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
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Ingram v. United States (Action by federal prisoner challenging geographic disparity in the application of § 851 enhancements: Eighth Amendment claim and equal protection/selective prosecution claim.)10/31/2017Mark W. Bennett
Willis, et al. v. Palmer, et al.(Patients at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) sued arguing their constitutional rights have been violated in a number of ways.)03/30/2016Mark W. Bennett
Target Training International, LTD v. Michelle K. Lee (patent holder’s action for judicial review of a determination by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that an alleged infringer’s inter partes reexamination request was filed on the last day before the statute authorizing such proceedings expired; PTO Director’s motion to dismiss: whether the motion raised a bar to subject matter jurisdiction or failure to state a claim based on the exception to judicial review for a decision “committed to agency discretion by law” in 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2) of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA); whether § 701(a)(2) excepted from review a decision by the PTO under Patent Rule 183; whether the patent holder’s “due process” claim was “colorable,” so as to avoid the § 701(a)(2) exception) 03/05/2014Mark W. Bennett
Mendoza v. Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: prevailing petitioner’s motion for attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to Hague Convention Art. 26 and ICARA, 42 U.S.C. § 11607(b)(3): whether or not an award of fees and expenses would be “clearly inappropriate” in the circumstances) 02/19/2014Mark W. Bennett
Koons v. United States of America (Motion for relief from sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by a federal prisoner asserting ineffective assistance of counsel; respondent’s motion to dismiss as untimely converted to petitioner’s motion for summary judgment on equitable tolling of the statute of limitations: whether counsel hired to file § 2255 Motion engaged in misconduct sufficient to constitute “extraordinary circumstances” that prevented the petitioner from timely filing her § 2255 Motion, and whether the petitioner acted “diligently” before and after the deadline for filing her § 2255 Motion before filing the Motion pro se three months after the deadline)01/31/2014Mark W. Bennett
FDIC v. Michael Dosland, et al (Action by the FDIC, as receiver for failed bank, pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. § 1811 et seq., against the former officers and directors of the bank, asserting claims of gross negligence, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty; plaintiff’s motion to strike certain affirmative defenses: Rule 12(f) standards for striking an affirmative defense; applicability of the Twom-bal pleading standard to affirmative defenses; legal sufficiency of affirmative defenses based on equitable doctrines, including estoppel, laches, unclean hands, and/or waiver; the FDIC-R’s failure to mitigate damages; damages resulting from the acts or omissions of someone other than the defendants; and an exculpation provision in the bank’s articles of incorporation, which bars the defendants’ liability)12/23/2013Mark W. Bennett
Maria Guadalupe Aguilar Mendoza v. Moises Medina Silva (Action by a Mexican woman, pursuant to the 1980 Hague Convention On Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 11601-11610, to secure the return of her daughters to Mexico, their alleged “habitual residence,” after their father, a United States citizen, allegedly wrongfully retained them in the Northern District of Iowa: consolidated bench trial on the merits and preliminary injunction hearing: requirements for return of wrongfully retained children and affirmative defenses) 12/10/2013Mark W. Bennett
Rogers v. U.S. : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, on guilty plea to bank fraud via a check cashing scheme: ruling without evidentiary hearing: granting a new sentencing on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to object to a two-level enhancement pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2B1.1(b)(10), for use of an “access device” because the bad checks used to perpetrate the bank fraud scheme in this case did not constitute an “access device,” and ineffective assistance of trial counsel by failing to investigate adequately the petitioner’s mental health as an explanation of his prior violent conduct for which his sentence had been enhanced) 06/11/2013Mark W. Bennett
Guillermo Escobedo v. Mark Lund (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for first-degree murder on the ground that his trial counsel failed to seek an “automatic” mistrial when the trial judge excused a juror for bias after deliberations had started and replaced the excused juror with an alternate contrary to Iowa law, which required a mistrial or the defendant’s agreement to continue deliberations with the eleven remaining jurors)06/03/2013Mark W. Bennett
Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co. v. Moens, et al. (Interpleader action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1335, 1397, and 2361, initiated by an insurance company, because it asserts that claims for “bodily injury” coverage, arising from a multi-vehicle accident, exceed policy limits: plaintiff’s insureds’ motion to stay related state court action: whether the stay on the state court action would exceed the authority for an injunction under § 2361, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in State Farm Fire & Casualty Company v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523 (1967))05/13/2013Mark W. Bennett
Boss v. Ludwick (Action for federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by a state prisoner challenging his conviction for the first-degree murder of his foster son on the ground that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance (1) by revealing the location of the child’s body and (2) by failing to advise and consult with the petitioner adequately before convincing the petitioner to reveal the location of the child’s body; parties’ objections to report and recommendation by magistrate judge finding “prejudice” from trial counsel’s performance, but denying federal habeas relief; stating standards for review by the district court of a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation; construing the nature of the petitioner’s underlying constitutional claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and his claims for federal habeas relief pursuant to § 2254(d); considering whether the federal court is required to review de novo both prongs under Strickland, if the state court stated the wrong standard of review for one prong; considering whether denial of relief by the state courts on the basis of failure to find “deficient performance” under Strickland were “contrary to” or “unreasonable applications of” federal law or “unreasonable determinations” of the facts in light of the evidence before the state courts pursuant to § 2254(d)(1) and (2); and declining to consider the “prejudice” prong under Strickland, where the lack of deficiency in the state court decisions concerning “deficient performance” was fully dispositive of the petitioner’s claims)05/03/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: prosecution’s motion to reconsider parts of the ruling on scope of the scope of the “penalty retrial” challenging rulings: (1) that the new jury will not redetermine the defendant’s eligibility for the death sentence; (2) that the court will instruct the new jury that the defendant’s only possible sentences are death or life without parole; and (3) that evidence of the defendant’s future dangerousness outside of prison will be excluded; defendant’s motion to reconsider ruling that non-statutory aggravating factors, like mitigating factors, may assert separate incidents as separate factors)03/05/2013Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (“Penalty retrial” of capital defendant after death and life sentences for five murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), a provision of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act (ADAA), were set aside on her § 2255 Motion: defendant’s first set of motions: (1) “omnibus motion” to dismiss the “special findings” from the second superseding indictment and to strike notice of intent to seek the death penalty; (2) motion to dismiss particular aggravating factors from the second superseding indictment, and to strike particular aggravating factors from the second notice of intent to seek the death penalty, and for other relief; (3) motion to compel discovery of evidence in support of United States Attorney’s reasons not to seek the death penalty, or, in the alternative, for in-camera review of the death penalty evaluation form; (4) motion to preclude capital sentencing hearing; and (5) motion for discovery to support a motion to strike the death penalty based upon the influence of arbitrary factors of race and gender of victims)10/25/2012Mark W. Bennett
Catipovic v. Mark Turley, Ronald Fagen, & Fagen, Inc. (A former Iowa resident seeks to recover damages for breach of contract and unjust enrichment from an Irish citizen, and damages for unjust enrichment from a Minnesota citizen and a Minnesota company, arising from the failure of an alleged partnership to develop ethanol production facilities in Eastern Europe; Irish defendant’s Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismissfor lack of personal jurisdiction; Minnesota defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3) motion, for improper venue, and Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.) 06/08/2012Mark W. Bennett
Barkley, et al v. Woodbury County (Persons arrested on serious misdemeanor charges assert individual and class claims that they were unconstitutionally strip-searched pursuant to an across-the-board jail policy without individualized determinations of probable cause or reasonable suspicion; defendants’ motion to dismiss: timeliness (or tolling) of individual and class claims, pursuant to the “American Pipe rule,” after denial of class certification in a predecessor case involving nearly identical claims of a nearly identical putative class; whether tolling ends with the district court’s decision denying certification or with the appellate court’s decision affirming the denial; whether the reasons for denial of class certification, which determine whether or not class claims are tolled, are those of the district court or the appellate court)05/23/2012Mark W. Bennett
Boss v. Ludwick (state prisoner’s § 2254 petition; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on petitioner’s motion to stay unexhausted claims: standards of review for a report and recommendation; rules of unexhausted and procedurally defaulted claims; availability of “stay and abeyance” procedure when claims are procedurally defaulted)05/01/2012Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund v. Sebelius (Challenge by individuals and an advocacy group to the validity of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized, see 21 C.F.R. § 131.110, and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized. See 21 C.F.R. § 1250.61: defendants’ renewed motion to dismiss and alternative motion for summary judgment: standing of plaintiffs to assert their challenges to the regulations in the absence of any enforcement actions against them by the FDA.)03/30/2012Mark W. Bennett
Aerostar, Inc. v. Haes Grain & Livestock, Inc., et al. : (Diversity action by manufacturer of wind systems against purchasers who paid an unauthorized dealer for, but never received, the manufacturer’s wind systems seeking declaratory judgment establishing the absence of any basis for liability of the manufacturer to the purchasers for payments that the purchasers made to the unauthorized dealer or for any damages or attorney’s fees; purchasers’ Rule 12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on insufficient amount in controversy: identification and application of standards for determining amount in controversy in declaratory judgment cases, effect of refusal of defendants to stipulate to an amount in controversy below the jurisdictional amount) 03/27/2012Mark W. Bennett
