Iowa Supreme Court Decisions 2017

Cannon v. Bodensteiner Implement Co.  
Date: October 27, 2017
Docket Number: 150741

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants in this case brought by an independent contractor who sued for damages when he purchased a used tractor from a John De...

State v. White  
Date: October 27, 2017
Docket Number: 150829

Justia Opinion Summary: A hearing conducted by the district court to determine if a juvenile offender should be sentenced to a minimum term of incarceration without eligibility for parole did not, in this case, comply with constitutional safegu...

Linn v. Montgomery  
Date: October 27, 2017
Docket Number: 161136

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s malicious prosecution claim on the ground that Defendants did not instigate Plaintiff’s criminal prosecution. Linda...

State v. Clemens  
Date: October 27, 2017
Docket Number: 162087

Justia Opinion Summary: A “criminal case” as used in Iowa’s recently enacted expungement law, Iowa Code 901C.2, refers to a single numbered legal proceeding. In 2011, Defendant was charged with several aggravated misdemeanors in a single tria...

State v. Steiger  
Date: October 20, 2017
Docket Number: 151630

Justia Opinion Summary: Under the circumstances of this case, Defendant was denied procedural protections for determining his status as an habitual offender at trial, and Defendant did not need to preserve error by filing a motion in arrest of...

In re Estate of Margaret E. Workman  
Date: October 20, 2017
Docket Number: 152126

Justia Opinion Summary: In this will contest, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the unsuccessful will contestant’s motion to amend the pleadings to conform to the proof at the close of his case. The contestant’s motio...

Maxwell v. Iowa Department of Public Safety  
Date: October 20, 2017
Docket Number: 161290

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was required to register as a sex offender under Iowa Code 692A.103(1) upon his conviction of lascivious conduct with a minor and release on bond, notwithstanding this appeal. Defendant argued that he had no...

State v. Iowa District Court for Jones County  
Date: October 13, 2017
Docket Number: 171023

Justia Opinion Summary: The Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) may not forfeit earned time an inmate accrued before his refusal of or removal from the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP). For more than a decade, the IDOC policy stopped o...

IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. LAWRENCE L. LYNCH
Date: September 15, 2017
Docket Number: 170193
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. RODNEY HOWARD POWELL
Date: September 15, 2017
Docket Number: 170254
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. KIM MARLOW WEST
Date: September 15, 2017
Docket Number: 170420
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. LUKE D. GUTHRIE
Date: September 15, 2017
Docket Number: 170879
State v. Pettijohn  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 140830

Justia Opinion Summary: The administration of a warrantless breath test to Defendant violated Iowa Const. art. I, 8 because the State failed to prove that Defendant voluntarily consented to the warrantless breath test and failed to prove that t...

Godfrey v. State  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 150695

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved claims brought against various state officials for damages related to public employment. Plaintiff was an Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. At issue in this interlocutory appeal were four counts...

Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad v. Iowa District Court for Louisa County  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 151456

Justia Opinion Summary: The owner of a railroad right-of-way filed a petition for certiorari challenging a district court order finding it in contempt for violating a 1977 judgment imposing an injunction against a previous owner of the right-of...

State v. Childs  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 151578

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court declined Defendant’s invitation to overturn State v. Comried, 693 N.W. 2d 773 (Iowa 2005), which interpreted the operating while intoxicated (OWI) statute to ban driving a motor vehicle with any detecti...

State v. Plain  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 160061

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court abandoned the exclusive use of absolute disparity as a test for jury representativeness under the Sixth Amendment and permitted absolute disparity, comparative disparity, and standard deviation analyses...

State v. Storm  
Date: June 30, 2017
Docket Number: 160362

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court decided not to abandon the automobile exception to the search warrant requirement under Iowa Const. art. I, 8 despite technological advances enabling police to obtain warrants from the scene of a traffi...

Haskenhoff v. Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC  
Date: June 23, 2017
Docket Number: 150574

Justia Opinion Summary: In this employment discrimination case, prejudicial errors in four jury instructions required a new trial. Plaintiff filed claims against her former employer, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation under the Iowa Ci...

State v. Tipton  
Date: June 23, 2017
Docket Number: 151515

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of two lottery-related offenses - fraudulently passing or redeeming, or attempting to pass or redeem, a lottery ticket; and influencing or attempting to influence the winning of a prize through fr...

