Decisions
This section of the Web Site contains opinions selected by individual Judges for posting and is not intended to constitute a complete set of opinions for the district or any Judge. The decisions are organized by categories listed on the lower left portion of this page. If you would like to do a word search of the entire database or individual categories you may do so by clicking on the search button below.


CategoryCase NameDate Filed
Show details for B - BankruptcyB - Bankruptcy
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Goodman v. Performance Contractors, Inc.(The plaintiff brought a defamation claim against a former co-worker for statements made only to their former employer; co-worker’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the ground that there was no “publication” of the allegedly defamatory statements: The question of whether a statement of a co-worker only to the employer is “published” for purposes of a defamation claim is either settled against the co-worker by a decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals or, at the very least, remains an unsettled question of Iowa law, because the Iowa Supreme Court has not addressed it, so that the co-worker was not entitled to dismissal for failure to assert a cognizable claim of defamation based on lack of publication; the plaintiff alleged defamation per se, so that he was not required to prove, or to plead a plausible factual basis for, damages, falsity, and malice.) 04/11/2018Mark W. Bennett
Opheim v. Standard Insurance Co. (Opinion on the merits in ERISA case involving claim by decedent’s husband for denial of life insurance benefits and the insurer’s third-party claim for a constructive trust against the decedent’s father to whom the insurer had paid the disputed benefits, if the court determined that the payment to the father was erroneous: The insurer’s denial of benefits to the decedent’s husband was an abuse of discretion and contrary to the “plan documents rule,” where the insurer paid the husband the benefits, demanded them back, then paid them to the decedent’s father, then refused to pay them to the husband pursuant to a later-discovered designation naming the husband as the beneficiary, which had been properly submitted to the decedent’s employer, but was not found in the insurer’s file; the insurer’s claim for a constructive trust was not a claim for equitable relief authorized by ERISA, because it did not seek a constructive trust over particular funds in the father’s possession, just the legal relief of recovery of funds from the father personally or his general assets)01/09/2018Mark W. Bennett
Roeder v. DIRECTV, et al. -- Memorandum opinion and order on cross motions for summary judgment. Court concluded there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether plaintiffs were independent contractors or employees of DIRECTV subject to the overtime requirements of the FLSA. Court also found that neither side had established they were entitled to judgment on application or non-application of the 7(i) exemption of the FLSA.01/13/2017Leonard T. Strand
Lequita Ennard v Transamerica Corporation10/28/2016Edward J McManus
Grim v. Centrum Valley Farms, LLP (Action by laborer for egg producer alleging, inter alia, constructive discharge in violation of Iowa public policy, in retaliation for his claim for workers compensation benefits, by his employer’s failure to accommodate his work restrictions, and by his employer’s failure to pay overtime wages as required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); defendant’s motion to dismiss the constructive discharge claims: whether failure to accommodate will support a claim of constructive discharge in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim; whether a retaliation/constructive discharge claim can be based on nothing more a statutory violation of failure to pay overtime wages)03/18/2016Mark W. Bennett
Newkirk v. GKN Armstrong Wheels, Inc. & John Does (Employment case, motion for partial summary judgment concerning civil rights violations Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and pendent state law claims for breach of contract, wrongful termination, defamation, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress; analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 concerning whether plaintiff sufficiently pled claim for civil rights violation under VII for reverse race discrimination; and analyzing whether plaintiff’s pendent state law claims fail as a matter of law.) 03/09/2016Mark W. Bennett
Christensen v. Cargill, Inc. & Mark Struve (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer and co-employee alleging she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendants’ motion for partial dismissal to dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether claims that arose four years before the filing of an administrative charge are timely; whether the "harassment" employee suffered was based on her gender; whether plaintiff adequately plead facts showing that she suffered an adverse employment action for which her employee defendant was responsible; and, whether plaintiff adequately pleaded that employee defendant knew about her protected activity.)09/30/2015Mark W. Bennett
Platts v. Kelly Services, Inc. (Action by employee of temporary employment service and “client” for whom the employee worked alleging disability discrimination under ICRA: defendants’ motions for summary judgment and to strike errata from plaintiff’s deposition: whether the plaintiff’s “errata” were unauthorized or permissible substantive changes to deposition testimony under Rule 30(e); whether the plaintiff’s “public policy” claim was preempted by the ICRA; whether the “client” of the temporary employment service could be held liable for alleged disability discrimination; and whether the plaintiff had generated genuine issues of material fact on his ICRA disability discrimination claim) 05/26/2015Mark W. Bennett
Whitney v. Franklin General Hospital, et a (Action by medical records clerk arising from sexual harassment by the medical director of a hospital, including sexual harassment, retaliation, disability, and FMLA claims: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: timeliness of the sexual harassment claims, sufficiency of the evidence of violations of the ICRA, Title VII, the ADA, and the FMLA, whether two entities providing management services to the hospital could be held liable where they were not the plaintiff’s employer, and individual liability of the chief executive officer of the hospital; plaintiff’s motion to amend her complaint to add “whistleblower” and “discharge in violation of public policy” claims: timeliness and diligence of the plaintiff in seeking leave to amend)l 04/21/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; ruling on unsealing the ruling on the parties’ motions in limine.)04/06/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; parties’ motions in limine, redacted public version.)03/17/2015Mark W. Bennett
Scott v. City of Sioux City, Iowa & Paul Eckert (Action by a long-time city employee asserting claims, pursuant to Title VII and ICRA that, over a period of almost nine years, she was retaliated against by the city and the former city manager for her 2004 complaint that the city manager sexually harassed her from 2000 to 2004; defendant city’s motion for summary judgment: application of Morgan to an alleged “continuing violation” retaliation claim, availability of a “retaliatory hostile work environment” claim, and existence of a jury question on timely incidents of alleged retaliation; defendant city’s motion to exclude testimony from two experts: damages expert’s calculations of damages based on untimely incidents of alleged retaliation and non-treating psychologist’s opinions that the plaintiff’s behavior was consistent with that of sexual harassment victims and that it was “reasonable” “[f]rom a psychological perspective,” and that the city’s anti-harassment policy, procedures, and investigations were deficient for various reasons, where no “sexual harassment” claim was asserted) 12/22/2014Mark W. Bennett
Pick v. City of Remsen (former long-time operations director of the utilities department of a city brought numerous claims against the city and various city officials arising from or related to his termination when his position was ostensibly “eliminated” by the city’s utilities board; former employee’s motion in limine: exclusion of evidence of IPERS benefits on the condition that the former employee excluded from any claim for back pay any unpaid contributions to IPERS that the city had not paid since his discharge; the city’s motion in limine: evidence of settlement discussions, evidence of liability insurance, evidence of a “tire-slashing” incident, testimony from law enforcement officers, evidence supporting “due process” claims no longer at issue, and evidence that there was no “going away” party for the former employee)09/02/2014Mark W. Bennett
Pick v. City of Remsen, et al. (Employment discrimination case, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether defendants’ alleged statements constituted defamation; analyzing whether defendants violated plaintiff’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by searching plaintiff’s public office for a trail camera and then seizing that trail camera without a search warrant; review of whether plaintiff’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claims were preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act to the extent plaintiff relies on the same discriminatory acts alleged in support of his claims of unlawful discrimination under that act; determination of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants’ stated reason for eliminating his position was pretextual so as to preclude summary judgment on plaintiff’s Pick’s disability discrimination claim; analysis of whether plaintiff had established a prima facie case of age discrimination; granting summary judgment on plaintiff’s withdrawn claim of gender discrimination; and determining whether plaintiff could establish the causation element of his disability retaliation and First Amendment retaliation claims.) 08/27/2014Mark W. Bennett
Nick Harvey, et al. v. AB Electrolux, et al. (Employment law, motions for partial summary judgment; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate them for the time to don personal protective equipment (“PPE”), walking to their work stations after donning PPE and the time spent washing PPE violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FSLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 203(o) and the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law (“IWPCL”), Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning of workers’ PPE is “changing clothes” under the FLSA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for time spent walking to their work stations after donning their PPE is compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act, 29 U.S.C. § 254; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims for the time they spent washing their gloves and arm guards at home is compensable under the FSLA; analysis of whether plaintiffs’ claims were viable under the IWPCL.) 03/28/2014Mark W. Bennett
Whitney v. Franklin General Hospital, et al. (Action by medical records clerk arising from sexual harassment by the medical director; defendants’ motion to dismiss state and federal discrimination claims for lack of administrative exhaustion against unnamed, but purportedly related entities; sufficiency of the pleading of FMLA claims of “interference/entitlement,” “retaliation,” and “discrimination”)02/03/2014Mark W. Bennett
Bonnie & Lyle Cole as next friends of P.C., a minor v. Trinity Health Corporation (ERISA case, motion for summary judgment; analyzing whether defendant employer’s failure to give former plaintiff employee timely notice of her COBRA right to elect continued health insurance as required by 29 U.S.C. § 1166(a)(4) warranted a statutory penalty for its notice violation where plaintiff’s alleged damages were of considerably less value than the free health care insurance coverage she received over an extended period as a result of the notice mistake.)01/21/2014Mark W. Bennett
International Bortherhood of Electrical Workers, et al v. Pottebams Service Electric, LLC, et al (Action involving claims for unpaid ERISA contributions and damages and unpaid union wages pursuant to the LMRA, based on successor or alter ego liability; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment: genuine issues of material fact on successor or alter ego liability) 11/06/2013Mark W. Bennett
Robertson v. Siouxland Community Health Center & Michelle Stephan (Action by female former human resources director for a medical practice alleging that the medical practice and its female chief executive officer discriminated and harassed her because of her sex and/or her sexual orientation, retaliated against her for complaining about a sexually hostile work environment, and discriminated against her because of her age in violation of federal and state law: defendants’ motion to dismiss: lack of Title VII protection for sexual orientation; failure to exhaust administrative remedies for claims based on sex; failure to state a claim of harassment based on sex, rather than based exclusively on sexual orientation; and failure to state a retaliation claim where the plaintiff failed to state a claim of sex harassment)04/10/2013Mark W. Bennett