Angela Johnson v. U.S. : (capital defendant’s § 2255 Motion asserting 64 grounds for relief from her convictions and death sentences for murders in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE murder) pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 2: grounds that the petitioner chose to emphasize in her post-hearing brief included the following: her attorneys' failure to pursue a disposition for a sentence less than death before trial; her attorneys' failure to adjust her medications or otherwise address the effects of her medication on her demeanor and competence during the merits phase of her trial; her attorneys' failure to confront aggravating evidence, or to prepare and present an effective mitigation case, and prosecutorial misconduct during the penalty phase of her trial; and a claim that the Bureau of Prisons' method of carrying out her execution would violate the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Controlled Substances Act. Convictions upheld, but relief from death sentences granted, and new penalty-phase trial ordered, on 4 of 48 claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.)03/22/2012Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al.: (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, to enjoin the FDA from continuing or commencing enforcement actions pursuant to the regulations against non-parties while this court considers the plaintiffs’ claims: scope of the court’s authority to enjoin other actions “in aid of” its jurisdiction; requirements for a preliminary injunction under the All Writs Act; balancing of pertinent factors)01/23/2012Mark W. Bennett
Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Lmine ruling in excessive force § 1983 case)10/19/2011Mark W. Bennett
Baldwin v. U.S. (Civil tax refund case in the District for the Northern Mariana Islands; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider an order striking his jury demands; considering appropriate standard of review for reconsideration of the interlocutory order of another district judge; analyzing whether plaintiff’s first jury demand was proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) and, in the alternative, whether plaintiff’s second jury demand was permissible under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b) as a late demand due to excusable neglect)09/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
Shannon v. Koehler (Motion in Limine ruling for excessive force § 1983 case with proposed limiting instruction)09/16/2011Mark W. Bennett
Powell v. Fayram -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed ineffective assistance of trial counsel in four respects: (1) failure to move for judgment of acquittal; (2) failure to move for change of venue: (3) failure to give petitioner correct advice during plea negotiations concerning the time he would serve if convicted of attempted murder; and (4) failure to retain an expet witness to establish that brakes on pickup truck were defective. In recommending the petition be denied, the Court found the petitioner failed to show that the decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals involved either an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedents to the facts, or was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence.02/18/2011Paul A. Zoss
Kim v. Quichocho, et al: (Action involving fraud and RICO claims based on allegations that the defendants, including the plaintiff’s attorney, defrauded the plaintiff of two of her businesses; defendants’ second motion to dismiss RICO claims and motion to dismiss common-law fraud claim: adequacy of pleading of predicate acts of wire fraud and money laundering, a patter of racketeering activity, and conduct or acquisition of control of a RICO enterprise; pleading of an agreement, for purposes of RICO conspiracy claim, including whether an intracorporate conspiracy suffices; pleading of fraud with the particularity required by Rule 9(b) and whether fraud was based on anything other than representations about future events)01/24/2011Mark W. Bennett
Scadden v. Northwest Iowa Hospital Corp. -- Order denying plaintiffs' motion to reinstate wrongful death claim on behalf of unborn child. At the eleventh hour, after expiration of the deadline to amend pleadings and only two months before trial, plaintiffs moved to reinstate wrongful death claim for the death of their unborn child, arguing Nebraska law, rather than Iowa law, should control the issue. Court found motion was untimely, but also analyzed the choice-of-law issues raised by the plaintiffs, finding that in any event, Iowa law controlled.09/22/2010Paul A. Zoss
United States of America v. McManaman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress. In recommending defendant's motion to suppress be denied, court found probable cause existed for issuance of a search warrant for guns, drugs, and related items, and evidence of child pornography inevitably would have been discovered during any search pursuant to the warrant.09/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements) 08/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
Farm-To-Consumer-Legal Defense Fund, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al (Advocacy group’s action challenging Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations requiring “milk” in final package form for beverage use to be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized and prohibiting the delivery into interstate commerce of any milk in final package form for direct human consumption unless the product has been pasteurized; defendants’ motion to dismiss: standing, ripeness, foreclosure by Ewing v. Mytinger & Casselberry, Inc., 339 U.S. 594 (1950), and administrative exhaustion requirements)08/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dorr v. Weber: (The court held a one day bench trial on Plaintiff Paul Dorr and Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s claims that Defendant Sheriff Weber’s denial of their applications for concealed weapons permits was in retaliation for the Plaintiffs’ exercising their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association; the court found that Sheriff Weber’s asserted reasons for denying the permits were credible; the court found that Sheriff Weber had denied Paul Weber’s application in retaliation for his engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which included writing letters to the editor and distributing flyers; the court found that Sheriff Weber denied Plaintiff Alexander Dorr’s application due to Sheriff Weber’s belief that permits should not be issued to individuals under 21 years of age, which was not in violation of the First Amendment; the court provided declaratory relief to Paul Dorr, declaring Sheriff Weber’s denial of Paul Dorr’s application to constitute First Amendment Retaliation; the court ordered injunctive relief and required Sheriff Weber to immediately issue Paul Dorr a concealed weapons permit; the court ordered further remedial relief in requiring Sheriff Weber to take a class concerning the First Amendment.)07/07/2010Mark W. Bennett
Aquino v. San Nicolas, et al.: (Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Plaintiff was held for 88 days after serving a one year sentence for possessing an illicit substance, despite her having had stipulated to her immediate deportation; the court held that the 88 day detention did not violate Plaintiff’s Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Commonwealth Covenant applying the Fourteenth Amendment to the Northern Mariana Islands as if it were one of the states, pursuant to United States Supreme Court precedent finding such a detention to be presumptively reasonable; the court also held that this presumptively reasonable period of detention was not “outrageous” conduct, which caused Plaintiff’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claim to fail; the court grated Defendants’ motions to dismiss but provided Plaintiff with leave to amend her complaint)05/27/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dorr v. Weber (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; cross motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether defendant sheriff’s is entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claims, analysis of whether plaintiffs whether plaintiffs were similarly situated to persons who allegedly received favorable treatment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could a causal connection between defendants’ retaliatory animus and the denial of their gun permits sufficient to establish their First Amendment retaliation claims, examination of whether plaintiff had a property right to gun permit when local authorities have discretion to deny such a permit)05/18/2010Mark W. Bennett
VGM Financial Services v. Singh, et al.; order granting third party defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction04/30/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Moes -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging him with failure to register as a sex offender. Court found the case turned on a factual issue that must be decided by the jury at trial; i.e., whether the defendant "resided" in Iowa.04/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
United States v. Riesselman -- Amended Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs and cell phone found on his person during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and statements he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs and cell phone be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; although defendant's statements regarding illegally-seized drugs and cell phone were fruit of the illegal search, statements were sufficiently attenuated to purge the taint; and defendant's other statements were voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of items from defendant's person.03/31/2010Paul A. Zoss
The Samuels Group, Inc. v. Hatch Grading & Contracting, Inc.; order granting defendant's motion to stay pursuant to Colorado River Abstention Doctrine03/23/2010Linda R. Reade
USA v. Riesselman -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drugs found in his pocket during a pat-down search, evidence seized during execution of a search warrant, and a statement he gave to officers at the scene. Government agreed pat-down search exceeded permissible scope under the circumstances, and court recommended drugs be suppressed. On other issues, court found defendant never invoked his right to counsel; failure to give defendant complete copy of search warrant, including attachment that described items to be searched, was not deliberate and did not require suppression of evidence where defendant failed to show prejudice; and defendant's statement was voluntary and did not flow from illegal seizure of drugs from defendant's pocket. 03/16/2010Paul A. Zoss
Ralph Reeder, M.D. v. Thomas Carroll, M.D. and the Iowa Board of Medical Examiners; order dismissing defendant state agency based on Eleventh Amendment Immunity03/05/2010Linda R. Reade
Peteson v. Prosser -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in case seeking damages from various police officers and government officials for false arrest, criminal assault, falsifying public documents, criminal conspiracy to falsify public records, evidence tampering, conspiracy to induce false testimony, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation of characater, violation of civil rights, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, perjury, criminal conspiracy to violate constitutional rights, and obstruction of justice. Court found material issues of fact existed for trial on claims of false arrest and assault against two police officers, and further found the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on those claims. Court recommended all other claims and parties be dismissed.03/04/2010Paul A. Zoss