State v. McNeal  
Date: June 23, 2017
Docket Number: 151606

Justia Opinion Summary: The district court did not abuse its discretion in commencing a criminal trial on June 26 and then postponing the presentation of evidence to July 7, eight days after the June 29 expiration of the speedy trial deadline d...

STATE OF IOWA vs. ZACHARY RYAN JAMES
Date: June 23, 2017
Docket Number: 160609
State v. Russell  
Date: June 23, 2017
Docket Number: 160807

Justia Opinion Summary: In this interlocutory review on a discovery dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court ordering counsel for Defendant to provide notice to the State before serving any subpoenas duces tecum on...

State v. Majors  
Date: June 16, 2017
Docket Number: 141670

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted murder and burglary in the second degree for a crime he committed when he was a juvenile. Following a resentencing hearing, the district court sentenced Defendant to a term of incarc...

State v. Roby  
Date: June 16, 2017
Docket Number: 150175

Justia Opinion Summary: Iowa Const. art. I, section 17 does not categorically prohibit a district court form sentencing a juvenile offender to a minimum term of incarceration without the possibility of parole, provided that the court only impos...

Brakke v. Iowa Department of Natural Resources  
Date: June 16, 2017
Docket Number: 150328

Justia Opinion Summary: The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lacked statutory authority to issue an emergency order that imposed a quarantine on land used as a whitetail deer-hunting preserve. Landowners challenged an emergency order...

Stender v. Blessum  
Date: June 16, 2017
Docket Number: 152016

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff brought claims against her former attorney for legal malpractice. The district court submitted to the jury four claims (1) legal malpractice in Defendant’s representation of Plaintiff in her divorce, (2) legal...

State v. Martinez  
Date: June 9, 2017
Docket Number: 150671

Justia Opinion Summary: Iowa’s forgery statute is preempted on its face by federal immigration law. Further, Iowa’s identity theft statute is field preempted as applied in this case, and enforcement of the identity theft statute is conflict pre...

Diaz v. State  
Date: June 9, 2017
Docket Number: 150862

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Defendant must be allowed to withdraw his plea of guilty to a criminal offense because Defendant would not have accepted the plea agreement if he had been provided the effective assistance of...

State v. Green  
Date: June 9, 2017
Docket Number: 150871

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant did not have a right to counsel under Iowa Const. art. I, section 10 when he voluntarily participated in a noncustodial police interview under the supervision of an Iowa county attorney even though the State’s...

Whitwer v. Civil Service Commission of the City of Sioux City  
Date: June 9, 2017
Docket Number: 151131

Justia Opinion Summary: A civil service employee may enter into a valid last-chance agreement, which remains subject to principles of contract law, and the civil service commission need not sanction the agreement for it to be effective. A muni...

Plowman v. Fort Madison Community Hospital  
Date: June 2, 2017
Docket Number: 150974

Justia Opinion Summary: Parents of a child born with severe disabilities may bring a wrongful birth claim based on the physicians’ failure to inform them of prenatal test results showing a congenital defect that would have led them to terminate...

Ludman v. Davenport Assumption High School  
Date: June 2, 2017
Docket Number: 151191

Justia Opinion Summary: In this premises liability action, the district court entered judgment finding that a high school’s negligence was responsible for injuries sustained by a high school baseball player after a foul ball struck him while he...

State v. Washington  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 140792

Justia Opinion Summary: The speedy indictment rule commences upon arrest only when the arrest is completed by making an initial appearance. Therefore, the speedy indictment rule does not require the dismissal of a trial information against a de...

State v. Williams  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 140793

Justia Opinion Summary: The speedy indictment rule is properly interpreted to commence upon arrest only when the arrest is completed by making an initial appearance. At issue in this case was whether Defendants’ rights were violated by the fa...

State v. Smith  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 140812

Justia Opinion Summary: This case that arose out of the same facts and presented the same issues addressed in a companion case also decided today, State v. Williams, __ N.W.2d __ (Iowa 2017). At issue was whether Defendants’ rights were violate...

State v. Propps  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 150235

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, a juvenile, pleaded guilty to four counts of willful injury causing serious injury. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the district court sentenced Defendant to indeterminate sentences not to exceed ten years on...

State v. Virgil  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 150971

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction for domestic abuse assault, third offense, and remanded this case for a new trial, holding that Defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial cou...

