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.


CategoryCase NameDate Filed
Hide details for B - BankruptcyB - Bankruptcy
Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. v. Primebank and Crooked Creek Corp. v. Primebank and Oyens Feed & Supply, Inc. -- Report and Recommendation on appeal from a decision and judgment entered by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Court concluded two questions of statutory construction should be certified to the Iowa Supreme Court for resolution.05/05/2015Leonard T. Strand
First Security Bank & Trust Company v. Herman Vander Vegt, et al. (Bankruptcy, appeal by bank creditor from a decision of the bankruptcy court permitting debtors to incur additional debt for farm improvements, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 364(d), from a new creditor and the bankruptcy court’s denial of the bank’s motion to dismiss debtors’ Chapter 12 case for failure to timely file a reorganization plan; analysis of whether the bankruptcy court erred in its determinations that debtors had satisfied the requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 364(d) to permit them to incur secured debit and that the debtors had met the required standard, under 11 U.S.C. § 1221, for an extension to file their proposed reorganization plan; affirming the bankruptcy court in its entirety.)05/28/2014Mark W. Bennett
Timmerman, et al v. Eich, et al : (action by debtors and case trustee against former bankruptcy attorneys for malpractice and breach of warranty; bankruptcy attorneys’ motion for summary judgment: standing of the trustee to assert malpractice claims, involving the effect of 11 U.S.C. § 1207 on definition of property of the estate; subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy malpractice claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334; applicability of issue preclusion and judicial estoppel when prior judgment is by consent; applicability of doctrine of in pari delicto; availability of emotional distress damages for bankruptcy malpractice; availability of a breach of warranty claim with a malpractice claim; availability of punitive damages) 09/12/2011Mark W. Bennett
In re Doylene K. Roberts (Hanrahan v. Doylene K. Roberts); Order affirming Bankrupty Court's ruling that debtor could claim California property exempt under Iowa homestead exemption05/05/2011Linda R. Reade
Luken v. Edwards (Case brought under Title III of the Omnibus Crime and Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, as amended by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2520 (“Title III” or “the Act”) for intercepted telephone calls between plaintiff and other individuals, including his attorney, with pendent claims for invasion of attorney-client privilege, invasion of privacy, and under Iowa’s wiretapping act, Iowa Code § 808B.8; motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim; concluding that Amended Complaint’s factual allegations that plausibly stated claims under Title III, Iowa Code § 808B.8, and invasion of privacy, but dismissing invasion of attorney-client privilege claim because it is not recognized under Iowa law.05/03/2011Mark W. Bennett
In re Robert K. Miell (appeal by Chapter 11 debtor, facing sentencing on federal criminal charges and tax litigation, from the bankruptcy court’s denial of his motion to hire attorneys and to pay them from the estate: whether 11 U.S.C. § 105(a) can be used to provide a mechanism for payment of a debtor’s attorneys from the bankruptcy estate in a Chapter 11 case in the same way that 11 U.S.C. § 330(a)(4)(B) might provide for payment of attorneys from the bankruptcy estate in Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 cases.) 08/19/2009Mark W. Bennett
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court dismissed certain claims of an intervenor and EEOC because intervenor and alleged aggrieved individuals failed to disclose sex discrimination claims in their bankruptcy proceedings05/13/2009Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Roger Waldner; court sentenced defendant to 120 months imprisonment on his pleas of guilty to two counts of bankruptcy fraud, arising out of In Re H & W Motor Express Co, No. 02-2017 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa Jun. 12, 200207/07/2008Linda R. Reade
In Re Knudsen (Cross-appeals by family farmer debtors and the IRS of the bankruptcy court’s denial of family farmer debtors’ amended plan of reorganization in a Chapter 12 case: whether family farmers, who liquidated their slaughter hogs to convert their farming operation from a farrow-to-finish hog operation to a custom hog-raising operation, can obtain the benefits of 11 U.S.C. § 1222(a)(2)(A), as amended by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”), that would allow the taxes generated by the sale of their slaughter hogs to be treated as an unsecured claim against their bankruptcy estate subject to discharge; whether the determination of taxes receiving the beneficial treatment of § 1222(a)(2)(A) should be allocated according to the IRS’s “proration method” or the debtors’ “marginal method”; whether § 1222(a)(2)(A) is applicable to post-petition transactions; and whether post-petition taxes may be treated as administrative expenses of the estate in a Chapter 12 case)06/12/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Chris Pipkin; ordering defendant to make restitution despite an order of discharge over the restitution in bankruptcy court02/19/2008Linda R. Reade
Earl Harrison and Mariam P. Harrison vs. Rockwell Collins, Inc., Aetna Life Insurance Comany, and Rockwell Collins Employee Health Plan Number 700 (denial of benefits for hospital bills)09/25/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
In re H & W Motor Express Company; Larry S. Eide, Chapter 7 Trustee, Plaintiff, vs. Urban R. Haas and Patricia M. Haas, Individually and as Trustees of the Marie C. Haas Trusts, f/b/o Urban Andrew Haas, Christopher James Haas, Aimee Marie Haas, n/k/a Aimee Marie Haas Walsh and Catherine Anthoine Haas, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, vs. Roger Waldner, Third-Party Defendant; Order on motion to withdraw reference of case or proceeding within case 05/01/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Daniel P. Mitchell; Order granting defendant's motion for new trial01/04/2006Linda R. Reade
In Re Francis P. Takes and Mary L. Takes, Debtors; (LaSalle Bank, N.A. and Valley Bank, Appellants v. Frances P. Takes and Mary L. Takes); Order reversing Bankruptcy Court's finding that debtor's residence was completely exempt12/05/2005Linda R. Reade
In Re Iowa Oil Company, Debtor and Iowa Oil Company, Plaintiff v. Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Defendant; Appeal of bankruptcy court's decision denying setoff of credit card receipts retained by creditor pursuant to terms of franchise agreement for amounts retained both prepetition and postpetition and denying creditor's right to setoff or recoup amount of state fuel taxes paid by creditor on behalf of debtor and ordering that creditor turn over to the bankruptcy estate the full amount of credit card receipts retained by creditor. Reversed in part, affirmed in part and remanded. 09/30/2004Linda R. Reade
Wilson v. Sergeant (Appeal from United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa; debtor/appellants appeal from bankruptcy court’s ruling sustaining Trustee’s objection to exemption of debtor’s direct payments under Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (“Farm Bill”) as public assistance benefits under Iowa Code § 627.6(8)(a); as phrase “public assistance benefit” not defined by statute, court adopts plain meaning accorded to the phrase by In re Longstreet, 246 B.R. 611, 614 (Bankr. S.D. Iowa 2000); purpose behind direct payments under the Farm Bill matched purpose behind exempting public assistance benefits; exemption of public assistance benefits by Iowa legislature without any further elaboration left to local, state, and federal governments to determine which classes of persons were ‘needy’; exemption of Farm Bill payments consistent with statutory placement of “public assistance benefits”; exemption of Farm Bill payments furthered principles behind the Farm Bill as well as general purposes behind Iowa exemption statute; judgment of bankruptcy court respectfully reversed.)01/28/2004Mark W. Bennett
Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; Order on motion for remand and abstention; analysis of whether the action is "related to" the pending Enron bankruptcy in SDNY; application of mandatory abstention, permissive abstention and equitable remand11/17/2003Linda R. Reade
AUSA Life Insurance Co., et al. v. Citigroup, Inc., et al.; Order on motion for remand and abstention; analysis of whether the action is "related to" the pending Enron bankruptcy in SDNY; application of mandatory abstention, permissive abstention and equitable remand04/24/2003Linda R. Reade
Hide details for COM/CON - Commercial/Contract LitigationCOM/CON - Commercial/Contract Litigation
Opheim v. Standard Insurance Co. (Opinion on the merits in ERISA case involving claim by decedent’s husband for denial of life insurance benefits and the insurer’s third-party claim for a constructive trust against the decedent’s father to whom the insurer had paid the disputed benefits, if the court determined that the payment to the father was erroneous: The insurer’s denial of benefits to the decedent’s husband was an abuse of discretion and contrary to the “plan documents rule,” where the insurer paid the husband the benefits, demanded them back, then paid them to the decedent’s father, then refused to pay them to the husband pursuant to a later-discovered designation naming the husband as the beneficiary, which had been properly submitted to the decedent’s employer, but was not found in the insurer’s file; the insurer’s claim for a constructive trust was not a claim for equitable relief authorized by ERISA, because it did not seek a constructive trust over particular funds in the father’s possession, just the legal relief of recovery of funds from the father personally or his general assets)01/09/2018Mark W. Bennett
Eastern Iowa Plastics v PI, Inc.12/09/2016Edward J McManus
Minnesota Laweyers Mutual Ins. Co.11/29/2016Edward J McManus
Charleen Corrado v Life Investors Insurance Company08/11/2016Edward J McManus
Lequita Dennard, et al v. Aegon USA, et al07/05/2016Edward J McManus
Great Lakes Communication Corp. v. AT&T Corp. (Billing dispute between the plaintiff “competitive local exchange carrier” or CLEC, and an “interexchange carrier” or IXC over charges to the IXC by the CLEC for routing telephone calls to the CLEC’s purported “end users,” who are “Free Calling Parties” or FCPs, resulting from what the IXC contends is “access stimulation”: CLEC’s motion to enforce purported settlement agreement: the effect of the court’s intervening order referring issues to the FCC on ability to accept a settlement offer; requirement of a signed writing; sufficiency of the offer; and whether a party made a counteroffer of inquiry before accepting an offer)08/21/2015Mark W. Bennett
Great Lakes Communication Corporation v. AT&T Corporation (Billing dispute between the plaintiff “competitive local exchange carrier” or CLEC, and an “interexchange carrier” or IXC over charges to the IXC by the CLEC for routing telephone calls to the CLEC’s purported “end users,” who are “Free Calling Parties” or FCPs, resulting from what the IXC contends is “access stimulation”: IXC’s request for referral of this action to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on the basis of that agency’s “primary jurisdiction” over pertinent issues. Three issues, one identified by the IXC and two “supplemental” issues identified by the CLEC were referred, the case was stayed, and the jury trial was stricken)06/29/2015Mark W. Bennett
FDIC v. Dosland, et al. (action by FDIC, as receiver for a failed bank, seeking damages from the former officers and directors of the failed bank for gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, and third-party complaint by officers and directors against the United States, acting as the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), alleging violation of duties to the bank, officers, directors, shareholders, and accountholders by failing to analyze accurately the bank’s investments and to take more timely action to remedy the bank’s alleged investment violations; OTS’s motion to dismiss third-party complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) under the “discretionary function exception” to Federal Tort Claims Act jurisdiction) 03/06/2015Mark W. Bennett
FDIC-R v. Dosland, et al. (action by FDIC, as receiver for a failed bank, seeking damages from the former officers and directors of the failed bank for gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, and third-party complaint by officers and directors against the United States, acting as the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), alleging violation of duties to the bank, officers, directors, shareholders, and accountholders by failing to analyze accurately the bank’s investments and to take more timely action to remedy the bank’s alleged investment violations; third-party plaintiff’s motion for additional jurisdictional discovery to overcome the “discretionary function exception” to jurisdiction under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)) 02/11/2015Mark W. Bennett
Catipovic v. Turley (A former Iowa resident sued to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe, and the jury found no contract, but awarded $2 million for unjust enrichment; parties’ motions post-trial motions: defendant’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law and alternative motion for remittitur of damages or new trial; plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint post-trial to add a fraud claim purportedly tried by implied consent)01/29/2015Mark W. Bennett
Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as Receiver, et al. (Action by an insurer of former bank officers and directors against the FDIC, as receiver for a failed bank, seeking declaratory judgment concerning coverage of the FDIC-R’s claims against the officers and directors for gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty; plaintiff’s motion to strike affidavit of one director in support of opposing party’s motion for summary judgment; cross-motions for summary judgment on interpretation and construction of policy exclusions and plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on directors’ and officers’ counterclaims for breach of contract and breach of implied warranty)01/23/2015Mark W. Bennett
FDIC-R v. Dosland, et al. (action by FDIC, as receiver for a failed bank, seeking damages from the former officers and directors of the failed bank for gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty, and third-party complaint by officers and directors against the United States, acting as the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), alleging violation of duties to the bank, officers, directors, shareholders, and accountholders by failing to analyze accurately the bank’s investments and to take more timely action to remedy the bank’s alleged investment violations, third-party plaintiff’s motion for jurisdictional discovery to overcome the “discretionary function exception” to jurisdiction under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)) 10/07/2014Mark W. Bennett
Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, et al. (action by an insurer of former bank officers and directors against the FDIC, as receiver for a failed bank, seeking declaratory judgment concerning coverage of the FDIC-R’s claims against the officers and directors for gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty; plaintiff’s motion to strike certain affirmative defenses: appeals by the insurer and one of its reinsurers of magistrate judge’s order denying attorney-client privilege and work-product protection for documents consisting of communications between the insurer and its reinsurers, sought by the FDIC-R)10/03/2014Mark W. Bennett
Community Voice Line LLC v. Great Lakes Communication Corp., et al (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosted” the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services, and against various audio content providers; one “new” defendant’s motions to dismiss for forum non conveniens pursuant to Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013): pertinent factors weigh against dismissal for forum non conveniens, notwithstanding applicability of forum-selection clause to at least some of the claims)07/07/2014Mark W. Bennett
Community Voice Line, LLC v. Great Lakes Communication Corp, et al. (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosted” the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services, and against various audio content providers; “new” and “old” defendants’ motions to dismiss “new” claims in second amended complaint: Virginia defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue, based on a forum-selection clause, denied in light of Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013), and for lack of personal jurisdiction denied, because placement of 16 servers in Iowa to conduct the defendant’s business provided sufficient contacts with the forum; Iowa and Nevada defendants’ motion to dismiss denied as to fraud claims, because facts plausibly suggesting intent to defraud were adequately pleaded, and as to a conversion claim, because a possessory interest in telephone numbers could be “converted” under Iowa law, but granted as to a claim of a violation of the “anti-slamming” statute, 47 U.S.C. § 258, because, although a private right of action by a subscriber existed, the plaintiff had not alleged an unauthorized change in carrier) 05/06/2014Mark W. Bennett
Catipovic v. Turley (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; parties’ motions in limine to exclude numerous categories of evidence, including expert testimony and alleged witness intimidation.)04/18/2014Mark W. Bennett
General Electric Capital Corporation v. FPL Service (Motion by plaintiff commercial leasing corporation for summary judgment against defendant commercial lessee on liability and damages under commercial equipment lease; issues include: whether plaintiff is entitled to deficiency damages under the parties’ contract and, if so, how much; ruling grants summary judgment on the issue of damages, holding that plaintiff is entitled to, and correctly calculated, damages under the parties’ contract) 02/03/2014Mark W. Bennett
Jay & Deanna Clasing v. Hormel Foods Corporation (Action by hog finishers against a meat packing company for alleged breach of a 2008 oral contract between the parties for continued purchases of the hog finishers’ Canadian-born hogs after legislation implementing mandatory “country of origin labeling” (COOL) for pork became effective; meat packing company’s motion for summary judgment: notice required for changes to “pricing” and “delivery” terms and breach of those terms; nature of a claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; viability of implied contract claims where the parties do not dispute the existence of an enforceable express contract)01/21/2014Mark W. Bennett
General Electric Capital Corporation v. FPL Service Corp. (Motion by plaintiff commercial leasing corporation for summary judgment against defendant commercial lessee on liability and damages under commercial equipment lease; issues include: (1) whether an act of God discharges commercial lessee, (2) whether lease contract was a lease or a secured transaction, (3) whether commercial lessor complied with Article 9 disposition requirements, and (4) the amount of damages, if any; ruling grants summary judgment on the issue of liability, holds that the lease was really a secured transaction; and grants the parties additional time to submit evidence affecting the issue of damages)12/03/2013Mark W. Bennett
Community Voice Line LLC v. Great Lakes Communications Corp. (Action by provider of conference call services, recorded content, audio streams, and other business services, against an Iowa competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), which “hosting” of the telephone numbers that the service provider’s customers would call to obtain the provider’s services; provider’s motion for summary judgment on CLEC’s counterclaims for indemnity)10/11/2013Mark W. Bennett
Meighan v. Transguard Ins. Co. (Action by insured asserting claims of breach of contract and bad faith denial of claims; defendant insurance agency’s motion to dismiss, inter alia, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), on the ground that insured’s attempt to remedy failure to plead any factual basis for liability of agency, as opposed to insurer, by the simple expedient of alleging that the defendant insurer and defendant insurance agency individually and jointly engaged in the wrongful conduct at issue and are “jointly and severally liable” for it, then changing all of the former references to a single defendant to mean both defendants “collectively”; standards for post-dismissal leave to amend)10/11/2013Mark W. Bennett
Dumont Telephone Company v. Power & Telephone Supply Company, et al (Motion by defendant telecommunications supply company seeking to compel arbitration in contract dispute against plaintiff telecommunications provider; issue involves whether arbitration clause in one party’s forms became part of UCC contract between two merchants; ruling granting defendant’s motion to compel, and issuing a discretionary stay over plaintiff’s claims against co-defendants)08/26/2013Mark W. Bennett
Branimir Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; plaintiff’s objections to magistrate judge’s denial of leave to amend to add a fraud claim: standard of review for magistrate judge’s order on a non-dispositive matter; relationship between Rule 15 standards for leave to amend and Rule 9 pleading standards for fraud; whether magistrate judge’s order was clearly erroneous or contrary to law in denying leave to amend, based on magistrate judge’s determination that the plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to give rise to an inference of intention not to perform a promise at the time the promise was made)07/31/2013Mark W. Bennett
Plymouth County v. MERSCORP, Inc. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; ruling granting plaintiff’s contested motion for certification pursuant to Rule 54(b) that there is no just reason for delay of the entry of judgment, on orders dismissing all claims and denying leave to amend as futile, as to all but one bankrupt defendant, and directing entry of final judgment as to the dismissed defendants)06/05/2013Mark W. Bennett
Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Moens, et al. (Declaratory judgment action, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether an automotive passenger, who is a covered person under the terms of an automobile insurance policy covering the host automobile, and who is injured in an automobile accident, may recover underinsurance benefits under the insurance policy covering the host automobile, when that passenger is entitled to receive liability coverage benefits under that same policy.)03/25/2013Mark W. Bennett
Plymouth County, Iowa v. Merscorp, et al. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; county’s post-dismissal motion: request, pursuant to Rule 59(e), to consider the conditional request to amend overlooked in the court’s ruling on the defendants’ motion to dismiss; post-dismissal request to amend to assert a new legal theory for an “unjust enrichment” claim; clarification of standards applicable to conditional and post-dismissal motions to amend)10/16/2012Mark W. Bennett
Precision Press, Inc. v. MLP U.S.A., Inc. (Contract law; motion for partial summary judgment; in dispute over sale of commercial printer, determination of whether findings in an arbitration award should be given collateral estoppel effect, under Illinois law, on issues relating to the seller’s claim for monetary damages from the buyer.)08/24/2012Mark W. Bennett
Plymouth County v. Merscorp, Inc. (Putative class action by one Iowa county on behalf of all Iowa counties against corporations that operate a national registry that tracks ownership interests and servicing rights associated with residential mortgage loans, and against various member mortgage companies that use those services; defendants’ motion to dismiss: whether the county’s claims allege and depend upon a legal requirement to record mortgage assignments; whether Iowa law requires the recording of mortgage assignments; whether the county’s claim for “unjust enrichment” depends upon a legal requirement to record mortgage assignments)08/21/2012Mark W. Bennett
EAD Control Systems, LLC v. Besser Company, USA (Considering whether claim for unjust enrichment survives under Iowa law where express contract exists between the parties)06/19/2012Mark W. Bennett
Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; Irish defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismissfor lack of personal jurisdiction; Minnesota defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) motion, for improper venue, and Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.) 06/08/2012Mark W. Bennett
Aerostar, Inc. v. Haes Grain & Livestock, Inc., et al. : (Diversity action by manufacturer of wind systems against purchasers who paid an unauthorized dealer for, but never received, the manufacturer’s wind systems seeking declaratory judgment establishing the absence of any basis for liability of the manufacturer to the purchasers for payments that the purchasers made to the unauthorized dealer or for any damages or attorney’s fees; purchasers’ Rule 12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on insufficient amount in controversy: identification and application of standards for determining amount in controversy in declaratory judgment cases, effect of refusal of defendants to stipulate to an amount in controversy below the jurisdictional amount) 03/27/2012Mark W. Bennett
Minten v. Weber (Plaintiff, a longtime county deputy sheriff, alleged that his firing resulted from his offering to testify in support of the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the sheriff; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff engaged in protected speech, i.e. speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern; whether the sheriff took an adverse employment action against him; whether plaintiff’s speech was a motivating factor in the adverse action taken against him; and whether sheriff would have fired plaintiff regardless of whether he offered to testify )12/22/2011Mark W. Bennett
Blazek v. United States Cellular Corporation, et al. (Action by female retail wireless consultant for a cellular telephone company asserting claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII and the ICRA; defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss: “pleadings” within the meaning of Rule 10(c) and Rule 12(b)(6); plausibility of the plaintiffs’ sexual harassment and retaliation claims and allegations of individual liability) 11/28/2011Mark W. Bennett
Timmerman, et al v. Eich, et al : (action by debtors and case trustee against former bankruptcy attorneys for malpractice and breach of warranty; bankruptcy attorneys’ motion for summary judgment: standing of the trustee to assert malpractice claims, involving the effect of 11 U.S.C. § 1207 on definition of property of the estate; subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy malpractice claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334; applicability of issue preclusion and judicial estoppel when prior judgment is by consent; applicability of doctrine of in pari delicto; availability of emotional distress damages for bankruptcy malpractice; availability of a breach of warranty claim with a malpractice claim; availability of punitive damages) 09/12/2011Mark W. Bennett
Nam v. Quichocho & Atalig (Saipan real estate contract dispute between a Saipan lawyer lessor (and another co-owner) and a Korean businessman lessee arising from the lessors’ attempt to terminate the lessee’s 55-year lease, on which the lessee had made full payment up front, after only two years; cross-motions for summary judgment on the lessee’s claim for breach of fiduciary duty against the attorney lessor, premised on the lessee’s belief that he had an attorney-client relationship with the attorney lessor regarding the lease transaction, and on the lessee’s claims against both lessors for breach of contract and restitution; lessee’s motion for summary judgment on the lessors’ counterclaims for slander of title, breach of contract, express contractual indemnity, waste, and quiet title; and lessors’ motion to strike one declaration in support of the lessee’s motion for summary judgment)09/01/2011Mark W. Bennett
Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co. v. SMA Elevator Construction, Inc., et al.08/29/2011Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Russell Hawley & Hawley Insurance, Inc. (This civil action involves a Motion For Partial Summary Judgment filed on the part of defendants Russell T. Hawley and Hawley Insurance, Inc. (collectively the “defendants” or “Hawley”). Hawley alleges that amendments to the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, as set forth in the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (“FERA”), Pub. L. No. 111-21, § 4(f)(1), 123 Stat. 1617, 1625 (2009), do not apply to the present matter and, thus, he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Hawley further argues that even if the amendments do apply, such retroactive application would violate the Ex Post Facto clause and Hawley’s right to Due Process under the United States Constitution. The court granted Hawley’s Motion as to his claim that the FERA amendments to the FCA do not apply, because Hawley did not have a “claim,” or a demand for money to the NCCI pending on or after June 7, 2008. The court also granted Hawley’s Motion as to his claim that retroactive application of the FERA amendments to the FCA would result in violation of the Ex Post Facto clause of the United States Constitution, because the FCA’s statutory scheme is punitive in nature, and, thus, retroactive application of the amendments to the FCA would impose punishment for acts that were not punishable prior to enactment of the amendments.)08/01/2011Mark W. Bennett
In re Meta Financial Group, Inc., Securities Litigation(Putative class action by investors against a bank holding company and bank officers for securities fraud arising from failure to disclose an investigation by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) of a short-term credit program using prepaid debit cards: defendants’ motion to dismiss: whether plaintiffs adequately pleaded a § 10(b)/Rule 10b-5 claim and, in particular, the alleged misstatements and scienter, with the particularity required by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA), 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b); whether the plaintiffs adequately pleaded a § 20 “control person” liability claim)07/18/2011Mark W. Bennett
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. (action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: determination of whether any issues remain to be resolved after remand from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals: whether the court must now decide questions that it did not address in its original decision on the merits, which are whether the Schedule of Benefits is a summary plan description (SPD) or “faulty” SPD, which turn on the question of whether the terms of the purported SPD or “faulty” SPD conflict with the terms of the plan, as construed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)06/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
Cornerstone Consultants, Inc. & Qualy v. Production Input Solutions,LLC (action by an independent contractor arising from a company’s access to the contractor’s private e-mails, to and from separate e-mail accounts, stored on the company’s e-mail server with e-mails to and from the independent contractor’s account on the company’s e-mail service; defendants’ motion to dismiss a claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2701, a provision of the Stored Communications Act: whether, in light of the interplay between § 2701(a), creating a cause of action, and § 2701(c), excepting access authorized by certain entities from liability, the plaintiffs adequately pleaded that the company’s access to the company’s e-mail server, where the independent contractor’s e-mails were stored, was unauthorized or in excess of any authorization by the entity that “provided” the pertinent “electronic communications service”; whether state-law claims against the moving defendants should be dismissed, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), upon dismissal of federal claims against them, where a federal claim remained pending against a non-moving defendant)05/19/2011Mark W. Bennett
Precision Press, Inc. d/b/a Anderson Brothers Printing Company v. MLP USA, Inc. (Contract law; Motion to confirm arbitration award and motion to vacate arbitration award; order granting motion to confirm arbitration award and denying motion to vacate arbitration award; dispute over whether arbitration clause in sales agreement for commercial printer displaced review of the arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act with state law; review of the arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act; and determination of whether plaintiff’s grounds for vacating the arbitration award are among those cognizable under the Federal Arbitration Act.)05/11/2011Mark W. Bennett
Vis v. American Family Assurance Company of Columbus (insurance agent’s action against insurance company for breach of contract for failing to pay renewal commissions after termination: insurance company’s motion to compel arbitration: validity of the arbitration agreement as part of an alleged contract of adhesion and as unconscionable, because of disparity of bargaining power and lack of mutuality, where the arbitration clause excepted certain actions by the insurance company)04/21/2011Mark W. Bennett
In Re Iowa Ready-Mix Concrete Antitrust Litigation (Class-action lawsuit by purchasers of ready-mix concrete against producers and sellers of ready-mix concrete and certain of their officers, directors, owners, and employees who have pleaded guilty to criminal antitrust offenses, alleging an antitrust conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the price of ready-mix concrete in the “Iowa region”: defendants’ motions to dismiss: failure to plead factual support for allegations of an antitrust conspiracy; whether or not to grant leave to amend post-dismissal)03/08/2011Mark W. Bennett
Baker v. Catlin Specialty Insurance Co. (In this case, the court was asked to decide whether a pickup truck used to obtain fuel for refueling equipment on a salvage yard, constituted an “auto” or “mobile equipment” for purposes of determining liability for bodily injury or property damage under a commercial general liability insurance policy. The court concluded no genuine issues of material fact existed because the pickup truck was not insured for either bodily injury or property damage caused by negligence of its driver under the terms of the commercial general liability policy.)02/15/2011Mark W. Bennett
McGraw, et al. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC, et al. (Action by bilked investors seeking to recover from a securities broker’s employers sums that they gave the broker (now deceased) to invest in fictitious “special investments”; cross-motions for summary judgment: timeliness of two plaintiffs’ claims; theories of liability for remaining claims; summary judgment on direct liability claims, including the necessity of expert testimony on the existence and breach of relevant standards of care, existence of a duty to non-customers, and the existence and breach of the duty to monitor and fiduciary duty; summary judgment on vicarious liability claims, including the broker’s apparent authority from the brokerage firms, and the existence and breach of the broker’s underlying duty as to representations, duty as to suitability of investments, and fiduciary duty) 12/22/2010Mark W. Bennett
McGraw, et al. v. Wachovia Securities, LLC, et al. (Action by bilked investors seeking to recover from a securities broker’s employers sums that they gave the broker (now deceased) to invest in fictitious “special investments”; sua sponte order to clarify whether the plaintiffs’ remaining claims of “negligent supervision,” “negligent misrepresentation,” “negligence—suitability” [of investments],” and “breach of fiduciary duty” were based on direct or vicarious liability theories) 12/08/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dong & Lowery v. Royal Crown Insurance Corp. : (Action arising from the plaintiff insureds’ claims that their insurer failed to defend them against third-party claims arising from a motor vehicle accident in which insurer has also filed a counterclaim for indemnity and contribution against the insured who was driving the insured vehicle at the time of the accident, because he was intoxicated; motions for summary judgment by both the insurer and the insureds: statutory preemption of common-law claims; improper assignment of statutory claim; insurer’s duty to defend notwithstanding an DUI Exclusion Clause in the policy; and authorizations for and bars to the counterclaim to recover from the intoxicated insured; court’s summary judgment sua sponte on private action pursuant to statute barred by a decision of the Commonwealth Supreme Court after this case was filed) 10/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
The Prudential Insurance Co. of America, et al v. Inlay (Action by insurance company against former agent seeking temporary restraining order pending FINRA arbitration action to address claims of breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriate of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantages, and conversion; whether FINRA Arbitration Rule 13804 permitting a party to arbitration to seek a “temporary injunctive order” in court permits the court to enter a “preliminary injunction” or only a “temporary restraining order,” whether the Dataphase factors warranted a temporary injunction on the former agent’s conduct)07/28/2010Mark W. Bennett
SmithCo Manufacturing, Inc. v. Haldex Brake Products Corporation : (Action arising from the substitution by the defendant of a different air control valve for the one that the defendant had previously supplied, which the plaintiff uses in the air suspension system of the side-dump trailers that it manufactures; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: after voluntary dismissal of the plaintiff’s negligence claim, and denial of leave to amend to assert express warranty and promissory estoppel claims, the only question was whether the defendant was entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim on the ground that the plaintiff never informed the defendant, and the defendant had no reason to know, of the particular purpose for which the plaintiff intended to use the valve) 04/28/2010Mark W. Bennett
IVESCO Holdings, LLC v. Professional Veterinary Products, Ltd and ProConn, LLC; order granting partial summary judgment as to plaintiff's punitive damages claim03/17/2010Linda R. Reade
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc.(action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: whether the plaintiffs are responsible for any more than $8,000 of the medical expenses in question, as that is the amount identified in the plan as the annual “out-of-pocket maximum” for an individual for treatment from “non-participating providers,” where the insurance company declined to pay medical expenses totaling almost three times that amount, on the ground that various costs do not “apply” to the “out-of-pocket maximum”)03/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
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.12/22/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.11/17/2009Paul A. Zoss
Bodeans Cone Company, LLC, et al v. Norse Dairy Systems, LLC & Interbake Foods, LLC : (Antitrust action for injunctive relief and damages by one maker of novelty cones and ice cream sandwich wafers against another maker: plaintiff’s motion to exclude evidence of purportedly privileged documents, evidence of the parties’ future market shares, a list of makers of novelty ice cream products, correspondence with the Iowa Attorney General about an antitrust complaint against the defendant, and evidence of the principal’s vacation home; defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of customer responses to a survey conducted by a third-party consulting firm.)10/06/2009Mark W. Bennett
Armstrong, et al. v. Amercan Palltt Leasing, Inc. et al. (Securities litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1962, both the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. § 77, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78, as well as state common law claims; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) as to whether plaintiffs’ remaining state law claims against defendant bank derive from a common nucleus of operative fact and are of the type which ordinarily would be brought in a single lawsuit so as to give the court supplemental jurisdiction over all of the state law claims against bank; decision under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) concerning whether RICO § 1965(b) and/or § 27 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78aa, creates nationwide service of process permitting the court to exercise jurisdiction over defendants; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether plaintiffs’ RICO claims are based on securities fraud as predicate acts and thus barred by § 107 of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1965; determination of whether plaintiffs sufficiently pled claims under sections 10(b), 18 and 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b), 78r(a), 78t(a) and sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. §§ 77k and 77l; review of the adequacy of plaintiffs’ pleadings concerning state law claims for conversion, professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentations or nondisclosures, and fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions.)08/26/2009Mark W. Bennett
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.08/11/2009Paul A. Zoss
Settell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.: (claimant’s action against insurer and claim administrator for judicial review of denial of long-term disability benefits under ERISA plan: decision on the merits: claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) alleging improper denial of benefits, in light of opinions of treating physicians and the insurer’s consulting physicians; claim for imposition of a penalty pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) for failure to provide plan documents, including propriety of such a penalty against an insurer that was not the plan administrator)07/14/2009Mark W. Bennett
Accurate Controls, Inc. v. Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors, et al.: (Action pursuant to Iowa Code Ch. 573 by sub-subcontractor for electronic security systems for a new county jail to recover payment from the general contractor, the contractor’s surety, and the county board of supervisors after the electrical subcontractor that directly employed the sub-subcontractor defaulted: parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment: diversity subject matter jurisdiction of federal courts to hear an action where a state statute lays venue in the court of a particular county; timeliness of an Iowa Code Ch. 573 action; applicability of § 573.15, which requires detailed notice to a general contractor of “claims for material furnished,” to an entity that provided both material and labor; adequacy of invoices provided to subcontractor and forwarded to general contractor with subcontractor’s pay application to provide required notice to the general contractor of a claim for material furnished by a sub-subcontractor; available damages under Chapter 573; and continued viability of a Chapter 573 action against a county board that had released the retainage on payments to the general contractor upon completion of the project)06/18/2009Mark W. Bennett
Precision Press, Inc. d/b/a Anderson Brothers Printing Co. v. MLP USA, Inc. (Contract law, motion to dismiss, or alternatively, to stay pending arbitration; dispute over whether arbitration clause in sales agreement for commercial printer required dismal or stay of case; analysis of whether state or federal law governs the dispute; examination of whether Federal Arbitration Act applies to sale agreement’s arbitration clause, review of whether that arbitration agreement constituted an agreement to arbitrate the issues involved in the litigation; and determination of whether dismissal of case, as opposed to a stay pending arbitration, was permitted by the Federal Arbitration Act.)06/01/2009Mark W. Bennett
The Hamlin Group, LLC v. Third Generation Investments, et al. & Third Generation Investments v. Clocktower Development, LLC (commercial dispute over promise to transfer property for development involving, inter alia, claims of breach of contract and fraud: plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2): sufficiency of grounds for and factors pertinent to voluntary dismissal; meaning of portion of rule permitting voluntary dismissal, over defendant’s objections, when a counterclaim is pending, “only if the counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication”; relevance of third-party claim to voluntary dismissal analysis; sua sponte consideration of whether leave to assert third-party claim was improvidently granted, for failure to comply with Rule 14, and sua sponte dismissal of third-party claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, because third-party claim, properly construed as claim for Rule 19 required joinder of necessary party, would deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction)05/05/2009Mark W. Bennett
Farmers Cooperative Company v. Swift Pork Company & LOL Finance Company (Action by a local farm cooperative to recover a pig producer’s unpaid feed bill from the purchaser of the producer’s pigs and the producer’s finance company for disregarding the cooperative’s agricultural supply dealer’s lien pursuant to Iowa Code Ch. 570A; cross-motions for summary judgment, inter alia, on the statute of limitations applicable to the cooperative’s claim: whether the applicable statute of limitations for the cooperative’s claims is Iowa Code § 614.1(4) (five years) or Iowa Code § 614.1(10) (two years); if the applicable statute of limitations is § 614.1(10), whether the finance company is equitably estopped to assert the statute of limitations defense by alleged representations that the cooperative would be paid for the pig producer’s unpaid feed bill)03/16/2009Mark W. Bennett
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.02/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Harker's Distribution, Inc. v. Reinhart Foodservice, LLC (action for declaratory judgment concerning calculation of purchase price following defendant’s acquisition of plaintiff’s customers in Illinois and Wisconsin: defendant’s motion to compel arbitration: whether a clause in the parties’ asset purchase agreement requiring submission of disputes about adjustments to the purchase price to a national accounting firm acceptable to both parties constituted an enforceable agreement to arbitrate)01/20/2009Mark W. Bennett
Schwebach v. United Dairy Workers of LeMars & Wells Dairy, Inc. (Motion for Summary Judgment; defendant Wells Dairy, Inc. claims that plaintiff Gary Schwebach did not exhaust his contractual grievance remedies under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement because he failed to request that defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars pursue his claim in writing, on an approved form; defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars had pursued his claim without first requiring the plaintiff to request that they do so in writing, on an approved form; the court decided that plaintiff did exhaust his remedies under the collective bargaining agreement.)11/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
Verasun v. Industrial Air Technology Corp. (Products Liability, diversity action involving claims for negligence, strict liability, breach of implied warranties, and breach of contract arising from industrial accident where fans installed in ethanol plant failed, forcing a shut down of the plant, cross-motions for partial summary judgment and summary judgment, analysis of whether manufacturer’s price quotation constituted offer, analysis of whether buyer’s responsive purchase order constituted acceptance or acted as counter-offer) 11/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
Vincent Johnson & Julie Johnson v. American Leather Specialties Corp. & Shopko Stores, Inc.(Products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the plaintiffs residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Minnesota law, the law of the place where the product was marketed to plaintiffs and sold; having concluded that Iowa law governs in case, addressing plaintiffs’ contention that application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution on the ground that the State of Iowa’s enactment of tort reform in § 613.18(1) deprived plaintiffs of previously held causes of action under the common law; addressing whether application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes a violation of the Iowa State Constitution’s Inalienable Rights Clause, Iowa Const. art. I, § 1.)09/29/2008Mark W. Bennett
Thompson, Hinrichsen, Fogel, Alm, & Boe v. United Transportation Union--Motion to Amend Complaint. Issues: Tmeliness and Futility (Preemption and Duty of Fair Representation)09/25/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
Jones v. Wilder-Tomlinson (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; petitioner claims that her Sixth Amendment rights were violated when neither of her two attorneys filed a timely motion to suppress evidence obtained due to her warrantless arrest; the court decided: whether there had been an adjudication on the merits of the probable cause to arrest claim, whether the petitioner had properly exhausted available state remedies, and whether one or both of petitioner’s attorneys had been ineffective in violation of the Sixth Amendment.)09/04/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wachovia Securities LLC v. Stanton : (Securities broker-dealer’s action for preliminary injunctive relief pending arbitration before FINRA against former registered representative now employed with competitor: broker-dealer’s motion for temporary restraining order: broker-dealer’s likelihood of success on claims of breach of non-disclosure and non-solicitation provisions of employment contract and violation of the Iowa Trade Secrets Act, and broker-dealer’s showing on the irreparable harm, balance of harms, and public interest “Dataphase factors”) 08/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Food Movers International, Inc. (motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, standards for motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), standards for personal jurisdiction analysis, )07/08/2008Mark W. Bennett
American Family Ins. v. Robert Miell -- Post-Trial Motions: new trial (testimony & other "bad acts," punitive damage instruction); judgment as a matter of law or in the alternative to amend judgment (judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Iowa Code Sec. 515.101, punitive damages award "unconstitutionally excessive?); attorney fees; bill of costs)07/01/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
McNeal v. SDG Macerich Properties, L.P., et al. (removed action by African American business owner against owner and managers of a shopping mall pursuant to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.7, for racial discrimination in public accommodations in the leasing of store space and harassment; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of an allegedly phony signature on one of three originals of a lease; evidence of a subsequent investigation by a city attorney and member of the civil rights commission; evidence of emotional distress of anyone other than the plaintiff; evidence of the plaintiff’s prior attempts to lease space in the mall; evidence of future profits of the plaintiff’s business; and evidence of settlement offers or negotiations; plaintiff’s motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of the plaintiff’s husband’s previous civil rights litigation; and evidence that the defendants filed suit first by bringing a small claim for unpaid rent)07/01/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Hawley (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; motions in limine: plaintiff’s motion in limine: admissibility of evidence of reimbursement and payment procedures under reinsurance agreement; defendants’ motion in limine: admissibility of evidence disclosed after the close of discovery; evidence of the defendants’ financial condition; references to “experts”; expert opinions on legal issues and results to reach; evidence that the defendant forged insureds’ names or accepted forged signatures; evidence of other “bad acts”; evidence of memoranda of witnesses’ statements; and evidence of plea agreements of ineligible insureds)06/23/2008Mark W. Bennett
Robert Rakes and Robert Hollander, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated v. Life Investors Insurance Company of America; order granting motion for summary judgment for defendant insurance company in a class action lawsuit due to disclosures by defendant insurance company negating the alleged fraudulent omissions and representations forming the basis of the plaintiffs' complaint06/20/2008Linda R. Reade
Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC & Evan Parks (Action by investor against stock broker and account representative for charging improper mark ups and mark downs on stock transactions; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether the parties had a contract requiring the broker to charge only “reasonable” commissions; whether the broker breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing by charging “unreasonable” commissions, in the form of mark ups and mark downs; whether the broker was subject to any fiduciary duty to the investor to charge only “reasonable” commissions; whether the broker’s conduct in charging mark ups and mark downs constituted “misappropriation/theft,” which the court construed as whether such conduct constituted “conversion”; and whether the broker’s conduct constituted “fraud,” in the form of fraudulent non-disclosure, under the common law or state or federal securities acts, where the investor asserted that the mark ups and markdowns were only disclosed in a misleading or confusing manner; whether the investor ratified the allegedly wrongful mark ups or mark downs or demonstrated that the were not material by continuing to make trades through the broker after discovering the allegedly unreasonable and fraudulent mark ups and mark downs)06/06/2008Mark W. Bennett
The O.N. Equity Sales Company v. Pals, et al. (Action by securities broker-dealer to enjoin NASD arbitration action by investor; broker-dealer’s motion to set aside judgment compelling arbitration and denying preliminary injunction pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure based on “newly discovered evidence” and “fraud”) 05/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Lee Borntrager, et al v. Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund--Motions for Summary Judgment (trust agreement in violation of fed. law?; arbitrary & capricious actions?; bad faith or improper motive?)04/22/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Hawley : (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; cross-motions for summary judgment: elements of FCA claims pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) (presenting false claim to government officer or employee), (a)(2) (using a false record or statement to get a claim paid or approved), and (a)(3) (conspiracy to defraud the government using false claims) and common-law claims of fraudulent concealment and “mistake of fact”)04/03/2008Mark W. Bennett
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America and United Auto Workers Local 13 v. Rousselot, Inc. (motions for summary judgment--compel arbitration and attorney fees)02/29/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
Cedar Rapids Television Company d/b/a KCRG-TV9 v. MCC Iowa LLC and MCC Illinois LLC; order re bench trial11/30/2007Linda R. Reade
Richard L. McGowan, LTD., Inc., vs. Soy Basics, L.L.C. (bench trial, breach of contract)11/08/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Randal E. McCullough v. AEGON USA, Inc., Board of Directors Patrick S. Baird, James A. Beardsworth, Kirk W. Buese, Tom A. Schlossberg, Arthur C. Schneider, Mary Taiber, James R. Trefz, Transamerica Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company, Transamerica Investment Management LLC, Diversified Investment Advisors, Inc. and Does 1-20; order granting defendants' motion for partial summary judgment 10/30/2007Linda R. Reade
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: plaintiff’s petition for attorney fees and expenses after court’s ruling imposing Rule 11 sanctions on the corporate defendant and its attorneys for filing a preliminary injunction motion lacking sufficient evidentiary support and for an improper purpose: reductions of fees claimed for lack of direct relationship to sanctionable action and “block billing,” and a further reduction to an amount sufficient to serve the deterrent purpose of a Rule 11 fee award)09/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
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.09/04/2007Paul A. Zoss
Carolyn Brown, et al. v. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; granting defendant's motion for partial summary judgment where the parties entered into a release that was governed by Illinois law; determining that defendant was released from all liabilities for the period up to December 31, 2002.08/29/2007Linda R. Reade
