court further found warrant's incorporation by reference of attachment that described place to be searched with particularity, and presence of complete warrant, including attachment, at scene of search, did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights pursuant to Groh v. Ramirez, ___ U.S. ___, 124 S. Ct. 1284, 157 L.Ed.2d 1068 (2004). Court found that even if defendant's rights were violated by officers' failure to serve him with complete copy of warrant at time of search. Leon good faith exception to exclusionary rule was applicable because officers relied in good faith on warrant that was supported by ample probable cause.)08/11/2004
-Charette v. Duffy (Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in prisoner civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. Plaintiff alleged defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs when they failed to provide him with proper testing, treatment, and care for Hepatitis C virus. In recommending summary judgment be granted in favor of defendants, court found protocols developed by Iowa Department of Corrections, in conjunction with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, were appropriate; plaintiff's test results did not fall within the parameters of the protocols to warrant liver biopsy or referral to outside doctors; and defendants had not violated plaintiff's rights.)08/04/2004
-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
-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
-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
-Muckey v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence existed to support Commissioner's decision that claimant, who was working at temporary full-time job at time of ALJ hearing, was not disabled.)08/02/2004
-Raven v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to give proper weight to opinions of plaintiff's treating physician, and two other consulting physicians who actually examined plaintiff, and gave improper weight to opinions of non-examining, non-treating consultants whose opinions were based solely on records review. Court found ALJ erred in finding alcoholism to be contributing factor to a finding of disability during the relevant time period, and recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed.)07/26/2004
-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
-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
-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
-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
-Durham v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion & Order on appeal from denial of retirement insurance benefits. Plaintiff was found to be disabled in 1983, although she did not qualify for disability insurance benefits because she lacked the requisite number of quarters of coverage. The issue here is whether the years from and after she was found to be disabled are excludable as a "period of disability" for purposes of determining her eligibility for retirement insurance benefits. Held: Although the statute is not a model of clarity, the court defers to the Commissioner's interpretation of the statute. Thus, Plaintiff is not entitled to benefits because she lacks the requisite number of quarters of coverage.)07/15/2004
-United States of America v. Kunkel (Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence obtained during cursory search of premises incident to defendant's arrest. Court found an evidentiary hearing was not warranted because it was clear suppression was improper as a matter of law. Court held officers performed a proper protective sweep of premises incident to defendant's arrest, and recommended the motion be denied.)07/15/2004
-Williams v. Ault (Report and recommendation on respondent's motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. section 2254, and on the merits of the petition. Respondent claimed petition was mixed, including both exhausted and unexhausted claims. Court found the only unexhausted claim also was procedurally defaulted; recommended the claim be deemed barred, leaving only exhausted claims for review; and, therefore, recommended the motion to dismiss be denied. On the merits, court found petitioner had failed to show prejudice from trial counsel's allegedly inadequate performance, and therefore he could not prevail on ineffective assistance of counsel claim. As a result, appellate counsel could not be ineffective for failing to raise, on appeal, claim that trial counsel was ineffective.)07/12/2004
-Jasa v. Mathes (Report and recommendation on respondent's motion to dismiss habeas petition brought under 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Court recommended dismissal of petition, finding: (1) with regard to claim of juror misconduct, petitioner failed to satisfy requirements for fundamental-miscarriage-of-justice exception to ordinary "cause" and "prejudice" standard for overcoming procedural default; petitioner failed to come forward with new, reliable evidence of actual innocence; (2) with regard to claims that trial and appellate counsel were ineffective, petitioner failed to show his mental illness constituted cause for procedural default by interfering with or impeding his ability to comply with state procedural requirements.)06/28/2004
-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
-Sioux City Country Club v. Cincinnati Insurance Co. (Memorandum Opinion and Order granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff sued when Defendant denied coverage for damages that resulted when accumulated rainwater leaked from a hole that had rusted through an underground drainage pipe. Court found the insurance policy in question did not cover the damaged property, which specifically excluded damage due to "earth movement" or "water.")06/22/2004
-"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
-Quist v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to back pain, seizures, and headaches. ALJ found the evidence of record did not support the plaintiff's testimony that he was unable to perform any type of work. Court found substantial evidence existed in the record to support the ALJ's credibility determination, and recommended the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits be affirmed.)06/16/2004
-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
-Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss; analysis of whether plaintiff established standing and jurisdiction06/10/2004
-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
-Berg v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. (Memorandum Opinion and Order denying defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's decedent was killed in an accident while he ws driving a semi truck insured by defendant as part of a fleet of trucks owned by a Nebraska company. Nebraska UIM endorsement to insurance policy issued by defendant provided coverage for vehicles 'principally garaged' or 'licensed' in Nebraska. Defendant argued the Nebraska UIM endorsement did not apply to truck driven by plaintiff's decedent for two reasons: (1) the truck in question was not 'prinicpally garaged' in Nebraska, because it was parked for extended periods of time at an Iowa location; and (2) the truck was not 'licensed' in Nebraska because it was registered under the International Registration Plan, and therefore it was licensed in all jurisdictions in which it was operated. Court found truck was licensed in Nebraska for purposes of coverage under the UIM endorsement. Court further found that on applicable date under Nebraska UIM statute, truck was 'principally garaged' in Nebraska.06/03/2004
-Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd.; Order regarding plaintiff's amended petition for fees and costs pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 7206/02/2004
-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