Gilster v. Primebank & Joseph Strub (Considering parties’ post-trial motions following jury verdict in favor of plaintiff on sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII and Iowa Civil Rights Act: defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law, new trial, or remittitur; plaintiff’s motion for front pay and equitable relief; plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and costs)08/14/2012Mark W. Bennett
Todd Johnson v. Dollar General, et al (Action by former employee of retail store chain asserting state-law claims of retaliation for processing workers compensation claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress and a federal claim of violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2612–2615, arising from the termination of his employment, and a claim pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, to recover a quarterly bonus allegedly due him at the time his employment ended; defendants’ for summary judgment: FMLA “interference” and “retaliation” claims; individual liability for workers compensation retaliation and viability of the claim; and legality of eligibility requirements for quarterly bonuses under the IWPCL)07/30/2012Mark W. Bennett
Jackson v. Green -- Order granting defendants' motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff alleged his employment was terminated unlawfully on the basis of his race and in retaliation for his complaints. The court held that the summary judgment record contained no evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact with regard to either claim. Plaintiff failed to show the defendants' proferred non-discriminatory reason for termination was false or that his termination was motivated by discrimination or retaliation.06/26/2012Leonard T. Strand
Garvin & Murphy v. Siouxland Mental Health Services, Inc., et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employees against former employer alleging they were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendants’ motions for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether claims that arose four years before the filing of an administrative charge are timely; whether the "harassment" employees suffered was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable; the applicability of Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense; and, whether plaintiffs’ suffered material adverse employment actions after their complaint of harassment sufficient to sustain their retaliation claims.) 05/18/2012Mark W. Bennett
DeWalle v. Clarion- Goldfield Community School (Employment; former teacher’s aide’s action for race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff’s claims under both Title VII and the ICRA are time barred; analysis of whether defendant’s decision not to renew her contract was motivated by racial discriminationDistrict)04/25/2012Mark W. Bennett
The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al. v. Inlay (Action by insurance company against former agent seeking FINRA arbitration action to address claims of breach of confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, misappropriate of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of duty of loyalty, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantages, and conversion; insurance company’s motion to confirm arbitration award: standards for confirmation of an arbitration award pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 9)04/11/2012Mark W. Bennett
Harvey, et al v. AB Electrolux, et al. (putative collective action pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and a putative class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pursuant to the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL), Iowa Code Ch. 91A, alleging failure to pay hourly, non-exempt “production employees” or employees in “other similarly titled positions” at the defendants’ now-closed plant for time or overtime for donning protective equipment and preparing for work before their shifts began and for time spent and expenses for cleaning and maintaining some of their safety equipment outside of the work place; plaintiffs’ motion for conditional certification of collective action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), requiring defendant to provide contact information for putative collective action members, and approving notice to the putative collective action plaintiffs: standards for conditional certification of a collective action pursuant to § 216(b); appropriateness of ordering the defendant employer to produce telephone numbers of putative collective action members) 03/09/2012Mark W. Bennett
Campbell v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Corrections, et al. (Employment; former state agency employee’s action for sex and age discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216, as well as claims of retaliation in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code § 70A.28(2), and Iowa public policy; defendants’ motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated genuine issues of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age and sex discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis; discussion of whether plaintiff was speaking as a citizen when she voiced her concerns about victim safety, so her speech was protected by the First Amendment; and, examination of whether state employee was entitled to qualified immunity from liability for damages on plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim.)11/22/2011Mark W. Bennett
Truckenmiller v. Burgess Health Center & Francis Tramp (action by a human resources director purportedly terminated for poor performance after voicing concerns about differences in titles and pay between male and female members of the senior leadership team at the defendant hospital; motion for summary judgment by the defendant hospital and the defendant CEO: whether the plaintiff’s comments satisfied the “complaint” requirements for protection from retaliation under the Equal Pay Act provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), as recently clarified in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011), whether there was sufficient evidence to generate a genuine issues of material fact on a “causal connection” between the comments and the plaintiff’s discharge two days later and on whether the defendants’ proffered legitimate reason for the discharge, poor performance, was a pretext for retaliation; whether the plaintiff’s claim of wrongful discharge in violation of the Iowa public policy against unequal pay on the basis of sex articulated in Iowa Code § 216.6 was preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA))09/30/2011Mark W. Bennett
EEOC v. Asia Pacific Hotels, Inc. (action by EEOC against hotel owner and operator and hotel holding company on behalf of a singer in a Filipino rock band for sexual harassment: defendants’ motion for summary judgment on applicability of the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense)08/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
Guinan, et al v. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (Employment law, motion for summary judgment and motion to strike; suit by employees against employer alleging that defendant’s failure to compensate donning and doffing time violates the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law, Iowa Code § 91A.1 et seq.; analysis of whether donning and doffing workers’ personal protective equipment is “changing clothes” under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203(o), the statute plaintiffs rely upon to establish a violation of the Iowa Wage Payment and Collections Law. )07/25/2011Mark W. Bennett
State of Arizona Dep't of Law, Civil Rights Division & Angela Aguilar v. ASARCO, LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; defendant’s post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, challenging submissibility of the sexual harassment claim and punitive damages and the amount of the punitive damages award as unconstitutionally excessive; defendant’s alternative motion for new trial, challenging the court’s answer to a question from the jury as misleading and the court’s admission of “me too” evidence; the plaintiffs’ post-trial motion for equitable and injunctive relief to compel the defendant to create or modify and implement an adequate policy against sexual harassment and to require certain training of managers, supervisors, and other employees, concerning sexual harassment)07/13/2011Mark W. Bennett
Jones, et al v. Dolgencorp, Inc. & Dollar General Partners (In a collective action by fourteen plaintiffs, the defendants, Dolgencorp, Inc. and Dollar General Partners, filed a Motion to Strike and a Motion for Summary Judgment, solely against plaintiff Pamm Joyner-Azbill. Plaintiff claims defendants have a uniform policy and practice of consistently requiring managerial staff to work overtime without compensation, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiff also claims the vast majority of work hours are spent performing non-managerial job duties. The court denied the defendants’ Motion to Strike, because the motion was improper under Rule 12(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Furthermore, the court denied the defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, because a reasonable jury could find that the plaintiff’s primary duty was manual labor. )06/08/2011Mark W. Bennett
Strom v. Holiday Companies, et al. (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging sex discrimination under both the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and under Iowa Code 216; defendant’s motion for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether the "harassment" employee suffered was because of employee’s sex; whether the "harassment" in question was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable, and whether a reasonable person would find the working conditions at issue so intolerable that she was compelled to remain away from work while awaiting the results of the investigation)06/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. (action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: determination of whether any issues remain to be resolved after remand from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals: whether the court must now decide questions that it did not address in its original decision on the merits, which are whether the Schedule of Benefits is a summary plan description (SPD) or “faulty” SPD, which turn on the question of whether the terms of the purported SPD or “faulty” SPD conflict with the terms of the plan, as construed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals)06/06/2011Mark W. Bennett
Magnussen v. Casey's Marketing Company & Van Seggern (convenience store manager’s claims of disparate treatment disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation pursuant to the ADA (pre-ADAAA) and ICRA; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: whether the plaintiff was “actually disabled,” “regarded as disabled,” or “had a record of disability,” rather than a temporary limitation, because of a “flare up” of a back condition; whether, if “disabled,” she was “qualified” for her position based on standing restrictions; whether the plaintiff was terminated from her position for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons rather than for leaving shift vacancies uncovered; and whether, if “actually disabled,” the employer failed to accommodate that disability and whether the employer or the plaintiff is responsible for the breakdown of the “interactive process” to determine reasonable accommodation)05/26/2011Mark W. Bennett
State of Arizona & Aguilar v. ASARCO LLC (action by Arizona state civil rights agency and an individual plaintiff, a laborer at a mine operated by the defendant, alleged claims of hostile work environment sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law; the individual plaintiff’s motion in limine: whether the defendant’s psychiatric expert exceeded the scope of a permissible examination of the plaintiff, the admissibility of the expert’s testimony and report, and the admissibility of evidence of the plaintiff’s prior employment; the defendant’s motion in limine: admissibility of evidence of harassment of the alleged harasser, harassment of the plaintiff by another employee, photographs of allegedly pornographic graffiti, and the administrative agency’s “probable cause” determination)03/22/2011Mark W. Bennett
Johnson v. Dollar General, et al. (The plaintiff, Todd Johnson, filed an Amended Complaint against defendants, Dollar General, Dolgencorp, L.L.C., and Michael Williams. Johnson alleged that the defendants terminated his employment in retaliation for him missing work because of an illness and therefore in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. The court held that Johnson’s claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.)02/15/2011Mark W. Bennett
Moore v. Lehigh Cement Company (longtime employee with epilepsy sued former employer for disability discrimination under the ADA and ICRA; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: whether the ADA or the ADAAA applied to the plaintiff’s claims; whether the plaintiff was actually disabled or perceived to be disabled based on limitations on the number of hours he could work per week or a combination of limitations; whether the plaintiff’s retaliation claim could proceed in light of the protracted time between protected activity and adverse action, his supervisor’s lack of knowledge of the plaintiff’s prior discrimination charge at the time of adverse action, but human resources manager’s knowledge of the prior charge, and employer’s assertion that the plaintiff was fired for a plant rules violation)02/04/2011Mark W. Bennett
