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.


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Show details for Judge Linda R. ReadeJudge Linda R. Reade
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-Arnzen v. Palmer, et al -- Report and Recommendation recommending granting of plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, in light of Dataphase/Winter factors, where plaintiffs showed likelihood of success on the merits and likely irreparable harm absent an injunction. Furthermore, the court's consideration of the balance of equities and the public interest favored the issuance of a preliminary injunction.04/12/2012
-Scott v. Benson, et al, -- Report and Recommendation recommending denial of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, in light of Dataphase/Winter factors, where plaintiff showed neither likelihood of succes on the merits nor likely irreparable harm absent an injunction. Furthermore, the court's consideration of the balance of equities and the public interest did not favor the issuance of a preliminary injunction.03/21/2012
-Jackson v. Green, et al -- Report and Recommendation recommending denying as moot pro se plaintiff's motion to change venue. Because case had been removed to federal court, plaintiff's request to change venue to different state court was moot.01/17/2012
-Fraserside v. Letyagin -- Order granting the plaintiff's motion for leave to serve the summons and complaint on the defendants by electronic mail pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(f)(3) and 4(h)(2). The court found that this method of service in this case fulfilled the requirements of due process and that reasonable efforts by the plaintiff to serve the defendants had already been made.01/12/2012
-Seaman v. Hacker Hauling -- Order granting defendants' motion for spoliation sanctions, finding that plaintiff's attorney had destroyed evidence with intent to suppress the truth, which prejudiced defendants. Court struck testimony and report of plaintiff's expert from evidence at trial, plaintiff could designate another expert to testify on plaintiff's behalf.10/18/2011
-Freie v. Fayram - Report and Recommendation recommending granting respondent's motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Court found that tollign of AEDPA's limitations period did not apply to petitioner's untimely petition06/09/2011
-Smith v. Quality Refrigerated Services, Inc. -- Order granting defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's pro se complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Court found that, even after affording pro se plaintiff a hearing to show facts that would allow his claims to survive dismissal, plaintiff's claims lacked facial plausibility to withstand dismissal without prejudice.05/10/2011
-Powell v. Fayram -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed ineffective assistance of trial counsel in four respects: (1) failure to move for judgment of acquittal; (2) failure to move for change of venue: (3) failure to give petitioner correct advice during plea negotiations concerning the time he would serve if convicted of attempted murder; and (4) failure to retain an expet witness to establish that brakes on pickup truck were defective. In recommending the petition be denied, the Court found the petitioner failed to show that the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals involved either an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedents to the facts, or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.02/18/2011
-Woodard v. O'Brien -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment. Despite anecdotal evidence suggesting defendants' actions caused plaintiff to suffer needless pain, court reluctantly found plaintiff had failed to meet his burden to offer verifiable medical evidence that defendants' actions caused plaintiff harm. Plaintiff therefore failed to show defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, and the court recommended defendants' motionfor summary judgment be granted.01/10/2011
-Scadden v. Northwest Iowa Hospital Corp. -- Order denying plaintiffs' motion to reinstate wrongful death claim on behalf of unborn child. At the eleventh hour, after expiration of the deadline to amend pleadings and only two months before trial, plaintiffs moved to reinstate wrongful death claim for the death of their unborn child, arguing Nebraska law, rather than Iowa law, should control the issue. Court found motion was untimely, but also analyzed the choice-of-law issues raised by the plaintiffs, finding that in any event, Iowa law controlled.09/22/2010
-Scadden v. Northwest Iowa Hosp. Corp. -- Order denying hospital's motion for summary judgment on technical grounds. Hospital failed to comply with Local Rules in connection with it's "statement of undisputed facts." 09/13/2010
-Collins v. Center for Siouxland -- Order denying defendant's motion for separate trials in case where plaintiffs, who consecutively held same job, both allege wrongful discharge for violation of whistle blower statute.05/07/2010
-Smithco Manufacturing, Inc. v. Haldex Brake Products, Corp. -- Order denying motion for leave to amend Complaint. Court found plaintiff failed to show good cause for the delay in seeking to amend its Complaint as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 16.04/05/2010