-Engling v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability due to Bipolar Disorder and depression. Court found ALJ improperly discounted opinions of plaintiff's therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, at step three of the sequential evaluation process. Regulations provide therapist's opinions are appropriate source of evidence regarding severity of a claimant's impairment and its effect on his ability to work. Court also found ALJ erred in discounting plaintiff's credibility. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation nd award of benefits.)05/28/2004
-Brent Kreinbring v. Alternative Claims Services, Inc., Gary Hoffman and Tony Polk; motion to remand; case remanded to state court because notice of removal was not filed within 30 days of: (1) the date defendants were served with the complaint; or (2) the date from which defendants could reasonably ascertain the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.0005/27/2004
-Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd.; case under the Antidumping Act of 1916, 15 U.S.C. § 72; jury verdict for Goss in the amount of $10,539,949; the 1916 Act provides for treble damages and judgment entered in the amount of $31,619,847; motion for a new trial and motion for judgment as a matter of law denied; the evidence supported the jury verdict; the jury instructions properly apprised the jury of the issues and the applicable law; the court did not commit legal errors that would warrant a new trial; Goss met its burden of proof with regard to each element of its claim; and the evidence supported the jury’s finding of injury05/26/2004
-In the Matter of American Commercial Lines LLC as the Owner and American Commercial Barge Line LLC as Operator, of the Barge “PV548B”, in a case for exoneration from and/or limitation of liability; motion for entry of injunction and notice to claimants; shipowner’s liability limited pursuant to the Limitation of Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. App. § 181.) 05/26/2004
-Jon E. Kinzenbaw and Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. v. Case LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc.; Case LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc., Counterplaintiffs v. Jon E. Kinzenbaw Kinze Manufacturing, Inc., James J. Hill and Emrich & Dithmar, a partnership, Counterdefendants; Case moved to disqualify Kinze's lead counsel; Cahill firm in Chicago appeared as counsel for Kinze in November 2001. In October 2002, Perkins Coie acquired the Cahill firm and thus represents Kinze from its Chicago office; Perkins Coie (Seattle office) has represented Case on various business matters since 1996; nearly 3 years into the case, 17 months after Perkins Coie began its representation of Kinze, and with trial set to commence within the year 2004, Case moved to disqualify Perkins Coie; although Perkins has violated the ethical duty not to work for two adverse parties simultaneously, the court finds under these circumstances the motion to disqualify should be denied05/20/2004
-Miller v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision, and recommended the decision be affirmed.)05/19/2004
-Bakker v. Kuhnes (Order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in prisoner 1983 action. Court found plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies with regard to his claims that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.)05/14/2004
-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
-McInnis v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from Commissioner's ruling that plaintiff was "not without fault" in causing overpayment of disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly; erred in failing to make a credibility determination; and placed improper weight on what the ALJ believed the plaintiff's wife knew or should have known. Court recommended remand for further development of the record and consideration of further evidence.)05/13/2004
-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
-Jon E. Kinzenbaw and Kinze Manufacturing, Inc. v. Case, LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc. and Case, LLC fka Case Corporation and New Holland North America, Inc. v. Jon E. Kinzenbaw, Kinze Manufacturing, James J. HIll and Emrich & Dithmar; Order regarding construction of two disputed claims in patent for agricultural implement; holding ordinary meaning of claim language governs and declining to alter meaning of claim language based on description of preferred embodiment in patent specification or on disavowal of claim meaning during prosecution history05/12/2004
-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
-Berg v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court discusses difficulty in evaluating disability claim based on asthma, where claimant is able to control symptoms through self medication and controlling his environment. Court found record did not support ALJ's conclusion that claimant's subjective complaints were less than credible, and ALJ erred in relying on absence of certain medical documentation that could have been obtained upon request. Court found ALJ did not err in posing hypothetical question to vocational expert. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed, and case be remanded for calculation and award of benefits.)05/04/2004
-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
-Cedar Rapids Zen Center, Inc. and Zuiko Redding v. City of Cedar Rapids; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether Plaintiffs’ claims are ripe04/23/2004
-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
-United States v. Barnett (Report and Recommendation on motions filed by defendant charged with violations of federal firearms laws (including charge under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)), seeking dismissal of Superseding Indictment on grounds of (1) lack of specificity, (2) unconstitutional vagueness, (3) selective or vindictive prosecution. Issues discussed include whether indictment must state defendant had knowledge of specific characteristics of sawed-off shotgun that make it a "destructive device," possession of sawed-off shotgun as "crime of violence" for purposes of sction 924(c) offense; scienter requirement for section 5861 violations; elements of offence under section 922(g)(3), and constitutionality of that section; elements of prima facie case of selective prosecution; and showing necessary to obtain discovery on issue of selective prosecution.)04/09/2004
-Loring v. Advanced Foods, Inc. (Memorandum Opinion and Order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment in case where plaintiff claimed his employment was terminated in violation of ADA, FMLA, and in retaliation for asserting rights under statutes and filing worker's compensation claims.)04/09/2004
-Stewart v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in finding claimant's subjective complaints not to be credible, and in failing to develop the record fully. Court also found ALJ improperly extrapolated wages for part-time work into a hypothetical full-time job for purposes of deeming part-time job to be past relevant work.)04/06/2004
-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
-Saenz v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of application for SSI benefits. In recommending reversal and remand, Court found ALJ erred in (1) failing to give great weight to opinion of physician's assistant who had treated claimant frequently over fourteen-month period, and had been claimant's exclusive treating medical sourse during that time; (2) assessing claimant's RFC and finding he could return to past work, with result that ALJ should have proceeded to step five of sequential evaluation process; and (3) failing to make a thorough analysis regarding claimant's credibility.)03/30/2004
-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
-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
-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
-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