State v. Graham  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 151464

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant pled guilty to one count of third-degree sexual abuse as the result of a sex act that occurred involving Appellant, who was seventeen years old, and T.C., who was thirteen years old. On appeal, Appellant argued...

State v. Ramirez  
Date: May 25, 2017
Docket Number: 151807

Justia Opinion Summary: Iowa’s search warrants do not authorize anticipatory warrants, but where the federal government conducts a search pursuant to a valid federal search warrant for purposes of a federal investigation, the fact that such a w...

Thornton v. American Interstate Insurance Co.  
Date: May 19, 2017
Docket Number: 151032

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff, who was paralyzed in an accident during a work accident, filed a petition seeking a determination of permanent total disability (PTD) and also sought partial commutation of benefits in a lump sum. Defendant, t...

Walton v. Gaffey  
Date: May 19, 2017
Docket Number: 151348

Justia Opinion Summary: Landlord brought this interlocutory appeal challenging a summary judgment in favor of Tenant and the district court’s order certifying a class of tenants. Tenant filed an action seeking a declaration that certain lease p...

Kline v. Southgate Property Management, LLC  
Date: May 19, 2017
Docket Number: 151350

Justia Opinion Summary: After their leases expired, three tenants, on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated residential tenants, brought suit against their landlord. The district court granted summary judgment for the tenants, decla...

Simon Seeding & Sod, Inc. v. Dubuque Human Rights Commission  
Date: May 19, 2017
Docket Number: 161014

Justia Opinion Summary: A Dubuque civil rights ordinance exempts “any employer who regularly employs less than four individuals.” The former employee of Appellant, a landscaper whose hiring needs fluctuate seasonally, filed a complaint with the...

Freeman v. Grain Processing Corp.  
Date: May 12, 2017
Docket Number: 151942

Justia Opinion Summary: The district court did not abuse its discretion by certifying this case as a class action. Plaintiffs alleged that air pollution from a corn wet milling plant interfered with the use of their property. Plaintiffs filed...

In re Detention of Jeffrey Anderson  
Date: May 12, 2017
Docket Number: 152122

Justia Opinion Summary: Jeffrey Anderson challenged a district court order placing him in a transitional release program at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) as a violation of his due process rights. After a jury determin...

State v. Huser  
Date: May 5, 2017
Docket Number: 140277

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant appealed his first-degree murder conviction entered after a retrial. The State prosecuted Defendant on the theory that Defendant aided and abetted Louis Woolheater in the murder of Lance Morningstar and was mot...

State v. Nall  
Date: May 5, 2017
Docket Number: 140969

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Iowa’s theft-by-taking prohibition in Iowa Code 714.1(1) is limited to situations where a person obtains property without the consent or authority of another, and therefore, a defendant does n...

In re M.W.  
Date: May 5, 2017
Docket Number: 152213

Justia Opinion Summary: On December 8, after a hearing, a judicial hospitalization referee entered an order finding M.W. seriously mentally impaired and ordered M.W. involuntarily hospitalized. M.W. appealed the denial of his motion to continue...

Steinberg v. Steinberg  
Date: April 28, 2017
Docket Number: 160380

Justia Opinion Summary: David Steinberg and Steven Steinberg, brothers and the sole beneficiaries of the Steinberg Family Living Trust, requested a declaration of how a Minnesota farm and an Iowa farm should be distributed. The Minnesota farm,...

Abbas v. Iowa Insurance Division  
Date: April 21, 2017
Docket Number: 151248

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1986, the Iowa legislature enacted House File 2219 to provide for payment by healthcare service corporations for services performed by chiropractors. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Mueller v. Wellmark, seve...

State v. Angel  
Date: April 21, 2017
Docket Number: 151830

Justia Opinion Summary: Deputy Dan Furlong prepared a warrant application to search a residence. The detective brought the application before a judicial officer and, without signing the application, orally swore to the trust of the application...

Chicoine v. Wellmark, Inc.  
Date: April 21, 2017
Docket Number: 160364

Justia Opinion Summary: Several Iowa chiropractors brought this class-action lawsuit against Wellmark, Inc., Iowa’s largest health insurer, alleging that it conspired with competitors to fix prices, allocate markets, and engage in other anticom...

In re Estate of Joseph C. Gantner III  
Date: April 21, 2017
Docket Number: 161028

Justia Opinion Summary: Joseph Gantner died in 2015, survived by his wife, Rachel Gantner, and two daughters, Meredith and Paige Gantner. After Joseph’s will was admitted to probate, Rachel filed for an elective share of Joseph’s estate and als...