Hussaini v. Gelita USA, Inc. 9Labor/Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging Iowa common law claims for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, promissory estoppel, and fraudulent misrepresentation; analysis of whether plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 et seq.11/04/2010Mark W. Bennett
Dollar v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc., et al (Employment discrimination, suit by employee against former employer alleging violates the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, cross-motions for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish that she suffered from a serious health condition; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish she provided employer with notice and her need for FMLA leave, and, examination of whether plaintiff suffered any damages recoverable under the FMLA as a result of her employer’s firing her.)09/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
Hauth v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America (ERISA, judicial review of the denial of a claim for life insurance benefits under a group life insurance policy, analysis of whether insurer’s decision to deny life insurance benefits was reasonable, that is, supported by substantial evidence.)08/10/2010Mark W. Bennett
Hoskins v. Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan (Plaintiff Dean Hoskins appealed Defendant Snap-On Incorporated Retirement Plan’s denial of disability retirement benefits, and Hoskins requested the assessment of a penalty for Snap-On’s failure to provide Plan documents; the court held that Snap-On’s decision not to award disability benefits was not supported by substantial evidence and ordered Snap-On to award Hoskins disability benefits; the court also assessed Snap-On a penalty for failing to timely produce Plan documents.)07/20/2010Mark W. Bennett
Kitterman v. Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc.(action for judicial review of denial of health insurance benefits pursuant to ERISA: whether the plaintiffs are responsible for any more than $8,000 of the medical expenses in question, as that is the amount identified in the plan as the annual “out-of-pocket maximum” for an individual for treatment from “non-participating providers,” where the insurance company declined to pay medical expenses totaling almost three times that amount, on the ground that various costs do not “apply” to the “out-of-pocket maximum”)03/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
Johnson v. Fed Ex Corporation (Motion for Summary Judgment; the plaintiff sues her employer for sex discrimination and retaliation (plaintiff did not resist the defendant’s motion as to the retaliation claims) under Title VII and the ICRA; the plaintiff claims that she was treated differently than an allegedly similarly situated co-worker when she was terminated, and later reinstated without full back pay, while the co-worker was not disciplined; both plaintiff and co-worker had used company materials for personal use without obtaining prior permission to do so; the defendant claimed, in its motion, that the plaintiff and the co-worker were not similarly situated for various reasons, including due to the co-worker’s alleged self-reporting of his use of materials and offer to reimburse the company for the materials he used; the court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether the parties were similarly situated)01/26/2010Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. Hall (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency’s director in his official, defendant’s motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether the summary judgment record generated a genuine issue of material fact as to circumstantial evidence of age discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis.)01/25/2010Mark W. Bennett
Lois K. Myers v. Croell Redi-Mix, Inc.; court granted defendant's summary judgment motion as to plaintiff's Title VII sex discrimination claims of termination, retaliation, disparate treatment and hostile work environment12/04/2009Linda R. Reade
Schott v. Care Initiatives (Former employee’s age discrimination claim pursuant to the ADEA and Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: court addressed a question ante concerning the governing law, concluding that the “but for” causation standard for ADEA claims established in Gross v. FBL, 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009), does not apply to ICRA claims, in light of reiteration of “motivating factor” causation standard in Deboom v. Raining Rose, Inc., 772 N.W.2d 1 (Iowa 2009))10/15/2009Mark W. Bennett
Schmitz v. Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for partial summary judgment, analysis of plaintiffs claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for whether defendant was acting under color of state law when it terminated plaintiff’s employment, examination of whether defendant was a political subdivision of the State of Iowa as required under Iowa’s whistleblower statute, Iowa Code §70A.29, and determination of whether court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s remaining Iowa common law claim and dismiss it.)09/22/2009Mark W. Bennett
Roberts et al. v. USCC Payroll Corporation & Stephanie Hood (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiffs could establish a prima facie case of age discrimination, examination of whether plaintiffs generated a genuine issue of material fact that the reason defendants proffered for terminating them was pretextual, specifically whether they could make out the necessary showings that they were treated differently than similarly situated younger employees where they were fired after an investigation revealed that plaintiffs had violated a company policy that prohibited employees from working on the accounts of friends and family members; and determination of whether the granting of summary judgment constituted an unconstitutional violation of the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. )07/17/2009Mark W. Bennett
Settell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.: (claimant’s action against insurer and claim administrator for judicial review of denial of long-term disability benefits under ERISA plan: decision on the merits: claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) alleging improper denial of benefits, in light of opinions of treating physicians and the insurer’s consulting physicians; claim for imposition of a penalty pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) for failure to provide plan documents, including propriety of such a penalty against an insurer that was not the plan administrator)07/14/2009Mark W. Bennett
Fikse v. State of Iowa Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, et al. (State agency employee’s action for age discrimination in violation of the ADEA against the agency and the agency’s director, in his official capacity: defendants’ motion to dismiss on Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity grounds: whether the ADEA abrogates Eleventh Amendment immunity; whether the state agency waived Eleventh Amendment immunity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1), by accepting federal funding; whether a state official, sued in his or her official capacity, has Eleventh Amendment immunity to a claim for prospective injunctive relief from violations of the ADEA; whether the plaintiff’s claim for prospective injunctive relief against the state official is adequately pleaded)07/02/2009Mark W. Bennett
Beekman v. Nestle Purina Petcare Company (Motion for Summary Judgment; plaintiff sues former employer, alleging that the employer interfered with her ability to take Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave on several occasions, retaliated against her for exercising her rights under the FMLA when it terminated her, and wrongfully discharged her in violation of the public policy set out in Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws, Iowa Code Chapter 85; employer’s motion for summary judgment: seeks dismissal of FMLA interference claims occurring outside of two year statute of limitations typically applicable to FMLA violations; disputes whether plaintiff 1) was entitled to FMLA leave on the dates in question, 2) had provided the Company with adequate and timely notice of her need for FMLA leave, and 3) had followed the Company’s call-in procedures; concerning both the FMLA retaliation and common law wrongful discharge claims, the Company alleges that Beekman cannot demonstrate a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination; the Company also alleges, in respect to both claims, that Beekman cannot prove that its articulated reason for the discharge was pretextual; the Company claims that Beekman was not an at-will employee, because of her union membership and the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the Company, and therefore is not entitled to the protections of the public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine)06/25/2009Mark W. Bennett
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court dismissed certain claims of an intervenor and EEOC because intervenor and alleged aggrieved individuals failed to disclose sex discrimination claims in their bankruptcy proceedings05/13/2009Linda R. Reade
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court held EEOC was not immune from the statute of limitations set forth in 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-5, but EEOC was not barred from seeking relief on behalf of allegedly aggrieved person who timely filed her own Title VII lawsuit only to dismiss it without prejudice upon learning of EEOC's enforcement action 05/11/2009Linda R. Reade
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; order granting defendant's summary judgment motion as to plaintiff's claim of a pattern or practice of sexual harassment04/30/2009Linda R. Reade
Tokheim v. Georgia-Pacific Gypsum. LLC (Employment discrimination action; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: issue of whether plaintiff’s claims were barred under the doctrine of judicial estoppel for her failure to disclose her claims against defendant to the bankruptcy court at any time during the pendency of her prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding in that court even though she was under an affirmative duty to do so; analysis of three factors governing whether to apply the doctrine in case: (1) whether plaintiff’s position in this court was “clearly inconsistent” with her earlier position in bankruptcy court; (2) whether plaintiff had succeeded in persuading a court to accept her earlier position, so that judicial acceptance of an inconsistent position in this court would create “the perception that either the first or the second court was misled”; and (3) whether plaintiff would derive an unfair advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not estopped; examination of whether plaintiff’s contention that she should not be subject to judicial estoppel in this case since her failure to inform the bankruptcy court of her claims against defendant was inadvertent because she informed her bankruptcy attorney of the claims and relied upon her bankruptcy attorney’s advice.03/31/2009Mark W. Bennett
Mary Staples & Kathy Walker-Brown v. Delavan Inc. & Greg Allen (Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Strike; plaintiff employees sue employer and co-workers for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (and co-worker for assault and battery); defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment seeks dismissal of the sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation claims; plaintiffs’ motion to strike seeks to strike several paragraphs from Employer’s statement of facts for violating Federal Rule of Evidence 412; the court denied the motion to strike and granted in part and denied in part defendant Employer’s motion for summary judgment.)12/11/2008Mark W. Bennett
Coe v. Northern Pipe Products, Inc. (Former employee’s quid pro quo sex discrimination and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII: defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: effect of “impeached” or “interested” witnesses’ evidence on summary judgment; actionable sexual advances and connection between such advances and job detriments; degree of biased subordinate’s participation in adverse employment decisions required for “cat’s paw” liability of the employer; which party may invoke a “mixed motives” analysis; vicarious liability for harassment by a “supervisor”; circumstances in which a “retaliation” claim may be based on refusal of a supervisor’s sexual advances; and the employer’s “good faith” efforts as a bar to punitive damages)12/02/2008Mark W. Bennett
Banta v. OS Restaurant Services, Inc. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion for summary judgment. Court found plaintiff had shown sufficient facts to defeat summary judgment on hostile work environment claim, but not on retaliatory discharge claim.12/01/2008Paul A. Zoss
Schwebach v. United Dairy Workers of LeMars & Wells Dairy, Inc. (Motion for Summary Judgment; defendant Wells Dairy, Inc. claims that plaintiff Gary Schwebach did not exhaust his contractual grievance remedies under the parties’ collective bargaining agreement because he failed to request that defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars pursue his claim in writing, on an approved form; defendant United Dairy Workers of Lemars had pursued his claim without first requiring the plaintiff to request that they do so in writing, on an approved form; the court decided that plaintiff did exhaust his remedies under the collective bargaining agreement.)11/25/2008Mark W. Bennett