Chisley v. Lund -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed state court should not have allowed hearsay testimony into evidence. Court found the claim to be unreviewable because Iowa courts decided the claim on state law grounds, and petitioner had failed to exhaust the claim on federal constitutional grounds.02/09/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Hanson -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence found during search of vehicle at site of traffic stop. Court found officer's continued detention of defendant after conclusion of traffic stop for further investigation of suspected drugs in vehicle was based on officer's reasonable suspicision and did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.02/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
Williams v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed trial court erred in failing to suppress identification testimony resulting from photo array; evidence was insufficient to prove he aided and abetted in murder and robbery; and trial counsel were ineffective in failing to object to jury instruction on alternative theories of prosecution, failing to enforce a plea agreement, and failing to advise him of his right to testify. Court found petitioner failed to show Iowa appellate court decisions were contrary to clearly-established federal law, or that his counsel's performance, even if deficient, prejudiced him. 01/19/2010Paul A. Zoss
Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleged defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, causing him to suffer ongoing, severe pain and ultimately resulting in removal of his left eye. Court found material issues of disputed fact existed, precluding summary judgment as to all but one of the defendants. Court further found that either plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies, or alternatively a material issue of material fact existed regarding whether he properly exhausted his remedies. Court further found defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. 01/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Rojas - Report and Recommendation that defendant's motion to dismiss indictment for insufficiency of evidence before the grand jury be denied.12/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Stephens -- Order denying Government's motion to amend conditions of pretrial release to include electronic monitoring and curfew. Court found unconstitutional the Adam Walsh Act amendments to the Bail Reform Act requiring mandatory imposition of curfew and electronic monitoring without an individual determination of whether the facts of the case required those conditions of pretrial release.10/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
Whitacre v. Energy Panel Structures, Inc. -- Order on plaintiff's motion for leave to amend Petition at Law. Court found plaintiff was not seeking to add non-diverse parties for the purpose of defeating federal jurisdiction, and held the amendment should be allowed.09/30/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Martinez-Pena -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress drug evidence found in his vehicle. Defendant was stopped for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license, and vehicle was seized to install a tracking device pursuant to a warrant. While installing the device, officers found drugs in the vehicle. Court found drugs were not in plain view, and warrantless seach of vehicle violated defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. However, court further found drugs inevitably would have been discovered during inventory search of vehicle and need not be suppressed. 09/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Hart v. Baldwin, et al. (Motion for Summary Judgment; the court grants defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to “properly exhaust” his remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), as there was no genuine issue of material fact concerning whether his grievance was timely filed—plaintiff failed to comply with the prison system’s rule that grievances must be filed within thirty days of incident about which the prisoner is complaining.) 09/22/2009Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Yockey -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress evidence located on, and stemming from, the discovery of child pornography on his cell phone at the time he was booked into the jail for driving while suspended. Court found discovery of pornographic image by inentorying officer was inadvertent; arresting officer's examination of additional photographs on the phone and questioning of defendant before giving Miranda warnings was unlawful; and detective's questioning of defendant after Miranda warnings and examination of phone's contents with defendant's consent would have occurred solely on the basis of the single photo inadvertently accessed by inventorying officer and therefore need not be suppressed. 08/03/2009Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Mosley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to suppress statements made when officers arrived to execute a search warrant at his house. Court found that under Eighth Circuit jurisprudence, defendant was not "in custody" at the time he made his statements, and therefore failure to give him Miranda warnings did not require suppression of his statements.07/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
Hart v. Baldwin -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for summary judgment in prisoner 1983 case where plaintiff claimed unconstitutional retrictions on his mail. Court found plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies with regard to claims for monetary damages, and claims for equitable relief were rendered moot when prisoner was transferred to another facility.07/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Dorr v. Weber, et al. (Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated persons, challenge denials of their applications for nonprofessional permits to carry weapons on the ground that the denials violated their constitutional rights to bear arms, to due process, and to equal protection, in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; motion to dismiss by the county sheriff’s department and the sheriff’s “successors”: sufficiency of allegations of facts making it plausible that the county sheriff’s department had the power to make and enforce any rules and regulations, independent of the Sheriff, such that it might, itself, have the power to sue or be sued concerning the exercise of such power, and was not merely an instrumentality of the sheriff; necessity of including the sheriff’s “successors” as parties to ensure effective injunctive relief)07/07/2009Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, et al. (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency and the agency’s director, in his official capacity: defendants’ motion to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity grounds: whether the ADEA abrogates Eleventh Amendment immunity; whether the state agency waived Eleventh Amendment immunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1), by accepting federal funding; whether a state official, sued in his or her official capacity, has Eleventh Amendment immunity to a claim for prospective injunctive relief from violations of the ADEA; whether the plaintiff’s claim for prospective injunctive relief against the state official is adequately pleaded)07/02/2009Mark W. Bennett
Heimlicher v. Steele, et al -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' post-trial motions in action for damages arising from stillbirth of plaintiffs' child. Jury awarded $1.7 million in damages against doctor and hospital for common law negligence and violation of federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 USC section 1395dd. Defendants moved, on numerous grounds, for judgment as a matter of law, for new trial, and to amend the judgment. Court found remittitur was appropriate because the amounts the jury deducted for past and future expense of raising the child were unreasonably low. Court therefore conditionally granted motions for new trial, and denied all other motions. 05/14/2009Paul A. Zoss
Leventhal v. Sgt. Daniel Schaffer, et al. ((Motion for Summary Judgment; defendants move for summary judgment on all remaining claims, court grants motion regarding 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force and Iowa Tort Claims Act, denies motion regarding § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest as the court found both a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether defendant had probable cause to arrest Leventhal and whether defendant was entitled to qualified immunity.)03/24/2009Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Michael Alan Reed, et al (Federal income tax enforcement action, cross-motions for summary judgment, analysis of whether the United States was in default because it had not filed a response to defendant’s answer, determination of whether defendant had satisfied his outstanding tax liabilities by submitting bonds in payment to the United States, analysis of whether summary judgment should be granted against defendant for the assessments of unpaid taxes and penalties)03/23/2009Mark W. Bennett
Mattress Warehousing, Inc. and William T. Furry v. Power Marketing Direct, Inc. d/b/a PMD Furniture Direct, GJC Enterprises, Inc. and Gregory J. Carrera; court held defendants failed to prove fraudulent joinder and remanded case to state court based upon lack of diversity jurisdiction02/16/2009Linda R. Reade
Winters v. Maples -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254. Court recommended denial of writ on all grounds, including petitioner's argument that sentence enhancement on the basis of habitual offender status violated the double jeopardy clause.02/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
Smith v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Petitioner claimed double jeopardy when he was prosecuted for both contempt and escape after he failed to surrender himself to custody as ordered. Court found the two crimes have different elements, and double jeopardy was not implicated by dual prosecution.01/29/2009Paul A. Zoss
Weatherspoon v. Ault -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. Court found all of petitioner's claims were procedurally defaulted, and recommended denial of writ01/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
Chisley v. Lund -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. Court found three of petitioner's claims in this 2254 action were unexhausted and procedurally defaulted, and ineffective assistance of PCR counsel, though clear, could not excuse procedural default.01/09/2009Paul A. Zoss
Leventhal v. Schaffer -- Report and Recommendation on defendants' motion for partial summary judgment in this action for damages pursuant to 42 USC 1983. Court found officer was entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's claims of false arrest and use of excessive force, and plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies on state law claims.12/31/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Kenneth Siepker : (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling without evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel on the following grounds: failure to move for severance of drug and gun counts, failure to request an “Old Chief instruction,” failure to file a motion in limine to preclude non-coconspirator hearsay evidence, failure to object to count charging commission of offense while on pre-trial release as an illegal Bill of Attainder, failure to request a buyer-seller instruction, failure to object to hearsay, stipulation that firearms were possessed “in or affecting commerce,” failure to object to a constructive amendment of the indictment on the gun charges, and failure to assert an “Apprendi claim” based on court determination of drug quantity; constitutional claims based on admission of hearsay evidence in violation of the Sixth Amendment confrontation clause, and insufficient evidence on the drug conspiracy count of an illegal agreement; denial of a certificate of appealability)12/18/2008Mark W. Bennett