-Thomas v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of disability benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to develop the record fully and fairly; finding plaintiff could return to past work; relying on ambiguous testimony by vocational expert; and placing unwarranted weight on testimony of non-examining physician. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.)03/19/2004
-United States of America v. Darrian Jordan and Mendoor Smith (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendants failed to make substantial preliminary showing necessary to obtain a Franks hearing, and in any event, probable cause existed to issue search warrant. Court also found defendant Jordan ws searched incident to arrest, not pursuant to warrant. Recommends motions and request for evidentiary hearing be denied.)03/16/2004
-United States of America v. Johnson (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence, filed by defendant Brion Dodd Johnson. Court found defendant failed to make substantial preliminary showing necessary to obtain a Franks hearing, and recommended defendant's motion and request for hearing be denied.)03/16/2004
-Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor v. Michael Sauve, Kathleen Sauve, and the Distribution Contractors, Inc., 401(K) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan; Order on motion for default judgment; analysis of whether plan trustees violated fiduciary duties03/16/2004
-Trustees of the Five River Carpenters District Council Health and Welfare Fund and Trustees of the Five River Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Fund v. Steiner Construction, Inc.; Order on motion for default judgment; defendant failed to make contributions to ERISA funds; award of delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorney’s fees and costs03/16/2004
-United States of America v. Barnett (Report and recommendation on two motions to dismiss in case charging various firearms violations. Defendant challenged indictment on basis of lack of specificity and unconstitutional vagueness. In finding indictment sufficient to allege an offense warranting conviction, court discussed: requirements for an indictment; elements of offense under 18 USC section 924(c); inherently dangerous nature of sawed-off shotgun; whether indictment must allege specific characteristics of weapon that make it a "destructive device;" and scienter requirements of 924(c). Court recommended reserving ruling until close of evidence at trial on challenge based on unconstitutional vagueness of 18 USC section 922(g) (noting nature of challege is statute's failure to define "unlawful user of a controlled substance").03/11/2004
-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
-Salz v. Stellar Industries (Order denying defendants' motion for summary judgment on gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge claims.)03/10/2004
-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
-Hodgin v. Trans World Airlines, Inc. and United States Aviation Underwriters, Inc.; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether: (1) Hodgin properly served TWA with process, (2) Hodgin released all of his claims against TWA, and (3) Hodgin may maintain a direct action against USAU as an insurer03/03/2004
-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
-Atwood v. Mapes (R&R on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Petitioner asserted trial court erred in informing jury about threatening phone call, and doing so in ex parte meeting with jury. He also asserted ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to be present during judge's meeting with jury, and failing to voir dire jury to determine prejudice. Court recommended denying petition on basis that, under applicable Supreme Court precedent, petitioner had failed to prsent convincing evidence that state court erred in finding jury's deliberations were not biased; he and his counsel waived his right to be present in meeting with jury, and even if ex parte meeting was erroneous, error was harmless; and petitioner failed to show prejudice from counsel's alleged ineffectiveness.02/25/2004
-United States of America v. Vaudt (R&R on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during execution of state search warrant. Court found warrant application contained sufficient facts to support magistrate's finding of probable cause, and in any event, even if warrant was not supported by probable cause, officers relied on warrant reasonably and in good faith, applying United States v. Leon.)02/19/2004
-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
-Hepperle v. Ault (R&R on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Court found petitioner was not "in custody" at the time he made statements to police during a murder investigation so no Miranda warnings were required, and trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to investigate and offer evidence that someone else committed the murder.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
-Austin v. Ault (R&R on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Court found five of petitioner's six claims to be procedurally defaulted. On sixth claim, court found appellate counsel could not be ineffective in failing to preserve issue of trial counsel's effectiveness, where trial counsel was not ineffective.02/11/2004
-Montgomery v. Mapes (R&R that petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254 be denied. Issue: Whether petitioner's trial counsel was ineffective in failing to seek exclusion of evidence from show-up identifications. Court found petitioner failed to show trial court made unreasonable determination of facts in light of evidence, where trial court found strong circumstantial evidence was sufficient to establish petitioner's guilt even in absence of challenged eyewitness identifications. Therefore, petitioner could not show prejudice for purposes of ineffective assistance of counsel claim, and appellate counsel was not ineffective in failing to raise issue of trial counsel's ineffectiveness. 02/09/2004
-Foell v. Mathes (R&R on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Issue: Whether attorney's failure to investigate and present defense of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome constituted ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of defendant's Sixth Amendment rights. Court found counsel's failure to offer futile defense was not effective. Court also found court's performance did not warrant presumption of prejudice under United States v. Cronic. 02/06/2004
-Henrichs v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to arthritis in thrumbs; pain in back, neck, hips and hands; and migraines. Court found ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment, as presented in hypothetical questions to Vocational Expert, did not encompass all of plaintiff's limitations. Court discusses duty of Appeals Council to provide explanation when it considers, and rejects, post-hearing evidence. Commissioner's decision reversed and case remanded for further proceedings.02/03/2004
-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
- 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
-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
-Dunkerson v. Barnhart (R&R recommending Commissioner's decision be affirmed denying applications for SSI and DI benefits. Court discusses recent case law regarding burdens of proof in five-step evaluation process (Sec. III.A.); standard of review for ALJ's credibility determination (Sec. IV.A.; see Sec. III.B.); standards for ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (Sec. IV.B.); and requirements for proper hypothetical question to Vocational Expert (Sec. IV.C.).01/20/2004
-Pippert v. Gundersen Clinic, Ltd.; Order on motion for summary judgment and motion to strike or in the alternative to amend complaint alleging fraudulent misrepresentation01/14/2004
-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