Moore Development, LTD., vs. M.G. Midwest, Incl, d/b/a Movie Gallery; a/k/a Movie Gallery US, LLC; a/k/a Movie Gallery US, Inc. (breach of contract, promissory/equitable estoppel, intentional interference with prospective business relations)08/13/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (patent infringement suit involving patents for “detectable” hypodermic needles for livestock: claim constructions after Markman hearing)08/10/2007Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. ((patent infringement suit; plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against defendants and their counsel pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and/or the court’s inherent authority for filing their motion for preliminary injunction, which asserted that the plaintiff was committing false advertising and threatening public safety by selling patented “detectable” hypodermic needles for use on livestock that are not actually “detectable” within the meaning of the meat processing, veterinary, and detectable needle industries: finding violations of Rule 11(b)(3) for filing a motion lacking evidentiary support and Rule 11(b)(1) for filing a motion for an improper purpose, imposing sanctions in the form of part of plaintiff’s attorney fees for litigating the preliminary injunction motion, and imposing such sanctions against the corporate defendant, defendants’ outside counsel, and defendants’ local counsel, but declining to impose other sanctions.)07/03/2007Mark W. Bennett
Western Reserve Life Assurance Company of Ohio v. G. Randall Bratton, Bratton Financial Services Corporation, Bratton International, Inc. and Betty Bratton; bench trial order granting declaratory judgment in favor of insurance company; finding against independent marketing organization and its owner/agents on their counterclaims of breach of oral contract, promissory estoppel, implied-in-fact contract for services (quantum meruit) and unjust enrichment; entering judgment in favor of insurance company 06/26/2007Linda R. Reade
CNH Capital America LLC. vs. Tim McCandless, d/b/a McCandless Farms (motion in limine-contract)06/22/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
American Family Mutual Insurance Company vs Robert Miell Robert Miell vs Brett Throlson and Brett Throlson Agency, INC. (motion for summary judgment on negligence, contribution, & indemnification)05/23/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
CNH Capital America LLC vs. Tim McCandless, d/b/a McCandless Farms (breach of contract, aiding & abetting, conspiracy, fraudulent misrepresentation)05/18/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
General Electric Capital Corp. v. Commercial Services Group, Inc. : (Suit for breach of contract against debt collector by client corporation; plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on defendant’s counterclaim of tortious interference with existing and prospective contracts and business relationships: whether plaintiff’s conduct in notifying affected third parties of the termination of the contract between the plaintiff and the defendant was “wrongful” as required to sustain the counterclaim)04/26/2007Mark W. Bennett
Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim, equal protection claim, claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX claims, claims brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, and Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; analysis of school district’s knowledge of the harassment, examination of whether the school district was deliberately indifferent to harassment, review of the severity and pervasiveness of the harassment, analysis of whether the school district was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and was immune from liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, examination of whether school district breached a duty to plaintiffs to protect them from student-on-student harassment, and with regard to plaintiffs’ premises liability claim, analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact had been generated as to whether harm to plaintiffs caused by physical assaults at school was reasonably foreseeable)04/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments v. Rivard Instruments (patent infringement suit involving a false advertising counterclaim pursuant to § 43(a) of the Lanham Act: defendant’s motion for preliminary injunction based on allegedly false advertising of plaintiff’s livestock hypodermic needles as “detectable”: consideration of “Dataphase factors” and elements of a false advertising claim to determine whether the court should issue a preliminary injunction requiring a ban on sales and a recall of plaintiff’s “detectable” needles).03/28/2007Mark W. Bennett
Premium Iowa Pork, L.L.C. v. Banss Schlacht Und Foerdertechnik, GMBH (suit by meat packing complaing alleging fraudulent inducement to enter into a written agreement for a scalding and dehairing system by defendant; platiniff's motion for entry of default judgment and award of damages under fradulent inducement, breach of oral contract, and promissory estoppel and whether or not the court may award punitive damages or attorney's fees in this action)03/24/2007Mark W. Bennett
Kirk Draper and Laurie Draper v. Wellmark, Inc.; summary judgment granted; finding that Plaintiff's ERISA claim was barred by the contractual limitations provision in the insurance certificate; finding that plaintiff's common law negligent misrepresentation claim was preempted by ERISA because it had a connection with and related to an ERISA plan.03/15/2007Linda R. Reade
John MorrCommercial litigation, defendants’ motion to dismiss, conflict of law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the majority of the defendants, or South Dakota law, the law designated in the parties’ agreements as controlling, addressing whether contract claims fail as a matter of law because the defendants are not explicitly named in the contracts but were entered by defendants using a trade name or doing business as designation, addressing whether plaintiff stated an unjust enrichment claim against defendants where plaintiff has also pleaded contract claims and did not allege that there is no adequate remedy at law for its claim)03/05/2007Mark W. Bennett
Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC (suit by investor alleging improper overcharges by securities broker and its account representative; defendants’ motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings: whether, as a matter of circuit law, an “introducing broker” and its agent are entitled to enforce an arbitration clause in a contract between an investor and a “clearing broker” to which the “introducing broker” and its agent are not parties, because they are agents of the “clearing broker” or a third-party beneficiaries of the contract between the customer and the “clearing broker”; whether the “clearing broker” is an indispensable party within the meaning of Rule 19(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to litigation involving claims of fraud based, at least in part, on notices of account activity actually sent by the “clearing broker,” such that the case is subject to arbitration)02/21/2007Mark W. Bennett
Union Pacific Company v. Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company (dispute between two railroads over purported agreement to share costs of construction of a rail interchange yard; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: failure of defendant to meet conditions precedent in written contract; failure of defendant to generate genuine issues of material fact on “implied-in-fact” contract claim, whether construed as “quantum meruit,” “promissory estoppel,” or “unjust enrichment” claim)02/09/2007Mark W. Bennett
McLeodUSA v. Qwest (litigation between providers of telecommunications services concerning payment for each other’s services; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ “tort” counterclaims for negligent misrepresentation, conversion, trespass, fraud, fraudulent concealment, and negligence as duplicative of “contract” counterclaims: ability to plead alternative theories of recovery; sufficiency of pleading of required element that the alleged tortfeasor is in the business or profession of supplying information to support of negligent misrepresentation claims; and requirement that statute or regulation on which a negligence claim is based explicitly or implicitly authorize a private cause of action)01/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Leading Edge Developmental Services v. Enxco, Inc. (Contract law, motions for summary judgment; dispute over whether plaintiff was entitled to an abatement success fee; analysis of whether plaintiff’s refund of certain money paid to it by defendant constituted a condition precedent to plaintiff’s qualifying for the abatement success fee; and, whether the parties had made a mutual mistake as to the date certain that plaintiff was required to make the required refund of money paid to it by defendant. )12/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
Torgeson v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America & Mason City Clinic, PC (Judicial review under ERISA concerning eligibility for long-term disability (LTD) benefits: memorandum opinion and order on the merits on written submissions: applicable standard of review; objective evidence; treating physicians’ opinions; and co-morbidity of conditions)12/06/2006Mark W. Bennett
Interbake Foods, LLC v. Tomaeillo, et al (Suit by employer against former employee and his current employer alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and other confidential information; motion for preliminary injunction; court held (1) federal standards rather than state law standards would be applied to determine whether preliminary injunction should issue; (2) Iowa substantive law applied to the plaintiff’s claims; (3) application of the Dataphase factors requires issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining disclosure of Interbake’s trade secrets by Tomasiello and misappropriation of those secrets by his current employer; (4) application of those same factors does not require issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining Tomasiello’s continued employment with BoDeans as it relates to wafer manufacturing; (5) a preliminary injunction of appropriate scope should issue after the posting of adequate security; (6) plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore granted in part, and denied in part.)11/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Mark & Zelene Schilling (Action for declaratory judgment by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) against the defendants requesting this court declare the FSA has a valid secured interest in a certain parcel of real property known as the Section 31 farm property; following denial of summary judgment, this court held a bench trial; bench order regarding the merits concludes: (1) the Schillings are unable to establish fraud, misrepresentation or any other independent reason justifying reformation or rescission of the contract; (2) the court is forced, albeit reluctantly, to find in favor of the plaintiff; (3) it is therefore declared, adjudged and decreed that the FSA has a valid mortgage against the Section 31 farm property by reason of the mortgages executed on April 23, 1997 and April 22, 1998; (4) as Counts Two and Three of the plaintiff’s complaint request alternative relief, these counts are hereby denied as moot.)09/27/2006Mark W. Bennett
Pro Edge. Ltd. v. Gue, (action for violation of trade secrets, intentional interference with existing and prospective contracts, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; motion to execute upon injunction security and additional damages, and motion for attorney fees and expenses; discussion of whether motion to execute on the injunction bond was timely; discussion about whether party was limited to amount of the injunction bond, whether party seeking to execute on the injunction bond had mitigated his damages; analysis of what would constitute equitable award in this case and whether attorney fees were recoverable against party seeking preliminary injunction.)09/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Mark Schilling & Zelene Schilling (Action for declaratory judgment by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) against the defendants requesting this court declare the FSA has a valid secured interest in a certain parcel of real property; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment denied; based on choice of law rules, Iowa law governs; although the four corners of the mortgage documentation clearly granted the FSA a valid mortgage over the disputed property, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a mutual mistake occurred and whether the correct parcel of property was accurately identified in the parties’ contract; alternatively, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether a unilateral mistake had occurred and if so, whether the mistake was caused by fraud or misrepresentation. )08/25/2006Mark W. Bennett
Kopple v. Schick Farms, Ltd., et al. v. Schoneman, et al. (Contract law, motions for summary judgment; dispute over whether written letter of intent for the purchase of all shares in a closely-held corporation that was signed by both parties constituted an enforceable contract; analysis of whether parties concluded an oral agreement for the purchase of the shares; and, whether the court’s finding that there was no enforceable contract between the parties renders moot defendant/third-party plaintiffs’ claims against real estate broker.08/24/2006Mark W. Bennett
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; concluding that when defendants joined the alleged conspiracy they purposefully availed themselves of the privileges of conducting activities in Iowa, the forum state; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)06/26/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to reconsider ruling on motion to dismiss to consider alternative motion to stay and plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint: motion to amend should be addressed before motion to reconsider, because it might, and in this case did, moot portions of the motion to reconsider; standards for reconsideration of an interlocutory order and standards for a stay of proceedings: claims of amended complaint that required determination of issue of whether the plaintiff was infringing the defendants’ Canadian patent were stayed pending determination of infringement issue by Canadian court).06/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
International Motor Contest Association, Inc. v. Staley, et al. (copyright litigation between sponsors of automobile racing involving copyrights on plaintiff’s contest rules; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ counterclaims and to strike defendants’ affirmative defenses of “copyright misuse” and “unclean hands” under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and because they are legally insufficient)06/19/2006Mark W. Bennett
Sherri Jo Reid dba Colonial Square Tax and Accounting v. Pekin Insurance Co. v. Steve Klocke and Kathy Klocke; Order regarding motion for partial summary judgment06/06/2006Linda R. Reade
Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of other bad faith lawsuit against it, its incentive plans for employees, a report of an “in house” doctor, and damages other than emotional distress; plaintiff’s motion to exclude a variety of evidence, including evidence of the defendant’s handling of the plaintiff’s other workers compensation claims, his sexual activities, penalty benefits on workers compensation claims, government benefits such as unemployment compensation, settlement negotiations concerning the bad faith claim, the “good acts” of the defendant, the defendant’s reliance on advice of counsel, and information learned by the defendant after the arbitration hearing)06/01/2006Mark W. Bennett
Western Reserve Life Assurance Co. of Ohio v. G. Randall Bratton, Gary G. Bratton, Bratton Financial Services Corporation and Bratton International, Inc.; life insurance company sued agents and their independent marketing organization seeking a declaratory judgment; the court analyzed Iowa law and dismissed the claims against AEGON USA, Inc., the holding company that owns WRL; dismissed the negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation counterclaims; and determined that there was a genuine issue of material fact remaining on the counterclaims for breach of contract, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel05/10/2006Linda R. Reade
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss: individual defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and forum non conveniens, and to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process; corporate defendant’s joinder in motion to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process, and to dismiss commercial tort claims for forum non conveniens and failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted; plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against corporate defendant on unchallenged claim of infringement of United States patent).05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: admissibility of evidence that goes to both liability and damages, particularly punitive or exemplary damages; the plaintiff's ability to use excerpts of videotaped depositions of the insurer's adjustors in his case-in-chief, when those adjustors will be present at the trial; and the extent to which the plaintiff can obtain and present to the jury financial information concerning the insurer's parent company for purposes of punitive damages; defendant’s motion to bifurcate compensatory damages and punitive damages issues for trial: pertinent factors for bifurcation, including prejudice)05/03/2006Mark W. Bennett
Pro-Edge L.P., et al. v. Gue (Partial motion for summary judgment and motion to dissolve preliminary injunction; motion sought summary judgment with respect to Count I of the plaintiffs’ complaint, which requested injunctive relief enjoining the defendant from violating the non-competition provisions of his employment contract; motion further sought dissolution of the preliminary injunction enjoining the defendant from performing any services similar to those he provided while employed by the plaintiffs; defendant contended the plaintiffs could not demonstrate they obtained the defendant’s written consent prior to assigning the employment agreement to a different business entity that resulted from the corporation’s transformation in business structure; plaintiffs argued the defendant’s consent could be inferred by virtue of his consent to the transactions in his capacity as a shareholder, his later ratification of the assignment, and his continued employment; court held that (1) sufficient evidence existed to infer the defendant’s employment agreement was included in the global of transfer of assets to the new business entity; (2) based on the complexity of the transaction, an “assignment” within the meaning of the employment agreement occurred, thereby requiring the defendant’s prior written consent; (3)the plaintiffs could not demonstrate the defendant’s prior written consent had been obtained by relying on the Stock Purchase Agreement and Statement of Unanimous Consent signed by the defendant as a shareholder; (4) the doctrine of ratification was not appropriately applied to the facts of the case; (5) even if a theory of ratification was a viable option in this case, the defendant’s continued employment, in and of itself, is insufficient indicia of ratification; (6) summary judgment is granted with respect to Count I and the preliminary injunction is dissolved based on the plaintiffs’ inability to prevail on the merits of their claim.)03/07/2006Mark W. Bennett
Dewey v. Chertoff (action involving a federal employee’s claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: proper defendant for such an action, whether untimeliness of a first report of harassment under 29 C.F.R. § 1014.105(a)(1) bars such a claim, whether the defendant knew or should have known of the harassment, and whether the plaintiff could generate genuine issues of material fact on a causal connection between her report of harassment and her termination where she failed to comply with her employing agency’s request for medical documentation in support of her extended absence) 02/27/2006Mark W. Bennett
Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; defendant’s second summary judgment motion: rejecting the defendant’s contention that Bellville v. Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, 702 N.W.2d 468 (Iowa 2005), changed Iowa law for the “fairly debatable” element of a bad faith claim; granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on liability for bad faith, but leaving damages for trial)02/06/2006Mark W. Bennett
Pro Edge L.P., et al. v. Gue (Motion to modify preliminary injunction; motion sought to modify the preliminary injunction previously issued by this court on June 1, 2005 by fixing a specific date, prior to the anticipated trial date, on which the preliminary injunction would dissolve; defendant contended the expiration date should be set for one year from the date he quit his employment with the plaintiff; plaintiff contended the date should be set for one year from the date the defendant actually quit providing competing services; court held that (1) modification of the preliminary injunction was warranted in light of changed circumstances, and (2) equity demanded the injunction continue for one year after the date the defendant quit providing competing services with the plaintiff; the prelminary injunction modified to reflect an expiration date of May 18, 2006.)01/31/2006Mark W. Bennett
Baxter v. Briar Cliff College Group Insurance Plan, et al. : (Suit by ERISA plan beneficiary against the plan, the plan administrator, and the plan insurer for judicial review of reduction of disability benefits; cross-motions for summary judgment; whether the insurer of the ERISA plan properly reduced the plaintiff’s disability benefits under the plan by the amount of estimated Social Security disability benefits to which the insurer contended that the plaintiff had a “right,” even though the plaintiff had not been awarded, or even applied for, such Social Security disability benefits; whether the plan administrator or insurer timely provided the plaintiff with copies of all plan documents upon her request as required by ERISA and pertinent regulations) 01/18/2006Mark W. Bennett
The Conveyor Company v. Sunsource Technology Services, Inc. (Suit by manufacturer of stinger stacker that collapsed against supplier of hydraulic lift package; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment: distinctions between claim for breach of warranty of merchantability and claim of breach of warranty for a particular purpose, “economic loss rule” as bar to tort claims for strict liability and negligent misrepresentation, and nature of the duty required to support a claim for negligent misrepresentation)11/02/2005Mark W. Bennett
Wagner Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a The Jym Bag Company v. John Deere Shared Services, Inc., f/k/a Deere Marketing Services, Inc.; In a case involving an alleged oral modification of a written licensing agreement, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the modification failed for lack of consideration, indefinite terms and lack of mutual assent; defendant argued plaintiff could not claim the contract had been modified and breached, due to the doctrine of merger; defendant further argued the alleged oral statement was too indefinite to establish a claim of promissory estoppel; court agreed with defendant and dismissed plaintiff’s breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims; court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on both counts10/31/2005Linda R. Reade
Van Horn, et. al. v. Van Horn, et. al. (Dispute between father and two children as to ownership in holding company; action was stayed in this court pending arbitration of the parties’ dispute; following issuance of arbitral award and disposal of post-arbitration motions, defendant-children filed a motion to lift the stay and confirm arbitration award in this court; defendants further filed motions to dismiss their remaining counterclaims against the plaintiff and involuntary plaintiff; plaintiff-father resisted the defendants’ motion to confirm the arbitral award asserting the dispute should have never been submitted to arbitration or, in the alternative, that the award should be vacated on a number of grounds; finding the matter fully arbitrated and submitted to the court, the motion to lift the stay is granted; the court would not reconsider its prior ruling compelling arbitration of the parties’ dispute based on the employment of the law of the case doctrine; the plaintiff failed to proffer sufficient evidence demonstrating any statutory or extra-statutory ground for vacation or denial of confirmation under § 10 of the FAA; motion to confirm arbitration award granted; motion to vacate arbitration award denied; motions to dismiss counterclaims against plaintiff and involuntary plaintiff granted; parties ordered to divide costs are evenly among the parties, with each party bearing the expense of their own witnesses.)10/19/2005Mark W. Bennett
Medical Associates Health Plan, Inc. dba Medical Associates Health Maintenance Organization v. CIGNA Corporation; Order on motions for summary judgment - breach of contract10/06/2005Linda R. Reade
GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's application for attorneys fees10/06/2005Linda R. Reade
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity and for lack of personal jurisdiction; fraudulent concealment claim not plead with requisite particularity where; plaintiff granted leave to replead fraud based claims; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)09/16/2005Mark W. Bennett
GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's motion for remand09/06/2005Linda R. Reade
Weyerhaeuser Corporation d/b/a Cedar River Paper Company v. D.C. Taylor Company; In a ruling on the merits following a bench trial regarding whether the defendant's construction of two paper mill roofs breached the roofing subcontracts, the court held plaintiff failed to prove that it performed under the contracts and that defendant breached them. 07/29/2005Linda R. Reade
Pro Edge L.P. et al v. Charles S. Gue, III (Motion to amend and/or reconsider preliminary injunction order filed June 1, 2005; motion challenged holding that following corporate reorganizaiton, Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement (“1996 Agreement”) containing the non-compete clause and could enforce it against defendant; on reconsideration court held that: (1) reasonable inference arose from exhibits admitted at preliminary injunction hearing that defendant executed the Stock Purchase Agreement; (2) termination provisions in paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2(b) did not foreclose transfer or assignment of the 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P. prior to the closing date; (3) representative appointed by virtue of defendant’s execution of the Stock Purchase Agreement was vested with the authority to consent to assignment of the 1996 Agreement; and (4) reasonable inference drawn from evidence presented was that representative did consent to assignment and/or transfer of 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P.; motion to reconsider denied.)07/05/2005Mark W. Bennett
Blakely v. Anesthetix of Iowa, P.C. (Discrimination, contract breach, wage and hour violation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count one race and national origin discrimination granted; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count two breach of contract and integration clause granted and as to calculation of annual pay denied; defendant motion on count four wage hour violation denied; plaintiff generated genuine issue of material fact regarding count two breach of contract as to calculation of pay and count three)06/23/2005Mark W. Bennett
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.06/21/2005Paul A. Zoss
Pro Edge, L.P., et al. v. Gue, et al. (Plaintiffs, shortly following removal from state court, filed motion to extend temporary restraining order issued by state court and for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from engaging in competing activities in Belgrade, Montana area in violation of employment agreement, which contained a non-compete clause, signed by individual defendant while employed with plaintiffs; defendants resisted and filed a motion to dismiss; day long preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing held; court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant corporation, which was incorporated and had principal place of business in Montana, and had no contacts with Iowa; court had specific personal jurisdiction over individual defendant where that defendant executed the employment agreement in Iowa in 1996, remained in Iowa for a year and a half following execution of employment agreement, remained an employee of Iowa plaintiffs even after relocating to Montana, defendant’s direct supervisor was always in Iowa up until his separation with plaintiffs on April 8, 2005, defendant maintained contact with Iowa main office on weekly basis, defendant received paycheck from Iowa bank account, employment agreement contained an Iowa choice of law clause, and defendant maintained ownership stake, in the form of partnership units, in Pro Edge, L.P.; examining the case under Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 187(2)(b), court found that § 188 factors amounted to a “tie” and deferred to the parties expression of Iowa choice of law in the employment agreement; non-compete clause of employment agreement reasonable and enforceable under Iowa law; as corporation is entitled to use fictitious name in making contracts, fact that plaintiff’s predecessor used fictitious name in signing employment contract with individual defendant did not make contract unenforceable; after examining corporate reorganization of plaintiffs, court held that Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement and could enforce it against individual defendant; on balancing of the Dataphase factors, the court found the factors weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; preliminary injunction would issue following plaintiffs posting of a bond in the amount of $30,000.00; venue was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a); court would not dismiss for forum non conveniens; defendants’ motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted.)06/01/2005Mark W. Bennett
Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. CCT Corporation d/b/a Black Hawk Electric Co. and All County Electric; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005Linda R. Reade
All County Electric Company v. Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005Linda R. Reade
McLeodUSA Telecommunications Services, Inc. v. Qwest Corporation & Qwest Communications Corporation (Litigation between telecommunications companies over payment dispute; plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction: application of Dataphase factors, including explanation of “likelihood of success on the merits” factor, extension of term for temporary restraining order for “good cause,” and waiver of bond requirement) 03/23/2005Mark W. Bennett
Toledo v. North American Kiln (Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on count one breach of contract denied; defendant generated genuine issue of material fact)03/18/2005Mark W. Bennett
General Casualty Insurance Co. v. Penn-Co Construction Company (Defendant Penn-Co was general contractor on UNI-Dome roof-replacement project; General Casualty was insurer of one of Penn-Co’s subcontractor; General Casualty brought declaratory judgment suit contending it was not required to provide a defense or indemnify Penn-Co in underlying action in which UNI sued Penn-Co for damage due to leaks in the UNI-Dome roof; cross-motions for summary judgment; applying Iowa law contract construction and interpretation principles the court found that Penn-Co was an insured under the 1999-2000 Contractor’s Policy and 1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2000-2001 Umbrella Policies, but not an insured under 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 Contractor’s Policies or the Commercial General Liability Policies; genuine issue of material fact prevented summary judgment as to whether Penn-Co had primary insurance under its policies with St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (St. Paul)—which also provided Penn-Co a defense, and funds with which to settle, the underlying action—thereby negating coverage under the General Casualty policies; Penn-Co was not judicially estopped from arguing that General Casualty was collaterally estopped from relitigating whether there had “property damage” resulting from an “occurrence” as defined by the policies, as Penn-Co had not taken an inconsistent position in the underlying action; General Casualty was collaterally estopped from arguing that “property damage” resulting from an “occurrence” did not happen; Penn-Co was in a different position than its subcontractor in terms of compliance with notice requirements of the policies, therefore General Casualty was not collaterally estopped from arguing that Penn-Co had not substantially complied with the notice requirements to the prejudice of General Casualty; Minnesota law governed Miller-Schugart stipulated settlement entered into between Penn-Co and subcontractor; genuine issues of material fact existed as to reasonableness/prudence of stipulated settlement and as to whether stipulated settlement was the results of fraud and/or collusion—therefore requiring partial denial of Penn-Co’s motion for summary judgment seeking to bind General Casualty to the terms of the stipulated settlement; cross-motions) 03/02/2005Mark W. Bennett
American Express Financial Advisors, Inc. v. Richard Yantis; This preliminary injunction motion arises in the context of a restrictive covenant in a franchise agreement. After applying the Dataphase factors, the court found the plaintiff/franchisor demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits, the threat of irreparable harm, the balance of harm and the public interest all weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction against the defendant/former franchisee. 02/28/2005Linda R. Reade
Williams, et al. v. Security National Bank : (Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; parties’ motions in limine: trustee’s motions to exclude evidence of insurance, settlement negotiations, “expert” opinions of consultant, revision of internal policies, amendment of petition in probate action, a beneficiary’s supposed right to growth of the trust, certain familial and corporate relationships, stock indices, and testimony of certain experts; beneficiaries’ motions to exclude evidence of purported offsets against damages for trustee fees and the life beneficiary’s right to principal of the trust)02/25/2005Mark W. Bennett
Van Horn v. Van Horn, et al. (Dispute between father and two children as to ownership in holding company; defendant-children filed motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party under Rule 19, or alternatively to stay litigation and compel arbitration pursuant to letter executed by all memorializing telephone conference with federal and state banking authorities; as alleged ownership of the holding company was between the plaintiff, the two defendants, and a third child of the plaintiff, and as defendants asserted breach of fiduciary duty claims against their sibling, third child of plaintiff joined as involuntary plaintiff under Rule 19(a) and diversity jurisdiction remained intact; holding company itself was not an indispensable party to ownership dispute where current parties comprised a discrete group of the only possible owners of the shares of the holding company; motion to dismiss for failure to join indispensable parties denied; letter memorializing teleconference, which was signed and notarized by all parties, did touch upon commerce and thereby did fall under the Federal Arbitration Act; letter was a valid contract to arbitrate specific dispute at issue in the litigation; defendants’ motion to stay litigation and compel arbitration granted; litigation stayed, and parties ordered to submit ownership dispute issues to arbitration consistent with the terms of the letter.)02/04/2005Mark W. Bennett
Terry Denner v. Deere & Company; The court granted summary judgment in the defendant's favor where the plaintiff, alleging a theory of promissory estoppel, failed to show the defendant made a clear and definite promise of employment. 01/07/2005Linda R. Reade
Karen M.Schmidt and Daniel J. Schmidt v. Fortis Insurance Company (Defendant rescinded plaintiffs’ insurance policy on basis of fraudulent misrepresentations on enrollment form; plaintiff sued seeking declaratory judgment that rescission was unlawful and also asserted a breach of contract claim based on the wrongful rescission; defendant then claimed a right to declaratory judgment that responses on application were false and rescission was lawful; cross-motions for summary judgment; court found that individual assisting the plaintiffs to procure replacement health insurance was an ‘agent’ under Iowa law—and therefore, his knowledge of plaintiff’s health history was imputable to defendant, though a genuine issue of material fact as to what agent actually knew was generated by the record; the record did not support defendant’s allegation that plaintiffs and agent colluded to perpetrate a fraud upon defendant, and therefore as to this point of contention the defendant’s motion for summary judgment was denied in part and plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment was granted in part; application question regarding whether any proposed insured had been “treated for . . . cancer” in the previous ten years was ambiguous and question of whether plaintiff’s prescription drug (tamoxifen) use constituted “treatment” could be resolved only via resort to extrinsic evidence—thereby generating a genuine issue of material fact which precluded summary judgment for either party; application question regarding whether any proposed insured had “consulted with a physician concerning . . . cancer” in the past ten years was also ambiguous and question of whether plaintiff’s doctor visits in the previous ten years fell within the ambit of this phrase could not be resolved without turning to extrinsic evidence—therefore, summary judgment for either party was not appropriate as a genuine issue of material fact had been generated; genuine issue of material fact also existed as to whether plaintiffs’ “no” response to application question inquiring into whether they had ever previously been declined medical insurance; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment granted in part as related to the defendant’s fraud upon the principal claim, but denied in all other respects; defendant’s motion for summary judgment denied in its entirety.) 01/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
Oldcastle Materials, Inc. v. Rohlin, et al. (Contract dispute involving allegations of conflicting agreements for sale and purchase of majority shareholders’ shares in closely-held corporation; cross-motions for specific performance by third-party buyers and assignee of minority shareholders: determination of whether a letter from the third-party buyers constituted an offer, whether the majority shareholders accepted that offer, whether the minority shareholders properly exercised a right of first refusal to buy the shares on the same terms as the third-party buyers, and whether the assignee of the minority shareholders was entitled to specific performance of the agreement to sell the shares; court’s sua sponte determination to certify entry of judgment on some but not all of the claims in the action pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) 11/18/2004Mark W. Bennett
North Central Construction v. Siouxland Energy and Livestock Cooperative (Following arbitration award plaintiff moved to (1) vacate, modify or correct award with respect to arbitration panel’s denial of its claim for attorneys’ fees, (2) for selective confirmation of the award except for the denial of attorneys’ fees, (3) for this court to award plaintiff attorneys’ fees; plaintiff challenges award on ground that attorneys’ fees was not submitted for arbitration and the arbitration panel acted outside its authority in ruling on the issue and that it reserved the issue of attorneys’ for determinate by this court in its pre-hearing brief submitted to the arbitration panel; motion to vacate, modify or correct award denied where plaintiff had moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the parties’ contract, where contract provided for arbitration of all unresolved disputes arising from the contract, and where plaintiff had claimed attorneys’ fees as portion of relief in documents filed with arbitration panel; motion for selective confirmation denied where no grounds existed to vacate, modify or correct the arbitration award; motion for attorneys’ fees to the extent it requested fees incurred by plaintiff prior to arbitration award denied as moot; motion for attorneys’ fees to the extent it requested post-arbitration attorneys’ fees denied.)10/28/2004Mark W. Bennett
Catholic Order of Foresters, et. al. v. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Inc., et al (Securities fraud and related claims; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for improper venue: venue pursuant to the “special” venue provision for federal securities fraud claims, 15 U.S.C. § 78aa; one defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted: circumstances under which a non-debtor falls within the scope of the automatic stay in bankruptcy, whether plaintiffs seek property of the bankruptcy estate)09/27/2004Mark W. Bennett
Wells' Dairy, Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; motion to modify prior orders regarding insurer’s duty to defend insured; review of standard of review under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b); review of standards for permitting insured to terminate its duty to defend; analysis of when dismissed claims become final so as to permit an insurer to withdraw its defense) 09/23/2004Mark W. Bennett
Storm, et al. v. Van Beek, et al. (Diversity action for breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to name indispensable party and pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, both premised on failure to name a defunct partnership as a party before suing the partners who continued the business of the partnership)09/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
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.")06/22/2004Paul A. Zoss
"PSA Cases" (Kinkaid v. John Morrell & Co.; Hoefling v. John Morrell & Co.; Sokolowski v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.) (Separate actions by hog producers against packing companies pursuant to the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 (PSA), 7 U.S.C. §§ 181-231, alleging unfair and deceptive practices in relation to "transfer of risk" provisions of their contracts that were not licensed insurance; packing companies' motions to dismiss: meaning of "insurance" under Iowa law, determination of whether the producers alleged "insurance" or merely provisions for the "transfer of risk" of loss of hogs during shipment, determination of whether the producers have a cognizable PSA claim if the contracts are or are not "insurance")06/18/2004Mark W. Bennett
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.06/03/2004Paul A. Zoss
Kaydon Acquisition Corp. v. Custum Manufacturing, Inc., et al. : (Action for indemnity following settlement of a third party’s claims in litigation in California; motion to “clarify” ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment as to indemnity for attorneys fees and costs: authority to “clarify” or “reconsider” prior summary judgment ruling, “clarification” of what the prior ruling meant, and “reconsideration” of the prior ruling regarding proof required of a settling indemnitee to recover indemnification, based on contractual exception rather than general rule; motion for summary judgment on counterclaim for failure to pay sales commissions)05/12/2004Mark W. Bennett
Williams, et al. v. Security National Bank : (Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; trustee’s motion to stay proceedings in favor of action in Iowa probate court: applicability of the “first-filed rule” and the “Colorado River abstention doctrine” to concurrent actions in state and federal courts; determination of whether the concurrent actions are “parallel”; and consideration of other applicable factors)04/26/2004Mark W. Bennett
Engineered Products Co. v. Donaldson Co., Inc. (Patent infringement action based on patent for air filter restriction indicator; pre-trial motions in the following categories: (1) motions relating to EPC’s case-in-chief (infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, willful infringement); (2) motions relating to Donaldson’s defenses (obviousness-type double patenting, patent misuse, separate patentability); (3) motions relating to experts (qualification, reliability, untimely disclosure); (4) waiver of privilege as to communications to or from EPC’s prior patent counsel; (5) admissibility of a videotape on practices and procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO); and (6) the release of summary judgment exhibits for use at trial.04/13/2004Mark W. Bennett
John Morrell & Co. v. ISO Pig (breach-of-contract claim involving hog contract; hog buyer’s motion for summary judgment: failure to comply with local rules for summary judgment motions; affidavit differing from deposition testimony; contractual right to modify pricing)04/12/2004Mark W. Bennett
In Re McCleod USA Incorporated Securities Litigation (Class action for violation of Federal Securities Laws; defendants’ motion to dismiss; objections to United States Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation that motion to dismiss be denied; analysis of whether complaint sufficiently particularize each defendant’s role in the alleged fraud as required by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-4(b), through use of the group-published information doctrine; review of whether the complaint adequately plead facts giving rise to a strong inference of scienter; determination of whether plaintiffs alleged specific examples of statements and omissions alleged to have been materially false and misleading.)03/31/2004Mark W. Bennett
Knudsen v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of the claimant: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of the medical opinions of an acceptable medical source who was also a treating source; whether the progress notes signed by both a social worker and an acceptable medical source who was also a treating source were improperly discounted; the Commissioner’s burden at step five of the sequential analysis)03/30/2004Mark W. Bennett
Webster Industries, Inc., et al. v. Northwood Doors, Inc., et al. (Removed action by creditors against insolvent corporation and related entities to recover for failure of the insolvent company to pay for goods and services that the plaintiffs provided to that defendant: plaintiffs’ unresisted motion for partial summary judgment against insolvent company on “contract” and “unjust enrichment” claims; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment on “quantum valebant,” “fraudulent transfer,” “corporate opportunities and duties,” “fraud,” and “RICO” claims)03/25/2004Mark W. Bennett
Wegener, et al. v. Gehrke Construction, et al. (Two separate cases by injured workers after construction accident; general contractor’s motion in one case for partial summary judgment on indemnity issues and motions in both cases for partial summary judgment that it had no duty to protect subcontractors’ employees: general rule regarding general contractor’s lack of liability and exceptions; analysis of applicability of “contractual duty” exception)03/03/2004Mark W. Bennett
Cochran v. Gehrke Construction, et al. (Two separate cases by injured workers after construction accident; general contractor’s motion in one case for partial summary judgment on indemnity issues and motions in both cases for partial summary judgment that it had no duty to protect subcontractors’ employees: general rule regarding general contractor’s lack of liability and exceptions; analysis of applicability of “contractual duty” exception)03/03/2004Mark W. Bennett
Kaydon Acquisitions v. Custum Manufacturing, et al. (Action for indemnity following settlement of a third party’s claims in litigation in California; cross-motions for summary judgment: interpretation and construction of the indemnity provisions of the parties’ Asset Purchase Agreement, including determination of whether the indemnitor had a duty “to defend” the indemnitee or an “on-going” duty to pay the indemnitee’s attorneys’ fees and costs, whether the indemnitor anticipatorily repudiated the indemnity agreement, the effect of the indemnitee’s failure to obtain the indemnitor’s written consent to settlement of the third party’s claims, and whether the resulting construction was “unreasonable” or “absurd”)02/11/2004Mark W. Bennett
Purina Mills, LLC v. Less, et al. (Defendant-buyer repudiated long-term contract to purchase weanling pigs; aggrieved seller seeks actual damages for goods received and not yet paid for under Iowa Code § 554.2709 and contract/market damages under Iowa Code § 554.2708(1); summary judgment; plaintiff’s conversion from an incorporation to a limited liability company did not preclude plaintiff from being a proper party in interest; summary judgment granted as to seller’s claim for damages for goods received by defendants not yet paid for under Iowa Code § 554.2709; plaintiff-seller restricted to lost profits damages under Iowa Code § 554.2708(2) where undisputed material facts showed that the seller (1) insulated itself from market price fluctuations through adjacent third-party supply contract, (2) was given option by supplier to buyout of its adjacent third-party supply contract days after defendants repudiation, and (3) would be overcompensated by an award of contract/market damages; amount of award representing future lost profits reduced to present value; plaintiff entitled to interest on damages award.)12/22/2003Mark W. Bennett
Weyerhaeuser Corporation d/b/a Cedar River Paper Company v. Tamko Roofing Products, Inc. and D.C. Taylor Company; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether transfer of guarantee voided warranty; examination of whether plaintiff filed complaint within contractual limitations period 12/17/2003Linda R. Reade
Cochran v. Gehrke, Inc. and National Tank Corporation(Litigation after construction accident; general contractor’s motion for partial summary judgment on cross-claim of contractual indemnity against sub-contractor: principles of Iowa law regarding contractual indemnity, including interpretation and construction of indemnity provisions, indemnity for indemnitee’s own negligence, and roles of court and jury in determination of indemnity claim)11/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
Avery Dennison Corporation v. The Home Trust & Savings Bank; Order on defendant's motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether beneficiary's demand strictly complied with terms of letter of credit11/07/2003Linda R. Reade
Williams, et al v. Security National Bank ((Remainder beneficiaries’ suit against trustee for mismanagement of trust; remainder beneficiaries’ motion to dismiss trustees counterclaims for breach of contract, fraud, and conspiracy: whether claims as pleaded are so at odds with documents supporting those claims as to require dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted)11/06/2003Mark W. Bennett
All-Iowa Contracting Co. v. Linear Dynamics, Inc.; Order on motion for summary judgment; diversity action involving claims for actual, consequential, and liquidated damages resulting from alleged negligence, breach of warranties, and breach of contract10/23/2003Linda R. Reade
Furleigh v. Allied Group, Inc. (Suit by former employee against former employer claiming entitlement to ERISA benefits; motion for summary judgment; plaintiff claims total disability; defendants not entitled to summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds as application of plan’s reasonable contractual limitation period to the accrual date dictated by the discovery rule resulted in finding that plaintiff’s suit was timely commenced; summary judgment appropriate as plaintiff unable to generate genuine issues of material fact that he was disabled under the plan before his retirement.)09/08/2003Mark W. Bennett
Central States, et al. v. McCullough : (Action by former employer against former employee for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of Iowa Trade Secrets Act; defendant’s motion to strike affidavits in resistance to summary judgment motion: Rule 56(e) requirements, contradiction of prior testimony, Rule 37 sanctions for failure to disclose witness; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: contract claims: capacity to contract, adequacy of consideration, whether contract was superseded, breach by removal, retention, and disclosure of secret or proprietary information; Trade Secrets Act: "trade secrets" and "misappropriation"; breach of fiduciary duty: scope of duty of loyalty, disclosure of proprietary information, solicitation of employees)09/03/2003Mark W. Bennett
Terra Industries, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company (Terra Industries, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance, Commercial litigation, diversity action; cross-motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether insured’s claimed losses from products liability lawsuits exceeded the applicable limits of underlying insurance coverage required by an excess insurance policy such that the insurer would be required to pay insurer under its excess policy)08/27/2003Mark W. Bennett
Eischeid v. Dover Construction, Inc., et al. (Suit by injured employee of subcontractor against general contractor and third-party indemnity claims by and among general contractor and two subcontractors; employee’s motion to extend dispositive motion deadline granted; employee’s motion for summary judgment on liability portion of “direct” negligence claim against general contractor, based on “contractual” and “control of the job” liability theories, granted; employee’s motion to sever trial on indemnity claims from trial on damages issues on “direct” negligence claim granted; and employee’s motion to intervene in third-party indemnity action as of right pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2) denied, but permissive intervention pursuant to Rule 24(b) granted).08/25/2003Mark W. Bennett
Silent Drive Inc. v. Strong Industries, Inc., et al. (Patent law; motion to transfer, stay or dismiss; determination of whether the balance of convenience exception or the compelling circumstance exception to the first-filed rule warrants the dismissal of the case; analysis of whether the court should abstain from considering case pursuant to the Pullman abstention doctrine.) 08/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
State Auto Mutual Insurance v. Dover Construction, Inc. (Plaintiff insurer’s motion for declaratory relief. Plaintiff sought declaration that it had no duty to defend the defendant, Dover, in underlying personal injury action against Dover, nor a duty to indemnify Dover for any damages arising out of its own negligence. Dover conceded there was no duty to indemnify for its own negligence but argued it was subject to being held liable for the negligence of its subcontractor and, therefore, under the Subcontract Agreement between Dover and the subcontractor, the duty to defend extended beyond its concession that there was no duty to indemnify Dover for its own negligence. Plaintiff argued that the personal injury plaintiff sought only to hold the defendant liable for its own negligence, but the court found that the personal injury plaintiff’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to plead a "nondelegable duty" theory, which would subject Dover to potential liability for the subcontractor’s negligence. Therefore, because there is a potential duty to indemnify, there is a coterminous duty to defend. ) 07/30/2003Mark W. Bennett
Wells' Dairy v. Travelers Indemnity Co, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; motion to enforce court order regarding insurer’s duty to defend insured; review of the degree of autonomy insured may exercise in selecting its own defense counsel, and analysis of whether insurer is liable for insured’s attorney’s fees, in light of the fact that insurer refused to defend insured under a reservation of rights; analysis of whether, under Iowa law, the question of what amount constitutes a reasonable attorney's fee is an issue of fact to be determined as any other issue of fact.)07/09/2003Mark W. Bennett
Faber v. Menard, Inc. (Employee’s claims of age discrimination and retaliation under the ADEA and state law; defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and plaintiff’s post-Circuit City challenge to enforceability of arbitration clause under state law: adequacy of consideration in mutual promises and continued employment, and procedural and substantive unconscionability of arbitration clause in adhesion contract that requires employee to bear his own costs and attorney fees in arbitration and half the costs of the arbitrator; court’s sua sponte certification for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b))06/17/2003Mark W. Bennett
Eischeid v. Dover Construction, et al. ("Direct" and third-party claims arising from a construction accident; motions for summary judgment on claims by and against defendant, third-party defendant, and third-party plaintiff Woods Masonry: whether plaintiff’s "direct" negligence claims against his employer/subcontractor are barred by the "exclusive remedy" provisions of the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA); whether the contractor’s contribution, indemnity, and breach-of-contract claims against the subcontractor/employer are also barred by the IWCA; whether the subcontractor/employer’s third-party claim against another subcontractor are barred by purported admissions of the subcontractor/employer’s president that the subcontractor and its employees "did nothing wrong")06/03/2003Mark W. Bennett
Munsen v. Wellmark (ERISA; trial on the merits in case involving administrator’s discontinuation of benefits for private duty nursing for five-year-old quadriplegic child; applicable standards of review for plan administrator’s factual findings and interpretations of plan terms; review of interpretation of terms under five-factor test and review of factual determinations under "substantial evidence" standard; relief available in action under ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B))05/27/2003Mark W. Bennett
