UPDATES & ANALYSIS

12.22

Iowa Supreme Court Will Issue Opinions in Three Cases Tomorrow

by Ryan Koopmans | December 22, 2011

By Ryan Koopmans

The Iowa Supreme Court will issue decisions in three cases tomorrow (Friday, December 23): State v. Rodriguez, Koeppel v. Speirs, and Miller v. Speirs

All three cases are on further review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.   In Rodriguez, the district court dismissed the trial information on speedy trial grounds.  The Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the defendant waived his right to a speedy trial, and that his late-hour motion to suppress also necessitated the delay.

Koeppel and Miller are related cases.  The plaintiffs were both employees for an insurance agent who secretly placed a video camera in the office bathroom.  The employees filed claims of sexual harassment and invasion of privacy.  The district court dismissed the invasion of privacy claim because there was no evidence that the agent actually viewed the employees in the bathroom (the camera didn’t work when the police arrived and there were no recorded videos).  The court also dismissed the sexual harassment claim because the Iowa Civil Rights Act does  not apply to employers who regularly have less than four employees (the two plaintiffs accounted for the agent’s entire staff).

The Court of Appeals reversed the invasion of privacy ruling and affirmed the sexual harassment ruling.  According to the Court of Appeals, the plaintiffs don’t need to prove that the agent actually watched them—only that he could have.  Because the camera did work when its batteries were replaced, there was enough evidence for the case to go to the jury on this issue.

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