-Lisa Mackie v. U.S. Manufacturing, Inc., et al. Order on motion to set aside entry of default; analysis of whether defendant showed good cause to set aside entry of default01/09/2004
-Bellevue State Bank v. Keith Hueneke and Rhonda Hueneke; Order on motion to remand; case remanded to state court because notice of removal was not filed within 30 days after service of initial pleading or summons and because complaint did not pose federal question01/08/2004
-Bales v. Ault (Report and Recommendation on motion to dismiss. Plaintiff alleged violation of rights under 8th and 14th Amendments in connection with prison's revised property policy that prohibits inmates from having electric razors or beard trimmers. Court found policy change did not constitute an atypical and significant hardship in relation to ordinary incidents of prison life, and further found deprivation of electric razor did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Court recommended granting defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).01/08/2004
-Zeigler v. Fisher-Price (Order on defendant's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law and motion for new trial. Rulings include the following: (1) because defendant did not raise, in its Rule 50(a) motion at the close of plaintiff's evidence, any grounds for judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's design defect claim, defendant could not raise the issue in its post-trial Rule 50(b) motion; (2) court has authority to grant judgment as a matter of law sua sponte, even when no proper Rule 50(a) motion has been made; (3) Iowa law limits design defect cases involving only economic loss to warranty theories, but permits personal injury plaintiffs to assert both tort and warranty theories; (4) court denied motion for judgment as a matter of law on grounds raised by defendant, but entered judgment as a matter of law sua sponte on design defect claim; (5) under Iowa law, punitive damages are not warranted absent showing of willful or wanton conduct, and in absence of same, court granted motion for judgment as matter of law on punitive damages claim; (6) parties have a duty to comply with Final Pretrial Order, which is not a Local Rule or simply a matter of form and carries the same weight as any other court order; (7) Consumer Product Safety Commission press release announcing recall of toy was properly admitted into evidence as an admission under Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(A), (B), & (C); (8) court conditionally denied motion for new trial in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(c).01/08/2004
-Centra v. Barnhart (Amended Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits. Court found that although none of plaintiff's medical or psychological impairments, standing alone, was sufficient to warrant a finding of disability, all of his impairments in combination rendered him disabled. Opinion discusses Social Security Ruling relating to consideration of residual functional capacity when mental illness is involved.)01/08/2004
-Thomas Nowers v. Gazette Communications, Inc.; Order on defendant's motion for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff exhausted administrative remedies; examination of whether evidence supports a claim of constructive discharge; analysis of whether plaintiff can establish prima facie case of age discrimination; assessment of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claim01/08/2004
-U.S. v. Billy Gene Howard; motion for judgment of acquittal and for new trial (case charging defendant with being a felon in possession of a firearm, knowingly possessing stolen firearms, and being an unlawful user of methamphetamine in possession of firearms, defendant alleged the evidence connecting him with a burglary in which firearms were stolen was insufficient to support the inference he stole the firearms and the evidence indicated defendant's brother was responsible for the guns being in defendant’s van; jury convicted on all 3 counts; court accepted verdict and denied motions for new trial and acquittal)01/07/2004
-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. 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
-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
-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
-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
-Weyerhaeuser Corporation d/b/a Cedar River Paper Company v. Tamko Roofing Products, Inc. and D.C. Taylor Company; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether transfer of guarantee voided warranty; examination of whether plaintiff filed complaint within contractual limitations period 12/17/2003
-Directv v. Weber, et al (Order granting default judgment to plaintiff for defendant's purchase of "pirate access device" that allowed defendant to access plaintiff's satellite transmissions without subscribing to the service. Court discusses requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1) and (2), and damages provisions of 47 U.S.C. section 605(e)(3)(C)(i) and 18 U.S.C. section 2520(c)(2). In absence of evidence of plaintiff's damages, court execised discretion in declining to award demages under 18 U.S.C. section 2520(c)(2), and awarded minimum damages of $1,000 under 47 U.S.C. section 605(e)(3)(C)(i).)12/17/2003
-Knudsen v. Barnhart (R&R on appeal from denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits, recommending reversal and judgment for plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged disability due to Bipolar Disorder, fibromyalgia, Raynaud's phenomenon, and irritable bowel syndrome. Court found ALJ did not give proper weight to opinions of plaintiff's treating psychiatrist and counselor. Court discusses weight to be given to counselor as an "other" medical source.)12/16/2003
-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
-McGee v. Barnhart (appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in rejecting opinions of plaintiff's treating physicians, and in discounting plaintiff's subjective complaints without performing proper Polaski analysis. Reversed and remanded for calculation and award of benefits.)12/08/2003
-Johnson v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits, recommending Commissioner's decision be reversed. Plaintiff alleged disability due to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other causes. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider Plaintiff's work history and opinion of treating physician in assessing Plaintiff's credibility, and in failing to credit presence of pain and trigger points as objective medical evidence of fibromyalgia.)12/05/2003
-Goss International Corp. v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd. and TKS, Inc.; Order on motion for summary judgment12/04/2003
-U.S. v. Leppert; motion to suppress evidence seized from his residence pursuant to search warrant; officers received information from previously-untested informant who told them Leppert had sold him methamphetamine at Leppert's residence that day and he had previously seen Leppert sell one-half gram of methamphetamine for a shotgun; reliable CI had told officers approximately one week prior to the search that he knew Leppert was "staying" at the residence and he corroborated other informant's testimony about the shotgun exchange; analysis of whether (1) search warrant for residence was supported by probable cause that Leppert was residing at the house searched and evidence of a crime would be found at the house; (2) officers nonetheless acted reasonably under the Leon good faith exception in relying on the warrant 12/03/2003
-Thompson, et al. v. United Transportation Union; Order on motion for remand; plaintiffs' state law claims are not preempted by the Railway Labor Act because they do not require interpretation of any collective bargaining agreement; matter remanded to state court12/03/2003
-U.S. v. Elias Real-Flores; Order on review of defendant's 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 motion12/02/2003