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.; court established pretrial and trial framework for EEOC's "pattern or practice" claim11/19/2008Linda R. Reade
Donahue v. New NGC, Inc. (Former employee’s age discrimination claims pursuant to the ADEA and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA): defendant employer’s motion for summary judgment: untimeliness of administrative charge for the ICRA claim; sufficiency of evidence to raise inferences of age discrimination on the ADEA claim under either a RIF or non-RIF analysis)11/07/2008Mark W. Bennett
Gries, et al v. Standard Ready Mix Concrete, et al. (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; motion for class certification; discussion of the prerequisites for a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a); analysis of first requirement of Rule 23(a), that plaintiff show that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,” including consideration of: the size of the proposed class, the geographical dispersion of the class members, whether members of a prospective class are able to be identified, the financial resources of the potential class members with regard to their ability to institute individual lawsuits, and the judicial efficiency in certifying a class versus trying individual lawsuits.)08/22/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wachovia Securities LLC v. Stanton : (Securities broker-dealer’s action for preliminary injunctive relief pending arbitration before FINRA against former registered representative now employed with competitor: broker-dealer’s motion for temporary restraining order: broker-dealer’s likelihood of success on claims of breach of non-disclosure and non-solicitation provisions of employment contract and violation of the Iowa Trade Secrets Act, and broker-dealer’s showing on the irreparable harm, balance of harms, and public interest “Dataphase factors”) 08/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Sharp, et al. v. Tyson Foods (Plaintiff employees seek certification of their Rule 23 class action claims under the Iowa Wage Payment and Collection Law, and certification of their section 216(b) collective action claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act; defendant employer resists certification; defendant argues plaintiffs' FLSA claims preempt their IWPCL claims; defendant argues the opt-in procedures of FLSA collective action are inherently incompatible with the opt-out procedures of Rule 23 class action; defendant argues plaintiffs' are not similarly situated under the FLSA to meet the requirements for collective action certification; defendants argue plaintiffs do not meet the requirements of Rule 23 to be certified as a class action) 07/03/2008Mark W. Bennett
Wright v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Employment discrimination, motion for summary judgment, analysis of whether plaintiff could establish a prima facie case of race discrimination, specifically whether he could make out the necessary showings that he was meeting employer’s legitimate job expectations or that he was treated differently than similarly situated Caucasian employees where he was fired after a search of the employees automobile revealed controlled substances as well as drug paraphernalia on the employer’s premises, in violation of the employer’s policy against employees’ possessing, using, or selling controlled substances on the employer’s property.)05/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Hinshaw v. Ligon Industries, LLC and Fisher Hydraulics, Inc. (Former employee's action for breach of contract and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law claims; defendants' motion for complete summary judgment; limitations on granting summary judgment on existence of contract issues under Iowa law; legal standards for offer and acceptance under Iowa law; legal standards for contract estoppel defense under Iowa law; whether severance pay is "wages due" under Iowa Code section 91A.3 and thus whether plaintiff can recover liquidated damages under section 91A.8 for the failure to pay severance pay.)05/05/2008Mark W. Bennett
Rayburn v. Wady Industries, Inc.--Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (wrongful discharge in violation of public policy)04/10/2008Jon Stuart Scoles
Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (Former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all claims on the ground that the plaintiff cannot, as a matter of law, show that the defendant is equitably estoppel to assert the employee’s ineligibility for FMLA leave: sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he reasonably relied on any misrepresentation; sufficiency of the evidence that the plaintiff detrimentally relied on any misrepresentation)02/19/2008Mark W. Bennett
Gonnerman v. McHan Construction, Inc., et al. (former employee’s action for age discrimination under state and federal law: defendants’ motion summary judgment: whether a statement attributed to the decisionmaker recounted by the employee’s supervisor that the employee was being laid off because he was “too old to do cement work” was admissible “direct” evidence of age discrimination; whether there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants would have made the “same decision” to lay off the plaintiff without regard to his age, where the defendants made a company-wide RIF owing to shortage of work).10/26/2007Mark W. Bennett
Christine Pospisil vs. O'Reilly Automotive, Inc., Randy Swaim, and Jon Workman (sex discrimination, retaliation)10/05/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
The Arthur L. Christofferen Irrevocable Trust v. Yellow Book USA, Inc.; granting employer's motion for summary judgment on former CEO's unpaid wages claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law and his breach of contract claim under Iowa law where the former CEO died in 2005, and then his Trust sought $16,667.00 monthly payments under a Release and a Consulting Agreement that the former CEO and employer had entered into while the former CEO was still an employee.09/06/2007Linda R. Reade
Awe v. I&M Rail Link -- Order deying plaintiffs' motion to vacate arbitrator's decision on unconscionability, and granting defendant's motion to dismiss the case. Court found retention and severance agreement between the parties was not a "contract of employment of . . . railroad employees" which would have excluded the contract from arbitration under section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act.09/04/2007Paul A. Zoss
Jones, et al v. Casey's General Stores, Inc. (Fair Labor Standards Act Case, motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), venue of case proper in either the Southern District of Iowa or the Northern District of Iowa, analysis of factors to be employed in considering a motion to transfer under § 1404(a), the court concluded that the balance of these factors supported transferring this case to the Southern District of Iowa and therefore defendant had met its burden to show that transfer of this case was appropriate and the court granted the motion to transfer)08/30/2007Mark W. Bennett
Edward D. Heaton v. The Weitz Company, Inc.; denying employer's motion for judgment as a matter of law or new trial, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50; upholding the jury's verdict that employer retaliated against employee; and upholding awards of emotional distress damages and punitive damages 07/13/2007Linda R. Reade
Myers v. Tursso Company, Inc. (former employee’s action for FMLA discrimination and retaliation; plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment that the defendant employer is equitably estopped to assert that it is not covered by the FMLA, because it does not meet the employee-numerosity requirement at the location where the plaintiff worked: standards for granting summary judgment sua sponte for a non-moving party if the record reveals no genuine issues of material fact; applicability of equitable estoppel to FMLA requirements; sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence of misrepresentations by the employer based on statements in an employee handbook and FMLA rights poster; and sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence that he relied on any misrepresentation.)07/13/2007Mark W. Bennett
Kirt v. Fashion Bug (Customer’s right-to-contract race discrimination claim under § 1981: court’s sua sponte reconsideration of order granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in light of Green v. Dillard’s, Inc., 483 F.3d 533 (8th Cir. 2007)07/10/2007Mark W. Bennett
Francine Williams v. Hawkeye Community College; order granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss and strike in employment discrimination case against state actor; holding that four-year statute of limitations applied to a portion of plaintiff's section 1983 claim06/27/2007Linda R. Reade
Rohloff v. Metz Baking Co., LLC (former employee’s Title VII and state law claims for pregnancy discrimination a baking company, its holding company, and its plant manager: defendants’ joint motion for summary judgment: plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on “qualification” and “inference of discrimination” elements of her prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination, in light of absenteeism problems; sufficiency of evidence of pretext) 06/12/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center-Fort Dodge LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s third motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of correspondence between the parties’ attorneys concerning discovery of records of other employees of the defendants who had filed workers’ compensation claims and their current employment statuses; defendants’ motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of, reference to, or testimony about any polygraph examination or lie detector test that the plaintiff took in relation to events underlying this matter)05/09/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s second motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence regarding any benefits that she has received for her workers’ compensation claims)05/02/2007Mark W. Bennett
Larry Cirksena vs. Farmers Cooperative Company; Daniel Scott Forey, Individually and in his official capacity as General Manager, and James Edward Hawkins, Individually and in his official capacity as Department Manager (age discrimination)04/30/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Parada v. Great Plains Int'l of Sioux City, Inc. (female “service writer’s” suit against diesel truck sales and service company for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and unequal pay in violation of the Equal Pay Act: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII; challenges to the “unwelcomeness” and “severity” elements of the claim of sexual harassment by supervisors; challenges to the “qualification” and “similarly situated male” elements of the claim of sexual discrimination based on elimination of the plaintiff’s service writer duties and termination of her lead person duties; challenges to the “protected activity” and “causal connection” elements of the claim of retaliation based on elimination or termination of the plaintiff’s duties in response to the plaintiff’s complaints about a male co-worker who would not do work the plaintiff assigned him and who complained about her qualifications; and challenges to the “substantially equal jobs” element of the claim of unequal pay)04/11/2007Mark W. Bennett
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; limine order in Title VII race discrimination and retaliation case04/06/2007Linda R. Reade
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al. : (former employee’s suit for discharge in violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff’s first motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of offers to settle and references to dismissed claims)04/05/2007Mark W. Bennett
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; limine order in Title VII race discrimination and retaliation case03/19/2007Linda R. Reade
Glynn Jones v. Cargill, Inc.; Title VII race discrimination and retaliation03/06/2007Linda R. Reade
Randy Clark v. Eagle Ottawa, LLC. motion to dismiss order dismissing Iowa common law public policy claim under Rule 12(b)(6). The court declined to dismiss due to NLRA or LMRA preemption. Plaintiff's FMLA interference and retaliation claims remain. 02/20/2007Linda R. Reade
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. (railway workers union’s action for injunctive and other relief pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, to bar carrier’s introduction of iris recognition technology for attendance and timekeeping purposes: plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and carrier’s motion to dismiss for subject matter jurisdiction: whether the parties’ dispute is “major” or “minor” within the meaning of the RLA, where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over “minor” disputes, which must instead be determined in binding arbitration)02/16/2007Mark W. Bennett
Pamela R. Reed v. Cedar County and Cedar County Sheriff Daniel Hannes, in his individual and official capacities; summary judgment order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motions where plaintiff alleged Title VII and Iowa Civil Rights Act claims of sexual harassment (hostile work environment and constructive discharge) and retaliation (employment-related retaliation and retaliatory litigation), and a claim of battery. 02/08/2007Linda R. Reade