State v. Shorter  
Date: April 14, 2017
Docket Number: 141239

Justia Opinion Summary: Four defendants, including Kent Tyler and James Shorter, were charged with murder in connection with the death of Richard Daughenbaugh. Tyler was convicted of second-degree murder. In State v. Tyler, the Supreme Court re...

State v. Russell  
Date: April 14, 2017
Docket Number: 141242

Justia Opinion Summary: Kent Tyler, Yarvon Russell, James Shorter, and Leprese Williams were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Richard Daughenbaugh. Tyler was tried separately from the other three defendants. At t...

Estate of Mercedes Gottschalk  
Date: April 14, 2017
Docket Number: 141326

Justia Opinion Summary: William Cubbage was convicted of sexually violent offenses and was adjudicated a sexually violent predator. While in custody at the State’s civil commitment unit for sexual offenders (CCUSO), Cubbage was diagnosed with d...

State v. Downey  
Date: April 14, 2017
Docket Number: 151585

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of making a false statement on an application to acquire a weapon permit, in violation of Iowa Code 724.17. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction, concluding that the d...

State v. Harrington  
Date: April 7, 2017
Docket Number: 150308

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with robbery in the second degree. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty. The State sought a habitual offender sentencing enhancement, but the district court did not inform Defendant of cer...

Estate of Michael G. Cox II v. Dunakey & Klatt, P.C.  
Date: April 7, 2017
Docket Number: 160649

Justia Opinion Summary: This legal malpractice case arose from work performed by the Dunakey & Klatt law firm for Michael Cox II. Cox later died. Thereafter, Michael Cox’s parents (Plaintiffs) filed this action for legal malpractice against Dun...

Willard v. State  
Date: April 7, 2017
Docket Number: 161009

Justia Opinion Summary: Dennis Willard was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident. Defendant was treated at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Willard claimed that while undergoing an abdominal CT scan, UIHC was neglige...

Papillon v. Jones  
Date: March 31, 2017
Docket Number: 151813

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Bryan Jones secretly recorded Brenda Papillon’s conversations with other people outside his presence. Papillon sued Jones under the Interception of Communications Act, Iowa Code chapter 808B, which prohibits “w...

Myria Holdings Inc. v. Iowa Department of Revenue  
Date: March 24, 2017
Docket Number: 150296

Justia Opinion Summary: Myria Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation with its primary place of business in Texas, holds an ownership interest in two subsidiaries doing business in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Revenue issued a final order conclu...

Yocum v. State  
Date: March 10, 2017
Docket Number: 150545

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant pleaded guilty to failure to appear for sentencing. Appellant filed a postconviction relief action asserting that his counsel provided ineffective assistance. The district court denied relief. Appellant appeale...

Porter v. Harden  
Date: March 10, 2017
Docket Number: 150683

Justia Opinion Summary: For twenty-four years, Tenants lived on property owned by Owners. Tenants kept one horse on the property. Owners later served Tenants with a thirty-day notice seeking to terminate Tenants’ tenancy. Owners followed up wit...

Hartog v. City of Waterloo  
Date: March 10, 2017
Docket Number: 151540

Justia Opinion Summary: The City of Waterloo entered into a contract to sell certain property to a development company and also entered into a development agreement with the development company. Taxpaying residents of the City filed a petition...

Kopecky v. Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission  
Date: March 10, 2017
Docket Number: 161146

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2013, the citizens of Linn County approved a referendum to permit gambling games in the county. Thereafter, a county organization applied to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission for a license to operate a new gamblin...

Ney v. Ney  
Date: March 10, 2017
Docket Number: 161323

Justia Opinion Summary: Patrick Alan Ney and John Glenn Ney were brothers with an acrimonious relationship. Patrick filed a petition for injunctive relief seeking a temporary injunction against John. The parties entered into a stipulation and a...

Central Bank v. Hogan  
Date: March 3, 2017
Docket Number: 150995

Justia Opinion Summary: Liberty Bank made five loans to the owner of real property (Property). Liberty Bank and five other banks entered into participation agreements related to the loan. Iowa Great Lakes Holding later defaulted on the loan, an...