-Stephen C. Leonard v. John F. Ault, William H. Soupene, Harry Brown, Steve Hebron, Russell Behrends, Mike Bickford, Marvin Kurt, Kathy Lint, Phil Kauder, Nancy Kucera, John Spence, Gary Maynard, Dennis Labarge, Sue Vanamcrongen; Order on plaintiff's motion to alter or amend judgment regarding denial of in forma pauperis status pursuant to three strikes provision 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g)12/02/2003
-Grant v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal where plaintiff claimed disability due to seizures and back pain since 11/02/98. Appeals Council overruled ALJ and found plaintiff to be disabled from and after 01/01/00. Court found substantial evidence existed in the Record to support a finding of disability from and after 09/01/99, and therefore recommended reversal of Commissioner's decision.)12/01/2003
-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
-Scheckel v. Iowa Dept. of Revenue and Finance, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon Eleventh Amendment immunity, the Tax Injunction Act and principles of comity11/24/2003
-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
-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
-United States of America v. Betterton (R&R on defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during inventory search after vehicle was impounded. Defendant was stopped for equipment violation (cracked windshield). He was arrested when officer learned he was driving under suspension. No one else was present to move the vehicle from the roadway, and it was stopped in a "no parking" zone, creating a traffic hazard. Inventory search was performed following the impoundment, pursuant to departmental policy. Court recommended motion to suppress be denied, finding impoundment and subsequent inventory search were lawful, and nothing that in any event, officers could have searched the vehicle incident to Defendant's arrest.)11/24/2003
-U.S. v. Altedias Campbell; Order on motion for new trial11/19/2003
-U.S. v. Curtis Swayze; Order on motion for new trial11/18/2003
-Brown v. HyVee (Order granting summary judgment to defendant in case where plaintiff claimed employment discrimination based on age, sex, and retaliation. Court found case was untimely on State law retaliation claim; plaintiff failed to exhaust sex discrimination claim; and plaintiff failed to meet his burden to show employer's reasons for demoting plaintiff were pretext for age discrimination.)11/18/2003
-Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; Order on motion for remand and abstention; analysis of whether the action is "related to" the pending Enron bankruptcy in SDNY; application of mandatory abstention, permissive abstention and equitable remand11/17/2003
-Engineered Products v. Donaldson Company (Order disqualifying trial counsel in patent case. Plaintiff's counsel was formerly defendant's trial counsel when he worked for a large firm. Although he had not worked on present case, and had not done any work for defendant corporation for several years, court found, under facts of case and current law in Iowa and Eighth Circuit, an unrebuttable presumption that attorney was presumed to have knowledge of confidential communications between defendant and other attorneys in counsel's former firm. Court discusses Iowa ethical rules and Eighth Circuit law.)11/14/2003
-DeMaris v. Barnhart (R&R recommending Commissioner's decision be affirmed in appeal from denial of Title II disability benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability on the basis of, inter alia, fibromyalgia, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure. Court found evidence in the Record supported inconsistent positions, and because one of them represented the Commissioner's decision, the case should be affirmed.)11/13/2003
-Thomson v. Gummiwerk Kraiburg Elastik, et. al.; Order on defendants' motions for summary judgment, motion to exclude and motion to strike; whether expert testimony meets admissibility requirements under Daubert; whether Rule 37 sanctions are appropriate where party fails to comply with Rule 26 disclosure requirements11/13/2003
-Ronald Dean Swartz v. John Mathes, Warden; 28 U.S.C. Section 225411/12/2003
-Avery Dennison Corporation v. The Home Trust & Savings Bank; Order on defendant's motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether beneficiary's demand strictly complied with terms of letter of credit11/07/2003
-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
-Burks v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits. Alleged impairments: borderline intellectual functioning, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder. Primary issue was lack of evidence to support any conclusion, either favorable or unfavorable. Court found the ALJ had not fulfilled his duty to develop the record fully, and recommended remand to obtain further evidence and reconsider the decision.)11/03/2003
-Harrington v. Barnhart (R&R recommending reversal and award of benefits in case involving Commissioner's denial of Widow's Insurance Benefits under Title II of Social Security Act. Plaintiff alleged common-law marriage and sought widow's insurance benefits based on decedent's wages. ALJ found no common-law marriage existed. Court recommended reversal and award of benefits. Court discussed Iowa law relating to factors for proof of common-law marriage.)10/30/2003
-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
-Bartleson v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Order granting motion to amend complaint. Plaintiffs, who brought a class action for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act, sought to add a claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act. The federal statute only allows for an "opt-in" class action, whereas the Iowa law is not similarly restricted. Court discussed rationale for allowing FLSA and state wage payment claims to be brought in collective action; court's ability to manage two classes of plaintiffs in a single action; and factors bearing on discretionary exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over state-law claims.)10/24/2003
-All-Iowa Contracting Co. v. Linear Dynamics, Inc.; Order on motion for summary judgment; diversity action involving claims for actual, consequential, and liquidated damages resulting from alleged negligence, breach of warranties, and breach of contract10/23/2003
-United States of America v. Elmer Taylor (R&R recommending denial of majority of motion to suppress evidence in criminal case. Defendant claimed he was not competent to understand and enter into a plea agreement, and factual stipulations in the plea agreement should not be admissible against him at trial. He also sought to suppress evidence arising from a stop and subsequent search of a vehicle, and statements he made on the night of his arrest. Court discussed requiements for voluntary, knowing, and competent waiver by a defendant of the plea-statement protections provided by Fed. R. Evid. 410.)10/22/2003
-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
-Carroll v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal, recommending remand with instructions for the ALJ to further develop the record. Pivotal issue was whether Record contained sufficient evidence to support ALJ's residual functional capacity, and therefore the hypothetical posed to the Vocational Expert, where the claimant had received almost no treatment at all for the allegedly disabling condition.)09/25/2003
-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
-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
-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
-Anderson v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of SSI benefits. Issues: claimant's credibility; impact of failure to seek treatment due to financial hardship. Court recommended case be remanded for reconsideration with directions to view claimant's subjective complaints as credible.)09/02/2003
-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
