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
Show details for B - BankruptcyB - Bankruptcy
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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