Habben v. City of Fort Dodge, et al. (former employee’s Title VII, § 1981, and state law claims for race and pregnancy discrimination against city, city housing agency, and two housing agency officials: defendants’ separate motions for summary judgment: individual liability under Title VII and § 1981; plaintiff’s ability to generate genuine issues of material fact on race and pregnancy discrimination claims; lack of independent basis for liability of the city)01/29/2007Mark W. Bennett
Raymond v. U.S.A. Healthcare Center -- Fort Dodge, LLC, et al (Former employee asserted state and federal disability discrimination claims and two claims of discharge in violation of Iowa public policy; after voluntary dismissal of all claims except for violation of Iowa public policy by retaliating for filing a workers’ compensation claim, the defendant moved for summary judgment: the court considered sua sponte whether to retain the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 after dismissal of the federal claim upon which jurisdiction was premised; considered the elements of a claim of retaliation in violation of public policy under Iowa law, and especially whether proof of a “lack of other justification” for discharge was such an element; and considered the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s showing on the required elements.) 12/22/2006Mark W. Bennett
Torgeson v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America & Mason City Clinic, PC (Judicial review under ERISA concerning eligibility for long-term disability (LTD) benefits: memorandum opinion and order on the merits on written submissions: applicable standard of review; objective evidence; treating physicians’ opinions; and co-morbidity of conditions)12/06/2006Mark W. Bennett
Edward D. Heaton v. The Weitz Company, Inc.; Title VII and ICRA retaliation, national origin; motion in limine11/22/2006Linda R. Reade
Edward D. Heaton v. The Weitz Company, Inc.; Title VII and ICRA retaliation, national origin11/14/2006Linda R. Reade
Galm v. Eaton Corporation (ERISA, judicial review of denial of second-tier long term disability benefits, analysis of whether less deferential review was appropriate, interpretation of the plan and analysis of the factors to be considered, determination of whether there was substantial evidence to support plan administrator’s decision)11/03/2006Mark W. Bennett
Elizabeth Chacey DeBoom v. Raining Rose, Inc., Chart Acquisition Corp., Charles Hammond and Art Christoffersen; Order reinstating stay in pregnancy discrimination case (Title VII and ICRA); court denied defendants' motion to dismiss as moot and declined to give the state trial verdict preclusive effect where the judgment is pending appeal and where there is "substantial doubt" that state court judgment will be upheld on appeal.10/18/2006Linda R. Reade
Fuller v. Alliant Energy (Pro se former employee asserted sex and race discrimination claims under Title VII and disability discrimination under the ADA; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the employee’s prima facie cases and showings of pretext and intentional discrimination in light of employee’s history of use of bereavement leave and excessive absenteeism)10/16/2006Mark W. Bennett
Orluske v. Mercy Medical Center -- North Iowa (Former employee asserted age discrimination claims under the ADEA and state law and claims of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment of third parties in violation of Title VII and state law against a medical center; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the employee’s prima facie cases and showings of pretext and intentional discrimination or retaliation)10/10/2006Mark 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
Sanchez v. American Popcorn (Employment discrimination, suit by former employee against former employer alleging disability discrimination under both the ADA and under Iowa Code 216 violations of the FMLA; motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish as part of her prima facie case under the FMLA that she suffered from a serious medical; analysis of whether plaintiff could establish as part of her prima facie case under the FMLA event though she did not request FMLA leave notice before being terminated; analysis of whether plaintiff is disabled within the meaning of the ADA and ICRA, namely whether former employer regarded plaintiff as being unable to work in a broad category of jobs; analysis of whether plaintiff had come forward with sufficient evidence that former employer’s explanation for its employment decision was a pretext for her termination)09/14/2006Mark W. Bennett
Podkovich v. Glazer's Distributors of Iowa, Inc., et al (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination and retaliation under Title VII, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pendent state law claims under Iowa Code Chapter 216, and various violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment denied; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the plaintiff was an “eligible employee” under the FMLA based on the location of her “worksite,”; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendants were estopped from asserting affirmative defense of ineligibility by virtue of their misrepresentations to the plaintiff; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants interfered with plaintiff’s FMLA rights despite the defendants’ proffer of justification; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants discriminated against the plaintiff for utilizing her FMLA leave; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendants retaliated against the plaintiff for making a complaint of sexual harassment; and genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the defendants retaliated against the plaintiff because she was pregnant; although the defendants advanced a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for their conduct, the plaintiff adequately alleged pretext where the defendants offered inconsistent explanations as to why the plaintiff was terminated and other evidence in the record indicated the defendants’ proffered explanation lacked credence.)08/11/2006Mark W. Bennett
Magdalene Jo Schepers v. Terex Corp., et al.; State-law defamation suit that is being stayed as a result of a pending state court lawsuit arising out of the same set of facts. 07/25/2006Linda R. Reade
Van Natta v. Sara Lee Corporation (Plaintiffs filed complaint against Sara Lee Corporation in state district court asserting state law causes of action for the defendant’s alleged wrongful denial of insurance benefits to the plaintiffs under the Sara Lee Corporation Employee Health Benefit Plan; defendant removed to federal court and filed motion to dismiss; defendant alleged the plaintiffs’ claims were completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); defendant’s motion to dismiss conditionally granted; plaintiffs claims were preempted under both ERISA 514 and 502; complete preemption under 502 confers removal jurisdiction and operates as an exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule; plaintiffs’ claim still require dismissal, however, because of their failure to comply with ERISA-specific pleading requirements; defendant’s motion granted to the extent the plaintiffs must file an amended complaint remedying the identified decencies. ) 06/29/2006Mark W. Bennett
Gerald D. Donnell v. City of Cedar Rapids and Pat Engel; Order re defendants' motion for summary judgment (whistleblower)06/01/2006Linda R. Reade
Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of other bad faith lawsuit against it, its incentive plans for employees, a report of an “in house” doctor, and damages other than emotional distress; plaintiff’s motion to exclude a variety of evidence, including evidence of the defendant’s handling of the plaintiff’s other workers compensation claims, his sexual activities, penalty benefits on workers compensation claims, government benefits such as unemployment compensation, settlement negotiations concerning the bad faith claim, the “good acts” of the defendant, the defendant’s reliance on advice of counsel, and information learned by the defendant after the arbitration hearing)06/01/2006Mark W. Bennett
Niver v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois (action for first-party bad faith for failure to pay workers compensation benefits; plaintiff’s motion for advance ruling on evidentiary issues preceding trial on damages issues only: admissibility of evidence that goes to both liability and damages, particularly punitive or exemplary damages; the plaintiff's ability to use excerpts of videotaped depositions of the insurer's adjustors in his case-in-chief, when those adjustors will be present at the trial; and the extent to which the plaintiff can obtain and present to the jury financial information concerning the insurer's parent company for purposes of punitive damages; defendant’s motion to bifurcate compensatory damages and punitive damages issues for trial: pertinent factors for bifurcation, including prejudice)05/03/2006Mark W. Bennett
Lopez & Vellalpondo v. Aramark Uniform & Career Apparel, Inc. (Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims of hostile environment sexual harassment and retaliation against their former employer, the defendant filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law and, alternatively for new trial and remittitur of all amounts awarded an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial; Court held: (1) judgment as a matter of law was not warranted on any of the grounds asserted by the defendant; to accept the defendant’s argument and conclude otherwise would necessarily require this court to weigh the conflicting testimony in the case, an analysis that would be wholly inappropriate on renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law; (2) The defendant’s due process claim as to the amount of punitive damages awarded to the plaintiffs is rejected; on balance, in light of the factors set forth by the United States Supreme Court, the punitive damages award of $260,000.00 per plaintiff is reasonable and does not violate the defendant’s due process rights; (3) The defendant’s motion for remittitur of all amounts awarded is denied; there is sufficient evidence to support the imposition of both the compensatory and punitive damages against the defendant in this case and the amounts the jury awarded are neither monstrous nor shocking; (4) A new trial was not warranted on the grounds the jury’s award of punitive damages to the plaintiffs was against the great weight of the evidence or resulted in a miscarriage of justice; and (5) The defendant’s motion is denied in its entirety.)04/13/2006Mark W. Bennett
Lopez & Villalpondo v. Armark Uniform & Career Apparel, Inc. (Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on their claims of hostile environment sexual harassment and retaliation against their former employer, the defendant filed a supplemental motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial based on information allegedly obtained during an interview with one of the jurors; the defendant contends two female jurors deliberately concealed their sexual abuse during voir dire and that an evidentiary hearing is necessary in order to determine whether it received a fair and impartial jury in the trial of this matter (1) Defendant failed to demonstrate allegations of juror misconduct based on concealed bias warranted further investigation; jurors did not deliberately conceal any bias or answer voir dire questions incorrectly; even if answers were dishonest, defendant failed to make a sufficient showing the jurors were motivated by partiality; and considerable doubt existed as to whether jurors’ past experiences with sexual abuse would have supported striking the jurors for cause; (2) even if standard for an evidentiary hearing was satisfied, defendant would be unable to produce evidence not barred by Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b); and (3) the defendant’s supplemental motion for an evidentiary hearing to determine juror misconduct and new trial is denied.)02/22/2006Mark W. Bennett
Connie M. Gretillat v. Care Initiatives; Civil Rights/employment discrimination case under American with Disabilities Act; Court finds plaintiff was not disabled and grants defendant's motion for summary judgment02/13/2006Linda R. Reade
Bunda v. Potter (Defendant employer, as the prevailing party in an employment discrimination lawsuit, requested $6,997.92 be taxed against the plaintiff employee for expenses associated with the litigation of this matter; Court held (1) process server fees are disallowed because service was not provided by the U.S. Marshals Service as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and therefore, constitute special process fees, which are not recoverable within the Eighth Circuit; (2) Fees of the court reporter for depositions necessarily obtained for use in the case are recoverable; however, defendant failed to meet its burden with respect to one deponent, therefore, all of the costs associated with this witness are disallowed, the remainder of the costs are taxable; (3) defendant is not entitled to recover full amount of costs incurred for obtaining copies of certain depositions transcripts as such fees were unreasonable; (4) defendant not allowed to recover costs incurred for postage or ASCII disks; (5) defendant could recover the entire amount of the expert witness fees it incurred with the exception of the costs associated with a nontestifying expert’s out-of-court-preparation fees; (6) defendant awarded costs incurred for reproducing trial exhibits and obtaining copies from county clerk’s office; (7) costs taxed against plaintiff in the amount of $2,800.17. ) 01/31/2006Mark W. Bennett