Walker Manufacturing, Inc. v. Hoffmann, Inc, et al. (Suit for interference with intellectual property rights and business; defendant’s second motion for partial summary judgment: applicability of doctrine of de minimis non curat lex to "reverse palming off" claims under the Copyright Act and Lanham Act; cognizability of "copying" claim as "reverse palming off"; requirement of "actual consumer confusion" to obtain money damages for "reverse palming off"; availability of permanent injunctive relief; impact of possibility of "reverse engineering" on definition of a "trade secret"; and availability and measure of money damages, including a "reasonable royalty," for misappropriation of trade secrets)05/12/2003Mark W. Bennett
Dahlin v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (ERISA; cross motions for summary judgment: abuse of discretion; interpretation of plan and analysis of factors to be considered; determination of whether there was substantial evidence to support plan administrator’s decision. )04/09/2003Mark W. Bennett
Webster Industries, Inc., et al. v. Northwood Doors, Inc. (Removed action by creditors against insolvent corporation and related entities to recover for failure of the insolvent company to pay for goods and services that the plaintiffs provided to that defendant; plaintiffs’ motion for default and default judgment and defendants’ countervailing motion to set aside default entered by Clerk of Court: adequacy of personal service and service by publication under applicable federal, Iowa, and Minnesota rules of civil procedure)02/13/2003Mark W. Bennett
Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois, et al. (Commercial litigation; diversity action; cross-motions for partial summary judgment; motion to strike affidavit filed in support of motion for partial summary judgment; appeal of magistrate judge’s decision denying motion to stay; review of standards for construing terms in an insurance contract; review of insurer’s duty to defend its insured; analysis of whether claims had been asserted against the insured for "property damage," as defined in a commercial general liability policy and a commercial excess insurance policy; analysis of insured’s first-party bad faith claim and review of whether insurer’s denial of coverage and refusal to defend insured was fairly debatable; analysis of whether two defendant insurance companies were properly named as defendants in case when neither defendant issued either policy at issue in the litigation; analysis of the appropriateness of staying declaratory relief action concerning insurance coverage pending resolution of the underlying state cases.)01/31/2003Mark W. Bennett
dePape v. Trinity Health Systems et al. (Bench trial; foreign physician (Canadian) contracted with defendants Trinity and Trimark to be family physician, Trinity retained an out-of-state law firm to represent physician in his immigration to United States; law firm never contacted physician or explained immigration process; physician showed up at United States border ready to begin his new life and career in the United States, but because his position did not match the position described in the INS application, INS denied his entry and physician was unable to gain entry to U.S.; physician sued Trinity and Trimark under theories of contract and promissory estoppel, but there was no basis in fact or law to hold these defendants liable; law firm, however, breached its duty to advise and communicate with the plaintiff; the law firm’s breach caused the plaintiff to forego employment options in Canada; court awarded $278,736.20, plus pre-judgment interest, for lost income and emotional distress damages.)01/20/2003Mark W. Bennett
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?)01/06/2003Paul A. Zoss
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Anderson v. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Soc'y (A magistrate judge recommended an executor’s claims on behalf of his father’s estate against a care facility be compelled to arbitration and all proceedings, including those on the executor’s individual claim of loss of parental consortium, be stayed; executor objected only to the stay of his individual claims: on de novo review of the part of the recommendation to which the executor objected, the court distinguished between a “mandatory” and a “discretionary” stay pending arbitration and rejected a stay of the executor’s individual claim, because the arbitration of the estate’s claims would have no binding effect on the executor’s individual claim and a stay unduly prejudiced the executor’s Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial on his individual claim.)04/10/2018Mark W. Bennett
Ingram v. United States (Action by federal prisoner challenging geographic disparity in the application of § 851 enhancements: Eighth Amendment claim and equal protection/selective prosecution claim.)10/31/2017Mark W. Bennett
Willis, et al. v. Palmer, et al.(Patients at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) sued arguing their constitutional rights have been violated in a number of ways.)03/30/2016Mark W. Bennett
Target Training International, LTD v. Michelle K. Lee (patent holder’s action for judicial review of a determination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that an alleged infringer’s inter partes reexamination request was filed on the last day before the statute authorizing such proceedings expired; PTO Director’s motion to dismiss: whether the motion raised a bar to subject matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim based on the exception to judicial review for a decision “committed to agency discretion by law” in 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2) of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA); whether § 701(a)(2) excepted from review a decision by the PTO under Patent Rule 183; whether the patent holder’s “due process” claim was “colorable,” so as to avoid the § 701(a)(2) exception) 03/05/2014Mark W. Bennett
Mendoza v. Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: prevailing petitioner’s motion for attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to Hague Convention Art. 26 and ICARA, 42 U.S.C. § 11607(b)(3): whether or not an award of fees and expenses would be “clearly inappropriate” in the circumstances) 02/19/2014Mark W. Bennett
Koons v. United States of America (Motion for relief from sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by a federal prisoner asserting ineffective assistance of counsel; respondent’s motion to dismiss as untimely converted to petitioner’s motion for summary judgment on equitable tolling of the statute of limitations: whether counsel hired to file § 2255 Motion engaged in misconduct sufficient to constitute “extraordinary circumstances” that prevented the petitioner from timely filing her § 2255 Motion, and whether the petitioner acted “diligently” before and after the deadline for filing her § 2255 Motion before filing the Motion pro se three months after the deadline)01/31/2014Mark W. Bennett
FDIC v. Michael Dosland, et al (Action by the FDIC, as receiver for failed bank, pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. § 1811 et seq., against the former officers and directors of the bank, asserting claims of gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty; plaintiff’s motion to strike certain affirmative defenses: Rule 12(f) standards for striking an affirmative defense; applicability of the Twom-bal pleading standard to affirmative defenses; legal sufficiency of affirmative defenses based on equitable doctrines, including estoppel, laches, unclean hands, and/or waiver; the FDIC-R’s failure to mitigate damages; damages resulting from the acts or omissions of someone other than the defendants; and an exculpation provision in the bank’s articles of incorporation, which bars the defendants’ liability)12/23/2013Mark W. Bennett
Maria Guadalupe Aguilar Mendoza v. Moises Medina Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: consolidated bench trial on the merits and preliminary injunction hearing: requirements for return of wrongfully retained children and affirmative defenses) 12/10/2013Mark W. Bennett
Rogers v. U.S. : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, on guilty plea to bank fraud via a check cashing scheme: ruling without evidentiary hearing: granting a new sentencing on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to object to a two-level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(10), for use of an “access device” because the bad checks used to perpetrate the bank fraud scheme in this case did not constitute an “access device,” and ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to investigate adequately the petitioner’s mental health as an explanation of his prior violent conduct for which his sentence had been enhanced) 06/11/2013Mark W. Bennett
Guillermo Escobedo v. Mark Lund (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for first-degree murder on the ground that his trial counsel failed to seek an “automatic” mistrial when the trial judge excused a juror for bias after deliberations had started and replaced the excused juror with an alternate contrary to Iowa law, which required a mistrial or the defendant’s agreement to continue deliberations with the eleven remaining jurors)06/03/2013Mark W. Bennett
Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Moens, et al. (Interpleader action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1335, 1397, and 2361, initiated by an insurance company, because it asserts that claims for “bodily injury” coverage, arising from a multi-vehicle accident, exceed policy limits: plaintiff’s insureds’ motion to stay related state court action: whether the stay on the state court action would exceed the authority for an injunction under § 2361, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523 (1967))05/13/2013Mark W. Bennett
Boss v. Ludwick (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for the first-degree murder of his foster son on the ground that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance (1) by revealing the location of the child’s body and (2) by failing to advise and consult with the petitioner adequately before convincing the petitioner to reveal the location of the child’s body; parties’ objections to report and recommendation by magistrate judge finding “prejudice” from trial counsel’s performance, but denying federal habeas relief; stating standards for review by the district court of a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation; construing the nature of the petitioner’s underlying constitutional claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and his claims for federal habeas relief pursuant to § 2254(d); considering whether the federal court is required to review de novo both prongs under Strickland, if the state court stated the wrong standard of review for one prong; considering whether denial of relief by the state courts on the basis of failure to find “deficient performance” under Strickland were “contrary to” or “unreasonable applications of” federal law or “unreasonable determinations” of the facts in light of the evidence before the state courts pursuant to § 2254(d)(1) and (2); and declining to consider the “prejudice” prong under Strickland, where the lack of deficiency in the state court decisions concerning “deficient performance” was fully dispositive of the petitioner’s claims)05/03/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: prosecution’s motion to reconsider parts of the ruling on scope of the scope of the “penalty retrial” challenging rulings: (1) that the new jury will not redetermine the defendant’s eligibility for the death sentence; (2) that the court will instruct the new jury that the defendant’s only possible sentences are death or life without parole; and (3) that evidence of the defendant’s future dangerousness outside of prison will be excluded; defendant’s motion to reconsider ruling that non-statutory aggravating factors, like mitigating factors, may assert separate incidents as separate factors)03/05/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: defendant’s first set of motions: (1) “omnibus motion” to dismiss the “special findings” from the second superseding indictment and to strike notice of intent to seek the death penalty; (2) motion to dismiss particular aggravating factors from the second superseding indictment, and to strike particular aggravating factors from the second notice of intent to seek the death penalty, and for other relief; (3) motion to compel discovery of evidence in support of United States Attorney’s reasons not to seek the death penalty, or, in the alternative, for in-camera review of the death penalty evaluation form; (4) motion to preclude capital sentencing hearing; and (5) motion for discovery to support a motion to strike the death penalty based upon the influence of arbitrary factors of race and gender of victims)10/25/2012Mark W. Bennett
Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; Irish defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismissfor lack of personal jurisdiction; Minnesota defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) motion, for improper venue, and Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.) 06/08/2012Mark W. Bennett
Barkley, et al v. Woodbury County (Persons arrested on serious misdemeanor charges assert individual and class claims that they were unconstitutionally strip-searched pursuant to an across-the-board jail policy without individualized determinations of probable cause or reasonable suspicion; defendants’ motion to dismiss: timeliness (or tolling) of individual and class claims, pursuant to the “American Pipe rule,” after denial of class certification in a predecessor case involving nearly identical claims of a nearly identical putative class; whether tolling ends with the district court’s decision denying certification or with the appellate court’s decision affirming the denial; whether the reasons for denial of class certification, which determine whether or not class claims are tolled, are those of the district court or the appellate court)05/23/2012Mark W. Bennett
Boss v. Ludwick (state prisoner’s § 2254 petition; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on petitioner’s motion to stay unexhausted claims: standards of review for a report and recommendation; rules of unexhausted and procedurally defaulted claims; availability of “stay and abeyance” procedure when claims are procedurally defaulted)05/01/2012Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund v. Sebelius (Challenge by individuals and an advocacy group to the validity of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, see 21 C.F.R. § 131.110, and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized. See 21 C.F.R. § 1250.61: defendants’ renewed motion to dismiss and alternative motion for summary judgment: standing of plaintiffs to assert their challenges to the regulations in the absence of any enforcement actions against them by the FDA.)03/30/2012Mark W. Bennett
Aerostar, Inc. v. Haes Grain & Livestock, Inc., et al. : (Diversity action by manufacturer of wind systems against purchasers who paid an unauthorized dealer for, but never received, the manufacturer’s wind systems seeking declaratory judgment establishing the absence of any basis for liability of the manufacturer to the purchasers for payments that the purchasers made to the unauthorized dealer or for any damages or attorney’s fees; purchasers’ Rule 12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on insufficient amount in controversy: identification and application of standards for determining amount in controversy in declaratory judgment cases, effect of refusal of defendants to stipulate to an amount in controversy below the jurisdictional amount) 03/27/2012Mark W. Bennett
Angela Johnson v. U.S. : (capital defendant’s § 2255 Motion asserting 64 grounds for relief from her convictions and death sentences for murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder) pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2: grounds that the petitioner chose to emphasize in her post-hearing brief included the following: her attorneys' failure to pursue a disposition for a sentence less than death before trial; her attorneys' failure to adjust her medications or otherwise address the effects of her medication on her demeanor and competence during the merits phase of her trial; her attorneys' failure to confront aggravating evidence, or to prepare and present an effective mitigation case, and prosecutorial misconduct during the penalty phase of her trial; and a claim that the Bureau of Prisons' method of carrying out her execution would violate the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Controlled Substances Act. Convictions upheld, but relief from death sentences granted, and new penalty-phase trial ordered, on 4 of 48 claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.)03/22/2012Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al.: (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, to enjoin the FDA from continuing or commencing enforcement actions pursuant to the regulations against non-parties while this court considers the plaintiffs’ claims: scope of the court’s authority to enjoin other actions “in aid of” its jurisdiction; requirements for a preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act; balancing of pertinent factors)01/23/2012Mark W. Bennett
Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Lmine ruling in excessive force § 1983 case)10/19/2011Mark W. Bennett
Baldwin v. U.S. (Civil tax refund case in the District for the Northern Mariana Islands; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider an order striking his jury demands; considering appropriate standard of review for reconsideration of the interlocutory order of another district judge; analyzing whether plaintiff’s first jury demand was proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) and, in the alternative, whether plaintiff’s second jury demand was permissible under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b) as a late demand due to excusable neglect)09/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Limine ruling for excessive force § 1983 case with proposed limiting instruction)09/16/2011Mark W. Bennett
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.02/18/2011Paul A. Zoss
Kim v. Quichocho, et al: (Action involving fraud and RICO claims based on allegations that the defendants, including the plaintiff’s attorney, defrauded the plaintiff of two of her businesses; defendants’ second motion to dismiss RICO claims and motion to dismiss common-law fraud claim: adequacy of pleading of predicate acts of wire fraud and money laundering, a patter of racketeering activity, and conduct or acquisition of control of a RICO enterprise; pleading of an agreement, for purposes of RICO conspiracy claim, including whether an intracorporate conspiracy suffices; pleading of fraud with the particularity required by Rule 9(b) and whether fraud was based on anything other than representations about future events)01/24/2011Mark W. Bennett
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.09/22/2010Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. McManaman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be denied, court found probable cause existed for issuance of a search warrant for guns, drugs, and related items, and evidence of child pornography inevitably would have been discovered during any search pursuant to the warrant.09/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements) 08/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer-Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements)08/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dorr v. Weber: (The court held a one day bench trial on Plaintiff Paul Dorr and Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s claims that Defendant Sheriff Weber’s denial of their applications for concealed weapons permits was in retaliation for the Plaintiffs’ exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association; the court found that Sheriff Weber’s asserted reasons for denying the permits were credible; the court found that Sheriff Weber had denied Paul Weber’s application in retaliation for his engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which included writing letters to the editor and distributing flyers; the court found that Sheriff Weber denied Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s application due to Sheriff Weber’s belief that permits should not be issued to individuals under 21 years of age, which was not in violation of the First Amendment; the court provided declaratory relief to Paul Dorr, declaring Sheriff Weber’s denial of Paul Dorr’s application to constitute First Amendment Retaliation; the court ordered injunctive relief and required Sheriff Weber to immediately issue Paul Dorr a concealed weapons permit; the court ordered further remedial relief in requiring Sheriff Weber to take a class concerning the First Amendment.)07/07/2010Mark W. Bennett
Aquino v. San Nicolas, et al.: (Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Plaintiff was held for 88 days after serving a one year sentence for possessing an illicit substance, despite her having had stipulated to her immediate deportation; the court held that the 88 day detention did not violate Plaintiff’s Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Commonwealth Covenant applying the Fourteenth Amendment to the Northern Mariana Islands as if it were one of the states, pursuant to United States Supreme Court precedent finding such a detention to be presumptively reasonable; the court also held that this presumptively reasonable period of detention was not “outrageous” conduct, which caused Plaintiff’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claim to fail; the court grated Defendants’ motions to dismiss but provided Plaintiff with leave to amend her complaint)05/27/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dorr v. Weber (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether defendant sheriff’s is entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims, analysis of whether plaintiffs whether plaintiffs were similarly situated to persons who allegedly received favorable treatment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could a causal connection between defendants’ retaliatory animus and the denial of their gun permits sufficient to establish their First Amendment retaliation claims, examination of whether plaintiff had a property right to gun permit when local authorities have discretion to deny such a permit)05/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
VGM Financial Services v. Singh, et al.; order granting third party defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction04/30/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Moes -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging him with failure to register as a sex offender. Court found the case turned on a factual issue that must be decided by the jury at trial; i.e., whether the defendant "resided" in Iowa.04/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Riesselman -- Amended Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs and cell phone found on his person during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and statements he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs and cell phone be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; although defendant's statements regarding illegally-seized drugs and cell phone were fruit of the illegal search, statements were sufficiently attenuated to purge the taint; and defendant's other statements were voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of items from defendant's person.03/31/2010Paul A. Zoss
The Samuels Group, Inc. v. Hatch Grading & Contracting, Inc.; order granting defendant's motion to stay pursuant to Colorado River Abstention Doctrine03/23/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Riesselman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs found in his pocket during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and a statement he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; and defendant's statement was voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of drugs from defendant's pocket. 03/16/2010Paul A. Zoss
Ralph Reeder, M.D. v. Thomas Carroll, M.D. and the Iowa Board of Medical Examiners; order dismissing defendant state agency based on Eleventh Amendment Immunity03/05/2010Linda R. Reade
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.03/04/2010Paul A. Zoss
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.02/09/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Hanson -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during search of vehicle at site of traffic stop. Court found officer's continued detention of defendant after conclusion of traffic stop for further investigation of suspected drugs in vehicle was based on officer's reasonable suspicision and did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.02/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
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. 01/19/2010Paul A. Zoss
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. 01/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Rojas - Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for insufficiency of evidence before the grand jury be denied.12/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Stephens -- Order denying Government's motion to amend conditions of pretrial release to include electronic monitoring and curfew. Court found unconstitutional the Adam Walsh Act amendments to the Bail Reform Act requiring mandatory imposition of curfew and electronic monitoring without an individual determination of whether the facts of the case required those conditions of pretrial release.10/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.09/30/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Martinez-Pena -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drug evidence found in his vehicle. Defendant was stopped for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license, and vehicle was seized to install a tracking device pursuant to a warrant. While installing the device, officers found drugs in the vehicle. Court found drugs were not in plain view, and warrantless seach of vehicle violated defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. However, court further found drugs inevitably would have been discovered during inventory search of vehicle and need not be suppressed. 09/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Hart v. Baldwin, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment; the court grants defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to “properly exhaust” his remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), as there was no genuine issue of material fact concerning whether his grievance was timely filed—plaintiff failed to comply with the prison system’s rule that grievances must be filed within thirty days of incident about which the prisoner is complaining.) 09/22/2009Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Yockey -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence located on, and stemming from, the discovery of child pornography on his cell phone at the time he was booked into the jail for driving while suspended. Court found discovery of pornographic image by inentorying officer was inadvertent; arresting officer's examination of additional photographs on the phone and questioning of defendant before giving Miranda warnings was unlawful; and detective's questioning of defendant after Miranda warnings and examination of phone's contents with defendant's consent would have occurred solely on the basis of the single photo inadvertently accessed by inventorying officer and therefore need not be suppressed. 08/03/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Mosley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress statements made when officers arrived to execute a search warrant at his house. Court found that under Eighth Circuit jurisprudence, defendant was not "in custody" at the time he made his statements, and therefore failure to give him Miranda warnings did not require suppression of his statements.07/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.07/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Dorr v. Weber, et al. (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; motion to dismiss by the county sheriff’s department and the sheriff’s “successors”: sufficiency of allegations of facts making it plausible that the county sheriff’s department had the power to make and enforce any rules and regulations, independent of the Sheriff, such that it might, itself, have the power to sue or be sued concerning the exercise of such power, and was not merely an instrumentality of the sheriff; necessity of including the sheriff’s “successors” as parties to ensure effective injunctive relief)07/07/2009Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, et al. (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency and the agency’s director, in his official capacity: defendants’ motion to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity grounds: whether the ADEA abrogates Eleventh Amendment immunity; whether the state agency waived Eleventh Amendment immunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1), by accepting federal funding; whether a state official, sued in his or her official capacity, has Eleventh Amendment immunity to a claim for prospective injunctive relief from violations of the ADEA; whether the plaintiff’s claim for prospective injunctive relief against the state official is adequately pleaded)07/02/2009Mark W. Bennett
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. 05/14/2009Paul A. Zoss
Leventhal v. Sgt. Daniel Schaffer, et al. ((Motion for Summary Judgment; defendants move for summary judgment on all remaining claims, court grants motion regarding 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force and Iowa Tort Claims Act, denies motion regarding § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest as the court found both a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether defendant had probable cause to arrest Leventhal and whether defendant was entitled to qualified immunity.)03/24/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Michael Alan Reed, et al (Federal income tax enforcement action, cross-motions for summary judgment, analysis of whether the United States was in default because it had not filed a response to defendant’s answer, determination of whether defendant had satisfied his outstanding tax liabilities by submitting bonds in payment to the United States, analysis of whether summary judgment should be granted against defendant for the assessments of unpaid taxes and penalties)03/23/2009Mark W. Bennett
Mattress Warehousing, Inc. and William T. Furry v. Power Marketing Direct, Inc. d/b/a PMD Furniture Direct, GJC Enterprises, Inc. and Gregory J. Carrera; court held defendants failed to prove fraudulent joinder and remanded case to state court based upon lack of diversity jurisdiction02/16/2009Linda R. Reade
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.02/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.01/29/2009Paul A. Zoss
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 writ01/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.01/09/2009Paul A. Zoss
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.12/31/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Kenneth Siepker : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling without evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel on the following grounds: failure to move for severance of drug and gun counts, failure to request an “Old Chief instruction,” failure to file a motion in limine to preclude non-coconspirator hearsay evidence, failure to object to count charging commission of offense while on pre-trial release as an illegal Bill of Attainder, failure to request a buyer-seller instruction, failure to object to hearsay, stipulation that firearms were possessed “in or affecting commerce,” failure to object to a constructive amendment of the indictment on the gun charges, and failure to assert an “Apprendi claim” based on court determination of drug quantity; constitutional claims based on admission of hearsay evidence in violation of the Sixth Amendment confrontation clause, and insufficient evidence on the drug conspiracy count of an illegal agreement; denial of a certificate of appealability)12/18/2008Mark W. Bennett
Russell A. Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa, Darrel Johnson, & Maria Tiller -- Summary Judgment Motion. Issues: Deprivation of Constitutional Rights: Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment (procedural due process and substantial due process)10/27/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Thies -- Report and Recommendation, recommending defendant's motion to suppress evidence be denied. Defendant's girlfriend, with whom he lived, called police to report that defendant was drunk and acting violently, and she was frightened because he had a gun in the house. Officer went to the house to investigate, with intent to seize the firearm for the parties' and the public's safety. He encountered defendant and some friends in the front yard of the residence. He asked defendant a few questions before arresting defendant on an outstanding warrant. He then entered the house, over defendant's objections, to secure the firearm, and while inside, noticed some live ammunition. After learning defendant had a prior felony conviction, officer secured a search warrant for the house and seized the ammunition and other evidence. Court found defendant's responses to initial questions were noncustodial and need not be suppressed; officer's initial entry into the house to retrieve the gun was lawful; and even if initial entry into the house was not lawful, gun and ammunition inevitably would have been discovered.10/23/2008Paul A. Zoss
Shannon v. Officer Koehler, et al (Motion to Dismiss Sioux City Police Department; defendant police department claims that it is not an entity suable as such; the court decided that the police department was an appendage of the city and not suable as a separate entity from the city of Sioux City)10/13/2008Mark W. Bennett
Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson v. Michelle Mais; district court denies defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law but grants defendant's motion for partial new trial on damages, on plaintiffs' claims that defendant illegally strip and visual body cavity (VBC) searched their persons. With respect to Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law, district court held that, although Linn County's policy of blanket strip searches was clearly unconstitutional, there was sufficient evidence to support an award of more than nominal damages. With respect to defendant's motion for new trial, district court held that jury's award of damages shocked the conscience and, if allowed to stand, would result in a miscarriage of justice. 10/02/2008Linda R. Reade
Vincent Johnson & Julie Johnson v. American Leather Specialties Corp. & Shopko Stores, Inc.(Products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the plaintiffs residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Minnesota law, the law of the place where the product was marketed to plaintiffs and sold; having concluded that Iowa law governs in case, addressing plaintiffs’ contention that application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution on the ground that the State of Iowa’s enactment of tort reform in § 613.18(1) deprived plaintiffs of previously held causes of action under the common law; addressing whether application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes a violation of the Iowa State Constitution’s Inalienable Rights Clause, Iowa Const. art. I, § 1.)09/29/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Brett & Cory Kamerud: (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; petitioners claim that guilty verdict for conspiracy to (1) “distribute methamphetamine,” (2) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” and (3) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine to one or more persons under twenty-one years of age should be set aside; the court decided whether the petitioners were provided with ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution by analyzing an extensive list of possible grounds for petitioners’ claim.)09/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
Kyle Chyma v. Tama County School Board, Larry Molachek, Steve Burr, and Ernie Tomlinson (motion for summary judgment--Issues: (1) Due Process Violated, (2) First Amendment Rights, (3) Section 1983 Claim Based on FERPA, (4) Compliance of Iowa Code Section 282.4)09/08/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Huntley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant was convicted by a jury of a firearms violation and appealed. Appellate court reversed due to erroneous jury instruction. On remand, government dismissed, and then re-indicted defendant one day later. Defendant argued reprosecution violated his fifth amendment protection against double jeopardy. Court recommended motion be denied based on Supreme Court precedent holding Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar reprosecution of a defendant whose conviction is overturned on appeal due to a trial error, rather than for insufficiency of evidence.09/02/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Godfrey -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress statements defendant made to agents who questioned him at his home. Court found defenadnt's sixth amendment right to counsel had not attached where defendant had not been charged or arrested and was not in custody at time of interview. Defendant was not entitled to Miranda warnings prior to the non-custodial interview, and defendant's statements were not coerced.08/11/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Orlando Birbragher, Marshall Neil Kanner, Douglas Willis Bouchey, Armando Angulo and Peter Colon Lopez; order on motion to dismiss07/22/2008Linda R. Reade
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.07/22/2008Paul A. Zoss
Johnson v. American Leather Specialties & Shopko v. Ultra Marketing Corporation (Diversity products liability action, motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, applying five factor test the court finds that third-party plaintiffs had not made out a prima facie case which would support application of personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant where third-party defendant did not have any bank accounts, property, office, agent, representative or employee in Iowa, and third-party defendant’s contacts to Iowa were limited to its interactions with an Iowa company as a marketing representative to a Chinese distributor which had no involvement with the manufacture or the distribution of the allegedly defective product at the center of this case, the court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant)07/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Food Movers International, Inc. (motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, standards for motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), standards for personal jurisdiction analysis, )07/08/2008Mark W. Bennett
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. 04/04/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Hawley (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; cross-motions for summary judgment: elements of FCA claims pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) (presenting false claim to government officer or employee), (a)(2) (using a false record or statement to get a claim paid or approved), and (a)(3) (conspiracy to defraud the government using false claims) and common-law claims of fraudulent concealment and “mistake of fact”)04/03/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Douglas Johnson --Report and Recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence seized from execution of two separate search warrants. Court found the first warrant application to be deficient, and so much so that the court held the Leon exclusionary rule should apply to the evidence seized in execution of the warrant. Court found the second warrant contained sufficient information to support the magistrate's probable cause determination, and further found that in any event, the officers' reliance on the warrant was reasoanble and in good faith.04/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
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.03/07/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Charles Thomas; order regarding constitutionality of the sex offender registration provisions of the Adam Walsh Act02/13/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Howell -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging violations of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 42 USC 16901 et seq. and 18 USC 2250. Held: (1) SORNA was not applicable to sex offender with pre-SORNA convition until issuance of Attorney General's interim rule on 2/28/07; (2) application of SORNA to conduct predating the interim rule would violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution; (3) SORNA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine or the Commerce Clause; (4) application of SORNA to defendant would not violate due process; and (5) proper venue for SORNA violation is fact-based and represents jury question for trial. 11/08/2007Paul A. Zoss
Tomlinson v. Burt (State prisoner’s petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254: ruling on motion to dismiss: “substantive” and “procedural” claims of “actual innocence,” procedural default of “due process” and “ineffective assistance of counsel” claims) 09/21/2007Mark W. Bennett
The O.N. Equity Sales Company v. Pals, et al. (Securities broker-dealer’s action for declaratory and injunctive relief to halt investors’ arbitration action before the NASD; plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and defendant’s responsive motion to compel arbitration: interplay of Dataphase factors for a preliminary injunction and determination of arbitrability, conditions for arbitrability pursuant to NASD Rule 10301)09/06/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Hernandez (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling after evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to file notice of appeal after prisoner’s request that counsel do so) 08/29/2007Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux C ity, et al. : (Merchant’s action challenging city ordinances regulating sex shops; court’s sua sponte consideration of sanctions against the city for destruction of records relevant to the litigation after settlement of the case)05/17/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lamont William Papakee and Connie Frances Blackcloud; order finding federal criminal jurisdiction over alleged sex crimes at Meskwaki Settlement05/02/2007Linda R. Reade
Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim, equal protection claim, claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX claims, claims brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, and Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; analysis of school district’s knowledge of the harassment, examination of whether the school district was deliberately indifferent to harassment, review of the severity and pervasiveness of the harassment, analysis of whether the school district was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and was immune from liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, examination of whether school district breached a duty to plaintiffs to protect them from student-on-student harassment, and with regard to plaintiffs’ premises liability claim, analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact had been generated as to whether harm to plaintiffs caused by physical assaults at school was reasonably foreseeable)04/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Marcos-Quiroga (defendant’s objections to PSIR, motion to withdraw guilty plea, and motion for new counsel: defendant’s Sixth Amendment objection to use of a prior conviction as both a statutory sentence enhancement and a career offender guideline enhancement; reconsideration of motion to withdraw guilty plea based on bad advice of counsel concerning career offender status; motion for new counsel based on prejudicial conduct of current counsel)03/23/2007Mark W. Bennett
Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC (suit by investor alleging improper overcharges by securities broker and its account representative; defendants’ motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings: whether, as a matter of circuit law, an “introducing broker” and its agent are entitled to enforce an arbitration clause in a contract between an investor and a “clearing broker” to which the “introducing broker” and its agent are not parties, because they are agents of the “clearing broker” or a third-party beneficiaries of the contract between the customer and the “clearing broker”; whether the “clearing broker” is an indispensable party within the meaning of Rule 19(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to litigation involving claims of fraud based, at least in part, on notices of account activity actually sent by the “clearing broker,” such that the case is subject to arbitration)02/21/2007Mark W. Bennett
Mugan v. McGuire Law Firm02/20/2007Paul A. Zoss
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. (railway workers union’s action for injunctive and other relief pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, to bar carrier’s introduction of iris recognition technology for attendance and timekeeping purposes: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and carrier’s motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction: whether the parties’ dispute is “major” or “minor” within the meaning of the RLA, where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over “minor” disputes, which must instead be determined in binding arbitration)02/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; store’s motion for further clarification of issues for bench trial)01/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; city’s motion to clarify issues for bench trial)01/13/2007Mark W. Bennett
Richmond v. Burt (Federal prisoner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; case initially referred to Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, who recommended the petition be dismissed on procedural grounds; petitioner filed objections to Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation, essentially contending his constitutional claims were not procedurally barred; upon conducting de novo review of petitioner’s claims, court overrules petitioner’s objections and accepts Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation; petitioner did not fairly present his constitutional claims to the Iowa courts and even if he had, petitioner’s claims are without merit; petition is dismissed and no certificate of appealability shall be issued.) 01/04/2007Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; defendant’s motion to preserve Seventh Amendment right to jury trial: province of court and jury in determination of remaining “constitutionality,” “applicability,” and “damages” issues, applying two-prong inquiry under City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dues at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (1999))12/20/2006Mark W. Bennett
Jones, et al. v. Winnebago Industries & Kwikee Products Company, Inc. (products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Idaho law, the law of the plaintiffs’ residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Iowa law, the law of the place where the principal defendant had its principal place of business and where it designed and manufactured an allegedly defective mechanism for a “slide out” room on a recreational vehicle; plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend complaint: motion for leave to amend complaint to add prayer for punitive damages was intertwined with motion for partial summary judgment on choice of law, where one forum’s law would bar the amendment and the other forum’s law would not)11/02/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Arturo Ruiz-Ahumada (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) that his plea was the product of coercion and therefore, not entered into voluntarily; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, the defendant’s own statements during the plea hearing demonstrate he pled guilty knowingly and voluntarily; defendant also filed separately a pro se Motion to Amend and a pro se Motion to Supplement; both motions are denied as untimely, as they do not relate back to his original § 2255 petition.)10/24/2006Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment; whether plaintiff conceded that only “rational basis” scrutiny applies to non-media provisions of subject ordinances and whether ruling on “civil disability” provisions was without benefit of the plaintiff’s response and based only on dicta in a Supreme Court decision)10/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Perez-Sanchez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on the following grounds: (1) a “Booker error,” based on the defendant’s contention that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes; (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841 to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity and role determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); and (3) failure of appellate counsel to argue that the defendant’s rights under the Vienna Convention were violated during his plea hearing on appeal; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, neither trial counsel’s nor appellate counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )10/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
Saeemodarae v. Mercy Health Services -- Iowa Corp., d/b/a Mercy Medical Center (Former employee, a practicing Wiccan, asserted race discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and state law against a medical center that claims to have a Roman Catholic identity; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: scope of “religious organization” exemption from claims of religious discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1(a); whether the court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction to interpret, as a matter of first impression, the scope of the exemption from religious discrimination and retaliation claims for “bona fide religious institutions” under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.6(6)(b))10/06/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Juan Carlos Vazquez-Munoz (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting three allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted his counsel was ineffective in (1) failing to file an appeal after being expressly directed to do so by the defendant; (2) failing to file an appeal without obtaining the defendant’s consent; and (3) failing to object to the PSIR regarding the defendant’s role in the offense; motion denied in its entirety; defendant did not expressly direct his attorney to file an appeal and he could neither prove breach of duty nor prejudice on either of his remaining claims.)09/28/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Hernandez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to anticipate Booker, in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), which had been decided at the time of the defendant’s sentencing; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )09/25/2006Mark W. Bennett
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.09/22/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Renee Carlson (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; specifically, the defendant asserted that (1) her plea was the product of coercion, (2) she was forced to incriminate herself, presumably by admitting to her involvement in the conspiracy during her plea hearing, (3) the government failed to disclose the evidence against her because she never personally viewed the evidence; additionally, the defendant contends her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea, (2) failing to ensure she was read her Miranda rights, and (3) failing to inform her of her right to appeal; motion denied in its entirety; defendant was not entitled to relief on any of the alleged grounds.)09/11/2006Mark W. Bennett
Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson v. Bruce Macaulay, Michael Parker, Holly Michael, The Iowa State Patrol, Troy Bailey, Rick Busch and Linn County, Iowa; Order granting plaintiff's Rule 56(f) motion in part, granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in part, including Westfall certification, and denying as moot defendants' motion for protective order09/01/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Hernandez : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: alleged “Booker error,” and allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before, during, and after trial, including (1) failure to assert “Apprendi claim”; (2) failure to investigate the facts of the case, including facts that would have provided the basis to challenge the credibility of the government’s witnesses and the falsehoods in their trial testimony; (3) failure to challenge, at trial and on appeal, sentencing enhancements for obstruction of justice, possession of a firearm, and drug quantity, and (4) failure to assert that the evidence showed multiple conspiracies instead of the single conspiracy with which Hernandez was charged, supplemented at evidentiary hearing to include (5) failure of trial counsel to advise him adequately of the law applicable to his consideration of whether to go to trial, plead guilty; determination of whether resentencing was appropriate relief on the last claim)08/30/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Jeffrey Determan (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on one ground: that he received an illegal sentence based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence.) 08/18/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Roberto Alvarez-Delgadillo (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(A) and (B) to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant.)08/14/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Pinkerton (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting two allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea and (2) in representing to the prosecutor that the defendant was dishonest in her debriefings; motion denied in its entirety; defendant could neither prove breach of duty or prejudice on either claim.)08/11/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Robert Lee Kriens (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal, including failure to investigate and present evidence that would purportedly prove that the defendant’s prior conviction for attempted burglary under Iowa law was not a “violent felony” for purposes of the armed career criminal enhanced mandatory minimum sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)).07/25/2006Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment, motion to reconsider in part the previous summary judgment ruling, and motion to bifurcate trial: constitutionality and applicability of “media” and “non-media” portions of the first round of amendments and damages arising from enforcement of those amendments; bifurcation of trial on “constitutionality” and “damages” questions; and constitutionality of “adult bookstore or adult video store,” “sexual device shop,” and licensing “civil disability” provisions of the second round of amendments)07/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lori Clare Kavitz : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ten allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and request to reopen Apprendi claim, which had been dismissed on initial review, in light of Blakely).07/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; concluding that when defendants joined the alleged conspiracy they purposefully availed themselves of the privileges of conducting activities in Iowa, the forum state; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)06/26/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to reconsider ruling on motion to dismiss to consider alternative motion to stay and plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint: motion to amend should be addressed before motion to reconsider, because it might, and in this case did, moot portions of the motion to reconsider; standards for reconsideration of an interlocutory order and standards for a stay of proceedings: claims of amended complaint that required determination of issue of whether the plaintiff was infringing the defendants’ Canadian patent were stayed pending determination of infringement issue by Canadian court).06/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
International Motor Contest Association, Inc. v. Staley, et al. (copyright litigation between sponsors of automobile racing involving copyrights on plaintiff’s contest rules; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ counterclaims and to strike defendants’ affirmative defenses of “copyright misuse” and “unclean hands” under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and because they are legally insufficient)06/19/2006Mark W. Bennett
Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd. and TKS, Inc.; Order granting in part Goss's motion for preliminary injunction06/15/2006Linda R. Reade
Conrad v. Iowa Central Community College & Robert Paxton (Suit by former employee against the place of her employment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Iowa law; defendants’ motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss; plaintiff did not resist defendants’ motion for summary judgment in regard to her First Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; with respect to defendants’ motion to dismiss, analysis of whether, with the elimination of § 1983 claim, the court should decline to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining state law claims)06/01/2006Mark W. Bennett