DuTrac Community Credit Union v. Radiology Group Real Estate, L.C.  
Date: March 3, 2017
Docket Number: 160661

Justia Opinion Summary: DuTrac Community Credit Union owned a parcel of real estate in a commercial development. Kwik Trip, Inc. sought to purchase the property. During due diligence, Kwik Trip discovered that the property was subject to a rest...

Johnson Propane, Heating & Cooling, Inc. v. Iowa Department of Transportation  
Date: March 3, 2017
Docket Number: 160906

Justia Opinion Summary: The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) condemned a parcel of Landowner’s property to complete the construction of a highway. The compensation commission awarded Landowner $11,100 for the taking. Landowner filed a p...

In re Petition of Judith Ann Chapman  
Date: February 24, 2017
Docket Number: 150153

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother, who was sixty-nine years old, filed a petition for relief from elder abuse, naming her son John Wilkinson as the defendant. After a hearing, the district court entered a final protective order against Wilkinson,...

State v. Harris  
Date: February 24, 2017
Docket Number: 150940

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of going armed with intent and willful injury causing bodily injury. Defendant appealed, arguing that defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to challenge th...

Pettit v. Iowa Department of Corrections  
Date: February 24, 2017
Docket Number: 160582

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2004, Gary Pettit pled guilty to third-degree sexual abuse and third-degree kidnapping, Pettit was incarcerated at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. In 2015, the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) informed Pettit tha...

State v. Richardson  
Date: February 17, 2017
Docket Number: 141174

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Defendant was fifteen years old at the time of the offense. The district court sentenced Defendant to an indeterminate term of incarceration and ordered Defendant to pay...

State v. Breeden  
Date: February 17, 2017
Docket Number: 141789

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted murder. Defendant was sixteen years old at the time of the offense. Defendant was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, including a mandatory minimum term of incarceration. Defen...

Wellmark, Inc. v. Iowa District Court for Polk County  
Date: February 17, 2017
Docket Number: 151922

Justia Opinion Summary: In this ongoing civil litigation, the Supreme Court decided two prior appeals, referred to as Mueller I and Mueller II. After procedendo issued in Mueller II, Plaintiffs were successful in persuading the district court t...

IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. TAREK A. KHOWASSAH
Date: February 17, 2017
Docket Number: 161266
State v. Coleman  
Date: February 10, 2017
Docket Number: 150752

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with driving while barred. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, which the district court denied. Defendant was subsequently convicted. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress, argui...

State v. Brown  
Date: February 10, 2017
Docket Number: 151576

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant appealed his convictions and sentences following two bench trials, challenging the underlying searches in each of the two cases. Specifically, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying his motio...

DuTrac Community Credit Union v. Hefel  
Date: February 3, 2017
Docket Number: 151379

Justia Opinion Summary: The district court granted a request for entry of a charging order against a personal guarantor and judgment debtor’s transferable interest in an LLC. The judgment debtor and intervenor filed a motion to quash alleging t...

Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines v. Sac County Board of Supervisors  
Date: January 27, 2017
Docket Number: 160076

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff in this case was a municipal waterworks that provides drinking water to central Iowans. Plaintiff sued Defendants - upstream drainage districts and their trustees - in federal court for money damages and other...

IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. BRUCE A. WILLEY
Date: January 27, 2017
Docket Number: 161228
IOWA SUPREME COURT ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY BOARD vs. PAMELA ANN VANDEL
Date: January 27, 2017
Docket Number: 161704
State v. Iowa District Court for Scott County  
Date: January 20, 2017
Docket Number: 151255

Justia Opinion Summary: A special restitution law provides that the court may order restitution paid to any public agency for the costs of the “emergency response” resulting from the actions constituting a violation of the operating while intox...

State v. Iowa District Court for Scott County  
Date: January 20, 2017
Docket Number: 152150

Justia Opinion Summary: A special restitution law provides that the court may order restitution paid to any public agency for the costs of the “emergency response” resulting from the actions constituting a violation of the operating while intox...

State v. Iowa District Court for Scott County  
Date: January 20, 2017
Docket Number: 152151

Justia Opinion Summary: A special restitution law provides that the court may order restitution paid to any public agency for the costs of the “emergency response” resulting from the actions constituting a violation of the operating while intox...

Segura v. State  
Date: January 13, 2017
Docket Number: 150203

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs’ attorney filed two board claim forms with a state appeals board on behalf of Plaintiffs, signing their names and his own. The attorney did not attach any document showing he had power of attorney. The board r...

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