-United States of America v. Howard (R&R recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Issues: officers' right to do protective frisk for weapons, discussing Terry v. Ohio and United States v. Roggeman; officers' authority to enter motel room to execute arrest warrant, discussing Payton v. New York and United States v. Junkman; "public safety exception" to Miranda requirements)08/14/2003
-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
-Connor v. Ault (R&R following bench trial in this civil rights action brought by prisoners at Anamosa State Penitentiary. The plaintiffs, both practicing Muslims, alleged their constitutional rights were violated by prison policies that prevented them from participating fully in Islamic religious services and activities. Court found policies were reasonably related to legitimate penological interests, and recommended judgment for the defendants.)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
-Pioneer Hi-Bred v. Ottawa Plant Food (Order granting motion to compel production of communications between defendant's experts and defendant's attorneys, following the holding in In re Pioneer Hi Bred International, Inc., 238 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2001), which the Eighth Circuit described as "applying Eighth Circuit law on privileges and holding that documents and information disclosed to an expert in connection with testimony are discoverable whether or not the expert relies on the documents and information in preparing the expert report." Pepsico, Inc. v. Baird, Kurtz & Dobson LLP, 305 F.3d 813, 817 n.2 (8th Cir. 2002).)07/25/2003
-Jessen v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal, recommending the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. Plaintiff claimed disability based on borderline intellectual functioning and depression. Court found plaintiff could return to past relevant work, and therefore was not disabled.)07/22/2003
-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
-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
-Zeigler v. Fisher-Price (Order on motions to preclude expert testimony and to bifurcate punitive damages phase of trial. Court discusses choice of law rules, standards for evaluating expert testimony in general, Iowa law on use of circumstantial evidence to support expert opinion, and law relating to biburcation of claims.)07/01/2003
-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
-Kirkpatrick v. Barnhart (Memorandum opinion reversing Commissioner's decision denying Social Security benefits for a closed period. Court held the ALJ incorrectly relied on the opinions of non-examining, non-treating physicians, and improperly discounted or ignored opinions of the plaintiff's treating physicians.)06/18/2003
-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
-Schneider v. Jergens, et al (R&R on motion to dismiss filed by Intervenor State of Iowa in a habeas proceeding under 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Petitioner challenges constitutionality of appellate procedure in contempt actions. Iowa law provides that if contempt application is denied, applicant may file direct appeal as of right, but if application is granted, defendant may only appeal by way of petition for writ of certiorari. State intervened on the constitutional issue and moved to dismiss. Issues discussed: procedural default; exhaustion of remedies, specifically whether criminal contempt is a "public offense" for purposes of postconviction relief actions, and excused failure to exhaust where available remedies are deficient or futile. Court recommends denial of motion to dismiss, and certification of constitutional question to Iowa Supreme Court.)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
-Bowers v. Burger (R&R on motion to dismiss habeas action under 28 U.S.C. Section 2254. Issues: AEDPA statute of limitations; procedural default; and whether defendant's low IQ of 70 constitutes cause sufficient to overcome procedural default, or to toll the AEDPA statute of limitations)05/30/2003
-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
-Deakins v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. Issues: ALJ's credibility determination; what constitutes a "treating physician," and proper weight to be given to physicians' opinions, appropriateness of hypothetical question posed to Vocational Expert)05/29/2003
-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
-Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, a federally recognized Indian tribe; Homer Bear, Jr., individually and as Chairman of the appointed Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, individually and as the Acting General Manager and Casino Manager of Meskwaki Bingo•Casino•Hotel, a subordinate enterprise of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Plaintiffs, vs. United States of America and Philip N. Hogen, individually and as Chairperson of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Defendants; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, and Alexander Walker, Jr., as Chairman of the Federally Recognized Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Intervenors, vs. Homer Bear, Jr.; Wayne Pushetonequa; Harvey Davenport, Jr., Ray A. Young Bear, Frank Black Cloud, Keith Davenport and Deron Ward, Cross-claim Defendants; United States of America, for the National Indian Gaming Commission, Plaintiff, vs. Alexander Walker, Jr.; Homer Bear, Jr.; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, Defendants,Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, a federally recognized Indian tribe; Homer Bear, Jr., individually and as Chairman of the appointed Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, individually and as the Acting General Manager and Casino Manager of Meskwaki Bingo•Casino•Hotel, a subordinate enterprise of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Plaintiffs, vs. United States of America and Philip N. Hogen, individually and as Chairperson of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Defendants; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, and Alexander Walker, Jr., as Chairman of the Federally Recognized Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Intervenors, vs. Homer Bear, Jr.; Wayne Pushetonequa; Harvey Davenport, Jr., Ray A. Young Bear, Frank Black Cloud, Keith Davenport and Deron Ward, Cross-claim Defendants; United States of America, for the National Indian Gaming Commission, Plaintiff, vs. Alexander Walker, Jr.; Homer Bear, Jr.; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, Defendants,Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, a federally recognized Indian tribe; Homer Bear, Jr., individually and as Chairman of the appointed Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, individually and as the Acting General Manager and Casino Manager of Meskwaki Bingo•Casino•Hotel, a subordinate enterprise of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Plaintiffs, vs. United States of America and Philip N. Hogen, individually and as Chairperson of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Defendants; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, and Alexander Walker, Jr., as Chairman of the Federally Recognized Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Intervenors, vs. Homer Bear, Jr.; Wayne Pushetonequa; Harvey Davenport, Jr., Ray A. Young Bear, Frank Black Cloud, Keith Davenport and Deron Ward, Cross-claim Defendants; United States of America, for the National Indian Gaming Commission, Plaintiff, vs. Alexander Walker, Jr.; Homer Bear, Jr.; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, Defendants,Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, a federally recognized Indian tribe; Homer Bear, Jr., individually and as Chairman of the appointed Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, individually and as the Acting General Manager and Casino Manager of Meskwaki Bingo•Casino•Hotel, a subordinate enterprise of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Plaintiffs, vs. United States of America and Philip N. Hogen, individually and as Chairperson of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Defendants; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, and Alexander Walker, Jr., as Chairman of the Federally Recognized Tribal Council of the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Intervenors, vs. Homer Bear, Jr.; Wayne Pushetonequa; Harvey Davenport, Jr., Ray A. Young Bear, Frank Black Cloud, Keith Davenport and Deron Ward, Cross-claim Defendants; United States of America, for the National Indian Gaming Commission, Plaintiff, vs. Alexander Walker, Jr.; Homer Bear, Jr.; Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; and Renetta Plander, Defendants05/22/2003