Boykin v. Alliant Energy Corp. - Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff brought racial discrimination action against former employer, and slander action against former coworker. Court found plaintiff failed to establish prima facie case of racial discrimination, and granted summary judgment in favor of employer. Court found question of fact existed on one slander issue, and retained supplemental jurisdiction over the issue for trial.01/30/2006Paul A. Zoss
Garcia-Moreno v. Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motion for summary judgment. In ERISA action, Court found plaintiff was entitled to life insurance benefits for death of his son, who had used false identity to obtain employment. Court found Plan administrator had sufficient evidence to identify decedent, and to identify plaintiff as decedent's beneficiary.12/05/2005Paul A. Zoss
Garcia-Moreno v. Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on defendants' motion for summary judgment. In ERISA action, Court found plaintiff was entitled to life insurance benefits for death of his son, who had used false identity to obtain employment. Court found Plan administrator had sufficient evidence to identify decedent, and to identify plaintiff as decedent's beneficiary.12/01/2005Paul A. Zoss
Cook v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Former employee’s FMLA retaliation claim; employer’s motion for summary judgment; plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact on the question of whether she suffered from a serious medical condition; material fact question generated as to whether employer failed to follow through with the regulation that it was required to give employee fifteen days in which to submit the requested medical certification, and whether employers did not give employee notice of what it viewed as the deficiencies in the medical certification form submitted by employee; genuine issue of material fact generated on the question of whether employer gave employee an opportunity to cure any alleged deficiencies in the medical certification form; genuine issue of material fact generated as to whether the reasons articulated by employer for employee’s termination are pretextual; and, the court found that the temporal proximity of employee’s request for FMLA leave and the adverse employment action, in conjunction with the circumstances surrounding employer’s firing of employee, raised a genuine issue of material fact that employer’s action in firing employee was not taken in good faith.)11/28/2005Mark W. Bennett
Gordon v. Gerard Treatment Programs, LLC (Former employee’s FMLA retaliation claim; employer’s motion for summary judgment: Although 29 C.F.R. § 825.311(c) expressly authorizes an employer to terminate an employee who fails to provide a fitness-for-duty certification at the time that FMLA leave is concluded, the employee generated genuine issues of material fact that her termination pursuant to that regulation was nevertheless retaliatory) 10/03/2005Mark W. Bennett
Morris v. Conagra Food (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging racially hostile work environment under Title VII, pendent state law claim under Iowa Code Chapter 216, and state law claim of retaliatory discharge under Iowa Code Chapter 91A; motion for summary judgment; summary judgment granted as to racially hostile work environment claim under both federal and state law where plaintiff did not come forward with evidence sufficient for a reasonable juror to find he was subjected to a continuous pattern of harassment based on his race or that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive; summary judgment granted as to retaliation claim under Iowa Code Chapter 91A where at-will employee was not denied any wages, but was in fact, overpaid.)09/28/2005Mark W. Bennett
Nock v. GKN Armstrong Wheels, Inc. (Disability discrimination claims under ADA and Iowa law; defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he suffered from a qualifying disability within the meaning of the ADA and the ICRA; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether he had a record of a qualifying disability; analysis of whether plaintiff had generated a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether plaintiff was regarded as unable to perform a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs.09/09/2005Mark W. Bennett
Pierce v. Fort Dodge Animal Health (disability discrimination in employment suit under Iowa and federal law; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sufficiency of the plaintiff’s prima facie case)08/17/2005Mark W. Bennett
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
Lisa Mackie n/k/a Lisa Swalley v. U.S. Manufacturing, Inc. and Global Resources Recovery Organization, Inc.; In a case alleging sex discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation claims in violation of Title VII and ICRA and state common law assault and battery claims, the court found the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination, hostile work environment or retaliation. The plaintiff did not resist the defendants' motion as it related to the assault and battery claims. The court found the defendants were entitled to summary judgment on all counts. 06/29/2005Linda R. Reade
Blakely v. Anesthetix of Iowa, P.C. (Discrimination, contract breach, wage and hour violation; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count one race and national origin discrimination granted; defendant’s motion for summary judgment on count two breach of contract and integration clause granted and as to calculation of annual pay denied; defendant motion on count four wage hour violation denied; plaintiff generated genuine issue of material fact regarding count two breach of contract as to calculation of pay and count three)06/23/2005Mark W. Bennett
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
Thomas W. Prochaska v. Color-Box, L.L.C.; The court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer where the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of age discrimination. Specifically, the plaintiff did not prove he was performing his job duties at a level that met the employer's reasonable expectations prior to his termination. Furthermore, if the plaintiff had demonstrated a prima facie case, the employer produced a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the termination and the plaintiff failed to provide evidence the employer's reason was a pretext for age discrimination. 06/01/2005Linda R. Reade
Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers v. CCT Corporation d/b/a Black Hawk Electric Co. and All County Electric; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005Linda R. Reade
All County Electric Company v. Local 288 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; The court ordered an employer -- who is not a union shop but previously was found to be the alter ego of a union shop -- to pay backpay wages to the union on behalf of its employees and to comply with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and NECA. The court found the employer never gave notice of its intent no longer to be bound by the CBAs and thus is bound by a CBA unilaterally obtained by the union via an interest arbitration clause.05/25/2005Linda R. Reade
McMannes v. United Rentals, Inc. (Plaintiff brought action based on alleged unlawful termination her employment with defendant because of her age under ADEA and ICRA; motion for summary judgment; plaintiff relied only on circumstantial evidence of age discrimination, thus making the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis appropriate; defendant conceded that plaintiff had established her prima facie case; defendant proffered a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination: taking of merchandise, specifically two Mylar balloons, without paying for them in violation of company policy; court found genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether McMannes’s direct supervisor was involved in the decision making process and the proffered reason was pretext for age discrimination; viewed in light most favorable to the plaintiff: (1)plaintiff had the authority to write off inventory, and exercised that authority in setting the Mylar balloons aside during a reduction of inventory; (2) direct supervisor knew plaintiff had set aside Mylar balloons before distributing a new policy regarding junked inventory requiring employees pay for any written off merchandise; (3) plaintiff believed that balloons were not covered under new policy as they had been written off prior to the policy being in effect; (4) plaintiff had never been disciplined for her handling of merchandise prior to taking the balloons hom; (5) plaintiff’s direct supervisor asked he if she was “on track to retire” contemporaneously with terminating her; and (6) there was evidence that plaintiff’s younger replacement had violated company rules regarding telephone use, but no investigation was ever conducted, nor was replacement punished; summary judgment denied.) 05/20/2005Mark W. Bennett
Griffiths v. Winnebago, Industries, Inc. (Claim for unequal pay based on sex in violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA), 29 U.S.C. § 203(d); defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that other male employees having same job title did not perform substantially equal work and were not appropriate male comparators to support plaintiff’s prima facie case, and alternatively that it could establish the affirmative defenses of a seniority system and unequal pay based on a factor other than sex; plaintiff had established genuine issue of material fact as to her prima facie case as she identified several males with her position, Production Supervisor II, that obtained higher wages than she did at the time of her retirement and the record raised fact questions as to whether male comparators did substantially equal work to plaintiff; fact that some male Production Supervisor IIs made less did not prevent plaintiff from establishing prima facie case for purposes of summary judgment; defendant failed to establish as a matter of law that a seniority system justified differences in pay rates; defendant also failed to establish as a matter of law that differences were due to factors other than sex, especially in light of fact that some male comparators with less supervisory experience were given higher wages than plaintiff at the time of her retirement; motion for summary judgment as to EPA claim denied; plaintiff withdrew claim for sex discrimination under Title VII, so motion for summary judgment denied as moot as to that claim.)05/05/2005Mark W. Bennett
Bunda v. Potter, et al. (Female postal service employee asserts claims of hostile environment sexual harassment by a temporary supervisor and retaliation by the supervisor and other managers in violation of Title VII: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: The only proper defendant for the action is the Postmaster General and punitive damages are not available, but the plaintiff is otherwise entitled to proceed to trial on her hostile environment and retaliation claims)05/02/2005Mark W. Bennett
Steck v. (Female police officer’s claims of hostile environment sexual harassment by police chief and retaliation by police department in violation of Title VII and state law: defendants’ motion for summary judgment: considering the relevance of the status of the harasser as a supervisor or co-worker to the “objective” and “subjective” severity of a hostile environment and postulating a “sliding scale” test on the premise that, as the harasser moves higher in the heirarchy of the employer, incidents of harassment become proportionally more severe; rejecting several incidents of alleged retaliation on the grounds that they did not constitute “adverse employment action” or that the plaintiff failed to rebut the defendants’ legitimate, non-retaliatory explanations) 04/21/2005Mark W. Bennett
Halverson-Collins v. Community & Family Resources (Plaintiff claimed retaliation in violation of Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) for termination following return from FMLA qualified leave; defendant filed motion for summary judgment conceding plaintiff had established her prima facie case of retaliation, but asserting a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff’s termination, and arguing that a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext could not be generated from the record; in light of recent Eighth Circuit opinions on the issue, court found McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis was appropriate framework to apply to plaintiff’s FMLA retaliation claim; defendant explanation that plaintiff was terminated as part of a financial downturn as well as the final stage of consolidation of financial department following recent merger was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason; temporal proximity of FMLA leave and adverse employment action, unexplained knowledge of plaintiff’s supervisor as to her need for past need for leave due to medical condition, as well as defendant’s job announcement posted days after plaintiffs termination for a position the plaintiff was objectively qualified for generated a genuine issue of material fact as to pretext; summary judgment denied.)04/06/2005Mark W. Bennett
Seitz v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Merck & Co., Inc. Long Term Disability Program for Non-union Employees; plaintiff challenged the plan administrator's decision denying him long-term disability benefits in an ERISA action; Court found the administrator's decision was not an abuse of discretion and granted summary judgment in favor of defendants 03/30/2005Linda R. Reade