-Peteson v. Prosser -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in case seeking damages from various police officers and government officials for false arrest, criminal assault, falsifying public documents, criminal conspiracy to falsify public records, evidence tampering, conspiracy to induce false testimony, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of characater, violation of civil rights, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, perjury, criminal conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, and obstruction of justice. Court found material issues of fact existed for trial on claims of false arrest and assault against two police officers, and further found the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on those claims. Court recommended all other claims and parties be dismissed.03/04/2010
-Chisley v. Lund -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed state court should not have allowed hearsay testimony into evidence. Court found the claim to be unreviewable because Iowa courts decided the claim on state law grounds, and petitioner had failed to exhaust the claim on federal constitutional grounds.02/09/2010
-McFarland v. McFarland -- Order on motion to appear pro hac vice. Court held that attorney who is likely to be witness at trial could appear in the case for purposes of pretrial litigation activities, but could not act as trial counsel and could not participate as an advocate during depositions.02/09/2010
-Williams v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed trial court erred in failing to suppress identification testimony resulting from photo array; evidence was insufficient to prove he aided and abetted in murder and robbery; and trial counsel were ineffective in failing to object to jury instruction on alternative theories of prosecution, failing to enforce a plea agreement, and failing to advise him of his right to testify. Court found petitioner failed to show Iowa appellate court decisions were contrary to clearly-established federal law, or that his counsel's performance, even if deficient, prejudiced him. 01/19/2010
-Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleged defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, causing him to suffer ongoing, severe pain and ultimately resulting in removal of his left eye. Court found material issues of disputed fact existed, precluding summary judgment as to all but one of the defendants. Court further found that either plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies, or alternatively a material issue of material fact existed regarding whether he properly exhausted his remedies. Court further found defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. 01/14/2010
-Iowa Municipal Ins. Ltd. v. Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Cas. -- Order granting defendant's motion to compel arbitration and staying action pending completion of arbitration proceedings. Court found arbitration clause was valid, and all of plaintiff's claim fell under the coverage of the arbitration agreement.12/22/2009
-Great Lakes Comm. Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board -- Report and Recommendation on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of one clause of IUB Order requiring reclamation of all telephone numbers assigned to Great Lakes. In considering the Dataphase factors, and in particular the plaintiff's likelihood of prevailing on the merits, the court analyzed the IUB Order and applicable regulations and recommended that a preliminary injunction be issued.11/17/2009
-Great Lakes Comm. Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board - Order on Motions to Intervene and to Add Parties. In action to enjoin enforcement of order issued by Iowa Utilities Board, court found Qwest Communications Corp. and Sprint Communications Co. to be indispensable parties, and granted their motions to intervene under Fed. R. Civ. P. 24, and the Board's motion to join them as parties under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19.11/10/2009
-Whitacre v. Energy Panel Structures, Inc. -- Order on plaintiff's motion for leave to amend Petition at Law. Court found plaintiff was not seeking to add non-diverse parties for the purpose of defeating federal jurisdiction, and held the amendment should be allowed.09/30/2009
-McFarland v. McFarland -- Order on plaintiff's motion for voluntary dismissal without prejudice of certain defendants, who asked that their dismissals be with prejudice. Court found FRCP 41(a)(1) mandated dismissal without prejudice08/25/2009
-Ohlendorf v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. -- Order denying defendants' motion to dismiss. Court found plaintiff had stated a marginally plausible claim for relief, and further development of the record was necessary before case could be summarily dismissed.08/11/2009
-Hart v. Baldwin -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in prisoner 1983 case where plaintiff claimed unconstitutional retrictions on his mail. Court found plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies with regard to claims for monetary damages, and claims for equitable relief were rendered moot when prisoner was transferred to another facility.07/23/2009
-Redd v. McKinney -- Report and Recommendation on respondent's motion for partial summary judgment. Parties conceded, and court concluded, that only one issue raised in 2254 petition had been properly exhausted and was ripe for decision.07/20/2009