Laffey v. Burt (Habeas petition by state prisoner; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on the merits of the petition: alleged insufficiency of the evidence of sexual abuse of children under twelve in violation of due process; alleged Eighth Amendment violation asserting disproportionality between the offenses and two consecutive twenty-five year sentences imposed for them)05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss: individual defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and forum non conveniens, and to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process; corporate defendant’s joinder in motion to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process, and to dismiss commercial tort claims for forum non conveniens and failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted; plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against corporate defendant on unchallenged claim of infringement of United States patent).05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack, et al; Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc., filed an official capacity suit against Iowa Attorney General Miller and the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in response to the enactment of Senate File 2330, which effectively bans the use of TouchPlay lottery machines in Iowa on May 3, 2006 at 11:59 p.m.; plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctions and a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional because plaintiff owns 724 TouchPlay machines; Court finds that the state law is not a violation of the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution04/26/2006Linda R. Reade
Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. v. Tanager Place and Tanager, Inc., Counterclaim Plaintiff v. Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., Counterclaim Defendant; Tanager Place, Third-Party Plaintiff, vs. Sylvia Piper, Third-Party Defendant; Order regarding federal supplemental jurisdiction12/13/2005Linda R. Reade
Attorney's Process and Investigation Services, Inc. v. Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin an action pending in the Court of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; defendant previously brought a suit in that court against plaintiff alleging various torts; plaintiff alleged the tribal court did not have jurisdiction over it because it is a non-Indian; plaintiff further alleged it would be irreparably harmed if the tribal court action were to proceed because the tribal court is biased, it would not be allowed to assert a counterclaim against the Tribe, and the 2003 contract it entered into with the Tribe contains an arbitration clause; Court found it did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit; court denied plaintiff's claim that exhaustion of tribal court remedies would be futile and stayed the federal action pending the exhaustion of tribal remedies; court determined the tribal court must, in the first instance, determine the extent of its own jurisdiction 11/15/2005Linda R. Reade
GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's application for attorneys fees10/06/2005Linda R. Reade
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City, et al. (Challenge to city’s superseded amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment: mootness and plaintiff’s standing to challenge superseded ordinances; unconstitutionality of superseded ordinances under the First Amendment, to the extent that they regulated “adult media”; fact questions on extent of adult entertainment business’s stock of “sex toys,” precluding determination of constitutional protection of sale of such items under “substantive due process” right to “privacy”)09/28/2005Mark W. Bennett
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity and for lack of personal jurisdiction; fraudulent concealment claim not plead with requisite particularity where; plaintiff granted leave to replead fraud based claims; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)09/16/2005Mark W. Bennett
White v. Kautzky, et al. (Prisoner’s § 1983 action for denial of access to the courts; review of magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on the merits: legal assistance system at the prison, which precluded all legal research on the inmate’s improper extradition claim, even where such legal research would have been reasonably necessary, in the exercise of a legal advisor’s reasonable professional judgment, to provide reasonably competent legal advice on the merits of the inmate’s claim, violated the inmate’s right of access to the courts, and the inmate suffered “actual injury,” because the legal assistance system itself so stymied his ability to obtain adequate legal advice that he could not file any claim based on improper extradition; appropriate remedy, where the statute of limitations on any claim had expired, was nominal damages and declaratory relief)09/08/2005Mark W. Bennett
GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's motion for remand09/06/2005Linda R. Reade
United States v. B.H.; After the defendant was committed under Iowa law to outpatient care and subsequently released, he sought to repossess firearms seized prior to his commitment. The state argued he was not entitled to the return of his firearms under state and federal law; the state court judge ruled against the state and ordered the firearms to be returned to the defendant. The US Attorney's Office subsequently filed a declaratory judgment action asking this court to declare the firearms contraband as to the defendant due to his prior commitment. The court held the US Attorney's Office was virtually represented by the state in the prior proceeding and thus was precluded from pursuing the civil action in this court.07/07/2005Linda R. Reade
Pro Edge L.P. et al v. Charles S. Gue, III (Motion to amend and/or reconsider preliminary injunction order filed June 1, 2005; motion challenged holding that following corporate reorganizaiton, Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement (“1996 Agreement”) containing the non-compete clause and could enforce it against defendant; on reconsideration court held that: (1) reasonable inference arose from exhibits admitted at preliminary injunction hearing that defendant executed the Stock Purchase Agreement; (2) termination provisions in paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2(b) did not foreclose transfer or assignment of the 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P. prior to the closing date; (3) representative appointed by virtue of defendant’s execution of the Stock Purchase Agreement was vested with the authority to consent to assignment of the 1996 Agreement; and (4) reasonable inference drawn from evidence presented was that representative did consent to assignment and/or transfer of 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P.; motion to reconsider denied.)07/05/2005Mark W. Bennett
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.06/30/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order on defendant’s motion to exclude hearsay testimony during “penalty phase” on confrontation clause, due process clause, and statutory grounds) 06/06/2005Mark W. Bennett
Pro Edge, L.P., et al. v. Gue, et al. (Plaintiffs, shortly following removal from state court, filed motion to extend temporary restraining order issued by state court and for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from engaging in competing activities in Belgrade, Montana area in violation of employment agreement, which contained a non-compete clause, signed by individual defendant while employed with plaintiffs; defendants resisted and filed a motion to dismiss; day long preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing held; court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant corporation, which was incorporated and had principal place of business in Montana, and had no contacts with Iowa; court had specific personal jurisdiction over individual defendant where that defendant executed the employment agreement in Iowa in 1996, remained in Iowa for a year and a half following execution of employment agreement, remained an employee of Iowa plaintiffs even after relocating to Montana, defendant’s direct supervisor was always in Iowa up until his separation with plaintiffs on April 8, 2005, defendant maintained contact with Iowa main office on weekly basis, defendant received paycheck from Iowa bank account, employment agreement contained an Iowa choice of law clause, and defendant maintained ownership stake, in the form of partnership units, in Pro Edge, L.P.; examining the case under Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 187(2)(b), court found that § 188 factors amounted to a “tie” and deferred to the parties expression of Iowa choice of law in the employment agreement; non-compete clause of employment agreement reasonable and enforceable under Iowa law; as corporation is entitled to use fictitious name in making contracts, fact that plaintiff’s predecessor used fictitious name in signing employment contract with individual defendant did not make contract unenforceable; after examining corporate reorganization of plaintiffs, court held that Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement and could enforce it against individual defendant; on balancing of the Dataphase factors, the court found the factors weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; preliminary injunction would issue following plaintiffs posting of a bond in the amount of $30,000.00; venue was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a); court would not dismiss for forum non conveniens; defendants’ motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted.)06/01/2005Mark W. Bennett
Buenting v. Riley, et al. (Civil Rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; plaintiff’s claims that his constitutional rights were violated by continued harassing conduct by a police officer and the failure of the chief of police to curtail the alleged harassing conduct; the court concludes that defendant police officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he stopped plaintiff on one occasion; the court also concludes that plaintiff was not seized by defendant police officer when police officer pulled up in front of plaintiff’s father’s house and warned plaintiff that the tint on the windshield of plaintiff’s vehicle was too dark; the court finds there has been a showing that defendant police officer violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights by pulling plaintiff over without reasonable suspicion; the court also concludes that defendant police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity as a defense to plaintiff’s claim; the court further concludes that defendant police officer’s conduct does not sufficiently shock the conscience so as to violate substantive due process; the court also concludes that plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendant police chief was deliberately indifferent to the rights of citizens who came into contact with defendant police officer or tacitly authorized the offending acts; finally, the court concludes because the record is sufficient to establish a § 1983 claim against defendant police officer, the defendant city is not entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.)05/13/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s renewed motion to strike death penalty where government is no longer asserting guilt as a “principal”)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to exclude evidence and argument that she acted as a “principal” in the alleged killings)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to charge offenses owing to omission of “substantive connection” between killings and drug conspiracy or CCE)04/11/2005Mark W. Bennett
CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., James Howard, Troy Shaver, Larry Uland, Shane Vanden Heuvel, Robert L. Simpson, II, and Keith P. Bell; Defendant J.B. Hunt moves the court to dismiss the case pursuant to the first-filed rule, transfer it for consolidation with pending litigation between CRST and J.B. Hunt in the Western District of Oklahoma, abstain from exercising jurisdiction in favor of an Arkansas state action between CRST and J.B. Hunt, or stay it pending a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit between CRST and another trucking competitor. The court denies the motion on all grounds.03/31/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); pretrial ruling on the proper degree of case-specific questioning, if any, that is permissible in the course of life- or death-qualifying prospective jurors)03/31/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order regarding intention of defendant, who had given notice of intent to rely on mental condition evidence in the "penalty phase," to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to questions about her involvement in the charged murders during mental examinations by government mental health experts) 03/17/2005Mark W. Bennett
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Midwest Regional Director and Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Aurene M. Martin, First Assistant and Principal Advisor; motion to dismiss filed by current election board; case dismissed because the motion to dismiss raises intra-tribal disputes regarding (1) any election board's authority under the Tribe's Constitution to file a lawsuit in federal court and, if so, (2) which election board is the proper plaintiff in this suit 03/02/2005Linda R. Reade
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.)02/28/2005Paul A. Zoss
Cook v. Electrolux (Prior court order confirmed arbitration award awarding grievant (here plaintiff) reinstatement and backpay in dispute between defendant and representative union; plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of the FMLA and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (“IWPCL”); defendant filed motion for summary judgment contending prior court order precluded the plaintiff’s claims on res judicata grounds; plaintiff filed cross-motion for summary judgment contending arbitration decision collaterally estopped defendant from asserting that it had not violated the FMLA in terminating her employment; defendant filed second motion for partial summary judgment on IWPCL claim; court held prior court order confirming arbitration award was not accorded a claim or issue preclusive effect under Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 94 S. Ct. 1011, 39 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1974), and its progeny, and therefore denied the cross-motions for summary judgment as to the FMLA claim; defendant’s partial motion for summary judgment as to IWPCL claim granted as a backpay award was not “wages” as defined by the IWPCL.) 01/26/2005Mark W. Bennett
Storm, et al. v. Van Beek, et al. (Diversity action for breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to name indispensable party and pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, both premised on failure to name a defunct partnership as a party before suing the partners who continued the business of the partnership)09/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s request for “residual doubt” instruction in “penalty phase”)09/01/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the government’s motion to have the defendant wear shackles at trial)07/21/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the parties’ second round of pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence) 07/16/2004Mark W. Bennett
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss; analysis of whether plaintiff established standing and jurisdiction06/10/2004Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on government’s pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence)06/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
Brent Kreinbring v. Alternative Claims Services, Inc., Gary Hoffman and Tony Polk; motion to remand; case remanded to state court because notice of removal was not filed within 30 days of: (1) the date defendants were served with the complaint; or (2) the date from which defendants could reasonably ascertain the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.0005/27/2004Linda R. Reade
In the Matter of American Commercial Lines LLC as the Owner and American Commercial Barge Line LLC as Operator, of the Barge “PV548B”, in a case for exoneration from and/or limitation of liability; motion for entry of injunction and notice to claimants; shipowner’s liability limited pursuant to the Limitation of Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. App. § 181.) 05/26/2004Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying motion to reconsider order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)05/14/2004Mark W. Bennett
Cedar Rapids Zen Center, Inc. and Zuiko Redding v. City of Cedar Rapids; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether Plaintiffs’ claims are ripe04/23/2004Linda R. Reade
Sherman, et al. v. Kasotakis d/b/a The Horizsons Family Restaurant (Race discrimination in a public accommodation case under § 1981, § 2000a, and Iowa Code § 217.6; jury verdict for each of the four individual plaintiffs in the amount of $1.00 in nominal damages and $12,500.00 in punitive damages; defendant’s motion for partial judgment as a matter of law, partial new trial or remittitur as to punitive damages award; plaintiffs’ motion to amend the judgment to include injunctive relief and application for attorney’s fees; failure to renew motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all the evidence or object in any way to jury instructions constituted waiver; under plain error analysis evidence supported holding employer liable for offending actions of employee where offending employee’s actions were ratified or approved of by supervising night manager; under plain error analysis jury instructions on punitive damages conformed to the law and adequately conveyed the rights and burdens of the respective parties; partial motion for judgment as a matter of law denied; partial motion for new trial on the issue of the constitutionality of the punitive damages award; application of the factors enumerated in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 116 S. Ct. 1589, 134 L. Ed. 2d 908 (1996) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513, 155 L. Ed. 2d 585 (2003); conduct in the upper echelon of reprehensibility; ratio not as important in civil rights cases where only nominal and punitive damages are awarded—reducing ratio to single digit multiplier in this instance would eviscerate the intent behind punitive damages; predictably, no similar civil penalties—which is precisely the reason for the creation of federal civil rights law; punitive damages award under the particular facts and circumstances was reasonable; motion for partial new trial denied; remittitur not warranted as the differential between nominal and punitive damages was neither monstrous nor shocking to the conscience; plaintiffs’ motion to amend judgment granted; equitable relief ordered included two-year injunction, posting of notice, dissemination of anti-discrimination in a public accommodation policy, and maintenance of records; application for attorney’s fees granted with some modification to the claimed rates and reasonable hours; attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19,692.46.04/19/2004Mark W. Bennett
Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor v. Michael Sauve, Kathleen Sauve, and the Distribution Contractors, Inc., 401(K) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan; Order on motion for default judgment; analysis of whether plan trustees violated fiduciary duties03/16/2004Linda R. Reade
Trustees of the Five River Carpenters District Council Health and Welfare Fund and Trustees of the Five River Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Fund v. Steiner Construction, Inc.; Order on motion for default judgment; defendant failed to make contributions to ERISA funds; award of delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorney’s fees and costs03/16/2004Linda R. Reade
Doctor John's v. City of Sioux City, et al.(Challenge to city’s newly amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; putative adult entertainment business’s motion for preliminary injunction: Dataphase standards for a preliminary injunction; plaintiff’s likelihood of showing constitutional invalidity of a municipal zoning ordinance regulating adult entertainment businesses under the test in City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986), threat of irreparable harm to First Amendment rights from potentially defective ordinance, balance of harms, and public interest in protection of First Amendment rights; scope of injunction necessary to address constitutional defect; bond requirement under Rule 65(c) and grounds for waiver; and preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of city’s newly amended ordinances)02/26/2004Mark W. Bennett
Knutson v. AG Processing (Judgment of this court on ordered reinstatement, back pay, attorney’s fees and damages to plaintiff; on appeal to Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; plaintiff moved to compel reinstatement or in the alternative front pay; defendant subsequently moved to stay execution of judgment; monetary judgment stayed pending posting of supersedeas bond in amount agreed to by the parties; reinstatement of plaintiff to former position did not result in irreparable harm to defendant; balancing of equities favored denying motion to stay execution of the order of reinstatement; even when matter is on appeal the court retains authority to enforce its original judgment; plaintiff’s motion for reinstatement granted; interim pay from the time of original judgment until the earlier of the plaintiff’s reinstatement or decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered, but stayed pending posting of an additional supersedeas bond by defendant; as front pay was a key issue on appeal, court likely without jurisdiction to alter its original ruling denying front pay; defendant subject to civil contempt proceedings if it fails to obtain a stay from Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of this court’s order of reinstatement and does not reinstate plaintiff.) 02/13/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)01/29/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken(death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order closing hearing on government’s motion for anonymous jury)01/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
Thompson, et al. v. United Transportation Union; Order on motion for remand; plaintiffs' state law claims are not preempted by the Railway Labor Act because they do not require interpretation of any collective bargaining agreement; matter remanded to state court12/03/2003Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for hearing and briefing on government’s motion for anonymous jury, including whether the hearing should be closed and the appropriate degree of “anonymity” for the jury)11/26/2003Mark W. Bennett
Scheckel v. Iowa Dept. of Revenue and Finance, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon Eleventh Amendment immunity, the Tax Injunction Act and principles of comity11/24/2003Linda R. Reade
Kenyon v. State of Ia. & Honorable Gary Wenell (Public employee’s suit for wrongful discharge against State of Iowa and state court judge; defendants’ motion to dismiss: Eleventh Amendment immunity of the State and a state official to suit, including whether 42 U.S.C. § 1983 abrogates such immunity, whether the Iowa Tort Claims Act waives immunity to suit in federal court, the extent of immunity for a state official in his official and individual capacities, and the presumption of official capacity where no capacity is pleaded; whether other officials who voted on the public employee’s termination are indispensable parties to the suit)09/30/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss capital counts on former jeopardy grounds)07/21/2003Mark W. Bennett
Lyons v. Midwest Glazing, d/b/a Eddy's Glass & Door (Bench trial on the merits; plaintiff was third-party beneficiary to contract selling business, sales agreement provided plaintiff "for cause" job protection; defendant terminated plaintiff for abusing company’s paid time off policy and for being poor influence on workforce’s morale; plaintiff alleged breach; court found defendant’s reasons for terminating the plaintiff were bona fide reasons and were cause for termination; defendant also counter-claimed for tortious interference with contractual relationships and breach of fiduciary duty; court found that, by failing to identify counter-claims and bases thereof in final pre-trial order, the counter-claims were waived.)06/06/2003Mark W. Bennett
Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corporation v. Pay Load, Inc. (Diversity tort action; motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); analysis of corporation's principal place of business for purposes of ascertaining the existence or lack of federal diversity jurisdiction.04/29/2003Mark W. Bennett
Schultzen v. Woodbury Central Comm. School District, et al. (Claims against defendant Bumsted in individual and official capacities under Title IX, section 1983, and Iowa Code Chapter 216: plaintiff was a student at Woodbury Central High School and suspended from participation in extra curricular activities after defendant reported, to school administration, plaintiff’s smoking in violation of the school district’s Good Conduct Code; defendant Bumsted moved for summary judgment on grounds that he (a) could not be liable in his individual capacity under Title IX, (b) could not be liable under section 1983 based on a violation of Title IX, (c) was not acting under color of state law or deprived plaintiff of her rights pursuant to section 1983, (d) was entitled to qualified immunity, and (e) was not liable under Iowa Code Chapter 216 because the plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination against him.)02/19/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to declare death-penalty provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 848 unconstitutional)01/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
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Willis , et al. v. Charles Palmer and Corey Turner (Civilly committed sex offenders brought as applied due process challenge to the treatment program at Iowa's civil commitment unit; finding, on defendants' second motion for summary judgment, that the plaintiffs' failed to allege a material dispute of fact in light of the Eighth Circuit's decision in Karsjens v. Piper, 845 F.3d 394, 398 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 106, 199 L. Ed. 2d 185 (2017) and the expert reports incorporated in the summary judgment record.) 08/17/2018Mark W. Bennett
Gosch v. Sergeant Bluff-Luton Cmty. Sch. Dist. (action by parents of disabled child against teacher, principal, and school district asserting civil rights, disability discrimination, and tort claims: Plaintiff’s motion for new trial on unconstitutional seizure and negligence claims against teacher: challenge to sufficiency of the evidence denied, because, although the evidence was very close such that a verdict for either side would have been reasonable for a jury to reach, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, the verdict was not against the greater weight of the evidence; challenged remarks by defense counsel were either not improper or, if improper, were no more than minor aberrations made in passing that did not distort the weight of the evidence enough to deprive the plaintiffs of a fair trial; defense claims or contentions that were allegedly first raised at trial were not surprises amounting to a major variance in the defendants’ defense warranting a new trial)11/29/2017Mark W. Bennett
Ingram v. United States (Action by federal prisoner challenging geographic disparity in the application of § 851 enhancements: Eighth Amendment claim and equal protection/selective prosecution claim.)10/31/2017Mark W. Bennett
Church v. Anderson, et al. (Action by arrestee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting an “excessive force” claim against a city police officer; the city, and the city police chief; defendants’ motions for summary judgment: analysis of whether plaintiff’s claims are barred under the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); determination of whether defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on § 1983 claim of “excessive force” and state law claims.) 04/17/2017Mark W. Bennett
K.G., a minor, by and through his parents and next friends, Suzanne Gosch and Kevin Gosch v. Sergeant Bluff-Luton Community School District, et al. (action by parents of disabled child against teacher, principal, and school district for excessive use of force; summary judgment: IDEA exhaustion requirements for non-IDEA claims after Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, No. 15-497, 2017 WL 685533 (S. Ct. Feb. 22, 2017); sufficiency of claims of “excessive force” under the Fourth Amendment and “substantive due process” under the Fourteenth Amendment, including qualified immunity, disability discrimination claims, and state common-law claims of negligence, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress)03/23/2017Mark W. Bennett
Eugene Nelson v Charles City Comm. School Dist.01/18/2017Edward J McManus
Baldwin v. City of Esherville, et al (A resident brought claims against a city and city police officers pursuant to the Iowa and United States Constitutions and a state law claim for false arrest following his arrest for driving his ATV in violation of a state statute that was not, in fact, incorporated into the City Code; cross-motions for summary judgment: Iowa constitutional claims stayed pending determination by the Iowa Supreme Court of whether such a claim will lie; summary judgment granted for the defendants on the federal constitutional claims and state false arrest claim, because, while there was no probable cause or qualified immunity based on a “mistake of law” for an arrest pursuant to an ordinance that the arresting officers should reasonably have known was not part of the City Code, there was probable cause under another ordinance that the officers could reasonably, if mistakenly, believed was applicable, prior to the Iowa district court’s interpretation of it in the underlying criminal case)11/18/2016Mark W. Bennett
Patrick James Sr vs Cedar Rapids, City of, Grant Rasmussen and Bruce Payne07/19/2016Edward J McManus
Willis, et al v. Palmer, et al (The court denies the defendants' objection to court appointed experts under Federal Rule of Evidence 706. Pursuant to the court's prior order, the parties are given 45 days to nominate four witnesses. Of those four witnesses, Magistrate Judge C.J. Williams will select up to two experts to appoint in this case. Judge Williams will then over see the cultivation of the expert testimony and direct how compensation for the experts will be provided)(06/20/2016Mark W. Bennett
Willis, et al v. Palmer, et al (Following the court's order denying the defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court directs the parties to show cause why the court should not appoint its own expert under Federal Rule of Evidence 706 to answer three primary questions: 1) how Iowa’s civil commitment program compares to other civil commitment programs throughout the country; 2) what practices are medically accepted to treat sexual offenders; and 3) what is the likelihood that the treatment employed by the defendants will result in the plaintiffs progressing through treatment at CCUSO and achieving eventual release.)05/25/2016Mark W. Bennett
Levi Wilson, et al v. Scott Lamp, et al. (Police officers, in search of a black suspect accused of stealing gasoline, initiated a traffic stop of a black driver and his six year old son with firearms drawn on them; plaintiffs complied with all of defendant officers’ orders, however, officers searched the plaintiff’s truck after they determined he was not the suspect they sought, officers kept a gun pointed at the child through the duration of the stop; claims for Fourth Amendment excessive force, made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, state-law invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, made pursuant to Iowa Tort Claims Act, survive Motions to Dismiss; negligence claim dismissed for failure to comply with the administrative requirements of the Iowa Tort Claims Act; determination of state constitutional claims analogous to federal Bivens claims reserved until the Iowa Supreme Court rules on Conklin v. State.) 11/03/2015Mark W. Bennett
Duane & Julie Davids v. North Iowa Community School District, et al. (Residents of an Iowa school district brought constitutional and state-law claims arising from an Iowa school district’s refusal to pay for the plaintiffs’ children to attend school in Minnesota; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: lack of a state-law right upon which to base equal protection, substantive due process, or procedural due process claims; lack of any genuine issues of material fact of “unjust enrichment”)07/16/2015Mark W. Bennett
Daniels v. City of Sioux City (Action by arrestee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting an “excessive force” claim against a city police officer; police officer’s motion for summary judgment: qualified immunity to § 1983 claim of “excessive force” and state law claim of “assault”) 10/23/2014Mark W. Bennett
Aguilera v. Wright County (Action by state prisoner granted post-conviction relief from a second-degree murder conviction in 1996 for a Brady violation who subsequently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter before a new trial in 2012: State defendants’ motion to dismiss: federal claims: sufficiency of allegations of “bad faith” by investigator defendants and their responsibility for nondisclosures to support Brady claim, qualified immunity, and “favorable termination” requirement under Heck v. Humphrey; state tort claims: whether certain state tort claims were functional equivalents of intentional torts excepted from the waiver of sovereign immunity under the Iowa Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 669.14(4); availability of a state tort claim for obstruction of justice analogous to a criminal offense defined by Iowa Code § 719.3) 10/06/2014Mark W. Bennett
Van Stelton v. Van Stelton (Federal civil rights litigation, motions for summary judgment concerning civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and pendent state law claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, slander and libel, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with prospective business advantage; motion for summary judgment; reviewing whether plaintiffs satisfied § 1983’s under color of state law requirement as to two groups of defendants; determining whether defendants violated a plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by not permitted him to state his side of an incident before being arrested or by interfering with plaintiffs’ ability to see their stepmother; analyzing whether defendants violated a plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by their warrantless arrest of him and their subsequent search of that plaintiff’s tape recorder without a search warrant; reviewing whether plaintiffs’ claims against defendants for violation of their Fifth Amendment due process rights failed as a matter of law because the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause applies only to the federal government or federal actions; determining whether defendants violated plaintiffs’ due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment in their actions related to one plaintiff’s arrest for assault and trespassing; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ false arrest claims against one group of defendants failed as a matter of law because those defendants had probable cause for arresting one of the plaintiffs; determining whether a false arrest claim under Iowa law would lie against a person who reported a crime but did not instigate the arrest; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for malicious prosecution failed as a matter of law because there was probable cause for one plaintiff’s arrest and prosecution; analyzing whether defendants’ alleged statement in booking information constituted defamation; determining on plaintiffs’ breach of fiduciary duty claims whether lawyer owed a fiduciary duty to plaintiffs and whether such a claim was bared by res judicata; and analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact existed in the summary judgment record which would permit a reasonable fact finder to conclude that defendants had interfered with plaintiffs’ prospective business opportunities.) 09/30/2014Mark W. Bennett
Virgil & CArol Van Stelton v. Jerry Van Stelton, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning defendants’ counterclaim for abuse of process, reviewing requirements for abuse of process claims under Iowa law and analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether defendants’ sufficiently pled their counterclaim for abuse of process.)01/15/2014Mark W. Bennett
Aguilera v. Wright County, et al. (Action by state prisoner granted post-conviction relief from a second-degree murder conviction in 1996 for a Brady violation who subsequently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter before a new trial in 2012: State defendants’ motion to dismiss: federal claims: sufficiency of allegations of “bad faith” by investigator defendants and their responsibility for nondisclosures to support Brady claim, qualified immunity, and “favorable termination” requirement under Heck v. Humphrey; state tort claims: whether certain state tort claims were functional equivalents of intentional torts excepted from the waiver of sovereign immunity under the Iowa Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 669.14(4); availability of a state tort claim for obstruction of justice analogous to a criminal offense defined by Iowa Code § 719.3) 01/06/2014Mark W. Bennett
Driesen v. Smith, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), and pendent state law claims for unjust enrichment and conspiracy to defraud; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether the Rooker–Feldman doctrine bars the court's subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ claims. 01/02/2014Mark W. Bennett
DaCosta Daniels, et al v. The City of Sioux City, et al (Action by arrestee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting an “excessive force” claim against a city police officer and the city, and “infliction of emotional distress” claims on behalf of the plaintiff’s daughter against the city and a community school district based on the showing of a video of the plaintiff’s arrest, months later, to her daughter’s middle school class by a different city employee and a school district employee; the school district’s motion to dismiss for lack of supplemental subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) over the state law claims against it) 11/08/2013Mark W. Bennett
Clay v. Woodbury County, Iowa, et al. (Action by pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting “strip search” and “free speech retaliation” claims in violation of the United States and Iowa Constitutions: plaintiff’s motion to exclude defendants’ expert’s testimony for applying the wrong legal standard and offering legal conclusions; defendants’ motions (2) for summary judgment: whether the “strip search” claim alleged both a “violation of privacy” claim and an “excessive force” claim; whether the defendant officers had qualified immunity to the claims; and whether the alleged “strip search” was in retaliation for complaining about the plaintiff’s detention and a search of her purpose) 11/06/2013Mark W. Bennett
Peters v. Woodbury County (Action by pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting a “strip search,” use of “excessive force,” and “free speech retaliation”: defendants’ motions (2) for summary judgment: whether alleged “strip search” was a “search” at all or a “clothing exchange” and whether the defendant officers had qualified immunity; whether “excessive force” was used to compel compliance with an order to change into a jail uniform in front of officers; and whether the alleged “strip search” was in retaliation for complaining about the order to change into a jail uniform in front of officers) 10/25/2013Mark W. Bennett
Virgil Van Stelton, et al v. Jerry Van Stelton, et al. (Federal civil rights litigation, motions to dismiss concerning claims brought civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq.; and pendent state law claims for false arrest, fraud, malicious prosecution, slander and libel, and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) concerning whether plaintiffs’ sufficiently pled claims for civil rights violations under § 1983; RICO, First Amendment right to petition, slander and libel, tortious interference with prospective business relations claim, Ongoing Criminal Conduct violation, false arrest, malicious prosecution, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty.)07/17/2013Mark W. Bennett
Rattray, et al. v. Woodbury County, Iowa (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees: one plaintiff’s motion to reconsider summary judgment in favor of the county on her “manner” strip-search claim pursuant to Rule 52(b) and Rule 59(e) concerning, inter alia, whether the plaintiff must show that a non-participant was actually present who could have observed the strip search, whether or not any non-participant actually did observe the strip search) 01/30/2013Mark W. Bennett
Rattray, Lambert, & Mathes v. Woodbury County, IA (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees: defendant county’s motions for reconsideration of a prior order granting summary judgment in one plaintiff’s favor on her claim and seeking summary judgment in the county’s favor on all of the plaintiffs’ claims in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1510 (2012): whether Florence states a general rule that reasonable suspicion is not required to strip search detainees, subject to as-yet not fully defined exceptions, or only a very narrow exception to the requirement of reasonable suspicion in the case of detainees who will be admitted to “general population”; whether Florence is a change in the law warranting reconsideration and withdrawal of prior summary judgment in favor of one plaintiff on her “no reasonable suspicion” strip-search claim; whether Florence warrants summary judgment in favor of the county on all plaintiffs’ “no reasonable suspicion” and “manner” strip-search clalims) 12/10/2012Mark W. Bennett
Lampman, et al. v. Ternus, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment, § 1983 case involving Fourteenth Amendment due process claim, plaintiffs, court reporters for Iowa District Associate Judges, alleged that they were entitled to due process, including notice and an opportunity to be heard, prior to employment termination or reduction in hours; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether, assuming arguendo that Iowa law creates a property interest in plaintiffs’ employment, plaintiffs were not entitled to pre-termination notice and an opportunity to be heard under the “reorganization exception” to the general rule that requires due process prior to a public employee’s termination.)02/06/2012Mark W. Bennett
Minten v. Weber (Action by former deputy sheriff against county sheriff for First Amendment retaliation, arising from discharge for offering to testify in a citizen’s First Amendment retaliation lawsuit; after summary judgment for the plaintiff, the matter was set for a jury trial on damages only; motions in limine: admissibility of the outcome of administrative proceedings on the former deputy sheriff’s claim for unemployment compensation and the outcome of the underlying citizen’s lawsuit; admissibility of evidence of other purported reasons for the former deputy sheriff’s termination)01/26/2012Mark W. Bennett
Woodward v. O'Brien, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment, prisoner § 1983 case involving Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding defendants’ motion for summary judgment, granting summary judgment because plaintiff is unable to show defendants ignored an acute or escalating situation, or that the defendants’ delays in providing him with treatment adversely affected the prognosis or ultimate outcome of his eye condition. )04/20/2011Mark W. Bennett
Rattray v. Woodbury County, Iowa (In this civil rights “strip search” case, the court was asked to decide what to make of an initial verdict that was clearly at odds with the jury instructions, and the jurors attempt to cure this inconsistency in a second verdict after the court ordered further deliberations. The court concluded that because there was no legally plausible explanation for the dramatic increase in emotional distress damages awarded by the jury between the two verdicts, a new trial was imperative to prevent a miscarriage of justice.)03/07/2011Mark W. Bennett
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.01/10/2011Paul A. Zoss
Aquino v. Delores San Nicolas, et al. (an alien convicted of drug offenses asserted claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and CNMI law arising from her detention pending deportation, without review by a judge, for 88 days after the end of her sentence; defendants’ second round of motions to dismiss the plaintiff’s recast claims of violation of due process and intentional infliction of emotional distress, based on failure to deport the plaintiff “immediately” upon the completion of her sentence and continuing her detention without review by a judge, and new claims of breach of contract, based on alleged violation of a plea agreement requiring “immediate” deportation, and tortious breach of duty, based on breach of a duty to deport the plaintiff “immediately” upon the end of her sentence allegedly created by the judgment and commitment order; whether dismissal of claims this time should be with prejudice)01/05/2011Mark W. Bennett
Rattray, et al. v. Woodbury County, Ia, et al : (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s strip-searches of three misdemeanor arrestees; plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment: constitutionality of a “blanket” strip-search policy, no longer in force, and conduct pursuant to it, including whether resolution of those issues is required where claims for declaratory judgment were withdrawn and the determinations are not necessary to resolution of the claims and would involve unnecessary determination of constitutional issues; qualified immunity, including proper identification of the right that must be clearly established and breached to overcome qualified immunity; and severance of trials, where one plaintiff must only prove damages, but the other plaintiffs must prove liability and damages) 12/01/2010Mark W. Bennett
Leventhal v. Schaffer (Events on RAGBRAI 2005 led to plaintiff William Eugene Leventhal’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action for unlawful arrest, ultimately resulting in a three-day bench trial against defendant Sergeant Daniel Schaffer. Leventhal established that Schaffer violated his Fourth Amendment rights, because Schaffer lacked probable cause in arresting Leventhal for cursing and pointing his finger at Schaffer. Nevertheless, Leventhal did not win his lawsuit, because the court found that Schaffer was entitled to qualified immunity.)09/09/2010Mark W. Bennett
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.03/04/2010Paul A. Zoss
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. 01/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
Shannon v. Koehler, et al. : (Motion for Summary Judgment; the court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, which requested dismissal of all plaintiff’s claims – the court found that there were genuine issues of material fact concerning whether the officer was entitled to qualified immunity for the plaintiff’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim based the officer’s alleged use of excessive force in arresting the plaintiff, because the record, which contained a surveillance tape, left unresolved several disputes, such as whether the plaintiff made physical contact with the officer before the officer took him down and whether the officer discontinued his use of force once the plaintiff submitted to arrest or was otherwise subdued; the defendants’ motion was also denied as to their claim that the City and Police Chief were not liable under § 1983, as the court found genuine issues of material fact concerning whether there was a continuing, widespread, persistent pattern of unconstitutional misconduct, whether the Police Chief showed deliberate indifference or tacit authorization of misconduct due to his allegedly having notice of prior incidents of police misconduct and deliberately failing to act on them, and whether these actions were the moving force behind the officer’s alleged use of excessive force on the plaintiff; the court found genuine issues of material fact concerning whether the officer was liable for assault and battery under Iowa law, and whether the City and Police Chief were liable for assault and battery under a respondeat superior theory.)12/04/2009Mark W. Bennett
Arrington v. Richardson, et al. (Motion to Dismiss; the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss; finding that plaintiff may enforce the federal rights created by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2721, et seq., under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; although Congress included a remedial scheme in the Act, the court found that the scheme complemented § 1983 enforcement and was not intended to supplant § 1983.)10/01/2009Mark W. Bennett
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.07/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Leventhal v. Sgt. Daniel Schaffer, et al. ((Motion for Summary Judgment; defendants move for summary judgment on all remaining claims, court grants motion regarding 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force and Iowa Tort Claims Act, denies motion regarding § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest as the court found both a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether defendant had probable cause to arrest Leventhal and whether defendant was entitled to qualified immunity.)03/24/2009Mark W. Bennett
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.12/31/2008Paul A. Zoss
Rattray, et al v. Woodbury County, et al (Action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging county jail’s alleged blanket strip-search policy: lead plaintiff’s motion to certify class: prerequisites of Rule 23(a); requirements to certify a class pursuant to Rule 23(b)(1)(A), to avoid the risk of inconsistent or varying adjudications, or pursuant to Rule 23(b)(3), because the questions of law or fact common to the class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members and a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy, including extent to which questions of the existence of grounds for individualized suspicion predominate over questions common to the class, such as the existence and constitutionality of a blanket strip-search policy) 09/02/2008Mark W. Bennett
McNeal v. SDG Macerich Properties, L.P., et al. (removed action by African American business owner against owner and managers of a shopping mall pursuant to Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.7, for racial discrimination in public accommodations in the leasing of store space and harassment; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of an allegedly phony signature on one of three originals of a lease; evidence of a subsequent investigation by a city attorney and member of the civil rights commission; evidence of emotional distress of anyone other than the plaintiff; evidence of the plaintiff’s prior attempts to lease space in the mall; evidence of future profits of the plaintiff’s business; and evidence of settlement offers or negotiations; plaintiff’s motion in limine seeking to exclude the following categories of evidence: evidence of the plaintiff’s husband’s previous civil rights litigation; and evidence that the defendants filed suit first by bringing a small claim for unpaid rent)07/01/2008Mark W. Bennett
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. 04/04/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Douglas Johnson --Report and Recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence seized from execution of two separate search warrants. Court found the first warrant application to be deficient, and so much so that the court held the Leon exclusionary rule should apply to the evidence seized in execution of the warrant. Court found the second warrant contained sufficient information to support the magistrate's probable cause determination, and further found that in any event, the officers' reliance on the warrant was reasoanble and in good faith.04/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
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.03/07/2008Paul A. Zoss
Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim, equal protection claim, claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX claims, claims brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, and Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; analysis of school district’s knowledge of the harassment, examination of whether the school district was deliberately indifferent to harassment, review of the severity and pervasiveness of the harassment, analysis of whether the school district was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and was immune from liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, examination of whether school district breached a duty to plaintiffs to protect them from student-on-student harassment, and with regard to plaintiffs’ premises liability claim, analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact had been generated as to whether harm to plaintiffs caused by physical assaults at school was reasonably foreseeable)04/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
Kirt v. Fashion Bug, Inc. : (customer’s right-to-contract race discrimination claim under § 1981 and “public accommodations” race discrimination claim under Iowa Code § 216.7 against retail store: defendant’s motion for summary judgment: whether a store manager’s intervention and invitation to an African-American female customer to continue shopping after a store employee’s apparently racially charged diatribe demonstrated that there was no interference with the customer’s right to contract under § 1981 or her right to public accommodations under § 216.7 where the customer left the store without attempting to make a purchase)03/28/2007Mark W. Bennett
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.09/22/2006Paul A. Zoss
Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District, et al. (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, and slander, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning slander claims; analysis of whether statements attributed to defamatory, and alleged to be defamatory, are true and therefore do not support a claim of slander; analysis of whether statements attributed to defendant are protected opinion even if untrue.)05/03/2006Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Wendelsdorf -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence arising from execution of search warrant at defendant's residence. Court found probable cause to support the warrant and recommended denial of motion.06/09/2005Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Wendelsdorf -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment on basis of pre-indictment delay, or alternatively to amend or strike one count for insufficiency of evidence. Court found defendant failed to show improper motive for pre-indictment delay and failed to show prejudice resulting therefrom. Court further found question of sufficiency of evidence is one for jury. Court recommended denying motion on all grounds. 06/03/2005Paul A. Zoss
Tinius v. St. Anthony Regional Hospital, Inc., et al. (Claims arising from an incident at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll, Iowa, during which plaintiff contends that he was unlawfully confined against his will and was catheterized without his consent. Plaintiff asserts claims of false imprisonment, medical battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and negligence.)12/22/2004Mark W. Bennett
Tinius v. Carroll County (Civil rights; motion to dismiss; where as a result of the court’s prior rulings all of plaintiff’s claims which would confer original jurisdiction on the court have been dismissed, defendants request that the court decline to continue to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims against them; assessment of whether that the values of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity require the court to dismiss plaintiff’s remaining state law claims.)12/20/2004Mark W. Bennett
Marvin v. North Central Iowa Mental Health Center, Inc. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether defendant community mental health center was a state actor; determination of of whether there was pervasive entwinement of public officials and actions of defendant.) 09/17/2004Mark W. Bennett
Jacobsen v.Department of Transportation, et al. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) failed as a matter of law because of a lack of evidence that the alleged conspiracy was motivated by an invidious, class-based animus against plaintiff; consideration of the defendants’ arguments that the doctrine of sovereign immunity precludes plaintiff’s claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants in their official capacities; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact that governor took a prohibited action himself or failed to take any required action that caused plaintiff’s alleged constitutional deprivation; assessment of whether plaintiff could generate a genuine issue of material fact that assistant attorney general took an action which deprived plaintiff of a protected right; analysis of whether certain defendants’ actions in moving plaintiff’s news racks were reasonable in light of the department of transportation’s ability to regulate such conduct in a non-public fora. ) 08/26/2004Mark W. Bennett
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.)08/19/2004Paul A. Zoss