-Cedarrapids, Inc. vs. Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad Company d/b/a Canadian National/Illlinois Central Railroad; Order on plaintiff's motion to remand and defendant's motion to dismiss05/21/2003
-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
-United States of America v. Saucillo (R&R recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress in drug distribution case. Defendant threw drugs out of second-story window onto ground in rear of multi-family dwelling. Curtilage was unfenced and totally open to public access. Court found defendant consented to search of apartment, and he had no legitimate expectation of privacy in curtilage of multi-family dwelling.)05/13/2003
-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
-Zeigler v. Fisher-Price, Inc. (Order granting partial summary judgment to toy manufacturer in products liability case. Plaintiff asserted claim for emotional distress damages arising from allegation that defendant fraudulently concealed and failed to disclose to plaintiff information about fire hazard posed by Power Wheels toy. Court held Iowa law does not support a claim for emotional distress damages in a fraud action. Discussion of Iowa law relating to emotional distress claims.)05/08/2003
-United States v. Jesse Hephner and Shannon Kramarczyk; motion to suppress; (Order regarding report and recommendation concerning motion to suppress; probable cause supported initial stop; moving of truck prior to search was reasonable; search did not exceed scope of defendant’s consent; length of stop was not longer than necessary to effectuate purpose of stop; drug dog’s positive indication during sniff provided probable cause for search of truck and toolbox; defendant was not in custody when he made statements prior to being given Miranda warnings; and statement made after invocation of right to counsel was inadmissible.) 05/08/2003
-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
-Henrich v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (R&R in Social Security appeal recommending reversal and award of disability benefits. Court found the ALJ improperly discredited the claimant's subjective complaints, and the opinions of medical and vocational experts relying on those complaints, without conducting a proper Polaski analysis.)05/01/2003
-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
-Antunez-Fernandes v. Connors-Fernandes; Order on petition for return of children; father petitioned court under the Hague Convention to return his children to France; analysis of whether father established prima facie case of wrongful removal and retention of children by their mother in the United States; whether any of the following exceptions under the Hague Convention permit children to remain in the United States; (1) whether father acquiesced in children's removal and retention; (2) whether action was commenced more than one year after removal, (3) whether children are well settled in their environment, (4) whether return to France would expose children to a grave risk of harm, and (5) whether the court should consider the wishes of children; even if one exception applies, court may in its discretion nevertheless order the return of children to further the aims of the Hague Convention04/25/2003
-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
-AUSA Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Citigroup, Inc., et al.; Order on motion for remand and abstention; analysis of whether the action is "related to" the pending Enron bankruptcy in SDNY; application of mandatory abstention, permissive abstention and equitable remand04/24/2003
-Hepperle v. Ault (Order denying evidentiary hearing in habeas case under 28 U.S.C. section 2254. Petitioner failed to fully develop factual basis for claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, because PCR counsel failed to question trial counsel about significance of two police reports. Court held ineffective assistance of PCR counsel is not sufficient basis to warrant evidentiary hearing.)04/21/2003
-McGuire v. Davidson Manufacturing (Order on post-trial motions in products liability case. Plaintiff fell and was injured when a ladder on which he was standing broke. Jury found no design defect; found manufacturing defect, but also found ladder was manufactured in accordance with state of the art; and found for plaintiff on general negligence/res ipsa loquitur theory. In post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, defendants argued general negligence was inapplicable on these facts. Among other things, defendants argued that because jury found the ladder met state of the art, the defendants could not have failed to use ordinary care, and therefore the jury's verdict was inconsistent. In denying the motion on all grounds, court found general negligence theory to be particularly applicable on the facts of this case, and found no inconsistency in the jury's verdict.)04/18/2003
-Brass v. Incorporated City of Manly, Iowa, et al (Order granting partial summary judgment to Mayor and City of Manly, Iowa, on claims by terminated police officers for deprivation of liberty interest without due process, defamation, and retaliatory discharge in violation of public policy. Discusses requirements for due process claim for loss of an employee's liberty interest; requirements for defamation claim under Iowa law; and scope of Iowa's whistle-blower statute, Iowa Code section 70A.29.)04/17/2003
-Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; Alex Walker, Jr.; Frank Wanatee; Jr.; Lyle Walker; Aaron Walker; Calvin Johnson, Sr.; Vern Jefferson; and Talbert Davenport, Sr. vs Homer Bear, Jr.; Wayne Pushetonequa; Harvey Davenport, Jr.; Ray A. Young Bear; Frank Black Cloud; Keith Davenport; Deron Ward; Wells Fargo Bank Iowa, N.A.; State Bank of Toledo; Home Federal Savings Bank; Order on motion for temporary restraining order; assessment of federal question subject matter jurisdiction under general U.S. trust responsibilities toward Indian affairs, Indian Gaming Rights Act, or Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act04/15/2003
-United States of America v. Hessman (Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Officer faxed unsigned, unsworn search warrant application and affidavit to State magistrate at out-of-town hotel. Magistrate signed warrant and faxed it back to officer. Officer was sworn and signed application and affidavit next morning, after search was concluded and defendant had been arrested. Court found search warrant based on unsigned, unsworn application and affidavit was invalid under Fourth Amendment. Court also found Leon good faith exception did not apply, and recommended defendant's post-arrest statements be suppressed under Wong Sun exclusionary rule.)04/14/2003
-Jones v. McKinney (R&R on motion to dismiss in habeas case under 28 U.S.C. s. 2254. Issues discussed: defendant's right to challenge guilty plea when no motion in arrest of judgment was filed; procedural default; exhaustion of State remedies; ineffective assistance of counsel; what constitutes "fair presentation" of federal claim in State proceedings)04/09/2003
-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