Russell A. Folkers v. City of Waterloo, Iowa, Darrel Johnson, & Maria Tiller -- Summary Judgment Motion. Issues: Deprivation of Constitutional Rights: Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment (procedural due process and substantial due process)10/27/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Thies -- Report and Recommendation, recommending defendant's motion to suppress evidence be denied. Defendant's girlfriend, with whom he lived, called police to report that defendant was drunk and acting violently, and she was frightened because he had a gun in the house. Officer went to the house to investigate, with intent to seize the firearm for the parties' and the public's safety. He encountered defendant and some friends in the front yard of the residence. He asked defendant a few questions before arresting defendant on an outstanding warrant. He then entered the house, over defendant's objections, to secure the firearm, and while inside, noticed some live ammunition. After learning defendant had a prior felony conviction, officer secured a search warrant for the house and seized the ammunition and other evidence. Court found defendant's responses to initial questions were noncustodial and need not be suppressed; officer's initial entry into the house to retrieve the gun was lawful; and even if initial entry into the house was not lawful, gun and ammunition inevitably would have been discovered.10/23/2008Paul A. Zoss
Shannon v. Officer Koehler, et al (Motion to Dismiss Sioux City Police Department; defendant police department claims that it is not an entity suable as such; the court decided that the police department was an appendage of the city and not suable as a separate entity from the city of Sioux City)10/13/2008Mark W. Bennett
Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson v. Michelle Mais; district court denies defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law but grants defendant's motion for partial new trial on damages, on plaintiffs' claims that defendant illegally strip and visual body cavity (VBC) searched their persons. With respect to Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law, district court held that, although Linn County's policy of blanket strip searches was clearly unconstitutional, there was sufficient evidence to support an award of more than nominal damages. With respect to defendant's motion for new trial, district court held that jury's award of damages shocked the conscience and, if allowed to stand, would result in a miscarriage of justice. 10/02/2008Linda R. Reade
Vincent Johnson & Julie Johnson v. American Leather Specialties Corp. & Shopko Stores, Inc.(Products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Iowa law, the law of the plaintiffs residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Minnesota law, the law of the place where the product was marketed to plaintiffs and sold; having concluded that Iowa law governs in case, addressing plaintiffs’ contention that application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution on the ground that the State of Iowa’s enactment of tort reform in § 613.18(1) deprived plaintiffs of previously held causes of action under the common law; addressing whether application of Iowa Code § 613.18(1) constitutes a violation of the Iowa State Constitution’s Inalienable Rights Clause, Iowa Const. art. I, § 1.)09/29/2008Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Brett & Cory Kamerud: (Petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; petitioners claim that guilty verdict for conspiracy to (1) “distribute methamphetamine,” (2) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” and (3) “possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine to one or more persons under twenty-one years of age should be set aside; the court decided whether the petitioners were provided with ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution by analyzing an extensive list of possible grounds for petitioners’ claim.)09/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
Kyle Chyma v. Tama County School Board, Larry Molachek, Steve Burr, and Ernie Tomlinson (motion for summary judgment--Issues: (1) Due Process Violated, (2) First Amendment Rights, (3) Section 1983 Claim Based on FERPA, (4) Compliance of Iowa Code Section 282.4)09/08/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
USA v. Huntley -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant was convicted by a jury of a firearms violation and appealed. Appellate court reversed due to erroneous jury instruction. On remand, government dismissed, and then re-indicted defendant one day later. Defendant argued reprosecution violated his fifth amendment protection against double jeopardy. Court recommended motion be denied based on Supreme Court precedent holding Double Jeopardy Clause does not bar reprosecution of a defendant whose conviction is overturned on appeal due to a trial error, rather than for insufficiency of evidence.09/02/2008Paul A. Zoss
USA v. Godfrey -- Report and Recommendation on motion to suppress statements defendant made to agents who questioned him at his home. Court found defenadnt's sixth amendment right to counsel had not attached where defendant had not been charged or arrested and was not in custody at time of interview. Defendant was not entitled to Miranda warnings prior to the non-custodial interview, and defendant's statements were not coerced.08/11/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Orlando Birbragher, Marshall Neil Kanner, Douglas Willis Bouchey, Armando Angulo and Peter Colon Lopez; order on motion to dismiss07/22/2008Linda R. Reade
Peterson v. Prosser -- Report and Recommendation on motion to dismiss filed by Iowa Attorney General regarding plaintiff's constitutional challenges to five Iowa statutes. Court found plaintiff's challenges to three of the statutes should be dismissed pursuant to either the abstention doctrine of Younger v. Haris, or the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, whichever is applicable. Court found plaintiff lacked standing to challenge constitutionally of the two other Iowa statutes.07/22/2008Paul A. Zoss
Johnson v. American Leather Specialties & Shopko v. Ultra Marketing Corporation (Diversity products liability action, motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, applying five factor test the court finds that third-party plaintiffs had not made out a prima facie case which would support application of personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant where third-party defendant did not have any bank accounts, property, office, agent, representative or employee in Iowa, and third-party defendant’s contacts to Iowa were limited to its interactions with an Iowa company as a marketing representative to a Chinese distributor which had no involvement with the manufacture or the distribution of the allegedly defective product at the center of this case, the court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over third-party defendant)07/16/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wells Dairy, Inc. v. Food Movers International, Inc. (motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, standards for motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2), standards for personal jurisdiction analysis, )07/08/2008Mark W. Bennett
Jones v. Wilder-Tomlinson -- Report and Recommendation on petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 USC 2254. In recommending the petition be granted, the Court found no probable cause existed for Jones's arrest on drug paraphernalia charge in violation of city ordinance based solely on the presence of a small scale in the vehicle in which Jones was a passenger. 04/04/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Hawley (Action by the United States pursuant to the False Claims Act (FCA) and common law against insurance agent and his agency concerning federal crop insurance policies written for ineligible persons; cross-motions for summary judgment: elements of FCA claims pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1) (presenting false claim to government officer or employee), (a)(2) (using a false record or statement to get a claim paid or approved), and (a)(3) (conspiracy to defraud the government using false claims) and common-law claims of fraudulent concealment and “mistake of fact”)04/03/2008Mark W. Bennett
USA v. Douglas Johnson --Report and Recommendation on defendant's motions to suppress evidence seized from execution of two separate search warrants. Court found the first warrant application to be deficient, and so much so that the court held the Leon exclusionary rule should apply to the evidence seized in execution of the warrant. Court found the second warrant contained sufficient information to support the magistrate's probable cause determination, and further found that in any event, the officers' reliance on the warrant was reasoanble and in good faith.04/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
Dible v. Scholl -- Memorandum Opinion and Order of Dismissal. Plaintiff filed this action under 42 USC 1983, for damages resulting from loss of good time credit. Court held disciplinary notice issued to plaintiff was constitutionally deficient, and defendants were not protected by qualified immunity. However, in light of 12-15-07 opinion in Entzi v. Redmann, 485 F.3d 998 (8th Cir. 2007). court reluctantly concluded plaintiff's action was barred by Heck v. Humphrey.03/07/2008Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Charles Thomas; order regarding constitutionality of the sex offender registration provisions of the Adam Walsh Act02/13/2008Linda R. Reade
USA v. Howell -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss indictment charging violations of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 42 USC 16901 et seq. and 18 USC 2250. Held: (1) SORNA was not applicable to sex offender with pre-SORNA convition until issuance of Attorney General's interim rule on 2/28/07; (2) application of SORNA to conduct predating the interim rule would violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution; (3) SORNA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine or the Commerce Clause; (4) application of SORNA to defendant would not violate due process; and (5) proper venue for SORNA violation is fact-based and represents jury question for trial. 11/08/2007Paul A. Zoss
Tomlinson v. Burt (State prisoner’s petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254: ruling on motion to dismiss: “substantive” and “procedural” claims of “actual innocence,” procedural default of “due process” and “ineffective assistance of counsel” claims) 09/21/2007Mark W. Bennett
The O.N. Equity Sales Company v. Pals, et al. (Securities broker-dealer’s action for declaratory and injunctive relief to halt investors’ arbitration action before the NASD; plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and defendant’s responsive motion to compel arbitration: interplay of Dataphase factors for a preliminary injunction and determination of arbitrability, conditions for arbitrability pursuant to NASD Rule 10301)09/06/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Hernandez (federal prisoner’s pro se motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ruling after evidentiary hearing: alleged ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to file notice of appeal after prisoner’s request that counsel do so) 08/29/2007Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux C ity, et al. : (Merchant’s action challenging city ordinances regulating sex shops; court’s sua sponte consideration of sanctions against the city for destruction of records relevant to the litigation after settlement of the case)05/17/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lamont William Papakee and Connie Frances Blackcloud; order finding federal criminal jurisdiction over alleged sex crimes at Meskwaki Settlement05/02/2007Linda R. Reade