-Heimlicher v. Steele, et al -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' post-trial motions in action for damages arising from stillbirth of plaintiffs' child. Jury awarded $1.7 million in damages against doctor and hospital for common law negligence and violation of federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 USC section 1395dd. Defendants moved, on numerous grounds, for judgment as a matter of law, for new trial, and to amend the judgment. Court found remittitur was appropriate because the amounts the jury deducted for past and future expense of raising the child were unreasonably low. Court therefore conditionally granted motions for new trial, and denied all other motions. 05/14/2009
-Accurate Controls, Inc. v. Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors - Order on plaintiff's motion for protective order regarding defendants' request to discover plaintiff's internal bid worksheet and plaintiff's purchase orders for materials used in construction of county jail. Court held plaintiff is entitled to recover more than its actual cost of labor and materials under Iowa Code chapter 573, but not necessarily the full amount of its contract. Plaintiff must show its contract price was "just" and "established by law." Motion granted as to internal bid worksheets, and denied as to pruchase orders for materials, subject to concurrent protective order.02/23/2009
-Dunaway v. McCollister & Co. -- Order on defendant's motion to exclude plaintiff's expert for late disclosure. Court found plaintiff failed to show late disclosures were either substantially justified or harmless, and awarded sanctions in the form of payment of deposition costs. 02/04/2009
-Winters v. Maples -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Court recommended denial of writ on all grounds, including petitioner's argument that sentence enhancement on the basis of habitual offender status violated the double jeopardy clause.02/02/2009
-Smith v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed double jeopardy when he was prosecuted for both contempt and escape after he failed to surrender himself to custody as ordered. Court found the two crimes have different elements, and double jeopardy was not implicated by dual prosecution.01/29/2009
-Weatherspoon v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Court found all of petitioner's claims were procedurally defaulted, and recommended denial of writ01/27/2009
-Roque v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed he was entitled to an interpreter or other staff assistance in defending two disciplinary actions. Court found petitioner failed to meet his burden to show state court erred in denying his claims01/14/2009
-Chisley v. Lund -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. Court found three of petitioner's claims in this 2254 action were unexhausted and procedurally defaulted, and ineffective assistance of PCR counsel, though clear, could not excuse procedural default.01/09/2009
-Leventhal v. Schaffer -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for partial summary judgment in this action for damages pursuant to 42 USC 1983. Court found officer was entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claims of false arrest and use of excessive force, and plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies on state law claims.12/31/2008
-Banta v. OS Restaurant Services, Inc. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion for summary judgment. Court found plaintiff had shown sufficient facts to defeat summary judgment on hostile work environment claim, but not on retaliatory discharge claim.12/01/2008
-Peterson v. Prosser -- Report and Recommendation on motion to dismiss filed by Iowa Attorney General regarding plaintiff's constitutional challenges to five Iowa statutes. Court found plaintiff's challenges to three of the statutes should be dismissed pursuant to either the abstention doctrine of Younger v. Haris, or the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, whichever is applicable. Court found plaintiff lacked standing to challenge constitutionally of the two other Iowa statutes.07/22/2008
-Nissen v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ correctly weighed the medical evidence in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity and finding claiant was not disabled.05/09/2008
-Smith v. Rogerson -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. In recommending the petition be denied, court found petitioner failed to show error in plea colloquy or that his attorneys were ineffective.04/23/2008
-Jones v. Wilder-Tomlinson -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. In recommending the petition be granted, the Court found no probable cause existed for Jones's arrest on drug paraphernalia charge in violation of city ordinance based solely on the presence of a small scale in the vehicle in which Jones was a passenger. 04/04/2008
-Russell v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. - Order denying defendant's Daubert motion to exclude expert testimony regarding design defect and failure to warn in case involving failure of spinal rods constructed of Commercially Pure Titanium.04/02/2008
-Sorenson v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. In recommending remand for immediate payment of benefits, court found ALJ erred in weighing the medical evidence, assessing claimant's residual functional capacity, evaluating claimant's crediblity, and posing an incomplete hypothetical question to the vocational expert.03/17/2008