Tiniuis v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, et al. (Civil rights; motion for summary judgment; assessment of whether plaintiff’s allegations of unlawful detention can support a substantive due process claim or must be analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment’s reasonableness standard governing searches and seizures; analysis of law enforcement officer defendants’ claim of that they were justified in detaining plaintiff under the officers’ “community caretaking” function, in order to investigate plaintiff’s physical and mental condition; consideration of the defendants’ arguments that they are shielded from liability because they are entitled to qualified immunity for their actions; analysis of whether the defendant officers were properly performing their "community caretaking" function when they detained plaintiff and later restrained him during catheterization procedure such that they are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for assault and battery; examination of whether plaintiff can establish that the defendants' conduct was sufficiently extreme and outrageous to support plaintiff’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress; analysis of whether as a matter of law the defendants’ actions constituted an intrusion which would establish an invasion of privacy tort; assessment of whether plaintiff could establish that the law enforcement officers breached a duty of care owed to him such as would support plaintiff’s claim of negligence; with respect to claims against medical personnel, analysis of whether plaintiff’s claim of lack of consent is controlled by the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or by Iowa state law.)06/14/2004Mark W. Bennett
Sherman, et al. v. Kasotakis d/b/a The Horizsons Family Restaurant (Race discrimination in a public accommodation case under § 1981, § 2000a, and Iowa Code § 217.6; jury verdict for each of the four individual plaintiffs in the amount of $1.00 in nominal damages and $12,500.00 in punitive damages; defendant’s motion for partial judgment as a matter of law, partial new trial or remittitur as to punitive damages award; plaintiffs’ motion to amend the judgment to include injunctive relief and application for attorney’s fees; failure to renew motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all the evidence or object in any way to jury instructions constituted waiver; under plain error analysis evidence supported holding employer liable for offending actions of employee where offending employee’s actions were ratified or approved of by supervising night manager; under plain error analysis jury instructions on punitive damages conformed to the law and adequately conveyed the rights and burdens of the respective parties; partial motion for judgment as a matter of law denied; partial motion for new trial on the issue of the constitutionality of the punitive damages award; application of the factors enumerated in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 116 S. Ct. 1589, 134 L. Ed. 2d 908 (1996) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513, 155 L. Ed. 2d 585 (2003); conduct in the upper echelon of reprehensibility; ratio not as important in civil rights cases where only nominal and punitive damages are awarded—reducing ratio to single digit multiplier in this instance would eviscerate the intent behind punitive damages; predictably, no similar civil penalties—which is precisely the reason for the creation of federal civil rights law; punitive damages award under the particular facts and circumstances was reasonable; motion for partial new trial denied; remittitur not warranted as the differential between nominal and punitive damages was neither monstrous nor shocking to the conscience; plaintiffs’ motion to amend judgment granted; equitable relief ordered included two-year injunction, posting of notice, dissemination of anti-discrimination in a public accommodation policy, and maintenance of records; application for attorney’s fees granted with some modification to the claimed rates and reasonable hours; attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19,692.46.04/19/2004Mark W. Bennett
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).01/08/2004Paul A. Zoss
In Re Application of Brant : (Application to proceed in forma pauperis; order requiring filing of application effective date that applicant attempted to file it, but denying application for failure to comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1915, because application fails to identify the “nature of the action”) 12/22/2003Mark W. Bennett
Schultzen v. Woodbury Central Community School District (Joint Motion to Dismiss; Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e); review and discussion of factors the court considers when deciding whether parties’ joint motion to dismiss should be granted).09/16/2003Mark W. Bennett
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, plaintiff moved to amend her complaint to add parallel state-law claims. Court denied amendment on March 17, 2003, and plaintiff moved to reconsider. Motion to reconsider granted, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8, 15(b), and 54(c). Accordingly, Title VII’s statutory damages cap did not limit plaintiff’s recovery to $300,000. Court then considered defendant’s motion to amend judgment because, post-trial, defendant sought remittal of the emotional distress damages and punitive damages --- arguments the court did not address in its previous ruling because of the damages cap. Evidence was sufficient to support jury’s awards of compensatory and punitive damages and awards were not grossly excessive. Punitive damages reduced in accordance with statutory damages cap.) 06/11/2003Mark W. Bennett
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (Post-trial motion to amend judgment and motion for attorney’s fees in employment discrimination case; plaintiff prevailed at trial in sexual discrimination Title VII suit; plaintiff seeks front pay; consideration of mitigation of damages for quitting job for personal reasons and whether plaintiff’s decision to change career fields would make an award of front pay equivalent to a subsidy of her decision to change careers; determination of "reasonable fee"; considering reductions for duplicative efforts and time not reasonably compensable, partial success) 05/21/2003Mark W. Bennett
Tinius v. Carroll County Sheriff Department, et al. (Civil rights; motion to dismiss; assessment of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a); analysis of defendants’ claim of Eleventh Amendment immunity.)04/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
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.)03/18/2003Paul A. Zoss
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sex discrimination case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law or, in alternative, new trial. Defendant also moved to amend judgment, seeking remittal of the emotional damages and punitive damages. Defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to support jury’s verdict and argued that several evidentiary rulings warranted a new trial. The court overruled these arguments and denied the defendant’s motion. Plaintiff moved under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(b) to amend complaint to add parallel state-law claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Court found plaintiff did not intend to try state law claims and, therefore, that amendment was not permitted under Rule 15(b). Because court denied motion to amend, plaintiff could not allocate portion of damages to state-law claim and was, therefore, bound by Title VII $300,000 statutory damages cap. Court found that evidence supported award of $300,000 in emotional distress damages. Because of damages cap, court did not reach issue of whether punitive damages were excessive, although noting that they were supported by the evidence. Court remitted emotional damages award to $300,000, exclusive of backpay and post-judgment interest, as provided by federal law.)03/17/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to declare death-penalty provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 848 unconstitutional)01/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
Hide details for CRIM - Criminal Law and ProcedureCRIM - Criminal Law and Procedure
U.S. v. Davis (Defendant indicted on drug and gun charges after the stop for speeding of a rental vehicle in which he was a passenger moved to suppress evidence from the stop; standing of a passenger to challenge a stop or evidence seized during the stop; whether a pretextual inventory search improperly prolonged a stop; whether the officer had probable cause for a search of the vehicle) 08/14/2018Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Manuela Cibrian-Lopez07/11/2018Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Christopher Jepsen (Motion by defendant charged with child pornography offense to strike from the indictment the “prior conviction” enhancement pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2252(b)(2): for purposes of the enhancement, a conviction is “prior” if it is prior to the defendant’s violation of § 2252(a)(4) for the enhancement in § 2252(b)(2); and the “conviction” is established by a finding of guilt, not imposition of a sentence or a judgment, as well; the defendant had such a “prior conviction,” even though original judgment on state offenses, before the defendant allegedly committed the § 2252(a)(4) offense, was vacated and a new corrected judgment was imposed only after the defendant allegedly committed the § 2252(a)(4) offense.)01/26/2018Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Jeremy Terrell (Motion to Strike Information raised an issue of first impression: May the executive branch of the United States government refuse to allow a defendant to continue to cooperate with law enforcement with the expectation (but no promise) of receiving a substantial assistance motion, simply because he exercises his statutory rights to a preliminary hearing and detention hearing after turning himself in to authorities? Reviewing standards for vindictive prosecution claim and concluding that while defendant did not present any evidence of actual vindictiveness, the context and objective circumstances presented a reasonable likelihood of vindictiveness. Thus, the court found defendant presented objective evidence giving rise to a presumption of vindictive motivation which was not rebutted by the prosecution and granted motion. 12/09/2016Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dennis Neil Yorgensen (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and granting defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his residence conducted pursuant to a search warrant, finding: that defendant established a Franks violation regarding the search warrant for his residence. Accordingly, the search warrant was invalid and all evidence seized during the execution of the warrant was suppressed. In addition, concluding that the taint of the illegal search and arrest had not dissipated by the time defendant was interviewed by the police and, therefore, defendant’s statements to the police were required to be suppressed as the fruits of an unlawful search and seizure. Alternatively, addressing, and rejecting, defendant’s claim that his post-arrest statements must be suppressed because they occurred after he invoked his right to counsel.) 12/07/2015Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Randy Feauto (Opinion on resentencing of defendant pursuant to Amendment 782, the “All Drugs Minus Two” amendment to the Sentencing Guidelines: whether policy statement U.S.S.G. § 1B1.10(c), which implements Amendment 782, exceeds the Sentencing Commission’s authority and/or violates the non-delegation doctrine under the separation-of-powers principle by nullifying mandatory minimum sentences on resentencing, producing pernicious consequences, including different sentences on original sentencing and resentencing of a defendant who faced a mandatory minimum, but received a substantial assistance motion pursuant to § 3553(e))11/23/2015Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Bruce Jeffers (Sentencing opinion concerning defendant who pleaded guilty to separate counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a felon in possession of ammunition; upward variance based on insufficiency of the advisory guidelines sentence, where the defendant had five different prison terms for crimes—including voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, arson of an inhabited structure, evading a police officer and disregarding safety, being a felon and addict in possession of a firearm, and burglary of a home—in three different states and nine jail terms for other crimes, but could not be sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal after Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015), and most of his prior convictions were too old to count in the computation of his criminal history category)09/30/2015Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Clark -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Court found the officer had probable cause to arrest Clark and therefore evidence obtained as a direct result of that arrest did not merit suppression.09/04/2015Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Federico Jimenez Hernandez -- Order denying defendant's motion for court ordered writ. Court found defendant has failed to cite any legal authority under which this court can grant relief. Court denied defendant's motion. 08/24/2015Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Teresa Ann Simeon (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding probable cause existed to search defendant’s car before deputy and his drug detection dog conducted a free air dog sniff. Alternatively, find that the prosecution established that drug detection dog was a properly trained, certified, and reliable at the time of the free air dog sniff, that the deputy conducted the free air dog sniff properly, that the drug detection dog alerted and then indicated at the driver’s side of defendant’ car, and thus, the combination of the free air dog sniff results and other information known established probable cause to search defendant’s car. Finally, finding that because the evidence the prosecution relied upon to obtain the search warrant for defendant’s cell phones was gathered lawfully, there was no legal basis to suppress the evidence gathered from the execution of that search warrant.) 07/20/2015Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Lobsinger -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment. Court found that the State had promised in the plea agreement that no federal criminal charges would be filed after defendant pled guilty. Court found the State prosecutor did not have express actual authority to bind the Government to that promise. Nor did the State prosecutor have implied actual authority to bind the Government to a promise made in the state plea agreement. Court recommended that the motion to dismiss be denied. 07/02/2015Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Mark Weller (Sentencing opinion concerning defendant who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine; defendant’s objection to counting a prior conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor (contributing to a curfew violation) in the determination of his criminal history pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.2(c): application of the “multi-factor test” in Amendment 709 and Application Note 12)05/05/2015Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Quality Egg, LLC, et al (Memorandum opinion and order on defendants’ pre-sentencing motions; defendants pleaded guilty to violating 21 U.S.C. § 331(a) by shipping and selling shell eggs that contained Salmonella Enteritidis across state lines as responsible corporate officers; defendants subsequently filed motions alleging that a term of imprisonment for their offenses would be unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fifth Amendments and that a finding by the Court that defendants had relevant knowledge of the conduct underlying their strict liability offenses would be unconstitutional under the Sixth Amendment; the Court rejected defendants’ motions, finding defendants had relevant knowledge and imposed a three-month term of imprisonment.)04/14/2015Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Simeon -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from a vehicle after a free air dog sniff. Court found that the defendant's detention was not unreasonably prolonged. Court found there was reasonable suspicion to conduct a free air dog sniff of defendant's vehicle in the parking lot. Court found there was probable cause to search defendant's vehicle, before the free air dog sniff was conducted. However, Court also found that the narcotics-detector dog was reliable and certified and that his indication of narcotics on defendant's vehicle provided probable cause to search the vehicle. Court recommended defendant's motion to suppress evidence be denied. 04/07/2015Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Anthony Bartleson (Bartlesonpleaded guilty to embezzling from an employee benefit plan in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 664. This memorandum opinion and order confronts two of the key fighting issues at his sentencing hearing on February 6, 2015: (1) whether Bartleson abused a position of private trust under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.3; and (2) whether his criminal restitution order, pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3663A, was to include the thirteen employees’ lost investment earnings and tax liabilities incurred in 2007, in addition to the $41,878.22 already paid to the government by Bartleson. In applying the three-factor test for determining whether Bartleson abused a position of private trust, the Court held that Bartleson occupied a position of private trust; his position facilitated the commission and concealment of his embezzlement; and the sentencing enhancement is not included in the base offense level or specific offense characteristic. Bolstering its finding that the abuse-of-trust enhancement applied, the Court analyzed the applicability of Note 5 of the Commentary under U.S.S.G. § 3B1.3. In addition, in considering the full amount of the victims’ losses for restitution purposes, the Court made a conservative estimate by using the S&P 500 to calculate lost investment earnings and the lowest tax rate for 2007 to calculate tax liabilities for that year. In doing so, the Court ordered Bartleson to pay an additional $20,838.99 (i.e., $19,640.57 for lost investments and $1,198.42 for tax liabilities) in restitution to the victims. Finally, Bartleson’s candor and genuine and sincere remorse during his sentencing allocution in part influenced the Court’s decision that a sentence of probation for two years was appropriate).02/10/2015Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Dimmick -- Order on motion for release filed by defendant appearing on a writ of habeas corpus ad prosequendum. Defendant requested that he be returned to state custody pending trial in order to participate in state parole proceedings. He argued that the release considerations set forth in the Bail Reform Act do not apply under these circumstances. The court denied the motion, holding that the Bail Reform Act applies and that the Government met its burden of proving that the defendant should be detained in federal custody while awaiting trial.01/30/2015Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Jamal & Levon Dean (Post-trial motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial, concluding: taken in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the finding of a single conspiracy; the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to support the conclusion that defendants knew that the object of the conspiracy was to rob drug dealers; the prosecution also established a jurisdictional nexus between interstate commerce and defendants’ robberies of both victims; the evidence at trial was sufficient to establish that defendant possessed a 22 rifle in furtherance of the robberies, either personally or under an aiding and abetting theory; and there was sufficient evidence to establish that defendant intended to cause death or serious bodily injury during the carjacking of victim’s car.)12/23/2014Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Hernandez-Morales -- Report and Recommendation on third-party petition for return of money pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 853(n). Court found Rafael E. Chavez Lujan did not meet his burden of proof and was not entitled to the return of forfeited money. Court recommended the petition be denied.12/16/2014Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Shirley Weimer (Shirley Weimer pleaded guilty to Count 1 of her Indictment, Conspiracy to Use Fire to Commit Wire Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343, pursuant to a binding Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement. In this memorandum opinion and order that followed Weimer’s sentencing on November 25, 2014, the Court explains that it had the statutory authority to order restitution based on the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3663A. The Court sets forth the two-step standard to apply to determine whether to award restitution. In doing so, the Court finds that State Farm is a “victim” as defined under 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(a)(2), and the “full amount” of State Farm’s loss was not represented by $78,593.25, or the lost insurance company’s premiums, as that figure did not include pre- and postjudgment interest. The Court’s summary of the relevant case law bolsters the Court’s decision to apply pre- and postjudgment interest. Lastly, the Court articulates how it calculated the interest Weimer owes based on the dates State Farm paid four separate checks to Weimer and the Treasury Bill rate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961.)11/25/2014Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Mosley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a warrantless search of a duffel bag dropped by defendant in his own yard during flight from law enforcement. Court found that the defendant did not abandon the bag by leaving it within the curtilage of his own home. Court further found that the plain view/plain smell doctrine did not justify law enforcement's search of the bag without first obtaining a warrant. Court recommended that the motion to suprress be granted.09/26/2014Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Richard Allen Shaffer (Is a court-martial a Court of the United States under § 3559(c) which would mean implementing the federal three strikes law?)09/05/2014Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Michael Clayton (Post-trial motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial, concluding: that defendant’s due process rights were not violated by the police’s interview technique with two witnesses because the police’s conduct was not an attempt to “spoon feed” the witnesses facts but an effort by the police to convince the witnesses to abandon their efforts at minimization and deception, and to be truthful, and defendant was not unfairly prejudiced by the police’s interview technique since the jury was fully aware of witnesses prior inconsistent statements and was free to take them into account in assessing the witnesses’ credibility; and that the evidence supporting the jury’s verdict did not lead to the conclusion that a serious miscarriage of justice may have occurred.)07/22/2014Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Darran Lohse (Motion to dismiss, order granting in part and denying in part motion. Finding that the four possession counts are not multiplicitous because each count of possession required the jury to determine that the defendant possessed a video containing child pornography on a separate device. Therefore, this portion of the motion was denied. Additionally, finding that, as to possession count 3, the defendant was convicted of receiving the same images that he was also found to have possessed, and a double jeopardy violation would occur if he was sentenced for both convictions. Therefore, the defendant’s motion was granted as to Count 3. However, possession counts 4, 5, and 6 were supported by separate conduct from the defendant’s receipt of child pornography underlying Count 2, and the defendant’s motion was denied as to possession counts 4, 5, and 6.)06/30/2014Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Patrie, Court sentencing memorandum 06/12/2014Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Kailib David Hendrickson (Granting a sua sponte downward variance under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) based on Defendant’s youth and addiction)06/11/2014Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Charmagne LaPoint (Proposed Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement to probation in case involving mail theft by a postal worker; issue involved fairness of agreed-upon sentence of probation; ruling rejecting the plea agreement as unfair in light of significant non-monetary harm caused by the theft)05/01/2014Mark W. Bennett
USA v. McCammon -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence from a post-Miranda interview and subsequent search of his residence. Court found that defendant's statements were not involuntary due to his impaired state or any alleged coercive police activity. Defendant also provided a voluntary, knowing and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights before making a statement. Court recommended that the motion to suppress be denied. 01/23/2014Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Darran Lohse (Motion by defendant for a judgment of acquittal and a new trial; issue involves whether nine photographs produced by defendant depicted “lascivious exhibition of genitals”; ruling denying defendant’s motions)01/21/2014Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Himes -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence resulting from impoundment and inventory of vehicle. Court found that decision to impound was not based on community caretaking function or standardized criteria and was therefore an unreasonable seizure and search under the Fourth Amendment. Court recommended that evidence found in vehicle be suppressed as well as subsequently-gathered evidence from defendant's residence and statements he made to officers while in custody.12/30/2013Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Montoya-Echeverria -- Order granting defendant's motion to strike portions of the indictment. Court found that 8 U.S.C. 1326(a) identifies the elements of the alleged offense (reentry of deported alien) and subsection (b)(2) describes circumstances relevant to sentencing. Court ordered that references to aggravated felon, subsection (b)(2) and defendant's alleged prior conviction be stricken as surplusage pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(d).12/30/2013Leonard T. Strand
United States of America v. Delgado -- Order granting motion for pretrial detention. Court found the Government had the right to seek pretrial detention because defendant had been convicted of two or more offenses decribed in subparagraphs (A) through (C) as pvoided in 18 U.S.C. section 3142(f)(1)(D). Court found pretrial detention was warranted based on the weight of the evidence against the defendant and her history and characteristics.12/04/2013Leonard T. Strand
United States of America v. Dean -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss counts for lack of jurisdiction. Court found that it had subject matter jurisdiction over counts based on alleged violations of the Hobbs Act and that defendant could not challenge the sufficiency of the Government's evidence prior to trial. Court recommended the motion be denied without prejudice to defendant's right to make a motion for acquittal pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 29.12/03/2013Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Jose Sandoval (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that the information in search warrant application was not stale; that the issuing judge could reasonably consider and rely upon the information from all of the informants mentioned in the search warrant application to conclude that probable cause existed; that, based on the totality of circumstances, probable cause supported the state judge’s issuance of the search warrant, and alternatively finding, that, if the search warrant application was not supported by probable cause, the Leon good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies because the law enforcement officer obtaining the search warrant acted in reasonable reliance on the state magistrate's determination of probable cause for issuance of the warrant.)10/23/2013Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Sandoval -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from a search of his house and from a post-Miranda interview. The court found the information supporting the search warrant was not stale, it was reaonable for the issuing judge to rely upon information from all informants and there was sufficient evidence to connect the defendant and his residence to information about "Nacho." Court also found that exclusion of the evidence was not appropriate under United States v. Leon and recommended defendant's motion be denied.09/03/2013Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Barragan -- Report and Recommendation denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from a search of his hotel room and from a post-Miranda interview. The court found that defendant gave voluntary consent to search his hotel room, the search did not exceed the scope of consent and the defendantprovided a voluntary, knowing and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights.08/27/2013Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Douglas Young (Sentencing memorandum for defendant who pled guilty to drug charges pursuant to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 851: Although the defendant was safety-valve eligible, so that he had no mandatory minimum sentence to double, he remained subject to the doubling of his maximum; examination of data from the US Sentencing Commission’s 2011 Report To Congress, the only assembly of data concerning § 851 application, demonstrating shocking intra-state, intra-Circuit, regional, and national disparities in the application of § 851 enhancements, at least prior to the Holder 2013 Memo; discussion of continuing concerns with tracking and transparency in § 851 applications after Holder 2013 Memo)08/16/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Ryan Gene Hansen (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that Deputy’s noncompliance with Iowa law in applying for warrants to install Global-Positioning-System (“GPS”) tracking devices on automobile was not deliberate and intentional where deputy assumed, incorrectly, that a warrant application to install GPS devices was governed under the same rules and requirements as other search warrant applications and that he was authorized to apply for and execute GPS warrants. Thus, suppression of the evidence was not required.)07/31/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. James Edward Poole (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that state trooper’s expansion of the traffic stop was justified and the length of the traffic stop reasonable, and that there was sufficient reason to trust the drug-detection dog’s alert and indication based on his training and history, and thus probable cause to search defendant’s vehicle.)07/22/2013Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Hansen -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained from the placement of a GPS tracking device on defendant's vehicle. Court found that although the search warrant applications violated Iowa law because the applicant was not a "special state agent," the search did not violate the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights because the warrants were supported by probable cause. Court also found that exclusion of the evidence was not appropriate under United States v. Leon and recommended defendant's motion be denied. 06/19/2013Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Clayton -- Order denying pro se motion to proceed under a pseudonym and prohibit public disclosure of defendant's physical description. Court held that defendant's concern for anonymity was speculative and unsupported and did not fall within the limited scope of legitimate reaons for anonymity in criminal proceedings. Additionally, the court noted that under these circumstances, an oder prohibiting public disclosure of defendant's physical description would violate the First Amendment.06/14/2013Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Angel Amaya (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine or a mixture or substance containing 500 grams of methamphetamine, 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, and marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A), 841(b)(1)(C), and 846, and conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(ii), and 1956(h). Facing a possible life sentence, defendant moved for a downward variance from his advisory guideline sentence based on what he characterized as the prosecution’s “double jeopardy violation” as well as the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparity among defendants. Applying the § 3553(a) factors, the court granted a downward variance because a sentence within the advisory guideline sentence range was “greater than necessary” to accomplish the goals of sentencing, in light of all of the pertinent factors, and imposed a sentence of 180 months imprisonment followed by 120 months of supervised release.)06/11/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Willie Hayes (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 35 grams or more of methamphetamine actual, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 841(b)(1)(B). The court granted defendant’s objection to the career offender enhancement, in part. Based on a policy disagreement with the methamphetamine Guidelines, the court found that the methamphetamine Guidelines are not based on empirical data and national experience and they yield an excessive sentence, when individualized consideration is given to the 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) factors. After considering these factors, the court varied downward by one third to the sentencing range of 100 to 124 months. The court further granted the prosecution’s motion for substantial assistance, reduced defendant’s sentence by 25%, and imposed a sentence of 75 months.)06/07/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Nathan Melton (1 Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s order granting prosecution’s motion to disqualify defense counsel because his representation of defendant at trial would make defense counsel an unsworn witness, and because of the possibility that defense counsel might be called as either a prosecution or defense rebuttal witness; concluding magistrate’s decision was contrary to law because the prosecution had not met its heavy burden of demonstrating that defense counsel’s continued representation would cause him to be an unsworn witness that would impair the fact finding process or prejudice the prosecution and because defense counsel was not a necessary witness likely to be called under Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:3.7, which requires disqualification of an attorney as a necessary witness only if that attorney has relevant and material information that no one else can provide.)06/06/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. James Sumner; Order granting in part and denying in part the defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial. The court found that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's guilty verdict as to Count 1; however, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's guilty verdicts as to Count 2 through 4. In the event that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the court's ruling as to Count 1, the court granted the defendant's motion for new trial as to that count. 05/16/2013Linda R. Reade
USA v. Poole -- Report and Recommendation denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from a vehicle after a traffic stop. The court found that the initial stop was lawful and the extension of the stop to bring a narcotics-detecting canine to the scene was supported by the officer's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The court also found that the canine was certified and reliable and that his indication of narcotics provided probable cause to search the vehicle.04/18/2013Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: prosecution’s motion to reconsider parts of the ruling on scope of the scope of the “penalty retrial” challenging rulings: (1) that the new jury will not redetermine the defendant’s eligibility for the death sentence; (2) that the court will instruct the new jury that the defendant’s only possible sentences are death or life without parole; and (3) that evidence of the defendant’s future dangerousness outside of prison will be excluded; defendant’s motion to reconsider ruling that non-statutory aggravating factors, like mitigating factors, may assert separate incidents as separate factors)03/05/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lori Newhouse (Criminal law, sentencing opinion and statement of reasons pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(c) on sentencing of defendant convicted of manufacturing or attempting to manufacture 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine, or a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B), and 841(b)(1)(C). Based on quasi-categorical policy disagreements with the Career Offender guideline, the court rejected because the defendant was a low-level, non-violent drug addict engaged in the drug trade to obtain drugs to feed her addiction. Alternatively, the court found that application of the Career Offender guideline yielded an excessive sentence, when individualized consideration is given to the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors. After considering these factors, the court varied downward from the advisory Career Offender guideline sentencing range of 262 to 327 months to the mandatory minimum of 120 months. The court further granted the prosecution’s motions for substantial assistance, reduced defendant’s sentence by 20%, and imposed a sentence of 96 months imprisonment followed by 96 months of supervised release.)01/30/2013Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Sigillito et al, Court sentencing memorandum12/20/2012Linda R. Reade
USA v. Ramirez-Hernandez; USA v. Millan-Vasquez; and USA v. Roque-Castro -- Order on detention for defendants facing charges of illegal reentry. Court held that Government met burden of showing no condition or combination of conditions could reasonably assure the defendants' apperance as required based on the testimony of an ICE officer that removal was certain if defendants were released and taken back into ICE custody and based on the court's lack of authority to impose conditions that could prevent removal.12/19/2012Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Ramirez-Hernandez; USA v. Millan-Vasquez; and USA v. Roque-Castro -- Order on detention for defendants facing charges of illegal reentry. Court held that Government met burden of showing no condition or combination of conditions could reasonably assure the defendants' apperance as required based on the testimony of an ICE officer that removal was certain if defendants were released and taken back into ICE custody and based on the court's lack of authority to impose conditions that could prevent removal.12/19/2012Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Ramirez-Hernandez; USA v. Millan-Vasquez; and USA v. Roque-Castro -- Order on detention for defendants facing charges of illegal reentry. Court held that Government met burden of showing no condition or combination of conditions could reasonably assure the defendants' apperance as required based on the testimony of an ICE officer that removal was certain if defendants were released and taken back into ICE custody and based on the court's lack of authority to impose conditions that could prevent removal.12/19/2012Leonard T. Strand
US v. Mathison -- Order granting motion for severance of trial. Defendant raised a legitimate Bruton concern and the Government was unable to offer any concrete solutions to avoid a violation of defendant's Sixth Amendment rights at a joint trial. In addition, the court identified a serious risk of a "spillover" effect if defendant was tried with codefendants based on the nature of the charges. The defendant therefore met his burden of demonstrating a joint trial would cause him to suffer real prejudice.12/13/2012Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Jaime Almazan (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding sentencing of defendant convicted of producing child pornography. After considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that no downward variance was warranted and imposed a sentence at the statutory maximum of 360 months imprisonment, followed supervised release for life.) 12/03/2012Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Troy Fulkerson -- Order overruling defendant's relevancy objection to his criminal history and circumstances of arrest offered by the Government to be used in determining revocation of pretrial release. Court found that evidence of dangerousness did not have to relate to the charged offense and the requirements for revocation and detention under 18 U.S.C. section 3148(b) were met.11/21/2012Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: defendant’s first set of motions: (1) “omnibus motion” to dismiss the “special findings” from the second superseding indictment and to strike notice of intent to seek the death penalty; (2) motion to dismiss particular aggravating factors from the second superseding indictment, and to strike particular aggravating factors from the second notice of intent to seek the death penalty, and for other relief; (3) motion to compel discovery of evidence in support of United States Attorney’s reasons not to seek the death penalty, or, in the alternative, for in-camera review of the death penalty evaluation form; (4) motion to preclude capital sentencing hearing; and (5) motion for discovery to support a motion to strike the death penalty based upon the influence of arbitrary factors of race and gender of victims)10/25/2012Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Britt Lander (considering whether motion for substantial assistance pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e) and U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 may be based in part on substantial assistance of a third party; granting prosecution’s motion for substantial assistance based in part on the substantial assistance rendered by defendant’s spouse) 10/23/2012Mark W. Bennett
Earl Foy, Jr. v. United States of America -- Order granting in part and denying in part petitioner's motion for psychological evaluation in a Section 2255 case. Petitioner has shown the necessary good cause to allow the requested discovery. However, the court does not have the authority to compel the Bureau of Prisons to move petitioner to a facility closer to Fort Dodge, Iowa, for purposes of the proposed evaluation. In addition, petitioner's request for advance authorization of payment for the expert's fee must be approved by the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit because the proposed fee exceeds the cap set forth in the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 3006A(e)(3).10/15/2012Leonard T. Strand
United States of America v. Ruben Olivares-Rodriguez -- Report and Recommendation on plaintiff's motion to dismiss defendant's petition for writ of error coram nobis. Court recommended that the motion be denied and the petition re-filed as a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a federal sentence under 28 U.S.C. section 2255. The defendant is procedurally barred from relief under a coram nobis petition because he is still "in custody" while under supervised release, but his petition may be construed as a section 2255 motion given the alleged errors and requested relief.10/02/2012Leonard T. Strand
USA v. Baisden -- Order granting government's motion for psychiatric examination of defendant. Defendant has pled guilty and has been evaluated by a mental health professional selected by the defense. The defense intends to rely on the professional's opinion as a mitigating factor for sentencing purposes. The government seeks to compel defendant to undergo a second evaluation by an expert selected by the government in order to address and rebut the defense expert's opinion. Defendant correctly notes that this situation does not fall within Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2. However, the court finds that it has the inherent authority to compel the requested examination and that it is appropriate to do so under these circumstances.08/01/2012Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Dana Gleaves Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his residence conducted pursuant to a search warrant, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that evidence of the sexual exploitation of a minor would be found at defendant’s residence. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization.(07/02/2012Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Stephenson -- Report and Recommendation denying defendant's motion to suppress statements made to law enforcement while a search warrant was executed at his home. Although the defendant was not Mirandized prior to being questioned, The circumstances show that he was not in custody. As such, the lack of a Miranda warning does not render the statements inadmissible.06/27/2012Leonard T. Strand
U.S. v. Jason Dodd (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his vehicle conducted pursuant to a search warrant, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that a firearm would be found in defendant’s vehicle. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization.)05/24/2012Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Donald K. Washburn; order denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's guilty verdicts as to Counts 1-8, 10-30 and 31-49. The court further found that the interests of justice did not require the court to grant defendant a new trial.05/21/2012Linda R. Reade
USA v. Dodd -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress, Court found defendant's argument that law enforcement lacked probable cause for search warrant to be without merit. Defendant's contention that law enforcement acted unreasonably in relying on second witness' information was without merit.05/15/2012Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Tran -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress, Court found that exigent circumstances justified police officers' entry into defendant's residence after executing arrest warrant on defendant's boyfriend. Police observed marijuana and weapon in plain view in defendant's vicinity. Furthermore, officers had right to conduct protective sweep before obtaining search warrant.05/15/2012Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Malcom -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress, Court found that search warrant affidavit contained ample evidence to support conclusion that defendant possessed contraband. Facts recited in affidavit were sufficient to lead prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that contraband wold be found in the defendant's home or business. The reasonable inference that defendant would have contraband at his residence or business provided nexus between the items sought in the search warrant and the places to be searched. Alternatively, officers could reasonably rely in good faith on the search warrant issued.05/14/2012Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Gagen -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to suppress, Court found that defendant was not in custody when he made voluntary statements during interview with state parole officer and deputy sheriff, so Miranda warnings were not required. Furthermore, Court found that defendant was not in custody after subsequent traffic stop by deputy sheriff until sheriff arrested and handcuffed defendant for possessing methamphetamine. Miranda warnings by sheriff thus were not required until defendant was under arrest.05/10/2012Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angel Amaya (granting prosecution’s motion to reconsider the court’s finding that DEA special agent acted in bad faith; imposing no sanctions for prosecution’s discovery violation)05/01/2012Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Murillo-Figueroa -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress, Court found that probable cause did not justify traffic stop based on multiple air fresheners' purported obstruction of driver's view. Court found, however, that probable cause or at least a reasonable suspicion justified stop based on circumstances leading up to stop.04/27/2012Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angel & Javier Amaya (considering defendant’s motion to suppress GPS evidence based on United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012); analyzing whether good faith exception applies under Davis v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2419 (2011); evaluating whether GPS evidence should be suppressed as a sanction for prosecution’s discovery violation). 04/10/2012Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Isaiah Earl Thomas (Motion to withdraw guilty pleas pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11; after pleading guilty to the charged offenses, defendant sought to withdraw guilty pleas on the ground that his guilty pleas were invalid because he did not understand the nature of the conspiracy offense and that his counsel, as well as the prosecutor, grossly underestimated his guideline sentencing range at the change of plea hearing; analysis of whether these grounds constituted a fair and just reason to permit defendant to withdraw his guilty plea)04/05/2012Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Quintero-Felix -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be denied, court found that, once officer had probable cause for traffic stop, placing defendant in police cruiser while conducting records check was not unlawful detention. Defendant was not seized after officer completed writing traffic warning, at which point defendant's encounter with police was consensual. Officer also had reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify further detention.04/03/2012Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Jocol-Alfaro and USA v. DeLeon-Ochoa -- Order on detention. Court held risk that defendants might possibly be deported before facing trial on federalc hages was not determinative of their eligibility for pretrial release and that determination had to be made on factors enumerated in 18 USC 3142.10/31/2011Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Amaya -- Order denying defendant Angel Amaya's motion to strike and/or motion to withdraw, denying as moot defendant Javier Amaya's motion to compel disclosure of identity of source of information, and denying Javier Amaya's motion for a bill of particulars and motion to sever. Report and recommendation recommending denial of Javier Amaya's motion to dismiss Count 2 of the superseding indictment or to strike superfluous language and motion to dismiss Count 1 of the superseding indictment. First, the court did not find that Angel Amaya's counsel's previous representation of government witness created conflict; in any event, government witness and defendant were willing to waive any conflict. Second, the government revealed at the hearing the identity of the source of information; therefore, defendant Javier Amaya's motion to compel disclosure was moot. Third, Javier Amaya's motion for a bill of particulars was not appropriate method to contest sufficiency of the evidence on Count 2. Fourth, Javier Amaya did not show serious prejudice from joinder with co-defendants that would warrant severance. Further, Javier Amaya's motiosn to dismiss Count 2 because of vague or superfluous language and to dismiss Count 1 because of "inextricable entanglement" with Count 2 so as to confuse the jury were without merit and should be denied. 10/03/2011Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Amaya (Motion to suppres, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress evidence seized during a search of his residence conducted pursuant to a search warrant, during a consent search of his parents’ trailer home, and during a search of his vehicle, finding: the search warrant affidavit, when considered in a commonsense, practical way, would lead a prudent person to believe that there was a fair probability that drugs or evidence of drug sales would be found in defendant’s residence. Accordingly, probable cause existed to issue the search warrant. In addition, concluding that even if there was no probable cause to issue the search warrant, the Leon good-faith exception applies because a reasonably well-trained officer would not have known that the search was illegal despite the issuing magistrate’s authorization. Finally, considering the totality of the information provided to the state magistrate, the search warrant for defendant’s residence was not based on stale information. 09/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Lindgren -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress statements. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be denied, court found that, under Eighth Circuit jurisprudence, defendannt was not in custody at the time he made his statements. Failure to give defendant Miranda warnings thus did not require suppression of his statements.08/25/2011Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Amaya -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized (1) pursuant to a search warrant of his residence; (2) during a consent search of his parents' trailer; and (3) during a search of his vehicle. The affidavit submitted contained information from a cooperating source that was corroborated by officers' search of defendant's trash at his residence and by evidence seized at a traffic stop of the defendant's vehicle. The defendant offered no evidence under Franks v. Delaware that the affiant intentionally or recklessly omitted from the affidavit information that would have been clearly critical to a finding of probable cause. The defendant did not have standing to challenge the search of his parents' trailer; in any event, the search of the trailer did not follow from anything seized pursuant to the search warrant. Court recommended denying suppression of items seized from the defendant's vehicle at the time of his arrest because the defendant failed to state any grounds to support suppression and because no evidence seized from the vehicle would be offered at trial. 08/25/2011Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Lara-Pantoja -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress his post-Miranda statementand his stop, search, and detention, and on defendant's motion to suppress his statements, finding that some of defendant's post-Miranda statements were made involuntarily. Court recommended denying defendant's motions to suppress his stop, search, and detention because probable cause existed for the police officer's stop of defendant's vehicle and because the inventory search of defendant's vehicle after his arrest complied with the police department's impoundment and inventory policy. Court recommended denying defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment.08/02/2011Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Kristen McCoy and Todd Reynolds -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion to suppress evidence. In recommending defendants' motion to suppress be denied, court found that the search warrant to search defendants' residence was supported by probable cause based on items seized during a traffic stop. Defendants did not demonstrate that the affidavit in support of the search warrant was false or that the magistrate who issued the warrant did not have authority to issue a warrant for a search of property in another county.04/21/2011Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Corona-Torres - Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drug evidence found during a search of defendant's vehicle at a traffic stop. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be granted, court found officers had neither probable cause to believe that defendant had unlawfully stopped on a highway nor reasonable suspicion that defendant had unlawfully thrown trash on a highway that justified the stop of the vehicle. Although defendant consented to the vehicle search, his consent did not purge the taint of the illegal stop.04/20/2011Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Billy Williams, Sr. (sentencing of a defendant on four crack cocaine offenses after the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act and amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines reduced the crack-to-powder ratio from 100:1 to 18:1: consideration of whether to reject the “new” ratio in the Guidelines, on categorical, policy grounds, as the court had previously rejected the 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio; adoption of a methodology for imposing sentence using an initial guidelines calculation with an 18:1 ratio and an alternative guidelines calculation using a 1:1 ratio, both recognizing new guidelines enhancements for aggravating circumstances, and ultimate determination of the appropriate sentence in light of the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a))04/07/2011Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Steven Vandebrake (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding joint sentencing of two defendants convicted of anitrust violations of the Sherman Act. For one defendant, after considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that a upward variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was warranted and imposed a sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which defendant will be required to complete 500 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 25 hours per month. The court further found that an upward variance from the advisory guidelines fine range was warranted for the defendant and imposed a fine of $829,715.85, and a special assessment of $100. The court, alternatively, imposed sentences of 27 months imprisonment on each Count; with all 27 months of the sentence on Count 3, 15 months of the sentence on Count 1, and 6 months of the sentence on Count 2 running consecutively; for a total sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. With respect to the second defendant, the court found that the prosecution did not breach its plea agreement with the defendant and, as a result, the court could proceed with his sentencing. The court denied his requests for downward departure under U.S.S.G. §§ 5K1.1, 5K2.0, 5K2.11, and 5K2.12. The court further found that a variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was unwarranted for the defendant and imposed a sentence of 12 months and a day of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which the defendant will be required to complete 100 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 20 hours per month. The court also imposed a fine on the defendant in the amount of $83,427.09. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to Tri-Zack Contractor in the sum of $25,981.80.)02/08/2011Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kent Robert Stewart (Criminal law, sentencing memorandum opinion and order regarding joint sentencing of two defendants convicted of anitrust violations of the Sherman Act. For one defendant, after considering the totality of the circumstances in light of the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, the court found that a upward variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was warranted and imposed a sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which defendant will be required to complete 500 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 25 hours per month. The court further found that an upward variance from the advisory guidelines fine range was warranted for the defendant and imposed a fine of $829,715.85, and a special assessment of $100. The court, alternatively, imposed sentences of 27 months imprisonment on each Count; with all 27 months of the sentence on Count 3, 15 months of the sentence on Count 1, and 6 months of the sentence on Count 2 running consecutively; for a total sentence of 48 months imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. With respect to the second defendant, the court found that the prosecution did not breach its plea agreement with the defendant and, as a result, the court could proceed with his sentencing. The court denied his requests for downward departure under U.S.S.G. §§ 5K1.1, 5K2.0, 5K2.11, and 5K2.12. The court further found that a variance from the advisory guidelines sentencing range was unwarranted for the defendant and imposed a sentence of 12 months and a day of imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release during which the defendant will be required to complete 100 hours of community service, at a rate of not less than 20 hours per month. The court also imposed a fine on the defendant in the amount of $83,427.09. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to Tri-Zack Contractor in the sum of $25,981.80.)02/08/2011Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Charles -- Order denying defendant's motion to sever. Court found defendant had failed to show he would be sufficiently prejudiced by trial with co-defendants in this drug conspiracy case.12/21/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Villagomez: (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; ruling after evidentiary hearing settling the record, pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, concerning closure of the courtroom to members of the public during jury selection) 11/24/2010Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Martinez-Rodriguez. Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Defendant, who was visibly impaired by alcohol or other drugs at time of questioning, failed to show his will was overborne, and court found his waiver of Miranda rights was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent11/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Mayer (criminal prosecution on charges of sexual exploitation of children in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251(a) and 2251(e); receiving child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(2)(A) and 2252A(b)(1); and possession of child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and 2252A(b)(2); prosecution’s Rule 104 motion to admit evidence of factual stipulations in a plea agreement on which the defendant failed to follow through, pursuant to a waiver of the rights protected by Rule 410 of the Federal Rules of Evidence if the defendant breached the plea agreement)10/19/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kevin Mcmanaman (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and denying defendant’s motion to suppress in which he seeks to suppress statements made after his arrest as well as a evidence recovered from his home, finding: that the rule of collateral estoppel applied in this case, and concluded that defendant was estopped by prior ruling from relitigating the issue of probable cause to search his house for drugs and drug paraphernalia; that based on the evidence the law enforcement officers had at the time of the defendant’s arrest, a search warrant could have been issued which would have allowed the police to search for guns and ammunition, drugs, and drug paraphernalia, and the ensuing search would have led inevitably to discovery of incriminating photographs which appear to depict underage females; that the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel for the current charges had not attached at the time of his questioning in 2008, and, therefore, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel did not bar the officers from questioning defendant in regard to the current offenses; that the non-testimonial evidence obtained as a result of defendant’s incriminating statements made in violation of Miranda are admissible because the defendant’s statements were made voluntarily, and were not the result of coercion; and that defendant’s wife consented to a search of a locked room and a locked closet in the house they shared and that defendant’s wife had either actual or apparent authority to consent to a search of the entire residence. )10/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Miell (sentencing of landlord convicted of 18 counts of mail fraud, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of filing of false tax returns arising from insurance fraud and damage deposit fraud schemes: restitution for fraud schemes pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. § 3663A, and “restitution” for tax offenses in the conditions for supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d))10/04/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Miell : (sentencing of landlord convicted of 18 counts of mail fraud, 2 counts of perjury, and 2 counts of filing of false tax returns arising from insurance fraud and damage deposit fraud schemes: applicability of upward adjustments for amount of loss, number of victims, sophisticated means, substantial interference with administration of justice, abuse of a position of trust, and obstruction of justice; applicability of downward adjustment for acceptance of responsibility; determination of whether and to what extent to vary upward from the advisory sentencing guidelines range in light of the damage deposit fraud scheme, which preyed on people too economically vulnerable or unsophisticated to contest the landlord’s claims for relatively little gain in individual cases, but amounting to over a million dollars in losses in aggregate)09/27/2010Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. McManaman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be denied, court found probable cause existed for issuance of a search warrant for guns, drugs, and related items, and evidence of child pornography inevitably would have been discovered during any search pursuant to the warrant.09/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Villagomez, et al.(criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; reconsideration of denial of defendants’ motion pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to settle the record concerning whether members of the public were entirely excluded from jury selection) 09/07/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Villagomez, et al (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; defendants’ motion pursuant to Rule 10(e) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to settle the record concerning whether members of the public were entirely excluded from jury selection) 08/06/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kent Robinson (Motion for change of venue; analysis of ten factors identified in Platt v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 376 U.S. 240 (1964)-(1) the location of the defendant, (2) location of possible witnesses; (3) location of events likely to be in issue; (4) location of documents and records likely to be involved; (5) disruption of defendant’s business unless the case is transferred; (6) expense to the parties; (7) location of counsel; (8) relative accessibility of the place of trial; (9) docket condition of each district; and (10) any other special elements which might affect the transfer-in deciding whether to transfer the case from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to the District of Columbia.)07/29/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Sholom Rubashkin; sentencing memorandum06/21/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Hulstein -- Order granting defendant's motion to take trial deposition by telephone.06/03/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Kevin Moes (Motion to dismiss, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to dismiss, concerning charges that defendant knowingly failed to register and update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), the court held that SORNA applies to defendant because both Iowa and Nebraska had sex offender registries during the time the defendant is alleged to have traveled between these states and failed to register in accordance with SORNA, and concluding that application of SORNA’s penalty provision to defendant did not violate due process because the defendant received adequate notice of his duty to register in Iowa to satisfy due process.)05/11/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kent Robinson (criminal prosecution on charges of fraudulent uttering of a private security, with making and uttering a fictitious obligation, and mail fraud; prosecution’s motions to supplement the record regarding the defendant’s detention after the court expressed serious concerns about the prosecution’s failure to seek a detention hearing or written detention order during a hearing on the pro se defendant’s motion to revoke the detention order) 05/11/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Miell (Motion to withdraw guilty pleas pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11; after pleading guilty to the charged mail fraud and perjury offenses, defendant sought to withdraw guilty pleas on the ground that his guilty pleas were invalid because the court failed to advise him of the maximum possible sentence he faced and the court’s authority to order restitution; defendant also asserted that his counsel’s ineffective assistance constituted a fair and just reason to permit him to withdraw his guilty pleas; examination of whether the court informed defendant of the maximum penalties he was facing for each of the mail fraud and perjury counts; analysis of whether Rule 11 requires a court to specifically advise the defendant of the possibility of consecutive sentencing; assessment of whether the court’s error in failing to inform defendant of the possibility of restitution affected his substantial rights; analysis of whether defendant should be permitted to withdraw his guilty pleas because he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel; assessment of other Rule 11 factors of defendant’s innocence, the timing of his motion, and whether the prosecution will be prejudiced by defendant’s withdrawal of guilty pleas)05/10/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Paul Riesselman (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation regarding motion to suppress, granting in part and denying in defendant’s Motion to Suppress; concluding that defendant’s Motion to Suppress should be granted as to drugs seized from his person because the prosecution conceded the pat-down search of defendant by law enforcement officers was neither authorized by a search warrant nor reasonable under the circumstances; finding that a cellular telephone, that was also seized during the same search of defendant’s person, should be suppressed for the same reasons as the drugs; rejected defendant’s argument that all evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant for his residence should be suppressed because law enforcement officers executing the search warrant failed to provide him with a complete copy of the search warrant; rejecting defendant’s contention that statement he made to law enforcement officers should be suppressed because it was the product of the unlawful search of his person; and, finding that, with respect to defendant’s statements concerning drugs and cellular telephone found on him, that the prosecution had met its burden of proving that the connection between the illegal search of defendant’s person and his statement was so attenuated as to dissipate the taint of the illegal search, and concluding that defendant’s statement was given freely, and was not coerced or procured though exploitation of the illegal seizure of the drugs or cellular telephone. 04/28/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Villagomez, et al (08cr20) : (criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds, and bribery; defendants’ joint renewed motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b) for release from custody while their convictions are on appeal, heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan): whether the defendants asserted a “fairly debatable” claim of violation of their Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, arising from the trial judge’s refusal to release unoccupied reserved seats to members of the general public) 04/22/2010Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Villanueva-Martinez -- Order on detention. Court held risk that defendant might possibly be deported prior to facing trial on federal charges was not determinative of his eligibility for pretrial release, and determination had to be made based on factors enumerated in 18 USC 3142.04/22/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Moes -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging him with failure to register as a sex offender. Court found the case turned on a factual issue that must be decided by the jury at trial; i.e., whether the defendant "resided" in Iowa.04/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Peter Hanson -- Order denying defendant's motion for severance. Court found Bruton issue to be moot, and found defendant had failed to show prejudice from joint trial with co-defendants.04/12/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); prosecution’s motions in limine to exclude evidence of defendants’ drug addiction, any mention of penalties, to exclude prior criminal histories of confidential informants) 04/07/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); one defendant’s motion to reconsider denial of prosecution’s motion to dismiss indictment)04/06/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); prosecution’s motion to dismiss indictment rather than produce DEA manuals as ordered as a sanction for failure to disclose sections of the manuals: court’s determination that the motion to dismiss was moot upon reconsideration of the underlying discovery dispute) 04/02/2010Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Riesselman -- Amended Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs and cell phone found on his person during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and statements he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs and cell phone be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; although defendant's statements regarding illegally-seized drugs and cell phone were fruit of the illegal search, statements were sufficiently attenuated to purge the taint; and defendant's other statements were voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of items from defendant's person.03/31/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Sablan (Motion to suppress, order finding that defendant had made sufficient showing to be entitled to evidentiary hearing under Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978), but denying motion to suppress because defendant had not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the search warrant affiant knowingly and intentionally included false information, or did so with reckless disregard for the truth, and alternatively, even were the court to assume, arguendo, that defendant could show that the affiant included intentional falsehoods or statements made with reckless disregard for the truth and set aside those allegations, the court would nevertheless conclude that the supporting affidavit otherwise provided probable cause for the search.)03/31/2010Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Norita & Sablan (criminal prosecution on charges of trafficking in methamphetamine against both defendants and a gun charge against one defendant heard as a visiting judge to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan); defendants’ pretrial motions for discovery sanctions against the prosecution for failure to disclose sections of a DEA Laboratory Operations Manual and sections of a DEA Agent’s Field Manual, one defendant’s motion to sever the gun charge against the other defendant for separate trial, and one defendant’s motion for appointment of her retained counsel pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act) 03/29/2010Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Ruben Olivares-Rodriguez -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence arising from search of vehicle by a certified drug detection dog. Court found dog was reliable, and his handler reasonably believed the dog had indicated on the vehicle, providing probable cause to search the vehicle's interior. Court further found testimony of defense witness Steven Nicely was entitled to no weight.03/22/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Sandra Hanson (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that while the search and seizure occurred after a warning citation had been issued, the law enforcement officer’s continued detention of defendant in order to permit a drug dog sniff was justified by that officer’s reasonable suspicion that criminal activity unrelated to the stop was afoot; that the information from the informant was not stale and could be relied upon to support a finding of reasonable suspicion; that the fact that a drug dog’s initial failure to indicate on defendant’s pickup truck did not negate the other facts and information supporting the existence of reasonable suspicion; that defendant consented to having a drug sniffing dog enter the back of her truck, which resulted in the discovery of marijuana in the vehicle.)03/19/2010Mark W. Bennett
Redd v. McKinney -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC Section 2254. Court found petitioner failed to show Iowa court's decisions were unreasonable in finding his trial and appellate counsel were not ineffective for failing to lodge proper objections to admission of certain evidence at trial. 03/16/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Riesselman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs found in his pocket during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and a statement he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; and defendant's statement was voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of drugs from defendant's pocket. 03/16/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Thomas J. Woods; sentencing memorandum regarding restitution to victim of child pornography offenses03/03/2010Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Sholom Rubashkin; Order denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial03/01/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Harrington -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Court found officers' encounter with defendant was completely consensual; officers did not initiate a "stop" of defendant; and defendant was coherent and able to consent to be interviewed.02/16/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Hanson -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during search of vehicle at site of traffic stop. Court found officer's continued detention of defendant after conclusion of traffic stop for further investigation of suspected drugs in vehicle was based on officer's reasonable suspicision and did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.02/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Tony Golden (Sentencing on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack, and distributing crack within 1,000 feet of a public playground or school in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841, and 860; reiteration of categorical rejection in Gully of 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio in Sentencing Guidelines and selection of 1:1 ratio as the reasoned alternative in this and all crack cases, demonstrating appropriateness of applying 1:1 ratio in all cases, then varying (upward, in this case), if necessary, based on case-specific factors, including this defendant’s prior conviction for attempted murder, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a))01/12/2010Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Rojas - Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for insufficiency of evidence before the grand jury be denied.12/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. David Stephens (Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s order denying prosecution’s request to amend defendant’s conditions of release, concluding the Adam Walsh Amendments to the Bail Reform Act, which require that those on pretrial release for specified offenses be subject to curfew and electronic monitoring requirements, regardless of individual circumstances, facially violate the Due Process Clause.)11/17/2009Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Stephens -- Order denying Government's motion to amend conditions of pretrial release to include electronic monitoring and curfew. Court found unconstitutional the Adam Walsh Act amendments to the Bail Reform Act requiring mandatory imposition of curfew and electronic monitoring without an individual determination of whether the facts of the case required those conditions of pretrial release.10/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Eric Graham (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that the supporting affidavits for search warrant application clearly contained information which provided a substantial basis for finding a “fair probability” that contraband or evidence of illegal activity could be found in the buildings at defendant’s residence, and that law enforcement officers did not impermissibly exceed the scope of search warrant in their search.10/15/2009Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Graham -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during execution of a search warrant at his residence. Court found there was sufficient probable cause to issue the warrant and sufficient indicia of validity for the executing officers to rely on the warrant, and the warrant adequately described the places to be searched.09/28/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Martinez-Pena -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drug evidence found in his vehicle. Defendant was stopped for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license, and vehicle was seized to install a tracking device pursuant to a warrant. While installing the device, officers found drugs in the vehicle. Court found drugs were not in plain view, and warrantless seach of vehicle violated defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. However, court further found drugs inevitably would have been discovered during inventory search of vehicle and need not be suppressed. 09/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Mosley (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that defendant’s freedom of movement was not restrained to the degree associated with a formal arrest at the time he was interviewed by the police and no Miranda warning was required to be given to defendant prior to interview, and that defendant’s statements were made of his own free will.)09/09/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Eric Yockey (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: the plain view doctrine was established in this case with respect to officer’s viewing of the pornographic image on defendant’s cellular telephone, and that a police detective’s questioning of defendant and his search of defendant’s’s cellular telephone were not tainted by the arresting officer’s actions because any taint from the arresting officer’s unlawful conduct was sufficiently attenuated by other circumstances so as to purge it.)08/28/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Earl Foy, Jr. (criminal prosecution on charges of sending threatening communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(b) and (c): upward variance from 262 to 480 months of imprisonment, achieved by running the two longest statutory maximum sentences consecutively, with other sentences to run concurrently, based primarily on the § 3553(a)(1) and (a)(2) factors, including the defendant’s substantial history of violence and violence toward women) 08/24/2009Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Yockey -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence located on, and stemming from, the discovery of child pornography on his cell phone at the time he was booked into the jail for driving while suspended. Court found discovery of pornographic image by inentorying officer was inadvertent; arresting officer's examination of additional photographs on the phone and questioning of defendant before giving Miranda warnings was unlawful; and detective's questioning of defendant after Miranda warnings and examination of phone's contents with defendant's consent would have occurred solely on the basis of the single photo inadvertently accessed by inventorying officer and therefore need not be suppressed. 08/03/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Mosley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress statements made when officers arrived to execute a search warrant at his house. Court found that under Eighth Circuit jurisprudence, defendant was not "in custody" at the time he made his statements, and therefore failure to give him Miranda warnings did not require suppression of his statements.07/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Jacob : (criminal prosecution on charges of using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity prohibited by state law, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2242(b), and interstate transportation of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(1); sentencing memorandum: the merits of the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines for defendants convicted of child pornography offenses, U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2, and child exploitation offenses, 18 U.S.C. § 2G2.1, including the impact of congressional mandates rather than the United States Sentencing Commission’s exercise of its institutional expertise and empirical analysis; rejection of both guidelines on categorical policy grounds and on individualized application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors) 06/26/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kevin Kruse; Defendant who pled guilty to one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor sentenced to 470 months of imprisonment after applying 2G2.1 and 4B1.5.05/26/2009Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Gully: (Sentencing on charges of distributing crack cocaine and distributing crack within 1,000 of a public playground or school, after a prior felony drug conviction in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 851, and 860; rejection on categorical policy grounds of 100:1 crack-to-powder ratio is Sentencing Guidelines and selection of 1:1 ratio as the reasoned alternative in this and all crack cases; methodology for imposing sentence using 1:1 crack-to-powder ratio and to enhance sentences, where appropriate, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) for violence, chronic offenders, weapon possession, and other aggravating factors) 05/18/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Ingram : (Sentencing for on charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine after a prior felony drug conviction in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 and 851; appropriateness sua sponte review of remand from appellate court for second chance for prosecution to prove prior conviction; sufficiency of proof of defendant’s prior conviction on second chance, including applicability of Federal Rules of Evidence to proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” of a prior conviction pursuant to § 851)05/11/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Gary Visser (Sentencing on “felon in possession of a firearm” charge: applicability of the reduction to the defendant’s base offense level under the “sporting and collecting” exception in U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(b)(2), where he had pawned several of the firearms in his collection) 04/15/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Beiermann : (criminal prosecution on charges of possessing, receiving, transporting, and shipping child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A; sentencing memorandum: the merits of the advisory United States Sentencing Guideline for defendants convicted of child pornography offenses, U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2, including the impact of congressional mandates rather than the United States Sentencing Commission’s exercise of its institutional expertise and empirical analysis; rejection of the guideline on both an individualized application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors and categorically on policy grounds) 02/24/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Maurice Haltiwanger (Defendant’s objection to the prosecution’s notice of intent to seek enhanced penalties, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 851(a), order rejecting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding defendant’s objection to § 851 notice, finding: that defendant’s Kansas tax stamp conviction can form the basis for an enhanced sentence because it meets the federal definition of a “felony drug offense” since under Kansas’s sentencing scheme, a drug stamp conviction may result in a maximum sentence of imprisonment for more than one year.)02/23/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Heather Fiorella a/k/a Heather Gonsorcik; Defendant who pled guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography sentenced to 360 months' imprisonment after district court found she obstructed justice and upheld USSG 2G2.1 against Kimbrough v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 558 (2007) challenge.02/11/2009Linda R. Reade
USA v. Haltiwanger -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's objection to Government's 851 notice. Interpreting Kansas sentencing guideline scheme applicable to drug tax stamp violation, court found maximum term to which defendant could have been sentenced was seven months, rather than the thirteen months applicable to defendants in higher criminal history categories, and therefore defendant's conviction under the Kansas drug tax stamp law did not qualify as a prior felony confiction for purposes of a federal sentence enhancement.02/11/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Gregg -- Report and Recommendation on petition to revoke the defendant's term of supervised release.02/04/2009Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Montreail Dungy ( Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, asserting as grounds the ineffective assistance of trial, sentencing and appellate counsel for the following reasons: (1) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to call certain witnesses; (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to present an alibi defense; (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the introduction of certain bad acts which occurred when defendant was a juvenile; (4) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to request a buyer-seller jury instruction; (5) that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the lack of proof that the drug involved in the conspiracy was crack cocaine; (6) that his sentencing counsel was ineffective in failing to object to the sentencing stipulation; (7) that his sentencing counsel failed to object to his two prior felony drug convictions being used to determine his criminal history as well as for a § 851 enhancement; (8) that his appellate counsel was ineffective in failing to raise claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on trial counsel’s failure to call certain witnesses. Defendant also asserted that prosecution witness had recanted his testimony. Motion denied in its entirety: first, claim that trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to interview and call as witnesses individuals who could have testified at trial was denied because issue was raised on direct appeal and a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence by person in federal custody may not be used to relitigate an issue that was raised on appeal; second, defendant did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to present an alibi defense at trial because defendant charged with drug conspiracy was not entitled to alibi instruction where conspiracy allegedly lasted for a period of years and defendant’s presence at scene of drug transaction was not a required element of the conspiracy; third, his trial counsel was not ineffective in failing to object to the admission of testimony concerning actions done when defendant was a juvenile because evidence of defendant’s juvenile actions, which took place during the pendency of the conspiracy, was relevant and admissible as part of the res gestae of the charged offense; fourth, defendant’s counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a buyer-seller instruction because he, in fact, did so, and such an instruction was given in this case; fifth, given the weight of all the evidence in the case, defendant did not demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to object to the lack of proof that the drug that was the object of the conspiracy was crack cocaine; sixth, considering that defendant faced a mandatory life sentence, defense counsel’s advice to defendant that he accept the sentencing stipulation was a reasonable strategic choice made after sufficient investigation of the law and relevant facts and one which clearly fell within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance and thus did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel; seventh, defendant has not demonstrated that he was prejudiced by his counsel’s failure to lodge an objection to the court’s use of his two prior drug convictions to determine his criminal history as well as for a § 851 enhancement where evidence exists in the record of a number of overt acts committed by defendant in furtherance of the charged conspiracy which occurred after the date of his convictions; finally, defendant had not established that a portion of witnesses’s testimony was false.)02/02/2009Mark W. Bennett
US v. Daniel Lee Wilson -- R&R; Motion to Suppress-Issues: Fourth Amendment: Entry onto Curtilage, Entry into Porch01/14/2009Jon Stuart Scoles
US v. Lesean D. Hardy -- R&R; Motion to Suppress-Issues: Legality of Pat-Down Search, Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Analysis01/05/2009Jon Stuart Scoles
US v. Edward Frank Brewer & Rosina Orlantha Rhodes -- R&R; Motions to Suppress-Issues: Fourth Amendment: Traffic Stop; Fifth Amendment: Voluntary Statements01/05/2009Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Miell (criminal prosecution on charges of mail fraud, arising from a fraudulent scheme to obtain insurance proceeds for hail-damage roofs and a fraudulent scheme to retain renters’ damage deposits, perjury, and failure to file tax returns: defendant’s motion in limine to exclude the following evidence: (1) evidence from the prosecution’s “expert,” a “certified fraud examiner,” concerning damage deposits received and retained by the defendant; (2) evidence relating to the so-called “Beckfield litigation,” which included one of the present defendant’s business entities, Advanced Equities, as a defendant; (3) evidence described as “miscellaneous tenant complaints”; (4) evidence from various small claims court judges; (5) depictions of the defendant as a “slum lord”; (6) evidence of the so-called “Bat Cave,” in which the defendant purportedly retained property belonging to tenants who had been evicted or moved out; (7) photographs of the defendant’s personal residence; (8) evidence of health insurance and mileage reimbursements that the defendant pays to some of his employees; and (9) evidence of alleged destruction of documents by the defendant’s “handyman”) 12/26/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Miell : (criminal prosecution on charges of mail fraud, arising from a fraudulent scheme to obtain insurance proceeds for hail-damage roofs and a fraudulent scheme to retain renters’ damage deposits, perjury, and failure to file tax returns: prosecution’s motion in limine to exclude any reference to or introduction of evidence by the defendant that he repaired the hail-damaged roofs at a point in time after he obtained insurance proceeds based on fraudulent claims that he had already repaired the roofs, and any reference to or introduction of evidence by the defendant that he had or believed that he had only one year to repair the roofs) 11/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kelly Jacob (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/31/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Beiermann (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/31/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Maul -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Court found officer had probable cause to conduct traffic stop, reasonable suspicion to detain vehicle's occupants for further investigation after traffic stop was concluded, and authority to remove occupants from vehicle for purposes of exterior K-9 sniff of the vehicle.10/30/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. James Callanan (sentencing of criminal defendant: determination of appropriate remedy for another incident of prosecutorial misconduct involving breach of a plea agreement, including consideration of sanctions against prosecutor personally) 10/24/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Thies -- Report and Recommendation, recommending defendant's motion to suppress evidence be denied. Defendant's girlfriend, with whom he lived, called police to report that defendant was drunk and acting violently, and she was frightened because he had a gun in the house. Officer went to the house to investigate, with intent to seize the firearm for the parties' and the public's safety. He encountered defendant and some friends in the front yard of the residence. He asked defendant a few questions before arresting defendant on an outstanding warrant. He then entered the house, over defendant's objections, to secure the firearm, and while inside, noticed some live ammunition. After learning defendant had a prior felony conviction, officer secured a search warrant for the house and seized the ammunition and other evidence. Court found defendant's responses to initial questions were noncustodial and need not be suppressed; officer's initial entry into the house to retrieve the gun was lawful; and even if initial entry into the house was not lawful, gun and ammunition inevitably would have been discovered.10/23/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Matthew Kashas (Cases of three defendants charged with child pornography and sexual offenses involving minors; sentencing; prosecution’s request for access to court’s expert, appointed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3552(c), beyond the report of the expert’s psychosexual analysis of each defendant) 10/21/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Huntley -- Report and Recommendation on motion to dismiss indictment. Court found defendant who receives firearm in trade for drugs does not possess the firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 USC 924(c), but recommended the motion be denied as premature.10/21/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Charles Schrage criminal defendant’s motion in limine before trial on “felon in possession of a firearm” charge: evidence of telephone calls and correspondence from the defendant while incarcerated; evidence of the defendant’s and a witness’s prior convictions) 10/02/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Sean Merrill; court held that child pornographer was not subject to sentencing enhancement for distribution, where defendant did not disseminate child pornography to others but instead only moved it from one electronic device to another09/26/2008Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. David Dicus: (sentencing of criminal defendant: sentence reduction as a sanction for prosecution’s serious misconduct consisting of breach of a plea agreement) 09/24/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Mack Davis; court held defendant was career offender, based in part upon prior conviction for Indecent Contact With a Child, in violation of Iowa Code Section 709.12(4) (1993)09/17/2008Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Brett & Cory Kamerud: (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; petitioners claim that guilty verdict for conspiracy to (1) “distribute methamphetamine,” (2) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” and (3) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine to one or more persons under twenty-one years of age should be set aside; the court decided whether the petitioners were provided with ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution by analyzing an extensive list of possible grounds for petitioners’ claim.)09/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
Jones v. Wilder-Tomlinson (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; petitioner claims that her Sixth Amendment rights were violated when neither of her two attorneys filed a timely motion to suppress evidence obtained due to her warrantless arrest; the court decided: whether there had been an adjudication on the merits of the probable cause to arrest claim, whether the petitioner had properly exhausted available state remedies, and whether one or both of petitioner’s attorneys had been ineffective in violation of the Sixth Amendment.)09/04/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Huntley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant was convicted by a jury of a firearms violation and appealed. Appellate court reversed due to erroneous jury instruction. On remand, government dismissed, and then re-indicted defendant one day later. Defendant argued reprosecution violated his fifth amendment protection against double jeopardy. Court recommended motion be denied based on Supreme Court precedent holding Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar reprosecution of a defendant whose conviction is overturned on appeal due to a trial error, rather than for insufficiency of evidence.09/02/2008Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Mishan Bradford (R&R--Motion to Suppress (Fourth Amendment; Warrantless Search)08/12/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Godfrey -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress statements defendant made to agents who questioned him at his home. Court found defenadnt's sixth amendment right to counsel had not attached where defendant had not been charged or arrested and was not in custody at time of interview. Defendant was not entitled to Miranda warnings prior to the non-custodial interview, and defendant's statements were not coerced.08/11/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Stangeland -- Supplemental Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss with prejudice for speedy trial violation. Court reviewed dismissal of prior case pursuant to the factors set forth in 18 USC 3162, and concluded dismissal without prejudice was proper. Defendant failed to show constitutional violation under Barker v. Wingo factors. 07/29/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Puok -- Order on Government's motion to compel defense to produce summaries of expert testimony. Court overruled defendant's interpretation of standard Stipulated Discovery Order, holding production of expert witness summaries is required by the stipulation without any notice or request from either party.07/25/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Yuot & Puok (defendants’ motions in limine in criminal trial: opinions about a defendant’s guilt, or, more specifically, that he “is” a drug dealer, or that he was part of a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, or that he is a “known” drug dealer; opinions that a sock located in a defendant’s pocket at the time of a traffic stop was the match for a sock containing crack cocaine located in the vehicle in which the defendant was a passenger; use of nicknames or aliases; evidence of a defendant’s employment history or lack thereof; evidence of and references to a defendant’s various prior arrests, charges, or convictions) 07/23/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Orlando Birbragher, Marshall Neil Kanner, Douglas Willis Bouchey, Armando Angulo and Peter Colon Lopez; order on motion to dismiss07/22/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Kenison -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendant had failed to make a preliminary showing that information was omitted from search warrant application recklessly, deliberately, or intentionally, and therefore defendant was not entitled to a Franks hearing.07/21/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Ortega-Morgado --Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss for speedy trial violation. Parties agreed the indictment should be dismissed, but disagreed on whether dismissal should be with or without prejudice. After weighing factors in 18 USC 3162(a)(1), court recommended dismissal be with prejudice.07/18/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Jose Islas-Bravo (defendant’s motion in criminal trial to admit “reverse 404(b)” evidence of separately tried co-defendant’s prior conviction on state drug offense to support third-party guilt defense) 07/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Roger Waldner; court sentenced defendant to 120 months imprisonment on his pleas of guilty to two counts of bankruptcy fraud, arising out of In Re H & W Motor Express Co, No. 02-2017 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa Jun. 12, 200207/07/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Stangeland -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant was indicted, but no trial was scheduled. Court dismissed indictment sua sponte for speedy trial violation, and Government then obtained a new indictment. Defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that because the first indictment was dismissed other than on his own motion, the speedy trial clock continued to run. Court found Defendant was beneficiary of the sua sponte dismissal, and the speedy trial clock began to run anew with the second indictment.06/11/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. McManaman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Court found a Sixth Amendment violation where officers asked defendant a question after he had been indicted and taken into custody but before he had been advised of his rights, and recommended suppression of defendant's response to the question. However, court found firearm located as a result of that response inevitably would have been discovered, and therefore it need not be suppressed, nor did the constitutional violation require suppression of defendant's post-Miranda statements made several hours after his arrest.06/09/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Douglas Dean Johnson (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress and granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to suppress, finding: that a search warrant application for defendant’s Primghar residence failed to support the state magistrate’s probable cause determination and that the search warrant application was so facially deficient that the state magistrate’s issuance of a search warrant constituted “a rubber stamp for the police”, so that the exclusionary rule should be applied and the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant for the Primghar residence should be excluded; that with respect to a search warrant for defendant’s Clay County property, the totality of the information presented to the state magistrate supported the state magistrate’s probable cause determination and that the information contained in the search warrant application was not stale; and, that it was not objectively unreasonable for the law enforcement officers here to proceed to execute the search warrant for the Clay County property in these circumstances.)05/14/2008Mark W. Bennett
US v. Fundermann -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during and as a result of traffic stop. Court found traffic stop was valid; search of vehicle was supported by probable cause; and subsequent search warrant issued on basis of evidence found during traffic stop also was supported by probable cause.05/08/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Daniel Binion--R&R (motions to suppress evidence-4th Amendment [probable cause for traffic stop and pat-down search] & 5th Amendment [voluntary statement made after refusal to waive Miranda rights])05/06/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Lamont William Papakee; court's sentencing memorandum; court held that sexual abuse in Indian Country is a crime of violence for purposes of career offender finding and held alternative variance permissible after Gall v. United States04/24/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Thomas Ray Reinhart (R&R on motion to suppress--entry into 3rd-party residence on arrest warrant, protective sweep, Franks hearing, Leon good-faith exception)04/08/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
US v. Jon Young (R&R on Motion to Suppress--request for counsel)04/03/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Douglas Johnson --Report and Recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence seized from execution of two separate search warrants. Court found the first warrant application to be deficient, and so much so that the court held the Leon exclusionary rule should apply to the evidence seized in execution of the warrant. Court found the second warrant contained sufficient information to support the magistrate's probable cause determination, and further found that in any event, the officers' reliance on the warrant was reasoanble and in good faith.04/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Ronald Coleman; sentencing memorandum holding that defendant's prior Iowa conviction for drug tax stamp violation was a prior felony drug conviction for purposes of 21 U.S.C. §§841 & 85104/01/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Vo -- Order denying motion to sever. Defendant charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and money laundering moved for severance from co-defendants charged with continuing criminal enterprise and other crimes. Court found joinder was proper, and defendant failed to show he would suffer serious prejudice from joinder of his case for trial with his co-defendants.03/10/2008Paul A. Zoss
US v. John Bolden, Zechariah Benjamin, Nell Brocks, Clarence Ross, III, & Wilson Cleaves (Motion to Sever--Bruton issue)03/07/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Michael Ingram (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding: that defendant’s freedom of movement was not restrained to the degree associated with a formal arrest when he was asked one question by a law enforcement officer which was designed to protect the officer’s safety during a traffic stop, as such, defendant was not in custody at the time and his response to the officer’s question should not be suppressed; that any statements made by defendant between the time of his arrest and the time he was advised of his rights should be suppressed; and, that, defendant’s challenge to the search warrant should be denied because even without defendant’s pre-arrest statement and the evidence seized from his person, the warrant affidavit contained sufficient evidence for a reasonable magistrate to find probable cause to issue a warrant to search the apartment.)02/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Tony Eugene Goodson (R&R on motion to withdraw guilty plea)02/19/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Chris Pipkin; ordering defendant to make restitution despite an order of discharge over the restitution in bankruptcy court02/19/2008Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Charles Thomas; order regarding constitutionality of the sex offender registration provisions of the Adam Walsh Act02/13/2008Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Charles Warthan; sentencing memorandum opinion; court calculated defendant's advisory Sentencing Guidelines range. Minor role adjustment did not apply, upward departure for number of victims applied, downward departure for discharged term of imprisonment did not apply.02/07/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Edmond Louis Cote (R&R on motion to suppress evidence (probable cause determination supported by affidavit and sworn oral testimony, Leon good-faith exception)02/06/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. David Matthew Howell (Motion to dismiss, order accepting in part and rejecting in part Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to dismiss, concerning charges that defendant knowingly failed to register and update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), court concluded that Congress’s delegation of authority to the United States Attorney General in 42 U.S.C. § 16913(d) was not a violation of the nondelegation doctrine, finding that SORNA’s registration requirements and criminal provisions constitute permissible exercises of Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause; determining that application of SORNA’s penalty provision to him did not violate due process, that application of SORNA to him constituted a violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause, finding that SORNA was effective as to all convicted sex offenders as of the date of its enactment, but that application of SORNA to defendant’s conduct that pre-dated the interim rule’s enactment would constitute an unconstitutional ex post facto application of the law.)02/01/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Mack Arthur Davis, Jr. (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress statements--voluntary waiver of Miranda rights and voluntary statement to police)01/16/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. John Anthony Echols, Jr. (motion to set aside section 851 notice)01/15/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Ingram -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Court found officer's pre-Miranda question at scene of traffic stop regarding whether defendant had anything in his possession that would get him into trouble was not a custodial inquiry and did not violate defendant's Miranda rights. Court further found search warrant was supported by probable cause.11/28/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Webb - Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging him with possession of a firearm after previously being convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence." Court found question was for the jury as to whether defendant's conduct leading to the state conviction involved the requisite "physical force" to constitute a predicate offense for a conviction under 18 USC 922(g)(9).11/09/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Howell -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging violations of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 42 USC 16901 et seq. and 18 USC 2250. Held: (1) SORNA was not applicable to sex offender with pre-SORNA convition until issuance of Attorney General's interim rule on 2/28/07; (2) application of SORNA to conduct predating the interim rule would violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution; (3) SORNA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine or the Commerce Clause; (4) application of SORNA to defendant would not violate due process; and (5) proper venue for SORNA violation is fact-based and represents jury question for trial. 11/08/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Hugo Salazar-Montrero (criminal defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to determine elements of “aggravated identity theft” offense defined by 18 U.S.C. § 1028A: court’s authority to determine pretrial the elements of an offense; determination of elements)10/25/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Mark Donisi : (criminal defendant’s motion in limine: prior drug use and evidence from his proffer interview)09/25/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA vs. John Shuler and Heather Fiorella (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress, search of residence)09/18/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Plum -- Order granting motion for involuntary administration of psychotropic drugs to render defendant competent for trial. Court found the Government had proved all four of the Sell factors.08/29/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. McMullin -- Report and Recommendation on motion to dismiss for pre-indictment delay, and motion to dismiss one count of indictment for violating defendant's right against double jeopardy. Court found defendant failed to show delay in filing indictment resulted in actual and substantial prejudice to presentation of his defense, or that government intentionally delayed the indictment to gain tactical advantage or to harass him. On second motion, court held 21 USC 841(c)(2) is a lesser included offense of 21 USC 841(c)(1), so that although trying defendant on both charges does not violate double jeopardy, defendant could not be convicted and punished for both offenses. 08/28/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. McMullin - Order denying defendant's motion for severance. Court found defendant filed to show he would suffer "real prejudice" from joint trial.08/28/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA vs. Robert Earl Cole, Jr. (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress; seizure, voluntary consent urine sample)08/20/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Sheridan -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending denial of motion, court found defendant's nephew, who was working as a security guard at resort, entered defendant's room as a private citizen on his own behalf; and not on behalf of, or with knowledge of and acquiescence by, any government agency.08/15/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Gocha -- Supplemental Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Court found probable cause existed for issuance of second and third warrants to search defendant's computers, digital cameras, personal data device, and storage media. Court further found search warrants met particularity requirement and were not overly broad. 08/10/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (8th Circuit Decision)07/30/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Jeff Cheney -- Report and Recommendation on defendnat's objections to plaintiff's notice of intent to seek enhanced penalties pursuant to 21 USC 851.07/27/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Linda Darcell Gilbert; sentencing memorandum opinion07/24/2007Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Francisco Marcos-Quiroga (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that the police had probable cause to arrest defendant and, as a result, money found on defendant’s person was found during a lawful search incident to his arrest and not subject to suppression.)07/17/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA vs. Brook Allen Walton (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress--Franks case)07/09/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