Willemssen v. The Conveyor Company (Memorandum Opinion & Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff claimed violation of FMLA, and wrongful termination under common law. Held: Applicable data for determination of whether FMLA applies is date employee's leave begins. Plaintiff was not "eligible employee" under FMLA on date her leave began, so defendant did not violate FMLA when it terminated plaintiff for excessive leave.)03/18/2005Paul A. Zoss
O'Brecht v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Plaintiff alleges wrongful termination in violation of public policy—namely, retaliation for filing worker’s compensation claims; motion to dismiss filed by defendant; defendant claimed language in settlement agreement reached by the parties as to plaintiff’s worker’s compensation claim allowed for plaintiff’s termination at defendant’s discretion; plaintiff argues provision in settlement agreement was against Iowa’s strong public policy against retaliation for filing worker’s compensation claims and is therefore void; any interpretation of settlement agreement language that would expressly allow defendant to terminate plaintiff for filing worker’s compensation claim would be void as against public policy; defendant can rely on interpretation of settlement agreement language to allow for plaintiff’s termination for non-retaliatory reasons to rebut motive requirement of plaintiff’s claim; motion to dismiss denied.)03/09/2005Mark W. Bennett
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
Lorenzen v. GKN Armstrong, Inc. (Employment discrimination and wrongful discharge; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: plaintiff’s burdens to prove sex discrimination in pay under the Equal Pay Act; “actual disability” and “perceived disability” under the ADA; constructive discharge in violation of public policy for filing a workers’ compensation claim)11/22/2004Mark W. Bennett
Electrolux Home Products, Inc. v. The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implemetn Workers of America, et al. (Labor Law; judicial review of arbitration award regarding termination of union member; cross-motions for summary judgment; analysis of whether arbitrator’s decision draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement; review of whether arbitrator engaged in manifest disregard for the law; assessment of whether attorneys’ fees for the costs of defending arbitration decision was warranted.)11/17/2004Mark W. Bennett
Nelson v. Long Lines, et al. (Employment discrimination-age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. and claims for overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; motion for summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact that defendants acted on the basis of a discriminatory motive; examination of whether defendant employer was covered by the overtime requirements of the FSLA; analysis of whether Iowa has recognized the claim of breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the employment context; analysis of plaintiff’s promissory estoppel claim and determination as to whether statement rose to the level of a clear and definite promise; consideration of plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim and determination of whether plaintiff performed services for defendants which were known and accepted by defendants when he used his own tools and equipment to accomplish tasks during his employment.)09/15/2004Mark W. Bennett
Soto v. John Morrell & Company (Renewed motion for summary judgment; change in controlling law potentially impacted classification of alleged harasser as a ‘supervisor’ for purposes of sexually hostile work environment claim; recent Eighth Circuit decisions of Weyers v. Lear Operations Corporation, 359 F.3d 1049 (8th Cir. 2004) and Joens v. John Morrell & Co., 354 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2004) adopted a ‘narrow’ definition of who is considered a supervisor; definition required individual to have the power to take tangible employment actions such as the authority to hire, fire, promote or reassign to significantly different duties; even under this ‘narrow’ definition the record still generated genuine issue of material fact as to whether the alleged harasser was a ‘supervisor’; in light most favorable to the plaintiff, the record showed that alleged harasser exercised apparent authority to fire and permanently reassign plaintiff as well as the actual authority to both control the frequency and duration of the plaintiff’s bathroom breaks, and to control her pay to some extent by assigning her to different positions on the kill floor; renewed motion for summary judgment denied.) 05/03/2004Mark W. Bennett
Loring v. Advanced Foods, Inc. (Memorandum Opinion and Order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment in case where plaintiff claimed his employment was terminated in violation of ADA, FMLA, and in retaliation for asserting rights under statutes and filing worker's compensation claims.)04/09/2004Paul A. Zoss
Butler v. Smithway Motor Express, Inc. (Employment discrimination case dismissed as sanction for failure to respond to order compelling discovery; Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment: “excusable neglect”)03/22/2004Mark 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
Salz v. Stellar Industries (Order denying defendants' motion for summary judgment on gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge claims.)03/10/2004Paul A. Zoss
Conrad v. Eaton Corporation (Summary judgment; only issue before the court is whether summary judgment is appropriate on plaintiff’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) claim; plaintiff’s erratic and unusual behavior on the days preceding his leave, as well as the doctor’s note that plaintiff provided on the first day of his leave which stated that plaintiff should not work until further notice, were sufficient to apprise employer of plaintiff’s potential need for leave under the FMLA; after employee has notified employer of need for leave, the employer either may count the leave as FMLA leave or request medical certification; genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant requested medical certification from plaintiff; under FMLA plaintiff must establish he suffered from a “serious health condition” and due to that condition, experienced three consecutive days, or more, of incapacity; fact that plaintiff’s psychiatrist testified that plaintiff was able to perform functions of his job for another employer, just not the defendant, did not necessitate grant of summary judgment; key inquiry under the FMLA is whether plaintiff is unable to work in his current employment due to a “serious health condition”; plaintiff provided sufficient evidence to generate a genuine issue of material fact as to his inability to perform his essential job functions at Eaton Corporation; summary judgment denied.)02/17/2004Mark W. Bennett
EEOC v. Wyeth (Employment discrimination lawsuit involving claims of sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; defendant’s motion for summary judgment; among the issues in dispute in this litigation was whether the "harassment" employee suffered was because of employee’s sex; whether the "harassment" in question was sufficiently severe and pervasive to be actionable, and whether defendant knew or should have known that the "harassment" was because of employee’s sex.)02/17/2004Mark W. Bennett
Thomas Nowers v. Gazette Communications, Inc.; Order on defendant's motion for partial summary judgment; analysis of whether plaintiff exhausted administrative remedies; examination of whether evidence supports a claim of constructive discharge; analysis of whether plaintiff can establish prima facie case of age discrimination; assessment of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claim01/08/2004Linda R. Reade
Bartleson v. Winnebago Industries (Class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act (IWPCA) for overtime pay pursuant to the FLSA; plaintiff’s motion for certification of class on IWPCA claim and defendant’s objections to magistrate judge’s order granting leave to amend to add the IWPCA claim; the court considered, first, the defendant’s objections regarding “futility” of the proffered amendment and limitations on supplemental jurisdiction over the IWPCA class claim; second, the court considered the impact of its ruling with regard to supplemental jurisdiction on the plaintiff’s motion for certification pursuant to Rule 23 of a class on the IWPCA claim)12/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
Ricklefs v. Orman, et al. (Employment discrimination (sexually hostile work environment) pursuant to Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act; defendant’s motion for summary judgement; analysis of whether plaintiff generated a genuine issue of material fact that defendant’s alleged acts of sexual harassment led to her constructive discharge; examination of whether plaintiff could prove that she was subjected to intolerable working conditions; analysis of whether plaintiff’s constructive discharge claim fails as a matter of law because she abruptly quit without giving her employer a chance to work out the alleged problem; consideration of defendants’ claim that that they were entitled to summary judgment pursuant to the Ellerth/Faragher affirmative defense; analysis of whether defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the ground that after-acquired evidence of plaintiff’s drug use bars recovery for her unlawful discharge)12/19/2003Mark W. Bennett
McKinney v. New Cooperative, Inc., et al. (Employment discrimination lawsuit pursuant to Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act: defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims of a sexually hostile work environment, retaliation, and constructive discharge)12/11/2003Mark W. Bennett
Peda v.Fort Dodge Animal Health (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging a claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act for recovery of lost wages and an Iowa common law claim of wrongful termination in violation of public policy; summary judgment; diversity jurisdiction; Iowa conflicts of law principles dictated that Iowa statute of limitations be applied to wage collection claim; wage collection claim could not be saved by Iowa’s “savings statute” (Iowa Code § 614.10) as claim when originally filed was outside of the applicable two-year statute of limitations; federal law applied to determine the preclusive effect the prior judgment had on the wrongful termination claim; state-law wrongful termination claim barred by doctrine of res judicata; defendants’ motion for summary judgment granted and plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment denied.)11/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
Jimenez v. Duran (Employees’ action for violation of FLSA overtime and payroll deduction provisions, breach of contract, and wrongful discharge; parties’ cross-motions for partial summary judgment on overtime pay portion of FLSA claim: application of the “Holly Farms analysis” to assertion of an “agricultural employee” exemption from the overtime pay provisions of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(12)) 10/20/2003Mark W. Bennett
Dunbar v. Pepsi-Cola Bottlers of Iowa, Inc. (Race discrimination (disparate treatment) pursuant to Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: elements of the plaintiff’s prima facie case, including “qualification,” adverse employment action, and treatment of similarly situated persons; further showings required and modification of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting paradigm in light of Desert Palace v. Costa, 539 U.S. ___, 123 S. Ct. 2148 (2003), and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m))10/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
Soto v. John Morrell & Co. (Suit by former employee against former employer alleging sexually hostile work environment, retaliation, racially hostile work environment,quid pro quo sexual harassment and pendent state law claims under Iowa Code Chapter 216; motion for summary judgment; defendant not entitled to summary judgment on claim of sexually hostile work environment as genuine issues of material fact remains as to whether plaintiff suffered a tangible employment action and whether employer’s anti-harassment policy was effective; quid pro quo claim reasonably related to allegations in plaintiff’s administrative complaint; employer not entitled to summary judgment on quid pro quo claim as genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether plaintiff suffered tangible job detriment; summary judgment granted as to racially hostile work environment claim where only evidence of racial harassment was that offending supervisor used Spanish slang to describe female genitalia; summary judgment granted as to retaliation claim where no actionable adverse employment action taken.)10/06/2003Mark W. Bennett
Furleigh v. Allied Group, Inc. (Suit by former employee against former employer claiming entitlement to ERISA benefits; motion for summary judgment; plaintiff claims total disability; defendants not entitled to summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds as application of plan’s reasonable contractual limitation period to the accrual date dictated by the discovery rule resulted in finding that plaintiff’s suit was timely commenced; summary judgment appropriate as plaintiff unable to generate genuine issues of material fact that he was disabled under the plan before his retirement.)09/08/2003Mark W. Bennett