-Dible v. Scholl -- Memorandum Opinion and Order of Dismissal. Plaintiff filed this action under 42 USC 1983, for damages resulting from loss of good time credit. Court held disciplinary notice issued to plaintiff was constitutionally deficient, and defendants were not protected by qualified immunity. However, in light of 12-15-07 opinion in Entzi v. Redmann, 485 F.3d 998 (8th Cir. 2007). court reluctantly concluded plaintiff's action was barred by Heck v. Humphrey.03/07/2008
-Risdal v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found claimant was not eligible for SSI benefits because he was a resident of a public institution, and he was not eligible for DI benefits because he lacked the requisite number of quarters of eligibility.02/20/2008
-Wensel v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying plaintiff's application for Title II disability benefits. Court found ALJ erred in weighing the opinion of claimant's treating physician regarding claimant's functional limitations, and in finding claimant's subjective complaints of disabling pain not to be credible.02/20/2008
-Wurth v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Court recommended motion be granted, finding case was not timely filed within sixty days after notice of decision was mailed to plaintiff's correct address, despite the fact that the notice was not received by his attorney until a month later due to an incorrect address for the attorney.11/19/2007
-Murray v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Issue concerned application of 20 CRF 404.1574a(a) & (c). Count fond claimant's earnings had not changed significantly as found by the ALJ, and recommended the decision be reversed.11/19/2007
-Frazier ex rel. McDonald v. Astrue -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying application for supplemental security income benefits on behalf of minor child. Court found record evidence proved minor child had at least marked limitation in four functional areas, and his impairments were equal or functionally equivalent to a listed impairment.09/28/2007
-McKee v. Astrue -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying claimant's application for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity and in giving greater weight to non-examining physician's opinion than he gave to opinions of two examining physicians and one treating physician. Court amended claimant's disaiblity onset date, holding claimant could not be found disabled for period when she was receiving unemployment compensation.09/27/2007
-Combs v. Astrue -- In reversing Commissioner's denial of Title II disability insurance benefits, court found ALJ erred in rejecting opinions of claimant's treating physicians, presenting inaccurate hypothetical questions to vocational expert, assessing claimant's residual functional capacity, failing to develop the record fully and fairly, and failing to consider dosage, side effects, and effectiveness of claimant's medications.09/20/2007
-Combs v. Astrue -- Supplemental 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 giving improper weight to opinion of records-review physician, which differed from opinions of examining and treating physicians; in relying on hypothetical question that failed to include all of claimant's impairments as supported by the record evidence; and in assessing claimant's credibility. 09/04/2007
-Awe v. I&M Rail Link -- Order deying plaintiffs' motion to vacate arbitrator's decision on unconscionability, and granting defendant's motion to dismiss the case. Court found retention and severance agreement between the parties was not a "contract of employment of . . . railroad employees" which would have excluded the contract from arbitration under section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act.09/04/2007
-Tomlinson v. Burt -- Report and Recommendation on respondent's motion to dismiss petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Court found all issues raised by petitioner to be unexhausted and procedurally defaulted. Court further found petitioner failed to meet his burden to identify new evidence sufficient to satisfy "actual innocence" standard. 08/23/2007
-Klepper v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security Income and Title II disability income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to develop the record adequately as to claimant's mental impairment. Court further found substantial evidence established claimant's disability.08/22/2007
-Heimlicher v. Steele, et al. -- Order on motions for summary judgment. Court found Iowa law is well settled that a wrongful death action cannot lie for an unborn fetus, and declined to certify question to Iowa Supreme Court. Court also held doctor's certification that patient was stabilized prior to transfer did not obviate EMTALA liability as a matter of law. Whether patient actually was stabilized prior to transfer, and whether doctor adequately deliberated and weighed medical risks and benefits of transfer, were questions for the jury.08/17/2007
-Hunter v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended reversal for calculation and payment of benefits, finding ALJ erred in ruling claimant's substance abuse disorder was a contributing factor material to her disability.06/05/2007
-Blum v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to include all of claimant's limitations in RFC assessment and in hpothetical questions to vocational expert, and failed to obtain clarification from claimant's long-time treating physician regarding work-related limitations. Court recommended remand for further development of the record and consideration of new evidence.05/22/2007