U.S. v. Travis John O'Connor (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation regarding motion to suppress, finding that upon viewing the affidavit in support of the search warrant application in a common sense manner, the court could not conclude that the issuing state judge did not have a substantial basis to believe that the items sought in the warrant would be found at defendant’s residence.)07/09/2007Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi; motion to dismiss on due process grounds; denying defendant's motion; finding no Fifth Amendment violations due to outrageous government conduct or prosecutorial misconduct; declining defendant's invitation to use the court's supervisory power to dismiss the two-count indictment. 07/05/2007Linda R. Reade
United States v. Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi; motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 48(b); denying defendant's motion; finding no prejudicial preindictment delay in the government's presentation of the charges to the grand jury; and finding no unnecessary post-indictment delay due, mainly, to defendant's own requests for trial continuances. 07/05/2007Linda R. Reade
United States v. Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi; motion to dismiss on double jeopardy grounds; denying defendant's motion; finding that the double jeopardy principles were not implicated because defendant was convicted in the Eastern District of Michigan on a terrorism count and a document fraud count, and then, after trial, the charges were dismissed in post-trial proceedings; alternatively holding that the offenses in the prior indictment and the instant indictment were not the "same" for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause. 07/05/2007Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Robert Earl Cole; sentencing memorandum opinion07/03/2007Linda R. Reade
USA v. Gocha -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence from search of residence and shop building. Court found unrelated attachment to search warrant was included inadvertently and was not considered by magistrate in issuing warrant; defendant failed to make requisite showing to warrant a Franks hearing; and officers reasonably believed cohabitant of property had authority to consent to search of entire property. 07/03/2007Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi; motion to subpoena trial witnesses pursuant to Rule 104; denying defendant's motion; determining that the proposed testimony of a district court judge, a United States Attorney and a defense attorney was not admissible; and declining to issue trial subpoenas for each. 06/27/2007Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. James Howard Bentley; sentencing memorandum opinion06/25/2007Linda R. Reade
USA v. Quiroga -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Court found officers had probable cause for defendant's warrantless arrest, and recommended evidence from search incident to arrest not be suppressed.06/13/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Francisco Marcos-Quiroga (Criminal defendant’s motion in limine: prior convictions, chain of custody of drug evidence, and plea agreement from conviction set aside by the court)06/12/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. O'Connor- Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to suppress be denied. Defendant argued search warrant for his residence was not supported by probable cause because the facts indicated his alleged activities only occurred at his workplace, not at his residence. Court found issuing judge was entitled to rely on officer's experienced opinion that defendant likely maintained pornographic images and performed illegal acts at his residence.06/11/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Todd Becker (motions in limine in criminal trial: government’s motion to admit evidence of the defendant’s probation status as “intrinsic” or Rule 404(b) evidence; defendant’s motion to exclude nineteen-year-old felony drug conviction pursuant to Rule 404(b)).05/31/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lee, et al. (Criminal defendants’ motions in limine: first defendant’s prior misdemeanor and felony convictions and “bad acts” as Rule 404(b) and/or “direct” evidence; second defendant’s prior criminal history, opinions that he is a drug dealer or convicted felon, lay identifications of his voice on a particular tape or monitored call, identification of him as the “Rock,” his lack of employment history; and co-conspirator hearsay allegedly exculpatory hearsay statement; third defendant’s “bad acts,” references to his presence at “crack houses,” residence at places where drugs or guns were found, discovery of baggies on his person, prior convictions, and identifications as a “drug dealer”)05/17/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lee Cobb (Motion to suppress, order accepting Magistrate Judges report and recommendation that defendant’s motion to suppress be granted; concluding that defendant made the requisite showing to warrant a Franks hearing, that one law enforcement officer communicated false information to another that was then included in the warrant application and that if the false information is set to one side, the affidavit’s remaining content is insufficient to establish probable cause for a search of defendant’s residence.) 05/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Michael Edward Kowal; order on motion to dismiss, bench trial and motion for judgment of acquittal. The court denied the motion to dismiss and motion for judgment of acquittal, and it found defendant GUILTY on Counts 5 and 7, which charged the defendant with aggravated identity theft in violation in 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). The court found that the term "person" in § 1028A(a)(1) includes all human beings, regardless of whether they are living at the time their identity is stolen and used. It found that the defendant's use of a decedent's surname and birth month constituted the defendant's use of the "means of identification of another person," and it rejected the defendant's claim that he changed his name through his Iowa marriage.05/15/2007Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. David Evan Starr; sentencing memorandum opinion05/15/2007Linda R. Reade
USA v. Charles Scott -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendant had not made adequate showing for a Franks hearing, and even if affidavit in support of search warrant was deficient, officers executed the warrant in good faith and evidence should not be excluded pursuant to Leon.05/08/2007Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Arias-Gonzales -- Report and sua sponte recommendation that case be dismissed for speedy trial violation.05/02/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Lamont William Papakee and Connie Frances Blackcloud; order finding federal criminal jurisdiction over alleged sex crimes at Meskwaki Settlement05/02/2007Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Justin Cole (criminal defendant’s and prosecution’s motions in limine and Rule 104 motions to determine admissibility of evidence: defendant’s prior convictions and “bad acts” as Rule 404(b), “direct,” or res gestae evidence; allegedly exculpatory hearsay statement, considered under Rules 804(b)(3), 607, and 613(b); and the meaning of “cocaine base” as “crack cocaine” under 21 U.S.C. § 841)04/30/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Marsh -- Order on motion for extension of time to complete psychological evaluation. Discusses date when time commences for completion of evaluation.03/29/2007Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Cobb -- Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to suppress evidence resulting from search of his residence be granted. Court found officers recklessly included false information in warrant affidavit, and when false information was excluded, information in the affidavit would not support a finding of probable cause for a search of defendant's residence. Court further found inevitable discovery exception inapplicable on these facts.03/27/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Marcos-Quiroga (defendant’s objections to PSIR, motion to withdraw guilty plea, and motion for new counsel: defendant’s Sixth Amendment objection to use of a prior conviction as both a statutory sentence enhancement and a career offender guideline enhancement; reconsideration of motion to withdraw guilty plea based on bad advice of counsel concerning career offender status; motion for new counsel based on prejudicial conduct of current counsel)03/23/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Eddie Lee -- Order denying defendant's motion to sever his trial from the trial of his codefendants in case involving conspiracy to manufacture nd distribute crack cocaine.03/13/2007Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Honken : (appeal by defendant convicted of capital offenses and sentenced to death; defendant’s request for discovery of government’s records and recollections of four unrecorded conferences to prepare the defendant’s statement pursuant to Rule 10(c) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure concerning unrecorded portions of the record for appeal)02/28/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Enrique Aragon-Hernandez -- Order denying defendant's motion for bill of particulars.02/27/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. James Howard Bentley; Rule 414 order, admitting evidence of prior offenses of child molestation in child pornography prosecution.02/21/2007Linda R. Reade
USA v. Huntley -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss two counts of indictment. Defendant argued his plea in state court to simple assault under Iowa Code 708.1(1) and 708.2(4) did not satisfy predicate requirements for federal charges of possessing firearm after misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence. In recommending defendant's motion to dismiss be denied, Court found State court judgment established, on its face, the required predicate element of the charges.02/20/2007Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Saucillo (Federal prisoners motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 asserting allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted his counsel was ineffective in failing to file an appeal; motion denied in its entirety; defendant did allege that he expressly direct his attorney to file an appeal )02/14/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. James J. Parsons (Motion for return of property pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41(g); after pleading guilty to the charged felony offenses, defendant sought to designate that his firearm collection, which was seized and held by the government, should be given to a friend; analysis of the competing equities in order to decide whether defendant, who was in lawful possession of the firearms at the time of his arrest and was not a convicted felon when he acquired the three firearms, may be permitted to designate to whom his firearm collection should be given. )02/07/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Enrique Aragon-Hernandez (criminal defendant’s motion in limine: inaudibility of recordings rendering them untrustworthy as a whole and, therefore, inadmissible) 01/31/2007Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi; motion to dismiss on statute of limitations and pre-indictment delay grounds; denying defendant's motion; holding that the conspiracy to commit document fraud charge and the fraudulent use of a social security number charge in the indictment were not barred by the statute of limitations; and holding that there was no violation of the Fifth Amendment due process clause due to unreasonable pre-indictment delay because defendant could not show actual or substantial prejudice. 01/22/2007Linda R. Reade
USA v. Bauer -- Report and recommendation that defendant's motion to suppress evidence from traffic stop be denied. Court found defendant consented to search of his vehicle, his consent was not coerced by officers, and "plain view" doctrine was irrelevant to the analysis.01/22/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Ryan Keith Mathison (Following a jury verdict of guilty on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment, both defendant filed timely motion for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial pursuant to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; court holds that (1) viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, a reasonable jury could have found the defendant guilty on Counts One through Seven, as alleged in the Second Superseding Indictment;(2) no grounds for a new trial on the defendant’s convictions exist because the evidence presented at trial overwhelmingly weighs in favor of the jury verdict on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment ; (3) the mid-trial publicity that resulted after the defendant voluntarily absconded did not prejudice the defendant and his Sixth Amendment rights were adequately protected;(4) the defendant’s post-trial motions are denied in their entirety.)01/05/2007Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Bucio-Sanchez -- Report and recommendation that motion to suppress evidence be denied. Court found inevitable discovery doctrine justified admission of call made to defendant's c ell phone; protective sweep of trailer was justified under the circumstances, and evidence observed in plain view during protective sweep was admissible; and roommate had authority to consent to search of all of trailer except defendant's bedroom.01/03/2007Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Edward Valenciano (Motion to transfer trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 21; analysis of whether defendant had met the high threshold of proof to show that case was one of the “rare and extreme cases” in which the court can presume “inherent prejudice” based on pretrial publicity, such that a transfer pursuant to Rule 21(a) was appropriate; alternative analysis of whether it was necessary to transfer the trial on the grounds of convenience of the parties and witnesses pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 21(b)).12/27/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. B.H.; declaratory judgment finding that defendant was committed to a mental institution and, therefore, ordering his weapons and ammunition destroyed.,U.S. v. B.H.; declaratory judgment finding that defendant was committed to a mental institution and, therefore, ordering his weapons and ammunition destroyed.12/07/2006Linda R. Reade
USA v. Tolbert - Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Court found evidence was sezied lawfully at scene of traffic stop and need not be suppressed; defendant's pre-Miranda statements were custodial in nature and should be suppressed; and defendant later waived rights and gave statements voluntarily and intelligently, so post-Miranda statements need not be suppressed. 12/04/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. James Joseph Sheridan; Court denied defendant's motion to dismiss a one-count indictment which charged defendant with knowingly possessing a stolen firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j). The court concluded that defendant's Fifth Amendment right to due process right was not violated. It found there was no vindictive prosecution or unreasonable pre-indictment delay. 11/16/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Vincent & Karl Raymond Bertling (Following a jury verdict of guilty on all counts charged in the Second Superseding Indictment, both defendants filed timely motions for judgment of acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and motions for a new trial pursuant to Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; court holds that (1) viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, a reasonable jury could have found both defendants guilty of conspiracy to corruptly endeavor to influence, obstruct and impeded the due administration of justice in United States v. Vincent Bertling, CR05-4125-MWB, by intimidating witnesses, as alleged in Count One; (2) a reasonable jury could have found defendant Vincent guilty of the three counts of being an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm, as alleged in Counts Two, Three and Four; (3) with respect to the verdicts rendered on Counts Two, Three and Four against defendant Vincent, no miscarriage of justice has occurred; (4) the evidence supporting the convictions of the defendants on Count One weighs heavily enough against the verdict that a miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case; (5) the verdict as to Count One against defendants Vincent Bertling and Karl Raymond Bertling is set aside and Vincent Bertling and Karl Raymond Bertling are granted a new trial on this count; and (6) in all other respects, the defendants’ motions for judgment of acquittal and new trial are denied.)11/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
US v. Bradford; sentencing memorandum opinion on plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, upward departure imposed because, during the conspiracy, defendant also sold heroin resulting in death11/08/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Jesse John Wendelsdorf (Objections to the PSIR launched by the defendant requesting the court to exclude certain amounts from its drug quantity determination; Court held: (1) Although acts surrounding a tank of anhydrous ammonia by the defendant were relevant, court would not include theoretical amount that could have been yielded from the tank because the uncontroverted evidence introduced at trial showed the anhydrous ammonia leaked out of the tank and was unusable; furthermore, even if tank should have been included, the government failed to meet its burden of proof with respect to the amount of methamphetamine that could have been produced from the anhydrous in the tank because no reliable evidence was produced as to not only how much methamphetamine could be produced from the tank, but also how full the tank actually was when it was taken by the defendant; (2) PSIR inappropriately inflated the quantity that can be attributed to the defendant based on the testimony of a coconspirator with respect to the amount of methamphetamine that was traded in exchange for prescription pills; (3) A review of the entire trial transcript reveals that the coconspirators’ testimony has sufficient indicia of reliability and amounts attributed to the defendant by the coconspirators’ testimony is properly included in the court’s drug quantity calculation; while it is true that the coconspirators’ testimony produced some discrepancy with respect to the amount of methamphetamine involved, the court, in accord with applicable case law has erred on the side of caution and utilized the most conservative estimate proffered by the defendants’ coconspirators.) 11/01/2006Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Huang and Long -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress physical evidence. Court found probable cause existed to support issuance of four warrants challenged by defendants, and recommended motion to suppress be denied.10/31/2006Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Donisi - Report and recommendation that motion to suppress evidence be denied. Court found affidavit in support of search warrant application contained facts sufficient to provide probable cause for issuance of warrant.10/27/2006Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Becker -- Report and recommendation that motions to suppress evidence and statements be denied. Court found defendant's state probation officer had reasonable suspicion to search defendant's house pursuant to probation agreement when defendant associated with known drug user who had recent arrests, defendant tested positive for drug use, and defendant failed to obtain drug treatment as directed. 10/18/2006Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Hoffman -- Report and recommendation that motion to suppress evidence be denied. Court found officers were justified in conducting investigatory stop of defendant, and had probable cause to arrest him after he fled scene of suspected drug activity and failed to comply with officers' orders that he stop and remove his hand from his pants pocket.10/17/2006Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Nieman -- Report and recommendation on motion to dismiss and motion to suppress. Court found informant's use of drugs with defendant did not constitute outrageous governmental conduct warranting either dismissal of case or suppression of evidence. Court further found probable cause supported issuance of search warrant, and warrant described items to be seized with sufficient particularity.10/05/2006Paul A. Zoss
US v. Brion Johnson; pretrial matters on remand for child pornography charges, interpreting Adam Walsh Act ,US v. Brion Johnson; pretrial matters on remand for child pornography charges, interpreting Adam Walsh Act 09/25/2006Linda R. Reade
USA v. Maldonado-Gutierrez - Report and recommendation on defendants' joint motion to suppress evidence located during search of vehicle incident to traffic stop. In recommending denial of motion, court found officers had probable cause to stop vehicle; to detain occupants beyond scope of initial traffic stop; and to conduct warrantless search of vehicle's interior after drug dog indicated on headlight area of vehicle. 08/22/2006Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Sergio Elizarraras-Sepulveda -- Report and recommendation on motion to dismiss one count of two-count indictment. Court found two counts, both involving possession of the same firearm and ammunition, were multiplicitous, and recommended Government be ordered to elect between counts, or to supersede and include both theories in a single count.08/09/2006Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Kling -- Report and recommendation on three motions to suppress evidence in case involving charges of inducing a minor to engage in sexually-explicit conduct for purposes of producing photos and videos. In recommending that all three motions be denied, court found defendant's Miranda rights were not violated; officers' failure to provide copy of search warrant prior to initiating search did not warrant suppression; information provided by Internet Service Providers provided probable cause for search of defendant's computer and his residence; and probative value of explicit photos and videos outweighed prejudicial effect.07/12/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. August L. Holthaus, Jr.; sentencing memorandum opinion resolving advisory guidelines calculation issues relating to loss in bankruptcy proceeding and whether a bankruptcy trustee may recover restutition under the MVRA.07/07/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Mark Lou Meyer; Order revoking defendant's probation after he violated his conditions of probation by traveling out-of-state without permission and by having eight positive sweat patch test results07/07/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Daniel P. Mitchell; sentencing memorandum opinion06/22/2006Linda R. Reade
USA v. Mathison -- Order denying applications for return of seized property. Court found proper procedures were followed in administrative forfeiture proceedings, and court lacked jurisdiction to review the merits of those proceedings in the context of this criminal action.06/13/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Kent Raymond Platter; Order denying defendant's motion to dismiss alternate counts pursuant to United States v. Richardson, 439 F.3d 421 (8th Cir. 2006); the court declined to compel the government to elect between multiplicitous counts under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and (3). 06/12/2006Linda R. Reade
USA v. Haberek -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to strike the statutory presumption from 18 USC 228(b), as an unconstitutional violation of his Due Process rights. Court found authorities cited by defendant to be persuasive, and in absence of any resistance by the Government, recommended motion be granted. 06/07/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Steven Bradford; Order granting defendant's motion for specific enforcement of a plea agreement and dismissing the indictment.06/02/2006Linda R. Reade
Laffey v. Burt (Habeas petition by state prisoner; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on the merits of the petition: alleged insufficiency of the evidence of sexual abuse of children under twelve in violation of due process; alleged Eighth Amendment violation asserting disproportionality between the offenses and two consecutive twenty-five year sentences imposed for them)05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Douglas Wayne Nielsen (Resentencing on remand pursuant to a written order; government’s motion to correct sentence by imposing the sentence with the defendant in open court; Court held: (1) Both the government and the defendant expressly waived objections during resentencing hearing; (2) The purposes of Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure were served as defendant, during the resentencing hearing, was afforded the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of any information presented by the government or on which the court might otherwise rely, argue about the reliability and weight such information should be given, and present any mitigating evidence; (3) The government’s motion is denied to impose sentence in open court is denied and the amended judgment shall stand.) 05/04/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Saenz (resentencing on remand pursuant to a written order; government’s motion to “correct sentence” by imposing the sentence with the defendant present in open court: holding that the defendant had waived her presence, if it was required)04/24/2006Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Avise -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Officer stopped vehicle registered to individual whose license was barred. Defendant had recently purchased vehicle and had no registration. Defendant's behavior led officers to believe he was under influence of alcohol or drugs. Officers arrested defendant to perform sobriety testing at police station. Defendant's car and jacket were searched incident to arrest, and drugs and other evidence were found. Search warrant executed at defendant's residence yielded further incriminating evidence. Court found officers had reasonable suspicion defendant was engaged in criminal activity justifying his warrantless arrest; search of vehicle and jacket incident to arrest was proper; and warrant was based on probable cause. 04/18/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Douglas Wayne Nielsen (Resentencing on remand from the circuit for consideration in light of United States v. Booker; Court held: (1) Traditional departure under U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 for overrepresentation of the seriousness of the defendant’s criminal history was warranted; (2) Pursuant to § 4A1.3, the departure is limited to one criminal history category; (3) A non-Guidelines sentence is appropriate after consideration of all the § 3553(a) factors; and (4) The defendant is committed to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for 188 months on Count One of the Indictment, 188 months on Count One of the Information, and 92 months on counts Two through Seven of the Indictment, all to be served concurrently. )04/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. L.M. (a juvenile) Order on government's motion to transfer proceedings04/12/2006Linda R. Reade
Hide details for [</A><Font Color=#FF0000><A HREF="/e-web/decisions.nsf/0/518A878897DB6F2E8625714D00543D8A/$File/USA+v.+McCall.USA v. McCall -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss Count 2 of Indictment as multiplicitous. Defendant was charged in two counts of illegally possessing ammunition, in violation of two separate subsections of 18 USC 922(g), and argued the single incident of possession should be charged in only a single count pursuant to United States v. Richardson, 439 F.3d 421 (8th Cir. 2006). Court agreed, and recommended Government be ordered either to elect between the two counts, or to supersede and include both theories or prosecution in a single count. 04/11/2006Paul A. Zoss
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United States v. Barnett (Motion to withdraw guilty plea to one of four counts after remand for resentencing: Rule 11(e) neither foreclosed the defendant from asserting, nor foreclosed the court from hearing, a motion to withdraw the defendant’s guilty plea on jurisdictional grounds, and the defendant had not waived that motion by failing to assert it either at his original sentencing or on his original appeal; making, receiving, and possessing unregistered short-barreled shotguns, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5845, 5861 and 5871, are not “crimes of violence” within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3), for purposes of a charge of using and carrying a short-barreled and shortened-length firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A), 924(c)(1)(A)(iii) and 924(c)(1)(B)(i)). 04/05/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. L.M. (a juvenile); Order granting in part and denying in part government's motion to permit victims access to information and proceedings03/31/2006Linda R. Reade
United States v. Jesse John Wendelsdorf (Sentencing motion in limine brought by defendant requesting the court to exclude from its sentencing determination certain conduct of which the defendant was acquitted; Court held: (1) Based on the court’s firsthand knowledge and subsequent review of this evidence, the Government failed to prove the acquitted conduct a preponderance of the evidence, and that therefore, it could not be considered as relevant conduct during the defendant’s sentencing hearing; (2) Even if the Government had proved its case by a preponderance of the evidence, the court would exercise its discretionary powers and not consider the acquitted conduct based on the extraordinary facts and unique circumstances surrounding the case; (3) In the event the court is required to consider the acquitted conduct and apply the appropriate upward adjustment, a downward departure in the same amount would be authorized under the circumstances presented in this case, effectively vitiating any net gain to the defendant’s term of incarceration; (4) Therefore, during the defendant’s sentencing, the court will not consider additional evidence with respect to the acquitted charges.)03/24/2006Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Saenz : (resentencing on remand after the circuit court found the original 68% reduction in the defendant’s sentence for “substantial assistance” was “unreasonable” and “excessive”: suggesting that neither prior precedent nor recent data compiled by the United States Sentencing Commission supports labeling a 50 percent reduction for substantial assistance “extraordinary” and suggesting other lessons from the Sentencing Commission’s Special Post-Booker Coding Project Report; finding that the defendant was entitled, on resentencing, to a 68% reduction from a minimum Guidelines sentence of 63 months to 20 months for substantial assistance, based on § 5K1.1 factors fully present)03/23/2006Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Yerkes -- Report and recommendation on motions to suppress evidence. Court found officer's approaching defendant to talk to her in parking lot was lawful; defendant consented to search of her vehicle; and evidence seized from defendant's vehicle, and from search of apartment pursuant to warrant, should not be suppressed. Court further found defendant had invoked her right to remain silent and requested an attorney, and officers' re-initiation of contact to interview defendant violated her Fifth Amendment rights; thus her statements to officers during post-arrest interview should be suppressed.02/07/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Shaun Joseph Ruff; Order re remand from Eighth Circuit regarding restitution and double recovery02/02/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Shaun Joseph Ruff; Order denying defendant's motion for recusal01/25/2006Linda R. Reade
USA v. Williamson -- Order on motion to continue competency hearing. Court discusses interplay between statutes authorizing competency evaluations of criminal defendants in the federal system, and the Speedy Trial Act.01/18/2006Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Easley -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence from two separate searches. First search took place at Omaha, Nebraska, bus station, when officers observed suspicious actions by defendant and companion, neither was able to produce adequate identification, and companion ran from police. Second search took place at Sioux City, Iowa, motel, after officers learned drugs had been sold in motel room and arrested all occupants for frequenting disorderly house. Court found officers had probable cause to detain defendant and conduct pat-down search at bus station, and to detain, arrest, and search defendant at motel.01/09/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Daniel P. Mitchell; Order granting defendant's motion for new trial01/04/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (297 page opinion denying defendant's request for post-trial relief)12/16/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Kevin Patrick O'Connell; Order setting aside magistrate judge's report and recommendation re motion to suppress12/07/2005Linda R. Reade
USA v. Lamere - Report and recommendation that motions to suppress evidence be denied. Officers stopped vehicle in which Defendant was passenger for purpose of arresting vehicle's driver. Drugs were found in vehicle and Defendant was arrested, as well. Rejecting Defendant's contrary argument, court found officers had probable cause to stop vehicle, arrest driver, search vehicle, and arrest Defendant.11/29/2005Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Morris -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence. Defendant arguerd officers lacked probable cause to stop his vehicle and arrest him, and also that his arrest was based on racial profiling. Court recommended motions be denied, finding no evidence to suggest racial profiling and officers had probable cause to stop and arrest defendant.11/17/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Jose De Jesus Ibarra-Castaneda, Luis Armando Varela-Arteaga, Hacienda Las Glorias, Inc., Mexico of Cedar Rapids, Inc., Cuatro, Inc. and Hot Springs, Inc.; Order re defendants' motion for recusal10/31/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Jeremy Ray Hall; Order re defendant's motion to suppress10/13/2005Linda R. Reade
United States of America v. Wendel -- Report and recommendation, recommending denial of motion to suppress evidence from search of defendant's residence. Court found defendant's consent to search was voluntary, and officers did not enter residence until written consent was given by defendant. 10/06/2005Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Johnson and Heidzig -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion to suppress, recommending motion be granted as to pre-Miranda statements, and denied as to post-Miranda statements and also as to cocaine found on defendant Heidzig's person. One key issue was whether officer's statement to defendant Heidzig that he wanted item she was concealing, and his directions to her to remove the item from her pants and place it on the floorboard of his vehicle, constituted questioning for purposes of Miranda. Court found that it did; however, court also found defendant Heidzig was undr de facto arrest at the time, and therefore, was subject to search incident to arrest, which would have led to discovery of drugs in any event.09/22/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Araceli Martinez; Order on defendant's motion to recuse09/07/2005Linda R. Reade
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.08/24/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Scott W. Meiner; Order regarding motion to suppress08/16/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Craig Allen Thomas; Order regarding defendant's motion to suppress08/08/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (206 page ruling denying defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal or in the alternative new trial)07/29/2005Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Keough -- Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained in warrantless search of his residence. Court found Government failed to meet its burden to show defendant's consent to search was voluntary, and recommended motion be granted.07/21/2005Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. King - report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress his confession, recommending motion be denied. Court found defendant was not promised leniency in return for information, and he was not mentally impaired by virtue of being under the influence of drugs at time of confession.07/11/2005Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Aguilar-Barraza -- Report and recommendation on defendants' motions to suppress evidence. Court found pre-Miranda questions about whether defendant was in possession of drugs were intended to elicit incriminating statements and should be suppressed. Court found no constitutional infirmity in search of defendant incident to arrest, search of defendant's vehicle, consent search of defendant's room in family home, search of second defendant's vehicle in parking area across alley from residence, search warrant for family residence, and defendant's post-Miranda statements.06/08/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order on defendant’s motion to exclude hearsay testimony during “penalty phase” on confrontation clause, due process clause, and statutory grounds) 06/06/2005Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Jones -- Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Defendant, who was stopped and then arrested for minor traffic violations, claimed officer lacked probable cause to detain him at scene to await drug dog, to arrest him, and to search his vehicle incident to arrest. Defendant also claimed search warrant application lacked probable cause because it failed to show connection between defendant and place to be searched. Court found officer had probable cause to stop, detain, and arrest defendant; to search vehicle incident to arrest; and for magistrate to find probable cause to issue search warrant.06/01/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s renewed motion to strike death penalty where government is no longer asserting guilt as a “principal”)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to exclude evidence and argument that she acted as a “principal” in the alleged killings)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Hinman, Dose and Weber (Report and recommendation on motions to dismiss Second Superseding Indictment, or to require plaintiff to elect between what defendants claimed to be multiplicitous counts. Defendants raised two double jeopardy arguments against indictment which charged them with violations of 18 USC 1035 and 18 USC 1001. Court rejected both arguments and recommended motions to dismiss be denied. Court also rejected one defendant's claim that indictment failed to charge defendants properly under 18 USC 1516.)04/22/2005Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Nairn (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion pursuant to 28 USC 2255. Defendant sought to withdraw guilty plea to one charge of indictment on basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. Court found counsel was ineffective in failing to recognize, and advise defendant of fact, that plaintiff's Rule 11 letter and court's recitation of elements of one charge were incorrect. Defendant pled guilty to charge of possessing firearms "during and in relation to" a drug crime, when indictment charged him with possessing firearms "in furtherance of" a drug crime. Court recommended defendant be allowed to withdraw guilty plea to that count of the indictment.)04/12/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to charge offenses owing to omission of “substantive connection” between killings and drug conspiracy or CCE)04/11/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); pretrial ruling on the proper degree of case-specific questioning, if any, that is permissible in the course of life- or death-qualifying prospective jurors)03/31/2005Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Summers (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for violation of Sixth Amendment right to speedy trial. Applying Barker v. Wingo, court found approximately one-year delay between indictment and defndant's arrest gave rise to presumption of prejudice; delay was due to plaintiff's negligence; defendant had asserted his right timely; and delay had prejudiced defendant's ability to defend against the charges. Finding all four Barker factors weighed in defendant's favor, court recommended dismissal of indictment.)03/18/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order regarding intention of defendant, who had given notice of intent to rely on mental condition evidence in the "penalty phase," to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to questions about her involvement in the charged murders during mental examinations by government mental health experts) 03/17/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Maurice Wilkins; Court denied defendant's motion to withdraw his guilty plea based on alleged ineffective assistance of counsel 03/17/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling denying defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of identification of remains where defendant has stipulated to identity of remains) 03/10/2005Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Ortiz-Martinez (Report and recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss be denied. Defendant sought dismissal of Indictment for violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 5(a) requirements that he be brought before a magistrate judge "without unreasonable delay." Court found defendant was in state custody until one day before his initial appearance, and defendant failed to show any prejudice from delay in arresting him on federal charges and bringing him to federal court.)03/07/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for return to defendant of privileged documents obtained by the law enforcement officers)03/02/2005Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Lee (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendant's companion had expectation of privacy in motel room and right to consent to search of motel room; officers' forced entry into motel room occupied by defendant was warranted based on outstanding arrest warrant and on exigent circumstances; search of motel room was valid based on companion's consent to search. Court recommended defendant's motion to suppress be denied.)02/23/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on second round of pretrial motions)02/18/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Eddie Denton; In a case involving an individual who injured his head after committing the crime but before being indicted, the court found, based on medical evidence, trial counsel's testimony, the defendant's childrens' affidavits, and the court's own recollection of the defendant's trial testimony and demeanor, the defendant received due process and was competent to stand trial and to assist in his defense. 02/16/2005Linda R. Reade
USA v. Dose, et al. (Report and recommendation on numerous motions challenging sufficiency of Superseding Indictment. In light of 1/12/05 Supreme Court decision in Booker and Fanfan, court recommended defendants' motions to strike "Notice of Additional Relevant Facts" from indictment be granted (withdrawing prior R&R to the contrary). Court recommended denying motions to dismiss indictment or require Government to elect between charging defendants under 18 USC 1001 and 18 USC 1035 on basis of double jeopardy; court found Congress intended that conduct may be punishable under both sections. Court recommended striking fraud allegations for lack of specificity, but otherwise recommended denying motion to dismiss for failure to state an offense. Court recommended denying motion to suppress and in limine to prevent introduction of evidence derived from interview between corporation's attorney and defendant Hinman; court found no attorney-client privilege existed between attorney and defendant.)01/12/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on first round of pretrial motions)01/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Piedra (Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained in stop and search of vehicle he was driving. Court found 1. defendant had standing to challenge search of vehicle he was driving with owner's permission; 2. defendant did not commit traffic violation that would provide probable cause for stop of vehicle; but 3. officers had reasonable suspicion that vehicle was involved in criminal activity, and therefore stop of vehicle was valid; and 4. officers were permitted to search passenger compartment of vehicle incident to defendant's arrest for driving without a license. Court recommended motion be denied.)12/15/2004Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s request for “residual doubt” instruction in “penalty phase”)09/01/2004Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Felix Aguin-Guerra (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress un-Mirandized statements he made to USICE agents. Agents interviewed defendant at jail after his arrest on traffic charges. Court found agents' questioning, without advising defendant of his rights, violated Miranda, and did not fall within "routine booking exception." Court recommended suppression of defendant's statements regarding his citizenship and immigration status.)08/20/2004Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the government’s motion to have the defendant wear shackles at trial)07/21/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the parties’ second round of pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence) 07/16/2004Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Kunkel (Report and recommendation on motion to suppress evidence obtained during cursory search of premises incident to defendant's arrest. Court found an evidentiary hearing was not warranted because it was clear suppression was improper as a matter of law. Court held officers performed a proper protective sweep of premises incident to defendant's arrest, and recommended the motion be denied.)07/15/2004Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on government’s pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence)06/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying motion to reconsider order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)05/14/2004Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Barnett (Report and Recommendation on motions filed by defendant charged with violations of federal firearms laws (including charge under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)), seeking dismissal of Superseding Indictment on grounds of (1) lack of specificity, (2) unconstitutional vagueness, (3) selective or vindictive prosecution. Issues discussed include whether indictment must state defendant had knowledge of specific characteristics of sawed-off shotgun that make it a "destructive device," possession of sawed-off shotgun as "crime of violence" for purposes of sction 924(c) offense; scienter requirement for section 5861 violations; elements of offence under section 922(g)(3), and constitutionality of that section; elements of prima facie case of selective prosecution; and showing necessary to obtain discovery on issue of selective prosecution.)04/09/2004Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Darrian Jordan and Mendoor Smith (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence. Court found defendants failed to make substantial preliminary showing necessary to obtain a Franks hearing, and in any event, probable cause existed to issue search warrant. Court also found defendant Jordan ws searched incident to arrest, not pursuant to warrant. Recommends motions and request for evidentiary hearing be denied.)03/16/2004Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Johnson (Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress evidence, filed by defendant Brion Dodd Johnson. Court found defendant failed to make substantial preliminary showing necessary to obtain a Franks hearing, and recommended defendant's motion and request for hearing be denied.)03/16/2004Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. Vaudt (R&R on defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during execution of state search warrant. Court found warrant application contained sufficient facts to support magistrate's finding of probable cause, and in any event, even if warrant was not supported by probable cause, officers relied on warrant reasonably and in good faith, applying United States v. Leon.)02/19/2004Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)01/29/2004Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Betterton (Prosecution for possessing methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, order regarding report and recommendation concerning defendant’s motion to suppress evidence; analysis of whether the car defendant was driving was lawfully impounded pursuant to police department policy and review of whether police officers conducted a lawful inventory search of the car. )01/20/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Billy Gene Howard; motion for judgment of acquittal and for new trial (case charging defendant with being a felon in possession of a firearm, knowingly possessing stolen firearms, and being an unlawful user of methamphetamine in possession of firearms, defendant alleged the evidence connecting him with a burglary in which firearms were stolen was insufficient to support the inference he stole the firearms and the evidence indicated defendant's brother was responsible for the guns being in defendant’s van; jury convicted on all 3 counts; court accepted verdict and denied motions for new trial and acquittal)01/07/2004Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken(death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order closing hearing on government’s motion for anonymous jury)01/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Elmer Taylor (Criminal prosecution for robbery affecting commerce, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, order regarding report and recommendation concerning defendant’s motion to suppress evidence; analysis of whether defendant entered into a plea agreement knowingly and intelligently, whether deputy could lawfully stopped vehicle for failing to signal a turn, and whether defendant made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of his right to remain silent.)01/06/2004Mark W. Bennett
United States v. Yahnke (Prosecution for “maintaining a drug establishment” in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856; sentencing upon plea of guilty: upward departure pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 4A1.3 on the ground that the defendant’s criminal history category did not adequately reflect either “the seriousness of the defendant’s past criminal conduct or the likelihood that the defendant will commit other crimes,” in light of the defendant’s prior conviction for second-degree murder, parole violations not resulting in criminal charges or convictions, and other uncharged criminal conduct to which the defendant admitted)12/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Ameling & Brown (Motion to suppress evidence obtained during search of motor vehicle; analysis of whether law enforcement officers had reasonable suspicion that defendants were involved in criminal activity, and thus could conduct investigatory stop of defendants’ vehicle, where officers were told that defendants had each purchased two boxes of pseudoephedrine, known to be a methamphetamine precursor, that defendants did not leave the store together and reunited in the vehicle, that defendants traveled to another store and purchased a battery, which officer believed to be another methamphetamine precursor-- ruling overturned by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)12/23/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Leppert; motion to suppress evidence seized from his residence pursuant to search warrant; officers received information from previously-untested informant who told them Leppert had sold him methamphetamine at Leppert's residence that day and he had previously seen Leppert sell one-half gram of methamphetamine for a shotgun; reliable CI had told officers approximately one week prior to the search that he knew Leppert was "staying" at the residence and he corroborated other informant's testimony about the shotgun exchange; analysis of whether (1) search warrant for residence was supported by probable cause that Leppert was residing at the house searched and evidence of a crime would be found at the house; (2) officers nonetheless acted reasonably under the Leon good faith exception in relying on the warrant 12/03/2003Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for hearing and briefing on government’s motion for anonymous jury, including whether the hearing should be closed and the appropriate degree of “anonymity” for the jury)11/26/2003Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Betterton (R&R on defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during inventory search after vehicle was impounded. Defendant was stopped for equipment violation (cracked windshield). He was arrested when officer learned he was driving under suspension. No one else was present to move the vehicle from the roadway, and it was stopped in a "no parking" zone, creating a traffic hazard. Inventory search was performed following the impoundment, pursuant to departmental policy. Court recommended motion to suppress be denied, finding impoundment and subsequent inventory search were lawful, and nothing that in any event, officers could have searched the vehicle incident to Defendant's arrest.)11/24/2003Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Altedias Campbell; Order on motion for new trial11/19/2003Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Curtis Swayze; Order on motion for new trial11/18/2003Linda R. Reade
United States of America v. Elmer Taylor (R&R recommending denial of majority of motion to suppress evidence in criminal case. Defendant claimed he was not competent to understand and enter into a plea agreement, and factual stipulations in the plea agreement should not be admissible against him at trial. He also sought to suppress evidence arising from a stop and subsequent search of a vehicle, and statements he made on the night of his arrest. Court discussed requiements for voluntary, knowing, and competent waiver by a defendant of the plea-statement protections provided by Fed. R. Evid. 410.)10/22/2003Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Thongmy Thammavong (28 U.S.C. §2255; claim of ineffective assistance of counsel based on explanation of plea and INS hold; failure to seek safety valve; failure to request continuation of sentencing hearing to pursue safety valve; interpreters performance during proceedings; §2255 denied; certificate of appealability granted as to safety valve issue)09/04/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss capital counts on former jeopardy grounds)07/21/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to reconsider denial of motion to dismiss non-capital offenses on statute of limitations grounds)07/11/2003Mark W. Bennett