-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
-LeFlore v. Mathis, et al. (R&R on motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 24 U.S.C. s. 2254. Recommends dismissing petition on basis that petitioner has been released from custody, and failed to allege sufficient collateral consequences to survive mootness inquiry.)04/01/2003
-Marnell v. Barnhart (Appeal of denial of several applications for Social Security benefits, including applications for SSI benefits under Title XVI as both a child and an adult, appliction for DI benefits under Title II, and application for Child's Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II. Discussion of disability requirements for child and adult claimants; regulations governing personality disorders in Listing 12.08; and case-specific requirements for entitlement to child's disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant to be disabled on the basis of personality disorder manifesting itself primarily in behavior problems, including persistent hostility and anger, inability to function socially, and inability to engage in appropriate relationships, including in the work place.)03/31/2003
-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
-United States of America v. Jay Del Drahota (R&R on several pretrial motions in this drug conspiracy case. Of particular interest is defendant's claim that State authorities promised him immunity if he cooperated with law enforcement in connection with the prosecution of another individual. Although finding the State's grant of immunity could not bind federal authorities, the court nevertheless found defendant's confession was involuntary, and recommended Kastigar hearing to determine whether untainted evidence exists to support the indictment. Other issues discussed include standards for wavier of right to counsel by defendant appearing pro se; waiver of Miranda rights; standards for dismissal based on pre-indictment delay.)03/20/2003
-Carter v. Woodbury County Jail, et al (Summary judgment motion granted because plaintiff failed to resist. Brief discussion of PLRA requirement for exhaustion of administrative remedies.)03/18/2003
-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
-Zeigler v. Fisher-Price (Order requiring disclosure of certain internal memoranda in products liability case. Discusses availability of private right of action under Consumer Product Safety Act; law applicable to claims of privilege when court's jurisdiction is based on diversity; requirements to withhold production of documents prepared in anticipation of litigation. In this case, defendant's risk management and legal department routinely investigated all consumer claims of fires involving defendant's products. Court found internal evaluation forms were prepared in ordinary course of business and were discoverable.)03/13/2003
-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
-Butt v. Greenbelt Home Care Agency (R&R on motion for summary judgment in employment discrimination case involving claims under Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Iowa Civil Rights Act, and claim for retaliatory discharge. Discusses requirements for prima facie case under each type of claim; effect of contradictions between deposition testimony and summary judgment affidavit; whether expert testimony is required to substantiate disability claim; effect of mitigating treatment on disability claim.)02/28/2003
-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
-Windle v. John Morrell & Co. (Order granting plaintiff's motion for leave to amend Complaint to specify that the action, brought under 42 USC Section 1981, also was asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court discussed the difference between "race" and "national origin," and whether section 1981 allows a claim for racial discrimination. The court also noted the 8th Circuit's holding that it is an abuse of discretion not to allow this type of amendment, given that Title VII and section 1981 claims are substantially identical."02/17/2003
-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
-Navrude v. The United States of America (USPS) (Order on discovery motions. Discusses whena treating physician is subject to expert witness disclosure requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B).)02/12/2003
-United States v. Ketzeback (R&R recommending defendant's motion to suppress be granted due to officers' reckless or intentional omission from search warrant application of information impacting informant's credibility. Issues: requirements for Franks hearing; reliance on confidential or anonymous informants; Leon analysis)02/10/2003
-U.S. v. Wade Wilson; motion to suppress evidence seized during traffic stop; officers followed defendant’s vehicle after he stopped briefly at an apartment building where officers were about to execute a search warrant; officers initially pulled over defendant’s vehicle because valid registration not displayed; officers saw proper registration tag as they approached the vehicle; analysis of whether: (1) search warrant authorizing the search of “all vehicles registered to anyone known to reside at [an apartment]" of a multi-unit building is unconstitutional; (2) probable cause dissipated once officer saw registration tag; (3) leaving multi-unit apartment building where one apartment unit is a suspected crack house, with no other suspicious circumstances, constitutes reasonable suspicion; (4) consent removed taint of unlawful detention 02/07/2003
-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
-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
-Junker v. Amana Company L.P. a/k/a Amana Refrigeration; Order on summary judgment; plaintiff was terminated by Amana, argued that Amana violated FMLA by terminating employment due to alleged failure to follow Amana's medical leave policies and procedures; analysis of duty of employee under FMLA to notify employer of the need to take medical leave and to extend medical leave; breach of contract claim alleging the terms of Amana's employment manual and employment policies constitututed an enforceable contract and Amana breached this contract due to its termination of plaintiff's employment in violation of public policy and the terms of the contract; analysis of viability of state law breach of contract claim where employee's union is party to collective bargaining agreement with employer; whether such claim is preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act01/08/2003
-McGuire v. Davidson Mfg Corp. and Louisville Ladder Group LLC (Order granting in part, denying in part, motion to exclude expert testimony in diversity action. Analysis focuses on Daubert and Kumho Tire standards, with citations to numerous Eighth Circuit and other federal cases. Discussion of "differential analysis" methodology)01/08/2003
-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
-Catipovic v. Peoples Cmnty Health, et al (Order certifying the following questions to the Iowa Supreme Court: (1) Is a party who intentionally interferes with the performance of a contract entitled to seek contribution from other parties who allegedly participated in the intentional interference with the performance of the contract? (2) Is a party who intentionally inteferees with the performance of a contract entitled to seek contribution from other parties who allegedly are liable to the injured party for the same damages caused by the first party's intentional interference with the performance of the contract, but who did not act intentionally? (3) If a party who intentionally interferes with the performance of a contract is entitled to seek contribution from other parties who allegedly are liable to the injured party for the same damages caused by the first party's intentional interference with the performance of the contract, is the party seeking contribution prohibited from seeking contribution against a party who has been discharged from liability to the plaintiff by settlement?)01/06/2003