Knutson v. AG Processing (Post-trial motions on perceived disability case after jury entered judgment in favor of plaintiff. Plaintiff worked as boiler operator and suffered from several injuries that impeded his ability to perform the manual labor portion of his job but did not affect his ability to supervise the control room. Evidence was sufficient to conclude that manual labor tasks were ordinary functions of the boiler operator position, but marginal, nonessential functions. Evidence was also sufficient to support jury’s conclusion that employer-defendant regarded the plaintiff as disabled and discharged him because of his perceived disability. Punitive damages were also appropriate based, in part, on substantial evidence that employer’s offered reason for termination was pretextual. Defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law denied. Plaintiff’s request for attorney’s fees, at hourly rate of $200, and expenses granted.) 07/28/2003Mark W. Bennett
Sanft, et al. v. Winnebago Industries, Inc. et al. (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; Motion for Amendment of Order Denying Class Certification in which plaintiffs request that the court reconsider its decision to deny class certification in this case and grant class certification to the proposed class, and Motion To Strike Affidavit; analysis of whether statements in affidavit from putative class members constitute "mental impressions" that are an exception to the hearsay rule pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 803(3); analysis of whether the fact that some potential class members remain employed by defendant supports a finding that the numerosity requirement has been satisfied and is sufficient to require the court to reverse its previous decision that plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that the proposed class meets the numerosity requirement of Federal Rule of Evidence 23(a)(1).07/28/2003Mark W. Bennett
Faber v. Menard, Inc. (Employee’s claims of age discrimination and retaliation under the ADEA and state law; defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and plaintiff’s post-Circuit City challenge to enforceability of arbitration clause under state law: adequacy of consideration in mutual promises and continued employment, and procedural and substantive unconscionability of arbitration clause in adhesion contract that requires employee to bear his own costs and attorney fees in arbitration and half the costs of the arbitrator; court’s sua sponte certification for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b))06/17/2003Mark W. Bennett
LeStrange v. Fortis Beneficiary Insurance Co. (Lawsuit filed pursuant to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in which plaintiff alleges that defendant's denial of coverage for long term disability benefits breached defendant's long term disability insurance benefits policy) 06/13/2003Mark W. Bennett
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, plaintiff moved to amend her complaint to add parallel state-law claims. Court denied amendment on March 17, 2003, and plaintiff moved to reconsider. Motion to reconsider granted, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8, 15(b), and 54(c). Accordingly, Title VII’s statutory damages cap did not limit plaintiff’s recovery to $300,000. Court then considered defendant’s motion to amend judgment because, post-trial, defendant sought remittal of the emotional distress damages and punitive damages --- arguments the court did not address in its previous ruling because of the damages cap. Evidence was sufficient to support jury’s awards of compensatory and punitive damages and awards were not grossly excessive. Punitive damages reduced in accordance with statutory damages cap.) 06/11/2003Mark W. Bennett
Nelson v. Long Lines (LTD; Rule 8(a)(2); Rule 8(a)(3); defendants’ motion to strike and application of standards; determination of whether complaint contained immaterial, impertinent and redundant matter, prejudiced the defendants, included events occurring outside the limitations period, and included legal conclusions; defendants’ motion for more definite statement as to time the alleged events occurred; defendants’ motion to dismiss claim of breach of good faith and fair dealing during employment and application of standards.)06/11/2003Mark 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
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (Post-trial motion to amend judgment and motion for attorney’s fees in employment discrimination case; plaintiff prevailed at trial in sexual discrimination Title VII suit; plaintiff seeks front pay; consideration of mitigation of damages for quitting job for personal reasons and whether plaintiff’s decision to change career fields would make an award of front pay equivalent to a subsidy of her decision to change careers; determination of "reasonable fee"; considering reductions for duplicative efforts and time not reasonably compensable, partial success) 05/21/2003Mark W. Bennett
Sanft, et al. v. Winnebago Industries, Inc., et al (Declaratory judgment action for determination of benefits due under an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq.; motion for class certification; discussion of the prerequisites for a class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a); analysis of first requirement of Rule 23(a), that plaintiff show that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,” including consideration of: the size of the proposed class, the geographical dispersion of the class members, whether members of a prospective class are able to be identified, the financial resources of the potential class members with regard to their ability to institute individual lawsuits, that some potential class members are still employed by defendant, and the judicial efficiency in certifying a class versus trying individual lawsuits.)05/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
Gaston v. The Restaurant Co. (Disparate treatment claim under Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, chapter 216 of the Iowa Code, disability discrimination claim under ADA, and supplemental state law claim alleging violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff worked as a food production manager for defendant until his termination, defendant moved for summary judgment on ground plaintiff could not generate jury questions on his claims; analysis of whether (a) plaintiff established that disability was a factor in his discharge, (b) requisite adversity of alleged employment actions in context of disparate treatment claim, (c) whether plaintiff established causal connection between plaintiff’s pursuit of his workers’ compensation rights and the consequent termination of plaintiff.)05/05/2003Mark W. Bennett
Millage v. City of Sioux City (ADA suit alleging "perceived disability" discrimination and "record of disability" discrimination; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: timeliness of an administrative charge filed first with the EEOC, not a state agency, in a "deferral state"; ability of plaintiff, an insulin-dependent diabetic, to perform the "essential functions" of his job as a City bus driver, including consideration of the validity of "blanket exclusions," the need for "individualized assessment" of a claimant’s ability to perform a job, and the impact of purportedly inconsistent statements by the claimant concerning his ability to perform the job and the adequacy of his explanations for such inconsistencies) 04/25/2003Mark W. Bennett
Dahlin v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (ERISA; cross motions for summary judgment: abuse of discretion; interpretation of plan and analysis of factors to be considered; determination of whether there was substantial evidence to support plan administrator’s decision. )04/09/2003Mark W. Bennett
Miller v. Wells Dairy, Inc. (Disability and Age discrimination in violation of the ADA and ADEA, and supplemental state law claim alleging violation of Iowa public policy: plaintiff worked as a lab tech for defendant until her termination, defendant moved for summary judgment on ground plaintiff could not generate jury questions on her claims; analysis of whether (a) plaintiff established that age was a factor in her discharge, (b) plaintiff was actually disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act or whether defendant regarded plaintiff as disabled, and (c) whether plaintiff established causal connection between plaintiff’s pursuit of her workers’ compensation rights and the consequent termination of plaintiff.)03/25/2003Mark W. Bennett
Bushman v. Electorlux Home Prod., et al. (Employment discrimination claims under the ADA, ADEA, and ICRA; defendant's motion for summary judgment; considering actual and perceived disability claims under the ADA and ICRA; analysis of whether plaintiff was substantially limited in any major life activities or was perceived by employer to be substantially limited in any major life activities.) 03/24/2003Mark W. Bennett
Wordekemper v. Western Iowa Homes, et al. (Employment disability discrimination claims under the ADA and ICRA and common-law claim of retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits; defendants’ motion for summary judgment: considering "actual," "perceived," and "record of" disability and legitimate reason/pretext; assuming a claim of "retaliatory failure to hire" will lie against a new employer for allegedly refusing to hire a prospective employee based on his workers’ compensation claims in prior employment, considering evidence of retaliatory intent)03/17/2003Mark W. Bennett
Baker v. John Morrell & Co. (After jury in Title VII sex discrimination case returned 1.52 million dollar verdict in favor of plaintiff, defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law or, in alternative, new trial. Defendant also moved to amend judgment, seeking remittal of the emotional damages and punitive damages. Defendant argued there was insufficient evidence to support jury’s verdict and argued that several evidentiary rulings warranted a new trial. The court overruled these arguments and denied the defendant’s motion. Plaintiff moved under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(b) to amend complaint to add parallel state-law claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Court found plaintiff did not intend to try state law claims and, therefore, that amendment was not permitted under Rule 15(b). Because court denied motion to amend, plaintiff could not allocate portion of damages to state-law claim and was, therefore, bound by Title VII $300,000 statutory damages cap. Court found that evidence supported award of $300,000 in emotional distress damages. Because of damages cap, court did not reach issue of whether punitive damages were excessive, although noting that they were supported by the evidence. Court remitted emotional damages award to $300,000, exclusive of backpay and post-judgment interest, as provided by federal law.)03/17/2003Mark W. Bennett
Canady v. John Morrell & Co. (Employment case involving claims of racial and sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: evidence of animus in race- and gender-neutral harassment; sufficiency of notice to employer that harassment is allegedly based on race or sex; evidence of adverse employment action in the form of constructive discharge, and causal connection between that adverse action and protected activity, in support of a retaliation claim)03/03/2003Mark W. Bennett
Butt v. Greenbelt Home Care Agency (R&R on motion for summary judgment in employment discrimination case involving claims under Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Iowa Civil Rights Act, and claim for retaliatory discharge. Discusses requirements for prima facie case under each type of claim; effect of contradictions between deposition testimony and summary judgment affidavit; whether expert testimony is required to substantiate disability claim; effect of mitigating treatment on disability claim.)02/28/2003Paul A. Zoss
Joens v. John Morrell & Co. (Sexual harassment, disparate treatment based on sex, and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII; defendant’s motion for summary judgment: sexual harassment claim: sufficiency of evidence of gender-neutral comments to generate a genuine issue of material fact on sexual harassment, whether harassment affected a term or condition of employment based on severity and prevasiveness, whether the alleged harasser was a supervisor" or "co-worker" for purposes of employer liability based on his status as "a foreman," what notice is sufficient to inform employer that alleged harassment is "based on sex"; disparate treatment and retaliation claims: whether an overtime disparity constitutes "adverse employment action," and sufficient of evidence to generate a genuine issue of material fact on discriminatory or retaliatory animus)02/07/2003Mark W. Bennett
Junker v. Amana Company L.P. a/k/a Amana Refrigeration; Order on summary judgment; plaintiff was terminated by Amana, argued that Amana violated FMLA by terminating employment due to alleged failure to follow Amana's medical leave policies and procedures; analysis of duty of employee under FMLA to notify employer of the need to take medical leave and to extend medical leave; breach of contract claim alleging the terms of Amana's employment manual and employment policies constitututed an enforceable contract and Amana breached this contract due to its termination of plaintiff's employment in violation of public policy and the terms of the contract; analysis of viability of state law breach of contract claim where employee's union is party to collective bargaining agreement with employer; whether such claim is preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act01/08/2003Linda R. Reade
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