-Brinkmann v. Astrue -- 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 ignoring claimant's amended disability onset date, and in speculating about claimant's credibility based on past behavior before claimant got sober. Court recommended remand for further proceedings.05/09/2007
-Chapman v. Astrue - Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of SSI benefits. Court found claimant's limitations due to chronic back pain, side effects from pain medications, and need to change position frequently precluded her from gainful employment. In recommending reversal and remand for payment of benefits, court concluded ALJ erred in failing to give controlling weight to treating physicain's opinion, and in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity.04/12/2007
-JTV Mfg, Inc. v. Mazak Optonics Corp. -- Order denying plaintiff's motion to amend petition for declaratory judgment to add party. Court found that although third party might be a proper party, he was not a necessary party, and plaintiff failed to show good cause to add third party whose presence in the case would desetroy diversity jurisdiction. 04/03/2007
-McCabe v. Macaulay -- Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to exclude expert testimony. Court found one legal expert's testimony regarding whether probable cause existed for plaintiffs' arrests invaded province of court to make legal conclusions, and would not aid trier of fact in deciding issue of fact. Court denied motion as to second expert's opinion regarding injury to plaintiff's wrists from handcuffs.02/26/2007
-Mugan v. McGuire Law Firm02/20/2007
-Beck v. Astrue - In affirming Commissioner's decision denying claimant's appliccations for SSI and disability insurance benefits, court found ALJ's credibility assessment and determination of claimant's residual functional capacity were supported by substantial evidence.02/16/2007
-Combs v. McMahon -- Report and recommendation that court grant Commissioner's motion for entry of final judgment, and reversal and remand for further proceedings, pursuant to sentence four of 42 USC 402(g).01/22/2007
-Crandall v. Barnhart -- Order denying defendant's motion to amend/correct judgment.01/11/2007
-Straitt v. Straitt -- Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss be granted. Court found plaintiff had failed to show defendant had requisite minimum contacts with the State of Iowa to support personal jurisdiction over defendant in this court.01/08/2007
-Doctor John's Inc. v. City of Sioux City, Iowa -- Order on motions in limine and objections to appearance of counsel. Court denied motions to exclude evidence and witnesses in bench trial; denied request for in camera review of documnets and interview of City Attorney; and overruled plaintiff's objections to defendant's representation by attorney who is associated with attorney who formerly represented plaintiff in very limited capacity during workers' compensation matter.01/02/2007
-Dible v. Scholl and Maynard -- Order on parties' cross- motions for summary judgment. Former Iowa inmate (who had discharged sentence and been released) brought section 1983 action against State officials for violation of due process rights in connection with disciplinary notice that resulted in loss of good time credit. Court found disciplinary notice to be constitutionally deficient, and further found defendants were not entitled to qualitified immunity. Defendants' motion for summary judgment denied plaintiff's cross-motion granted; and case ordered to proceed to trial solely on issue of damages.12/20/2006
-Crandall v. Barnhart -- Order on judicial review from denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err in finding claimant's mental impairments not to be severe, but further found ALJ erred in failing to obtain updated evaluation of claimant's physical impairments and in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity. Court remanded case for calculation and award of benefits, but found disability onset date to be later than claimant alleged.12/15/2006
-Thompson v. Barnhart -- Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ's decision was not supported by substantial evidence in the record and reversed decision, but from a later disability onset date than claimant had alleged. 12/06/2006
-Estate of Storm v. Northwest Iowa Hospital Corp. -- Report and recommendation on plaintiff's motion to certify question. Finding the issue to be ripe for state court review, the court recommended certification to the Iowa Supreme Court of the question, "Does an unborn fetus have a cause of action for wrongful death under Iowa Code section 611.20."12/04/2006
-Vasquez v. Barnhart -- Order granting untimely motion for attorney fees under EAJA. Court held that because thirty day filing requirement is not jurisdictional, it may be waived by the Government, which expressly did not object and asked court to grant claimant's motion for fees.11/08/2006
-Balstad v. Barnhart -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision to deny claimant Title II Disability Insurance and Title XIV Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ improperly weighed the medical evidence, discredited the claimant's subjective complaints, and discounted the opinion of the claimant's treating physician.11/01/2006
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-Salz v. Stellar Industries (Order denying defendants' motion for summary judgment on gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge claims.)03/10/2004
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
-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
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