Bruning, et al. v. Carroll Community School District (Sex discrimination-alleged sexual harassment of female middle school students; claims for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, violation of plaintiffs’ Substantive Due Process Rights, violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 through defendants’ permitting plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Constitution of the State of Iowa to be violated, negligence, assault, tortious infliction of severe emotional distress, ruling on motion for summary judgment concerning plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim, equal protection claim, claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX claims, claims brought under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.9, and Iowa state law tort claims for negligence, premises liability and failure to protect; analysis of school district’s knowledge of the harassment, examination of whether the school district was deliberately indifferent to harassment, review of the severity and pervasiveness of the harassment, analysis of whether the school district was exercising discretionary function in disciplining students and was immune from liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code § 670.4, examination of whether school district breached a duty to plaintiffs to protect them from student-on-student harassment, and with regard to plaintiffs’ premises liability claim, analysis of whether a genuine issue of material fact had been generated as to whether harm to plaintiffs caused by physical assaults at school was reasonably foreseeable)04/19/2007Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Marcos-Quiroga (defendant’s objections to PSIR, motion to withdraw guilty plea, and motion for new counsel: defendant’s Sixth Amendment objection to use of a prior conviction as both a statutory sentence enhancement and a career offender guideline enhancement; reconsideration of motion to withdraw guilty plea based on bad advice of counsel concerning career offender status; motion for new counsel based on prejudicial conduct of current counsel)03/23/2007Mark W. Bennett
Baber v. First Republic Group, LLC (suit by investor alleging improper overcharges by securities broker and its account representative; defendants’ motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings: whether, as a matter of circuit law, an “introducing broker” and its agent are entitled to enforce an arbitration clause in a contract between an investor and a “clearing broker” to which the “introducing broker” and its agent are not parties, because they are agents of the “clearing broker” or a third-party beneficiaries of the contract between the customer and the “clearing broker”; whether the “clearing broker” is an indispensable party within the meaning of Rule 19(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to litigation involving claims of fraud based, at least in part, on notices of account activity actually sent by the “clearing broker,” such that the case is subject to arbitration)02/21/2007Mark W. Bennett
Mugan v. McGuire Law Firm02/20/2007Paul A. Zoss
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. (railway workers union’s action for injunctive and other relief pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, to bar carrier’s introduction of iris recognition technology for attendance and timekeeping purposes: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and carrier’s motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction: whether the parties’ dispute is “major” or “minor” within the meaning of the RLA, where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over “minor” disputes, which must instead be determined in binding arbitration)02/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; store’s motion for further clarification of issues for bench trial)01/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; city’s motion to clarify issues for bench trial)01/13/2007Mark W. Bennett
Richmond v. Burt (Federal prisoner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254; case initially referred to Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, who recommended the petition be dismissed on procedural grounds; petitioner filed objections to Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation, essentially contending his constitutional claims were not procedurally barred; upon conducting de novo review of petitioner’s claims, court overrules petitioner’s objections and accepts Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation; petitioner did not fairly present his constitutional claims to the Iowa courts and even if he had, petitioner’s claims are without merit; petition is dismissed and no certificate of appealability shall be issued.) 01/04/2007Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; defendant’s motion to preserve Seventh Amendment right to jury trial: province of court and jury in determination of remaining “constitutionality,” “applicability,” and “damages” issues, applying two-prong inquiry under City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dues at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (1999))12/20/2006Mark W. Bennett
Jones, et al. v. Winnebago Industries & Kwikee Products Company, Inc. (products liability action; defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment: conflict-of-law question concerning application of Idaho law, the law of the plaintiffs’ residence and the place where the accident occurred, or Iowa law, the law of the place where the principal defendant had its principal place of business and where it designed and manufactured an allegedly defective mechanism for a “slide out” room on a recreational vehicle; plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend complaint: motion for leave to amend complaint to add prayer for punitive damages was intertwined with motion for partial summary judgment on choice of law, where one forum’s law would bar the amendment and the other forum’s law would not)11/02/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Arturo Ruiz-Ahumada (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) that his plea was the product of coercion and therefore, not entered into voluntarily; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, the defendant’s own statements during the plea hearing demonstrate he pled guilty knowingly and voluntarily; defendant also filed separately a pro se Motion to Amend and a pro se Motion to Supplement; both motions are denied as untimely, as they do not relate back to his original § 2255 petition.)10/24/2006Mark W. Bennett
Dr. John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; plaintiff’s motion to reconsider ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment; whether plaintiff conceded that only “rational basis” scrutiny applies to non-media provisions of subject ordinances and whether ruling on “civil disability” provisions was without benefit of the plaintiff’s response and based only on dicta in a Supreme Court decision)10/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Perez-Sanchez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on the following grounds: (1) a “Booker error,” based on the defendant’s contention that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes; (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841 to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity and role determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); and (3) failure of appellate counsel to argue that the defendant’s rights under the Vienna Convention were violated during his plea hearing on appeal; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, neither trial counsel’s nor appellate counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )10/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
Saeemodarae v. Mercy Health Services -- Iowa Corp., d/b/a Mercy Medical Center (Former employee, a practicing Wiccan, asserted race discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and state law against a medical center that claims to have a Roman Catholic identity; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: scope of “religious organization” exemption from claims of religious discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1(a); whether the court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction to interpret, as a matter of first impression, the scope of the exemption from religious discrimination and retaliation claims for “bona fide religious institutions” under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code § 216.6(6)(b))10/06/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Juan Carlos Vazquez-Munoz (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting three allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted his counsel was ineffective in (1) failing to file an appeal after being expressly directed to do so by the defendant; (2) failing to file an appeal without obtaining the defendant’s consent; and (3) failing to object to the PSIR regarding the defendant’s role in the offense; motion denied in its entirety; defendant did not expressly direct his attorney to file an appeal and he could neither prove breach of duty nor prejudice on either of his remaining claims.)09/28/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Hernandez (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that he was sentenced under the mandatory Guidelines regime, which impermissibly allowed a judge, as opposed to the jury, to adjust the sentencing range based on a preponderance of the evidence, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to anticipate Booker, in light of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), which had been decided at the time of the defendant’s sentencing; motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant. )09/25/2006Mark W. Bennett
Jordan v. Carr -- Findings of Face, Conclusions of Law, and Order on bench trial in case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983. Jordan, a Muslim, alleged jail official violated his First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by failing to allow him to attend both Christian and Muslim services within the jail. Court found Joran failed to establish the defendant's actions substantially burdened his sincerely held religious beliefs, or that Jordan's rights were violated. Judgment for defendant.09/22/2006Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Renee Carlson (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255; specifically, the defendant asserted that (1) her plea was the product of coercion, (2) she was forced to incriminate herself, presumably by admitting to her involvement in the conspiracy during her plea hearing, (3) the government failed to disclose the evidence against her because she never personally viewed the evidence; additionally, the defendant contends her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea, (2) failing to ensure she was read her Miranda rights, and (3) failing to inform her of her right to appeal; motion denied in its entirety; defendant was not entitled to relief on any of the alleged grounds.)09/11/2006Mark W. Bennett