United States. v. Nieman (Criminal prosecution for bank fraud and embezzlement; defendant’s motions to dismiss a superseding indictment for pre-indictment delay and failure to state offenses: application of the "prejudice" and "intentional delay" standard to a claim of pre-indictment delay; sufficiency of the charges in terms of allegation of the essential elements of the offense, including allegation of "intent to defraud" in bank fraud count and conduct constituting "embezzlement" or "misapplication" in embezzlement counts, and the defendant’s ability to prepare a defense or to plead acquittal or conviction as a bar to subsequent prosecution) 05/30/2003Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Saucillo (R&R recommending denial of defendant's motion to suppress in drug distribution case. Defendant threw drugs out of second-story window onto ground in rear of multi-family dwelling. Curtilage was unfenced and totally open to public access. Court found defendant consented to search of apartment, and he had no legitimate expectation of privacy in curtilage of multi-family dwelling.)05/13/2003Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Jesse Hephner and Shannon Kramarczyk; motion to suppress; (Order regarding report and recommendation concerning motion to suppress; probable cause supported initial stop; moving of truck prior to search was reasonable; search did not exceed scope of defendant’s consent; length of stop was not longer than necessary to effectuate purpose of stop; drug dog’s positive indication during sniff provided probable cause for search of truck and toolbox; defendant was not in custody when he made statements prior to being given Miranda warnings; and statement made after invocation of right to counsel was inadmissible.) 05/08/2003Linda R. Reade
United States of America v. Hessman (Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. Officer faxed unsigned, unsworn search warrant application and affidavit to State magistrate at out-of-town hotel. Magistrate signed warrant and faxed it back to officer. Officer was sworn and signed application and affidavit next morning, after search was concluded and defendant had been arrested. Court found search warrant based on unsigned, unsworn application and affidavit was invalid under Fourth Amendment. Court also found Leon good faith exception did not apply, and recommended defendant's post-arrest statements be suppressed under Wong Sun exclusionary rule.)04/14/2003Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Nguyen (§ 2255 motion, ineffective assistance of counsel; claims his counsel failed to investigate and raise the fact that there can be no indictable conspiracy involving only the defendant and government agents and informers; claims his counsel failed to raise an entrapment defense at trial.)04/03/2003Mark W. Bennett
United States of America v. Jay Del Drahota (R&R on several pretrial motions in this drug conspiracy case. Of particular interest is defendant's claim that State authorities promised him immunity if he cooperated with law enforcement in connection with the prosecution of another individual. Although finding the State's grant of immunity could not bind federal authorities, the court nevertheless found defendant's confession was involuntary, and recommended Kastigar hearing to determine whether untainted evidence exists to support the indictment. Other issues discussed include standards for wavier of right to counsel by defendant appearing pro se; waiver of Miranda rights; standards for dismissal based on pre-indictment delay.)03/20/2003Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Ketzeback (R&R recommending defendant's motion to suppress be granted due to officers' reckless or intentional omission from search warrant application of information impacting informant's credibility. Issues: requirements for Franks hearing; reliance on confidential or anonymous informants; Leon analysis)02/10/2003Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Wade Wilson; motion to suppress evidence seized during traffic stop; officers followed defendant’s vehicle after he stopped briefly at an apartment building where officers were about to execute a search warrant; officers initially pulled over defendant’s vehicle because valid registration not displayed; officers saw proper registration tag as they approached the vehicle; analysis of whether: (1) search warrant authorizing the search of “all vehicles registered to anyone known to reside at [an apartment]" of a multi-unit building is unconstitutional; (2) probable cause dissipated once officer saw registration tag; (3) leaving multi-unit apartment building where one apartment unit is a suspected crack house, with no other suspicious circumstances, constitutes reasonable suspicion; (4) consent removed taint of unlawful detention 02/07/2003Linda R. Reade
United States v. Mansker (Renewed motion for sanctions and post-trial motion for judgment of acquittal and post-trial motion for new trial. Defendant convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; government failed to turn over exculpatory materials and court excluded three witnesses at trial as a sanction; on renewed motion, court affirmed its ruling that government committed a Brady and discovery rule violation, but declined defendant’s request for dismissal with prejudice as sanction, finding that exclusion of witnesses was adequate sanction; denial of motion for judgment of acquittal because testimony of government’s cooperating witnesses sufficient to convict, especially in conjunction with defendant’s own testimony, in which he testified to sharing methamphetamine with friends; and denial of motion for new trial, finding that case presented close call because sole evidence against defendant government presented was testimony of government’s 6 cooperating witnesses.)01/20/2003Mark W. Bennett
Hide details for EMP - Employment LawEMP - Employment Law
Goodman v. Performance Contractors, Inc.(The plaintiff brought a defamation claim against a former co-worker for statements made only to their former employer; co-worker’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the ground that there was no “publication” of the allegedly defamatory statements: The question of whether a statement of a co-worker only to the employer is “published” for purposes of a defamation claim is either settled against the co-worker by a decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals or, at the very least, remains an unsettled question of Iowa law, because the Iowa Supreme Court has not addressed it, so that the co-worker was not entitled to dismissal for failure to assert a cognizable claim of defamation based on lack of publication; the plaintiff alleged defamation per se, so that he was not required to prove, or to plead a plausible factual basis for, damages, falsity, and malice.) 04/11/2018Mark W. Bennett
Opheim v. Standard Insurance Co. (Opinion on the merits in ERISA case involving claim by decedent’s husband for denial of life insurance benefits and the insurer’s third-party claim for a constructive trust against the decedent’s father to whom the insurer had paid the disputed benefits, if the court determined that the payment to the father was erroneous: The insurer’s denial of benefits to the decedent’s husband was an abuse of discretion and contrary to the “plan documents rule,” where the insurer paid the husband the benefits, demanded them back, then paid them to the decedent’s father, then refused to pay them to the husband pursuant to a later-discovered designation naming the husband as the beneficiary, which had been properly submitted to the decedent’s employer, but was not found in the insurer’s file; the insurer’s claim for a constructive trust was not a claim for equitable relief authorized by ERISA, because it did not seek a constructive trust over particular funds in the father’s possession, just the legal relief of recovery of funds from the father personally or his general assets)01/09/2018Mark W. Bennett
Roeder v. DIRECTV, et al. -- Memorandum opinion and order on cross motions for summary judgment. Court concluded there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether plaintiffs were independent contractors or employees of DIRECTV subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA. Court also found that neither side had established they were entitled to judgment on application or non-application of the 7(i) exemption of the FLSA.01/13/2017Leonard T. Strand
Lequita Ennard v Transamerica Corporation10/28/2016Edward J McManus
Grim v. Centrum Valley Farms, LLP (Action by laborer for egg producer alleging, inter alia, constructive discharge in violation of Iowa public policy, in retaliation for his claim for workers compensation benefits, by his employer’s failure to accommodate his work restrictions, and by his employer’s failure to pay overtime wages as required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); defendant’s motion to dismiss the constructive discharge claims: whether failure to accommodate will support a claim of constructive discharge in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim; whether a retaliation/constructive discharge claim can be based on nothing more a statutory violation of failure to pay overtime wages)03/18/2016Mark W. Bennett
Newkirk v. GKN Armstrong Wheels, Inc. & John Does (Employment case, motion for partial summary judgment concerning civil rights violations Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and pendent state law claims for breach of contract, wrongful termination, defamation, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 concerning whether plaintiff sufficiently pled claim for civil rights violation under VII for reverse race discrimination; and analyzing whether plaintiff’s pendent state law claims fail as a matter of law.) 03/09/2016Mark W. Bennett
Christensen v. Cargill, Inc. & Mark Struve (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer and co-employee alleging she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendants’ motion for partial dismissal to dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether claims that arose four years before the filing of an administrative charge are timely; whether the "harassment" employee suffered was based on her gender; whether plaintiff adequately plead facts showing that she suffered an adverse employment action for which her employee defendant was responsible; and, whether plaintiff adequately pleaded that employee defendant knew about her protected activity.)09/30/2015Mark W. Bennett
Platts v. Kelly Services, Inc. (Action by employee of temporary employment service and “client” for whom the employee worked alleging disability discrimination under ICRA: defendants’ motions for summary judgment and to strike errata from plaintiff’s deposition: whether the plaintiff’s “errata” were unauthorized or permissible substantive changes to deposition testimony under Rule 30(e); whether the plaintiff’s “public policy” claim was preempted by the ICRA; whether the “client” of the temporary employment service could be held liable for alleged disability discrimination; and whether the plaintiff had generated genuine issues of material fact on his ICRA disability discrimination claim) 05/26/2015Mark W. Bennett
Whitney v. Franklin General Hospital, et a (Action by medical records clerk arising from sexual harassment by the medical director of a hospital, including sexual harassment, retaliation, disability, and FMLA claims: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: timeliness of the sexual harassment claims, sufficiency of the evidence of violations of the ICRA, Title VII, the ADA, and the FMLA, whether two entities providing management services to the hospital could be held liable where they were not the plaintiff’s employer, and individual liability of the chief executive officer of the hospital; plaintiff’s motion to amend her complaint to add “whistleblower” and “discharge in violation of public policy” claims: timeliness and diligence of the plaintiff in seeking leave to amend)l 04/21/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; ruling on unsealing the ruling on the parties’ motions in limine.)04/06/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; parties’ motions in limine, redacted public version.)03/17/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; defendant city’s motion for summary judgment: application of Morgan to an alleged “continuing violation” retaliation claim, availability of a “retaliatory hostile work environment” claim, and existence of a jury question on timely incidents of alleged retaliation; defendant city’s motion to exclude testimony from two experts: damages expert’s calculations of damages based on untimely incidents of alleged retaliation and non-treating psychologist’s opinions that the plaintiff’s behavior was consistent with that of sexual harassment victims and that it was “reasonable” “[f]rom a psychological perspective,” and that the city’s anti-harassment policy, procedures, and investigations were deficient for various reasons, where no “sexual harassment” claim was asserted) 12/22/2014Mark W. Bennett
Pick v. City of Remsen (former long-time operations director of the utilities department of a city brought numerous claims against the city and various city officials arising from or related to his termination when his position was ostensibly “eliminated” by the city’s utilities board; former employee’s motion in limine: exclusion of evidence of IPERS benefits on the condition that the former employee excluded from any claim for back pay any unpaid contributions to IPERS that the city had not paid since his discharge; the city’s motion in limine: evidence of settlement discussions, evidence of liability insurance, evidence of a “tire-slashing” incident, testimony from law enforcement officers, evidence supporting “due process” claims no longer at issue, and evidence that there was no “going away” party for the former employee)09/02/2014Mark W. Bennett
Pick v. City of Remsen, et al. (Employment discrimination case, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether defendants’ alleged statements constituted defamation; analyzing whether defendants violated plaintiff’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by searching plaintiff’s public office for a trail camera and then seizing that trail camera without a search warrant; review of whether plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claims were preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act to the extent plaintiff relies on the same discriminatory acts alleged in support of his claims of unlawful discrimination under that act; determination of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants’ stated reason for eliminating his position was pretextual so as to preclude summary judgment on plaintiff’s Pick’s disability discrimination claim; analysis of whether plaintiff had established a prima facie case of age discrimination; granting summary judgment on plaintiff’s withdrawn claim of gender discrimination; and determining whether plaintiff could establish the causation element of his disability retaliation and First Amendment retaliation claims.) 08/27/2014Mark W. Bennett
Nick Harvey, et al. v. AB Electrolux, et al. (Employment law, motions for partial summary judgment; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate them for the time to don personal protective equipment (“PPE”), walking to their work stations after donning PPE and the time spent washing PPE violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FSLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 203(o) and the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law (“IWPCL”), Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning of workers’ PPE is “changing clothes” under the FLSA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for time spent walking to their work stations after donning their PPE is compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 254; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for the time they spent washing their gloves and arm guards at home is compensable under the FSLA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims were viable under the IWPCL.) 03/28/2014Mark W. Bennett
Whitney v. Franklin General Hospital, et al. (Action by medical records clerk arising from sexual harassment by the medical director; defendants’ motion to dismiss state and federal discrimination claims for lack of administrative exhaustion against unnamed, but purportedly related entities; sufficiency of the pleading of FMLA claims of “interference/entitlement,” “retaliation,” and “discrimination”)02/03/2014Mark W. Bennett
Bonnie & Lyle Cole as next friends of P.C., a minor v. Trinity Health Corporation (ERISA case, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether defendant employer’s failure to give former plaintiff employee timely notice of her COBRA right to elect continued health insurance as required by 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a)(4) warranted a statutory penalty for its notice violation where plaintiff’s alleged damages were of considerably less value than the free health care insurance coverage she received over an extended period as a result of the notice mistake.)01/21/2014Mark W. Bennett
International Bortherhood of Electrical Workers, et al v. Pottebams Service Electric, LLC, et al (Action involving claims for unpaid ERISA contributions and damages and unpaid union wages pursuant to the LMRA, based on successor or alter ego liability; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment: genuine issues of material fact on successor or alter ego liability) 11/06/2013Mark W. Bennett
Robertson v. Siouxland Community Health Center & Michelle Stephan (Action by female former human resources director for a medical practice alleging that the medical practice and its female chief executive officer discriminated and harassed her because of her sex and/or her sexual orientation, retaliated against her for complaining about a sexually hostile work environment, and discriminated against her because of her age in violation of federal and state law: defendants’ motion to dismiss: lack of Title VII protection for sexual orientation; failure to exhaust administrative remedies for claims based on sex; failure to state a claim of harassment based on sex, rather than based exclusively on sexual orientation; and failure to state a retaliation claim where the plaintiff failed to state a claim of sex harassment)04/10/2013Mark W. Bennett
Gilster v. Primebank & Joseph Strub (Considering parties’ post-trial motions following jury verdict in favor of plaintiff on sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII and Iowa Civil Rights Act: defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law, new trial, or remittitur; plaintiff’s motion for front pay and equitable relief; plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and costs)08/14/2012Mark W. Bennett
Todd Johnson v. Dollar General, et al (Action by former employee of retail store chain asserting state-law claims of retaliation for processing workers compensation claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress and a federal claim of violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2612–2615, arising from the termination of his employment, and a claim pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, to recover a quarterly bonus allegedly due him at the time his employment ended; defendants’ for summary judgment: FMLA “interference” and “retaliation” claims; individual liability for workers compensation retaliation and viability of the claim; and legality of eligibility requirements for quarterly bonuses under the IWPCL)07/30/2012Mark W. Bennett
Jackson v. Green -- Order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleged his employment was terminated unlawfully on the basis of his race and in retaliation for his complaints. The court held that the summary judgment record contained no evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact with regard to either claim. Plaintiff failed to show the defendants' proferred non-discriminatory reason for termination was false or that his termination was motivated by discrimination or retaliation.06/26/2012Leonard T. Strand
Garvin & Murphy v. Siouxland Mental Health Services, Inc., et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employees against former employer alleging they were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendants’ motions for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether claims that arose four years before the filing of an administrative charge are timely; whether the "harassment" employees suffered was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable; the applicability of Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense; and, whether plaintiffs’ suffered material adverse employment actions after their complaint of harassment sufficient to sustain their retaliation claims.) 05/18/2012Mark W. Bennett
DeWalle v. Clarion- Goldfield Community School (Employment; former teacher’s aide’s action for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff’s claims under both Title VII and the ICRA are time barred; analysis of whether defendant’s decision not to renew her contract was motivated by racial discriminationDistrict)04/25/2012Mark W. Bennett
The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al. v. Inlay (Action by insurance company against former agent seeking FINRA arbitration action to address claims of breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriate of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantages, and conversion; insurance company’s motion to confirm arbitration award: standards for confirmation of an arbitration award pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 9)04/11/2012Mark W. Bennett
Harvey, et al v. AB Electrolux, et al. (putative collective action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and a putative class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, alleging failure to pay hourly, non-exempt “production employees” or employees in “other similarly titled positions” at the defendants’ now-closed plant for time or overtime for donning protective equipment and preparing for work before their shifts began and for time spent and expenses for cleaning and maintaining some of their safety equipment outside of the work place; plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification of collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), requiring defendant to provide contact information for putative collective action members, and approving notice to the putative collective action plaintiffs: standards for conditional certification of a collective action pursuant to § 216(b); appropriateness of ordering the defendant employer to produce telephone numbers of putative collective action members) 03/09/2012Mark W. Bennett
Campbell v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Corrections, et al. (Employment; former state agency employee’s action for sex and age discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, as well as claims of retaliation in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code § 70A.28(2), and Iowa public policy; defendants’ motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated genuine issues of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age and sex discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis; discussion of whether plaintiff was speaking as a citizen when she voiced her concerns about victim safety, so her speech was protected by the First Amendment; and, examination of whether state employee was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages on plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim.)11/22/2011Mark W. Bennett
Truckenmiller v. Burgess Health Center & Francis Tramp (action by a human resources director purportedly terminated for poor performance after voicing concerns about differences in titles and pay between male and female members of the senior leadership team at the defendant hospital; motion for summary judgment by the defendant hospital and the defendant CEO: whether the plaintiff’s comments satisfied the “complaint” requirements for protection from retaliation under the Equal Pay Act provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), as recently clarified in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011), whether there was sufficient evidence to generate a genuine issues of material fact on a “causal connection” between the comments and the plaintiff’s discharge two days later and on whether the defendants’ proffered legitimate reason for the discharge, poor performance, was a pretext for retaliation; whether the plaintiff’s claim of wrongful discharge in violation of the Iowa public policy against unequal pay on the basis of sex articulated in Iowa Code § 216.6 was preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA))09/30/2011Mark W. Bennett
EEOC v. Asia Pacific Hotels, Inc. (action by EEOC against hotel owner and operator and hotel holding company on behalf of a singer in a Filipino rock band for sexual harassment: defendants’ motion for summary judgment on applicability of the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense)08/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
Guinan, et al v. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (Employment law, motion for summary judgment and motion to strike; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate donning and doffing time violates the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law, Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning and doffing workers’ personal protective equipment is “changing clothes” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(o), the statute plaintiffs rely upon to establish a violation of the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law. )07/25/2011Mark W. Bennett
State of Arizona Dep't of Law, Civil Rights Division & Angela Aguilar v. ASARCO, LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; defendant’s post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, challenging submissibility of the sexual harassment claim and punitive damages and the amount of the punitive damages award as unconstitutionally excessive; defendant’s alternative motion for new trial, challenging the court’s answer to a question from the jury as misleading and the court’s admission of “me too” evidence; the plaintiffs’ post-trial motion for equitable and injunctive relief to compel the defendant to create or modify and implement an adequate policy against sexual harassment and to require certain training of managers, supervisors, and other employees, concerning sexual harassment)07/13/2011Mark W. Bennett
Jones, et al v. Dolgencorp, Inc. & Dollar General Partners (In a collective action by fourteen plaintiffs, the defendants, Dolgencorp, Inc. and Dollar General Partners, filed a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgment, solely against plaintiff Pamm Joyner-Azbill. Plaintiff claims defendants have a uniform policy and practice of consistently requiring managerial staff to work overtime without compensation, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiff also claims the vast majority of work hours are spent performing non-managerial job duties. The court denied the defendants’ Motion to Strike, because the motion was improper under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Furthermore, the court denied the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, because a reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff’s primary duty was manual labor. )06/08/2011Mark W. Bennett
Strom v. Holiday Companies, et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging sex discrimination under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendant’s motion for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether the "harassment" employee suffered was because of employee’s sex; whether the "harassment" in question was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable, and whether a reasonable person would find the working conditions at issue so intolerable that she was compelled to remain away from work while awaiting the results of the investigation)06/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. (action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: determination of whether any issues remain to be resolved after remand from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals: whether the court must now decide questions that it did not address in its original decision on the merits, which are whether the Schedule of Benefits is a summary plan description (SPD) or “faulty” SPD, which turn on the question of whether the terms of the purported SPD or “faulty” SPD conflict with the terms of the plan, as construed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)06/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
Magnussen v. Casey's Marketing Company & Van Seggern (convenience store manager’s claims of disparate treatment disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation pursuant to the ADA (pre-ADAAA) and ICRA; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether the plaintiff was “actually disabled,” “regarded as disabled,” or “had a record of disability,” rather than a temporary limitation, because of a “flare up” of a back condition; whether, if “disabled,” she was “qualified” for her position based on standing restrictions; whether the plaintiff was terminated from her position for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons rather than for leaving shift vacancies uncovered; and whether, if “actually disabled,” the employer failed to accommodate that disability and whether the employer or the plaintiff is responsible for the breakdown of the “interactive process” to determine reasonable accommodation)05/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
State of Arizona & Aguilar v. ASARCO LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; the individual plaintiff’s motion in limine: whether the defendant’s psychiatric expert exceeded the scope of a permissible examination of the plaintiff, the admissibility of the expert’s testimony and report, and the admissibility of evidence of the plaintiff’s prior employment; the defendant’s motion in limine: admissibility of evidence of harassment of the alleged harasser, harassment of the plaintiff by another employee, photographs of allegedly pornographic graffiti, and the administrative agency’s “probable cause” determination)03/22/2011Mark W. Bennett
Johnson v. Dollar General, et al. (The plaintiff, Todd Johnson, filed an Amended Complaint against defendants, Dollar General, Dolgencorp, L.L.C., and Michael Williams. Johnson alleged that the defendants terminated his employment in retaliation for him missing work because of an illness and therefore in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. The court held that Johnson’s claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.)02/15/2011Mark W. Bennett
Moore v. Lehigh Cement Company (longtime employee with epilepsy sued former employer for disability discrimination under the ADA and ICRA; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: whether the ADA or the ADAAA applied to the plaintiff’s claims; whether the plaintiff was actually disabled or perceived to be disabled based on limitations on the number of hours he could work per week or a combination of limitations; whether the plaintiff’s retaliation claim could proceed in light of the protracted time between protected activity and adverse action, his supervisor’s lack of knowledge of the plaintiff’s prior discrimination charge at the time of adverse action, but human resources manager’s knowledge of the prior charge, and employer’s assertion that the plaintiff was fired for a plant rules violation)02/04/2011Mark W. Bennett
Hussaini v. Gelita USA, Inc. 9Labor/Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging Iowa common law claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, promissory estoppel, and fraudulent misrepresentation; analysis of whether plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.11/04/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dollar v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc., et al (Employment discrimination, suit by employee against former employer alleging violates the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, cross-motions for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish that she suffered from a serious health condition; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish she provided employer with notice and her need for FMLA leave, and, examination of whether plaintiff suffered any damages recoverable under the FMLA as a result of her employer’s firing her.)09/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
Hauth v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America (ERISA, judicial review of the denial of a claim for life insurance benefits under a group life insurance policy, analysis of whether insurer’s decision to deny life insurance benefits was reasonable, that is, supported by substantial evidence.)08/10/2010Mark W. Bennett
Hoskins v. Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan (Plaintiff Dean Hoskins appealed Defendant Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan’s denial of disability retirement benefits, and Hoskins requested the assessment of a penalty for Snap-On’s failure to provide Plan documents; the court held that Snap-On’s decision not to award disability benefits was not supported by substantial evidence and ordered Snap-On to award Hoskins disability benefits; the court also assessed Snap-On a penalty for failing to timely produce Plan documents.)07/20/2010Mark W. Bennett
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc.(action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: whether the plaintiffs are responsible for any more than $8,000 of the medical expenses in question, as that is the amount identified in the plan as the annual “out-of-pocket maximum” for an individual for treatment from “non-participating providers,” where the insurance company declined to pay medical expenses totaling almost three times that amount, on the ground that various costs do not “apply” to the “out-of-pocket maximum”)03/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
Johnson v. Fed Ex Corporation (Motion for Summary Judgment; the plaintiff sues her employer for sex discrimination and retaliation (plaintiff did not resist the defendant’s motion as to the retaliation claims) under Title VII and the ICRA; the plaintiff claims that she was treated differently than an allegedly similarly situated co-worker when she was terminated, and later reinstated without full back pay, while the co-worker was not disciplined; both plaintiff and co-worker had used company materials for personal use without obtaining prior permission to do so; the defendant claimed, in its motion, that the plaintiff and the co-worker were not similarly situated for various reasons, including due to the co-worker’s alleged self-reporting of his use of materials and offer to reimburse the company for the materials he used; the court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether the parties were similarly situated)01/26/2010Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. Hall (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency’s director in his official, defendant’s motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated a genuine issue of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis.)01/25/2010Mark W. Bennett
Lois K. Myers v. Croell Redi-Mix, Inc.; court granted defendant's summary judgment motion as to plaintiff's Title VII sex discrimination claims of termination, retaliation, disparate treatment and hostile work environment12/04/2009Linda R. Reade
Schott v. Care Initiatives (Former employee’s age discrimination claim pursuant to the ADEA and Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: court addressed a question ante concerning the governing law, concluding that the “but for” causation standard for ADEA claims established in Gross v. FBL, 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009), does not apply to ICRA claims, in light of reiteration of “motivating factor” causation standard in Deboom v. Raining Rose, Inc., 772 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2009))10/15/2009Mark W. Bennett
Schmitz v. Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of plaintiffs claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for whether defendant was acting under color of state law when it terminated plaintiff’s employment, examination of whether defendant was a political subdivision of the State of Iowa as required under Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code §70A.29, and determination of whether court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining Iowa common law claim and dismiss it.)09/22/2009Mark W. Bennett
Roberts et al. v. USCC Payroll Corporation & Stephanie Hood (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could establish a prima facie case of age discrimination, examination of whether plaintiffs generated a genuine issue of material fact that the reason defendants proffered for terminating them was pretextual, specifically whether they could make out the necessary showings that they were treated differently than similarly situated younger employees where they were fired after an investigation revealed that plaintiffs had violated a company policy that prohibited employees from working on the accounts of friends and family members; and determination of whether the granting of summary judgment constituted an unconstitutional violation of the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. )07/17/2009Mark W. Bennett
Settell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.: (claimant’s action against insurer and claim administrator for judicial review of denial of long-term disability benefits under ERISA plan: decision on the merits: claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) alleging improper denial of benefits, in light of opinions of treating physicians and the insurer’s consulting physicians; claim for imposition of a penalty pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) for failure to provide plan documents, including propriety of such a penalty against an insurer that was not the plan administrator)07/14/2009Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, et al. (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency and the agency’s director, in his official capacity: defendants’ motion to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity grounds: whether the ADEA abrogates Eleventh Amendment immunity; whether the state agency waived Eleventh Amendment immunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1), by accepting federal funding; whether a state official, sued in his or her official capacity, has Eleventh Amendment immunity to a claim for prospective injunctive relief from violations of the ADEA; whether the plaintiff’s claim for prospective injunctive relief against the state official is adequately pleaded)07/02/2009Mark W. Bennett
Beekman v. Nestle Purina Petcare Company (Motion for Summary Judgment; plaintiff sues former employer, alleging that the employer interfered with her ability to take Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave on several occasions, retaliated against her for exercising her rights under the FMLA when it terminated her, and wrongfully discharged her in violation of the public policy set out in Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws, Iowa Code Chapter 85; employer’s motion for summary judgment: seeks dismissal of FMLA interference claims occurring outside of two year statute of limitations typically applicable to FMLA violations; disputes whether plaintiff 1) was entitled to FMLA leave on the dates in question, 2) had provided the Company with adequate and timely notice of her need for FMLA leave, and 3) had followed the Company’s call-in procedures; concerning both the FMLA retaliation and common law wrongful discharge claims, the Company alleges that Beekman cannot demonstrate a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination; the Company also alleges, in respect to both claims, that Beekman cannot prove that its articulated reason for the discharge was pretextual; the Company claims that Beekman was not an at-will employee, because of her union membership and the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the Company, and therefore is not entitled to the protections of the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine)06/25/2009Mark W. Bennett
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court dismissed certain claims of an intervenor and EEOC because intervenor and alleged aggrieved individuals failed to disclose sex discrimination claims in their bankruptcy proceedings05/13/2009Linda R. Reade
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court held EEOC was not immune from the statute of limitations set forth in 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-5, but EEOC was not barred from seeking relief on behalf of allegedly aggrieved person who timely filed her own Title VII lawsuit only to dismiss it without prejudice upon learning of EEOC's enforcement action 05/11/2009Linda R. Reade
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; order granting defendant's summary judgment motion as to plaintiff's claim of a pattern or practice of sexual harassment04/30/2009Linda R. Reade
Tokheim v. Georgia-Pacific Gypsum. LLC (Employment discrimination action; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: issue of whether plaintiff’s claims were barred under the doctrine of judicial estoppel for her failure to disclose her claims against defendant to the bankruptcy court at any time during the pendency of her prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding in that court even though she was under an affirmative duty to do so; analysis of three factors governing whether to apply the doctrine in case: (1) whether plaintiff’s position in this court was “clearly inconsistent” with her earlier position in bankruptcy court; (2) whether plaintiff had succeeded in persuading a court to accept her earlier position, so that judicial acceptance of an inconsistent position in this court would create “the perception that either the first or the second court was misled”; and (3) whether plaintiff would derive an unfair advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not estopped; examination of whether plaintiff’s contention that she should not be subject to judicial estoppel in this case since her failure to inform the bankruptcy court of her claims against defendant was inadvertent because she informed her bankruptcy attorney of the claims and relied upon her bankruptcy attorney’s advice.03/31/2009Mark W. Bennett
Mary Staples & Kathy Walker-Brown v. Delavan Inc. & Greg Allen (Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Strike; plaintiff employees sue employer and co-workers for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (and co-worker for assault and battery); defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment seeks dismissal of the sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation claims; plaintiffs’ motion to strike seeks to strike several paragraphs from Employer’s statement of facts for violating Federal Rule of Evidence 412; the court denied the motion to strike and granted in part and denied in part defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment.)12/11/2008Mark W. Bennett
Coe v. Northern Pipe Products, Inc. (Former employee’s quid pro quo sex discrimination and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII: defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: effect of “impeached” or “interested” witnesses’ evidence on summary judgment; actionable sexual advances and connection between such advances and job detriments; degree of biased subordinate’s participation in adverse employment decisions required for “cat’s paw” liability of the employer; which party may invoke a “mixed motives” analysis; vicarious liability for harassment by a “supervisor”; circumstances in which a “retaliation” claim may be based on refusal of a supervisor’s sexual advances; and the employer’s “good faith” efforts as a bar to punitive damages)12/02/2008Mark W. Bennett
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.12/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
Schwebach v. United Dairy Workers of LeMars & Wells Dairy, Inc. (Motion for Summary Judgment; defendant Wells Dairy, Inc. claims that plaintiff Gary Schwebach did not exhaust his contractual grievance remedies under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement because he failed to request that defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars pursue his claim in writing, on an approved form; defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars had pursued his claim without first requiring the plaintiff to request that they do so in writing, on an approved form; the court decided that plaintiff did exhaust his remedies under the collective bargaining agreement.)11/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court established pretrial and trial framework for EEOC's "pattern or practice" claim11/19/2008Linda R. Reade
Donahue v. New NGC, Inc. (Former employee’s age discrimination claims pursuant to the ADEA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: untimeliness of administrative charge for the ICRA claim; sufficiency of evidence to raise inferences of age discrimination on the ADEA claim under either a RIF or non-RIF analysis)11/07/2008Mark W. Bennett
Gries, et al v. Standard Ready Mix Concrete, et al. (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; motion for class certification; discussion of the prerequisites for a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a); analysis of first requirement of Rule 23(a), that plaintiff show that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,” including consideration of: the size of the proposed class, the geographical dispersion of the class members, whether members of a prospective class are able to be identified, the financial resources of the potential class members with regard to their ability to institute individual lawsuits, and the judicial efficiency in certifying a class versus trying individual lawsuits.)08/22/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wachovia Securities LLC v. Stanton : (Securities broker-dealer’s action for preliminary injunctive relief pending arbitration before FINRA against former registered representative now employed with competitor: broker-dealer’s motion for temporary restraining order: broker-dealer’s likelihood of success on claims of breach of non-disclosure and non-solicitation provisions of employment contract and violation of the Iowa Trade Secrets Act, and broker-dealer’s showing on the irreparable harm, balance of harms, and public interest “Dataphase factors”) 08/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Sharp, et al. v. Tyson Foods (Plaintiff employees seek certification of their Rule 23 class action claims under the Iowa Wage Payment and Collection Law, and certification of their section 216(b) collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; defendant employer resists certification; defendant argues plaintiffs' FLSA claims preempt their IWPCL claims; defendant argues the opt-in procedures of FLSA collective action are inherently incompatible with the opt-out procedures of Rule 23 class action; defendant argues plaintiffs' are not similarly situated under the FLSA to meet the requirements for collective action certification; defendants argue plaintiffs do not meet the requirements of Rule 23 to be certified as a class action) 07/03/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wright v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff could establish a prima facie case of race discrimination, specifically whether he could make out the necessary showings that he was meeting employer’s legitimate job expectations or that he was treated differently than similarly situated Caucasian employees where he was fired after a search of the employees automobile revealed controlled substances as well as drug paraphernalia on the employer’s premises, in violation of the employer’s policy against employees’ possessing, using, or selling controlled substances on the employer’s property.)05/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Hinshaw v. Ligon Industries, LLC and Fisher Hydraulics, Inc. (Former employee's action for breach of contract and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law claims; defendants' motion for complete summary judgment; limitations on granting summary judgment on existence of contract issues under Iowa law; legal standards for offer and acceptance under Iowa law; legal standards for contract estoppel defense under Iowa law; whether severance pay is "wages due" under Iowa Code section 91A.3 and thus whether plaintiff can recover liquidated damages under section 91A.8 for the failure to pay severance pay.)05/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Rayburn v. Wady Industries, Inc.--Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (wrongful discharge in violation of public policy)04/10/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (Former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all claims on the ground that the plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, show that the defendant is equitably estoppel to assert the employee’s ineligibility for FMLA leave: sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he reasonably relied on any misrepresentation; sufficiency of the evidence that the plaintiff detrimentally relied on any misrepresentation)02/19/2008Mark W. Bennett
Gonnerman v. McHan Construction, Inc., et al. (former employee’s action for age discrimination under state and federal law: defendants’ motion summary judgment: whether a statement attributed to the decisionmaker recounted by the employee’s supervisor that the employee was being laid off because he was “too old to do cement work” was admissible “direct” evidence of age discrimination; whether there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants would have made the “same decision” to lay off the plaintiff without regard to his age, where the defendants made a company-wide RIF owing to shortage of work).10/26/2007Mark W. Bennett
Christine Pospisil vs. O'Reilly Automotive, Inc., Randy Swaim, and Jon Workman (sex discrimination, retaliation)10/05/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
The Arthur L. Christofferen Irrevocable Trust v. Yellow Book USA, Inc.; granting employer's motion for summary judgment on former CEO's unpaid wages claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law and his breach of contract claim under Iowa law where the former CEO died in 2005, and then his Trust sought $16,667.00 monthly payments under a Release and a Consulting Agreement that the former CEO and employer had entered into while the former CEO was still an employee.09/06/2007Linda R. Reade
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.09/04/2007Paul A. Zoss
Jones, et al v. Casey's General Stores, Inc. (Fair Labor Standards Act Case, motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), venue of case proper in either the Southern District of Iowa or the Northern District of Iowa, analysis of factors to be employed in considering a motion to transfer under § 1404(a), the court concluded that the balance of these factors supported transferring this case to the Southern District of Iowa and therefore defendant had met its burden to show that transfer of this case was appropriate and the court granted the motion to transfer)08/30/2007Mark W. Bennett
Edward D. Heaton v. The Weitz Company, Inc.; denying employer's motion for judgment as a matter of law or new trial, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50; upholding the jury's verdict that employer retaliated against employee; and upholding awards of emotional distress damages and punitive damages 07/13/2007Linda R. Reade
Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment that the defendant employer is equitably estopped to assert that it is not covered by the FMLA, because it does not meet the employee-numerosity requirement at the location where the plaintiff worked: standards for granting summary judgment sua sponte for a non-moving party if the record reveals no genuine issues of material fact; applicability of equitable estoppel to FMLA requirements; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; and sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he relied on any misrepresentation.)07/13/2007Mark W. Bennett
Kirt v. Fashion Bug (Customer’s right-to-contract race discrimination claim under § 1981: court’s sua sponte reconsideration of order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in light of Green v. Dillard’s, Inc., 483 F.3d 533 (8th Cir. 2007)07/10/2007Mark W. Bennett
Francine Williams v. Hawkeye Community College; order granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss and strike in employment discrimination case against state actor; holding that four-year statute of limitations applied to a portion of plaintiff's section 1983 claim06/27/2007Linda R. Reade
Rohloff v. Metz Baking Co., LLC (former employee’s Title VII and state law claims for pregnancy discrimination a baking company, its holding company, and its plant manager: defendants’ joint motion for summary judgment: plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on “qualification” and “inference of discrimination” elements of her prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination, in light of absenteeism problems; sufficiency of evidence of pretext) 06/12/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center-Fort Dodge LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s third motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of correspondence between the parties’ attorneys concerning discovery of records of other employees of the defendants who had filed workers’ compensation claims and their current employment statuses; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of, reference to, or testimony about any polygraph examination or lie detector test that the plaintiff took in relation to events underlying this matter)05/09/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s second motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence regarding any benefits that she has received for her workers’ compensation claims)05/02/2007Mark W. Bennett
Larry Cirksena vs. Farmers Cooperative Company; Daniel Scott Forey, Individually and in his official capacity as General Manager, and James Edward Hawkins, Individually and in his official capacity as Department Manager (age discrimination)04/30/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Parada v. Great Plains Int'l of Sioux City, Inc. (female “service writer’s” suit against diesel truck sales and service company for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and unequal pay in violation of the Equal Pay Act: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII; challenges to the “unwelcomeness” and “severity” elements of the claim of sexual harassment by supervisors; challenges to the “qualification” and “similarly situated male” elements of the claim of sexual discrimination based on elimination of the plaintiff’s service writer duties and termination of her lead person duties; challenges to the “protected activity” and “causal connection” elements of the claim of retaliation based on elimination or termination of the plaintiff’s duties in response to the plaintiff’s complaints about a male co-worker who would not do work the plaintiff assigned him and who complained about her qualifications; and challenges to the “substantially equal jobs” element of the claim of unequal pay)04/11/2007Mark W. Bennett
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; limine order in Title VII race discrimination and retaliation case04/06/2007Linda R. Reade
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. : (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s first motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of offers to settle and references to dismissed claims)04/05/2007Mark W. Bennett
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; limine order in Title VII race discrimination and retaliation case03/19/2007Linda R. Reade
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; Title VII race discrimination and retaliation03/06/2007Linda R. Reade
Randy Clark v. Eagle Ottawa, LLC. motion to dismiss order dismissing Iowa common law public policy claim under Rule 12(b)(6). The court declined to dismiss due to NLRA or LMRA preemption. Plaintiff's FMLA interference and retaliation claims remain. 02/20/2007Linda R. Reade
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. (railway workers union’s action for injunctive and other relief pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, to bar carrier’s introduction of iris recognition technology for attendance and timekeeping purposes: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and carrier’s motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction: whether the parties’ dispute is “major” or “minor” within the meaning of the RLA, where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over “minor” disputes, which must instead be determined in binding arbitration)02/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Pamela R. Reed v. Cedar County and Cedar County Sheriff Daniel Hannes, in his individual and official capacities; summary judgment order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motions where plaintiff alleged Title VII and Iowa Civil Rights Act claims of sexual harassment (hostile work environment and constructive discharge) and retaliation (employment-related retaliation and retaliatory litigation), and a claim of battery. 02/08/2007Linda R. Reade
Habben v. City of Fort Dodge, et al. (former employee’s Title VII, § 1981, and state law claims for race and pregnancy discrimination against city, city housing agency, and two housing agency officials: defendants’ separate motions for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII and § 1981; plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on race and pregnancy discrimination claims; lack of independent basis for liability of the city)01/29/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al (Former employee asserted state and federal disability discrimination claims and two claims of discharge in violation of Iowa public policy; after voluntary dismissal of all claims except for violation of Iowa public policy by retaliating for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the defendant moved for summary judgment: the court considered sua sponte whether to retain the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 after dismissal of the federal claim upon which jurisdiction was premised; considered the elements of a claim of retaliation in violation of public policy under Iowa law, and especially whether proof of a “lack of other justification” f