Alice McCabe and Christine Nelson v. Bruce Macaulay, Michael Parker, Holly Michael, The Iowa State Patrol, Troy Bailey, Rick Busch and Linn County, Iowa; Order granting plaintiff's Rule 56(f) motion in part, granting defendants' motion for summary judgment in part, including Westfall certification, and denying as moot defendants' motion for protective order09/01/2006Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Hernandez : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: alleged “Booker error,” and allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before, during, and after trial, including (1) failure to assert “Apprendi claim”; (2) failure to investigate the facts of the case, including facts that would have provided the basis to challenge the credibility of the government’s witnesses and the falsehoods in their trial testimony; (3) failure to challenge, at trial and on appeal, sentencing enhancements for obstruction of justice, possession of a firearm, and drug quantity, and (4) failure to assert that the evidence showed multiple conspiracies instead of the single conspiracy with which Hernandez was charged, supplemented at evidentiary hearing to include (5) failure of trial counsel to advise him adequately of the law applicable to his consideration of whether to go to trial, plead guilty; determination of whether resentencing was appropriate relief on the last claim)08/30/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Jeffrey Determan (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on one ground: that he received an illegal sentence based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence.) 08/18/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Roberto Alvarez-Delgadillo (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting relief on two grounds; specifically, the defendant asserted (1) an error based on United States v. Booker, 125 S. Ct. 738 (2005), on the grounds that a jury, not the sentencing judge, should have determined the amount of drug quantity attributed to him for sentencing purposes, and (2) a somewhat related claim of ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to challenge the constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)(A) and (B) to the extent that those provisions permitted the court to make drug quantity determinations in violation of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000); motion denied in its entirety; first, defendant’s case was not pending when Booker was decided, and thus Booker’s holdings are an inapplicable basis to attack his sentence; second, counsel’s performance was not deficient on the grounds alleged by the defendant.)08/14/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Pinkerton (Federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 asserting two allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel; specifically, the defendant asserted her counsel was ineffective in (1) preparing her for her guilty plea and (2) in representing to the prosecutor that the defendant was dishonest in her debriefings; motion denied in its entirety; defendant could neither prove breach of duty or prejudice on either claim.)08/11/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Robert Lee Kriens (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal, including failure to investigate and present evidence that would purportedly prove that the defendant’s prior conviction for attempted burglary under Iowa law was not a “violent felony” for purposes of the armed career criminal enhanced mandatory minimum sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)).07/25/2006Mark W. Bennett
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City (Challenge to city’s various amended zoning and licensing ordinances regulating “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment, motion to reconsider in part the previous summary judgment ruling, and motion to bifurcate trial: constitutionality and applicability of “media” and “non-media” portions of the first round of amendments and damages arising from enforcement of those amendments; bifurcation of trial on “constitutionality” and “damages” questions; and constitutionality of “adult bookstore or adult video store,” “sexual device shop,” and licensing “civil disability” provisions of the second round of amendments)07/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Lori Clare Kavitz : (federal prisoner’s motion to set aside sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255: ten allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel before and during sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement, including challenge to voluntariness of guilty plea and request to reopen Apprendi claim, which had been dismissed on initial review, in light of Blakely).07/17/2006Mark W. Bennett
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; concluding that when defendants joined the alleged conspiracy they purposefully availed themselves of the privileges of conducting activities in Iowa, the forum state; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)06/26/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to reconsider ruling on motion to dismiss to consider alternative motion to stay and plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint: motion to amend should be addressed before motion to reconsider, because it might, and in this case did, moot portions of the motion to reconsider; standards for reconsideration of an interlocutory order and standards for a stay of proceedings: claims of amended complaint that required determination of issue of whether the plaintiff was infringing the defendants’ Canadian patent were stayed pending determination of infringement issue by Canadian court).06/21/2006Mark W. Bennett
International Motor Contest Association, Inc. v. Staley, et al. (copyright litigation between sponsors of automobile racing involving copyrights on plaintiff’s contest rules; plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ counterclaims and to strike defendants’ affirmative defenses of “copyright misuse” and “unclean hands” under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and because they are legally insufficient)06/19/2006Mark W. Bennett
Goss International Corporation v. Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho, Ltd. and TKS, Inc.; Order granting in part Goss's motion for preliminary injunction06/15/2006Linda R. Reade
Conrad v. Iowa Central Community College & Robert Paxton (Suit by former employee against the place of her employment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Iowa law; defendants’ motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss; plaintiff did not resist defendants’ motion for summary judgment in regard to her First Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; with respect to defendants’ motion to dismiss, analysis of whether, with the elimination of § 1983 claim, the court should decline to exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining state law claims)06/01/2006Mark W. Bennett
Laffey v. Burt (Habeas petition by state prisoner; petitioner’s objections to report and recommendation on the merits of the petition: alleged insufficiency of the evidence of sexual abuse of children under twelve in violation of due process; alleged Eighth Amendment violation asserting disproportionality between the offenses and two consecutive twenty-five year sentences imposed for them)05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Ideal Instruments, Inc. v. Rivard Instruments, Inc. & Meril Rivard (Suit involving claims of infringement by the defendants of the plaintiff’s United States patent, non-infringement by the plaintiff of the defendants’ Canadian patent, and various commercial torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss: individual defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted, and forum non conveniens, and to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process; corporate defendant’s joinder in motion to dismiss foreign patent claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, international comity, and abuse of process, and to dismiss commercial tort claims for forum non conveniens and failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted; plaintiff’s motion for default judgment against corporate defendant on unchallenged claim of infringement of United States patent).05/08/2006Mark W. Bennett
Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc. v. Thomas J. Vilsack, et al; Hawkeye Commodity Promotions, Inc., filed an official capacity suit against Iowa Attorney General Miller and the Commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety in response to the enactment of Senate File 2330, which effectively bans the use of TouchPlay lottery machines in Iowa on May 3, 2006 at 11:59 p.m.; plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctions and a declaratory judgment that the law is unconstitutional because plaintiff owns 724 TouchPlay machines; Court finds that the state law is not a violation of the Contract Clause, the Takings Clause, the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause of the Federal Constitution04/26/2006Linda R. Reade
Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. v. Tanager Place and Tanager, Inc., Counterclaim Plaintiff v. Iowa Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., Counterclaim Defendant; Tanager Place, Third-Party Plaintiff, vs. Sylvia Piper, Third-Party Defendant; Order regarding federal supplemental jurisdiction12/13/2005Linda R. Reade
Attorney's Process and Investigation Services, Inc. v. Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin an action pending in the Court of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; defendant previously brought a suit in that court against plaintiff alleging various torts; plaintiff alleged the tribal court did not have jurisdiction over it because it is a non-Indian; plaintiff further alleged it would be irreparably harmed if the tribal court action were to proceed because the tribal court is biased, it would not be allowed to assert a counterclaim against the Tribe, and the 2003 contract it entered into with the Tribe contains an arbitration clause; Court found it did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit; court denied plaintiff's claim that exhaustion of tribal court remedies would be futile and stayed the federal action pending the exhaustion of tribal remedies; court determined the tribal court must, in the first instance, determine the extent of its own jurisdiction 11/15/2005Linda R. Reade
GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's application for attorneys fees10/06/2005Linda R. Reade
Doctor John's, Inc. v. City of Sioux City, et al. (Challenge to city’s superseded amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; cross-motions for summary judgment: mootness and plaintiff’s standing to challenge superseded ordinances; unconstitutionality of superseded ordinances under the First Amendment, to the extent that they regulated “adult media”; fact questions on extent of adult entertainment business’s stock of “sex toys,” precluding determination of constitutional protection of sale of such items under “substantive due process” right to “privacy”)09/28/2005Mark W. Bennett
Remmes v. International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., et al. (Diversity products liability action; motions to dismiss for failure to plead fraud with particularity and for lack of personal jurisdiction; fraudulent concealment claim not plead with requisite particularity where; plaintiff granted leave to replead fraud based claims; finding that Iowa Supreme Court would recognize civil conspiracy as a basis to support the exercise of in personam jurisdiction under Iowa’s long-arm statute; that plaintiff successfully made out a prima facie case which would support application of the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction; court concludes that it has personal jurisdiction over defendants)09/16/2005Mark W. Bennett
White v. Kautzky, et al. (Prisoner’s § 1983 action for denial of access to the courts; review of magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on the merits: legal assistance system at the prison, which precluded all legal research on the inmate’s improper extradition claim, even where such legal research would have been reasonably necessary, in the exercise of a legal advisor’s reasonable professional judgment, to provide reasonably competent legal advice on the merits of the inmate’s claim, violated the inmate’s right of access to the courts, and the inmate suffered “actual injury,” because the legal assistance system itself so stymied his ability to obtain adequate legal advice that he could not file any claim based on improper extradition; appropriate remedy, where the statute of limitations on any claim had expired, was nominal damages and declaratory relief)09/08/2005Mark W. Bennett
GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation v. Rohr-Tippe Motors, Inc., et al.; Order on plaintiff's motion for remand09/06/2005Linda R. Reade
United States v. B.H.; After the defendant was committed under Iowa law to outpatient care and subsequently released, he sought to repossess firearms seized prior to his commitment. The state argued he was not entitled to the return of his firearms under state and federal law; the state court judge ruled against the state and ordered the firearms to be returned to the defendant. The US Attorney's Office subsequently filed a declaratory judgment action asking this court to declare the firearms contraband as to the defendant due to his prior commitment. The court held the US Attorney's Office was virtually represented by the state in the prior proceeding and thus was precluded from pursuing the civil action in this court.07/07/2005Linda R. Reade
Pro Edge L.P. et al v. Charles S. Gue, III (Motion to amend and/or reconsider preliminary injunction order filed June 1, 2005; motion challenged holding that following corporate reorganizaiton, Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement (“1996 Agreement”) containing the non-compete clause and could enforce it against defendant; on reconsideration court held that: (1) reasonable inference arose from exhibits admitted at preliminary injunction hearing that defendant executed the Stock Purchase Agreement; (2) termination provisions in paragraphs 7.1 and 7.2(b) did not foreclose transfer or assignment of the 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P. prior to the closing date; (3) representative appointed by virtue of defendant’s execution of the Stock Purchase Agreement was vested with the authority to consent to assignment of the 1996 Agreement; and (4) reasonable inference drawn from evidence presented was that representative did consent to assignment and/or transfer of 1996 Agreement to Pro Edge, L.P.; motion to reconsider denied.)07/05/2005Mark W. Bennett
Cooperative Elevator Association v. General Railway Corporation -- Order reinstating entry of default against defendant, and Report and Recommendation on plaintiff's motion for default judgment. Plaintiff sought equitable relief to prevent defendant from committing further waste of rail line pending proper application to and authorization from Surface Transportation Board to abandon the line. Court found subject matter jurisdiction exists in federal court over plaintiff's equitable claim, and recommended entry of injuction against defendant.06/30/2005Paul A. Zoss
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order on defendant’s motion to exclude hearsay testimony during “penalty phase” on confrontation clause, due process clause, and statutory grounds) 06/06/2005Mark W. Bennett
Pro Edge, L.P., et al. v. Gue, et al. (Plaintiffs, shortly following removal from state court, filed motion to extend temporary restraining order issued by state court and for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from engaging in competing activities in Belgrade, Montana area in violation of employment agreement, which contained a non-compete clause, signed by individual defendant while employed with plaintiffs; defendants resisted and filed a motion to dismiss; day long preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing held; court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendant corporation, which was incorporated and had principal place of business in Montana, and had no contacts with Iowa; court had specific personal jurisdiction over individual defendant where that defendant executed the employment agreement in Iowa in 1996, remained in Iowa for a year and a half following execution of employment agreement, remained an employee of Iowa plaintiffs even after relocating to Montana, defendant’s direct supervisor was always in Iowa up until his separation with plaintiffs on April 8, 2005, defendant maintained contact with Iowa main office on weekly basis, defendant received paycheck from Iowa bank account, employment agreement contained an Iowa choice of law clause, and defendant maintained ownership stake, in the form of partnership units, in Pro Edge, L.P.; examining the case under Restatement (Second) Conflict of Laws § 187(2)(b), court found that § 188 factors amounted to a “tie” and deferred to the parties expression of Iowa choice of law in the employment agreement; non-compete clause of employment agreement reasonable and enforceable under Iowa law; as corporation is entitled to use fictitious name in making contracts, fact that plaintiff’s predecessor used fictitious name in signing employment contract with individual defendant did not make contract unenforceable; after examining corporate reorganization of plaintiffs, court held that Pro Edge, L.P. properly held the employment agreement and could enforce it against individual defendant; on balancing of the Dataphase factors, the court found the factors weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction; preliminary injunction would issue following plaintiffs posting of a bond in the amount of $30,000.00; venue was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a); court would not dismiss for forum non conveniens; defendants’ motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part; plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction granted.)06/01/2005Mark W. Bennett
Buenting v. Riley, et al. (Civil Rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; plaintiff’s claims that his constitutional rights were violated by continued harassing conduct by a police officer and the failure of the chief of police to curtail the alleged harassing conduct; the court concludes that defendant police officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot when he stopped plaintiff on one occasion; the court also concludes that plaintiff was not seized by defendant police officer when police officer pulled up in front of plaintiff’s father’s house and warned plaintiff that the tint on the windshield of plaintiff’s vehicle was too dark; the court finds there has been a showing that defendant police officer violated plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights by pulling plaintiff over without reasonable suspicion; the court also concludes that defendant police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity as a defense to plaintiff’s claim; the court further concludes that defendant police officer’s conduct does not sufficiently shock the conscience so as to violate substantive due process; the court also concludes that plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendant police chief was deliberately indifferent to the rights of citizens who came into contact with defendant police officer or tacitly authorized the offending acts; finally, the court concludes because the record is sufficient to establish a § 1983 claim against defendant police officer, the defendant city is not entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.)05/13/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s renewed motion to strike death penalty where government is no longer asserting guilt as a “principal”)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order granting in part and denying in part defendant’s motion to exclude evidence and argument that she acted as a “principal” in the alleged killings)05/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to charge offenses owing to omission of “substantive connection” between killings and drug conspiracy or CCE)04/11/2005Mark W. Bennett
CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., James Howard, Troy Shaver, Larry Uland, Shane Vanden Heuvel, Robert L. Simpson, II, and Keith P. Bell; Defendant J.B. Hunt moves the court to dismiss the case pursuant to the first-filed rule, transfer it for consolidation with pending litigation between CRST and J.B. Hunt in the Western District of Oklahoma, abstain from exercising jurisdiction in favor of an Arkansas state action between CRST and J.B. Hunt, or stay it pending a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit between CRST and another trucking competitor. The court denies the motion on all grounds.03/31/2005Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); pretrial ruling on the proper degree of case-specific questioning, if any, that is permissible in the course of life- or death-qualifying prospective jurors)03/31/2005Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order regarding intention of defendant, who had given notice of intent to rely on mental condition evidence in the "penalty phase," to assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to questions about her involvement in the charged murders during mental examinations by government mental health experts) 03/17/2005Mark W. Bennett
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Midwest Regional Director and Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Aurene M. Martin, First Assistant and Principal Advisor; motion to dismiss filed by current election board; case dismissed because the motion to dismiss raises intra-tribal disputes regarding (1) any election board's authority under the Tribe's Constitution to file a lawsuit in federal court and, if so, (2) which election board is the proper plaintiff in this suit 03/02/2005Linda R. Reade
Willis v. Smith, et al (Report and recommendation on the merits in this action under 42 USC s. 1983, brought by a patient confined in a mental health facility under Iowa's sexually violent predator statute. The plaintiff complained his constitutional rights were violated when a package addressed to him, containing a book, was opened outside his presence, and when the defendants decided to withhold the book from him. The book in question, published by an anti-polygraph organization, argues against the validity of polygraph examinations and contains a discussion of countermeasures. The defendants, who use polygraph examiantions extensively in treating patients, found some of the book's contents to be counter-therapeutic, and also objected to the plaintiff's receipt of any information from this publisher. The court found the defendants violated the plaintiff's rights in opening the package outside his presence, but ordered no relief because the plaintiff sought only injunctive relief and the institution had already changed its policy to provide that all packages would be opened in the recipients' presence. The court found it was a violation of the plaintiff's rights to withhold the entire book, and also to make a decision based on the source of the information rather than on its content. The court also found the defendants' current mail and grievance policies and procedures are constitutional, and the defendants are entitled to evaluate whether written materials may enter the unit on the basis of the defendants' reasoned, professional judgment.)02/28/2005Paul A. Zoss
Cook v. Electrolux (Prior court order confirmed arbitration award awarding grievant (here plaintiff) reinstatement and backpay in dispute between defendant and representative union; plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of the FMLA and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (“IWPCL”); defendant filed motion for summary judgment contending prior court order precluded the plaintiff’s claims on res judicata grounds; plaintiff filed cross-motion for summary judgment contending arbitration decision collaterally estopped defendant from asserting that it had not violated the FMLA in terminating her employment; defendant filed second motion for partial summary judgment on IWPCL claim; court held prior court order confirming arbitration award was not accorded a claim or issue preclusive effect under Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 94 S. Ct. 1011, 39 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1974), and its progeny, and therefore denied the cross-motions for summary judgment as to the FMLA claim; defendant’s partial motion for summary judgment as to IWPCL claim granted as a backpay award was not “wages” as defined by the IWPCL.) 01/26/2005Mark W. Bennett
Storm, et al. v. Van Beek, et al. (Diversity action for breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts; defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(7) for failure to name indispensable party and pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, both premised on failure to name a defunct partnership as a party before suing the partners who continued the business of the partnership)09/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s request for “residual doubt” instruction in “penalty phase”)09/01/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the government’s motion to have the defendant wear shackles at trial)07/21/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on the parties’ second round of pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence) 07/16/2004Mark W. Bennett
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Election Board v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss; analysis of whether plaintiff established standing and jurisdiction06/10/2004Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on government’s pre-trial motions regarding admissibility of evidence)06/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
Brent Kreinbring v. Alternative Claims Services, Inc., Gary Hoffman and Tony Polk; motion to remand; case remanded to state court because notice of removal was not filed within 30 days of: (1) the date defendants were served with the complaint; or (2) the date from which defendants could reasonably ascertain the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.0005/27/2004Linda R. Reade
In the Matter of American Commercial Lines LLC as the Owner and American Commercial Barge Line LLC as Operator, of the Barge “PV548B”, in a case for exoneration from and/or limitation of liability; motion for entry of injunction and notice to claimants; shipowner’s liability limited pursuant to the Limitation of Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. App. § 181.) 05/26/2004Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order denying motion to reconsider order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)05/14/2004Mark W. Bennett
Cedar Rapids Zen Center, Inc. and Zuiko Redding v. City of Cedar Rapids; Order on motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether Plaintiffs’ claims are ripe04/23/2004Linda R. Reade
Sherman, et al. v. Kasotakis d/b/a The Horizsons Family Restaurant (Race discrimination in a public accommodation case under § 1981, § 2000a, and Iowa Code § 217.6; jury verdict for each of the four individual plaintiffs in the amount of $1.00 in nominal damages and $12,500.00 in punitive damages; defendant’s motion for partial judgment as a matter of law, partial new trial or remittitur as to punitive damages award; plaintiffs’ motion to amend the judgment to include injunctive relief and application for attorney’s fees; failure to renew motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all the evidence or object in any way to jury instructions constituted waiver; under plain error analysis evidence supported holding employer liable for offending actions of employee where offending employee’s actions were ratified or approved of by supervising night manager; under plain error analysis jury instructions on punitive damages conformed to the law and adequately conveyed the rights and burdens of the respective parties; partial motion for judgment as a matter of law denied; partial motion for new trial on the issue of the constitutionality of the punitive damages award; application of the factors enumerated in BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559, 116 S. Ct. 1589, 134 L. Ed. 2d 908 (1996) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell, 538 U.S. 408, 123 S. Ct. 1513, 155 L. Ed. 2d 585 (2003); conduct in the upper echelon of reprehensibility; ratio not as important in civil rights cases where only nominal and punitive damages are awarded—reducing ratio to single digit multiplier in this instance would eviscerate the intent behind punitive damages; predictably, no similar civil penalties—which is precisely the reason for the creation of federal civil rights law; punitive damages award under the particular facts and circumstances was reasonable; motion for partial new trial denied; remittitur not warranted as the differential between nominal and punitive damages was neither monstrous nor shocking to the conscience; plaintiffs’ motion to amend judgment granted; equitable relief ordered included two-year injunction, posting of notice, dissemination of anti-discrimination in a public accommodation policy, and maintenance of records; application for attorney’s fees granted with some modification to the claimed rates and reasonable hours; attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19,692.46.04/19/2004Mark W. Bennett
Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor v. Michael Sauve, Kathleen Sauve, and the Distribution Contractors, Inc., 401(K) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan; Order on motion for default judgment; analysis of whether plan trustees violated fiduciary duties03/16/2004Linda R. Reade
Trustees of the Five River Carpenters District Council Health and Welfare Fund and Trustees of the Five River Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee Fund v. Steiner Construction, Inc.; Order on motion for default judgment; defendant failed to make contributions to ERISA funds; award of delinquent contributions, liquidated damages, interest, attorney’s fees and costs03/16/2004Linda R. Reade
Doctor John's v. City of Sioux City, et al.(Challenge to city’s newly amended zoning ordinances regulating the location of “adult entertainment businesses”; putative adult entertainment business’s motion for preliminary injunction: Dataphase standards for a preliminary injunction; plaintiff’s likelihood of showing constitutional invalidity of a municipal zoning ordinance regulating adult entertainment businesses under the test in City of Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc., 475 U.S. 41 (1986), threat of irreparable harm to First Amendment rights from potentially defective ordinance, balance of harms, and public interest in protection of First Amendment rights; scope of injunction necessary to address constitutional defect; bond requirement under Rule 65(c) and grounds for waiver; and preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of city’s newly amended ordinances)02/26/2004Mark W. Bennett
Knutson v. AG Processing (Judgment of this court on ordered reinstatement, back pay, attorney’s fees and damages to plaintiff; on appeal to Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; plaintiff moved to compel reinstatement or in the alternative front pay; defendant subsequently moved to stay execution of judgment; monetary judgment stayed pending posting of supersedeas bond in amount agreed to by the parties; reinstatement of plaintiff to former position did not result in irreparable harm to defendant; balancing of equities favored denying motion to stay execution of the order of reinstatement; even when matter is on appeal the court retains authority to enforce its original judgment; plaintiff’s motion for reinstatement granted; interim pay from the time of original judgment until the earlier of the plaintiff’s reinstatement or decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered, but stayed pending posting of an additional supersedeas bond by defendant; as front pay was a key issue on appeal, court likely without jurisdiction to alter its original ruling denying front pay; defendant subject to civil contempt proceedings if it fails to obtain a stay from Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of this court’s order of reinstatement and does not reinstate plaintiff.) 02/13/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken : (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for anonymous jury and determining degree of “anonymity”)01/29/2004Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken(death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order closing hearing on government’s motion for anonymous jury)01/07/2004Mark W. Bennett
Thompson, et al. v. United Transportation Union; Order on motion for remand; plaintiffs' state law claims are not preempted by the Railway Labor Act because they do not require interpretation of any collective bargaining agreement; matter remanded to state court12/03/2003Linda R. Reade
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); order for hearing and briefing on government’s motion for anonymous jury, including whether the hearing should be closed and the appropriate degree of “anonymity” for the jury)11/26/2003Mark W. Bennett
Scheckel v. Iowa Dept. of Revenue and Finance, et al.; Order on motion to dismiss lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon Eleventh Amendment immunity, the Tax Injunction Act and principles of comity11/24/2003Linda R. Reade
Kenyon v. State of Ia. & Honorable Gary Wenell (Public employee’s suit for wrongful discharge against State of Iowa and state court judge; defendants’ motion to dismiss: Eleventh Amendment immunity of the State and a state official to suit, including whether 42 U.S.C. § 1983 abrogates such immunity, whether the Iowa Tort Claims Act waives immunity to suit in federal court, the extent of immunity for a state official in his official and individual capacities, and the presumption of official capacity where no capacity is pleaded; whether other officials who voted on the public employee’s termination are indispensable parties to the suit)09/30/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Dustin Honken (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to dismiss capital counts on former jeopardy grounds)07/21/2003Mark W. Bennett
Lyons v. Midwest Glazing, d/b/a Eddy's Glass & Door (Bench trial on the merits; plaintiff was third-party beneficiary to contract selling business, sales agreement provided plaintiff "for cause" job protection; defendant terminated plaintiff for abusing company’s paid time off policy and for being poor influence on workforce’s morale; plaintiff alleged breach; court found defendant’s reasons for terminating the plaintiff were bona fide reasons and were cause for termination; defendant also counter-claimed for tortious interference with contractual relationships and breach of fiduciary duty; court found that, by failing to identify counter-claims and bases thereof in final pre-trial order, the counter-claims were waived.)06/06/2003Mark W. Bennett
Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corporation v. Pay Load, Inc. (Diversity tort action; motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); analysis of corporation's principal place of business for purposes of ascertaining the existence or lack of federal diversity jurisdiction.04/29/2003Mark W. Bennett
Schultzen v. Woodbury Central Comm. School District, et al. (Claims against defendant Bumsted in individual and official capacities under Title IX, section 1983, and Iowa Code Chapter 216: plaintiff was a student at Woodbury Central High School and suspended from participation in extra curricular activities after defendant reported, to school administration, plaintiff’s smoking in violation of the school district’s Good Conduct Code; defendant Bumsted moved for summary judgment on grounds that he (a) could not be liable in his individual capacity under Title IX, (b) could not be liable under section 1983 based on a violation of Title IX, (c) was not acting under color of state law or deprived plaintiff of her rights pursuant to section 1983, (d) was entitled to qualified immunity, and (e) was not liable under Iowa Code Chapter 216 because the plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination against him.)02/19/2003Mark W. Bennett
U.S. v. Angela Johnson (death-penalty prosecution pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)(1)(A); ruling on defendant’s motion to declare death-penalty provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 848 unconstitutional)01/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
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