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Iowa Supreme Court adds nine new cases to its docket

by Rox Laird | July 25, 2019

The Iowa Supreme Court granted further review of nine Iowa Court of Appeals rulings in an order released July 19. The Court denied further review in 65 cases, and it has 59 cases under review. Following are brief summaries of the nine Iowa Court of Appeals rulings that will be heard on further review by the Supreme Court.

State v. Mathes

Lori Dee Mathes appeals a March 20 Iowa Court of Appeals decision dismissing her appeal of a Monona County District Court order that she pay restitution for court-appointed attorney fees. Mathes argued the trial court should have first determined her ability to pay the fees, but the appeals court said she had no right to appeal an order that was not a final judgment or sentence.

33 Carpenters Construction v. Cincinnati Insurance

Appellant 33 Carpenters seeks review of a Feb. 6 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming a Scott County District Court summary judgment dismissal of the company’s suit against Cincinnati Insurance for a contract violation for its failure to fully pay a claim assigned to 33 Carpenters by a property owner insured by Cincinnati.

Standard Water Control Systems v. Jones

Standard Water Control Systems appeals a Feb. 6 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals holding that a homestead may not be sold to recover attorney fees in a lien foreclosure action for the home owner’s failure to pay for work done on the home. The court also held that the Polk County District Court erred in ruling that defendant-appellants Michael and Cori Jones waived their homestead rights.

In re the Estate of Franken

John and Dessie Rottinghaus appeal a May 1 Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming a Black Hawk County District Court ruling that the deed on real estate they sold in 1973, which gave them the right to match any subsequent offers to purchase the property, was not violated in 2016 because, by statute, the right to establish an interest in real estate is not enforceable if the claim is made more than 10 years after the interest was established.

Irland v. Board of Medicine

Mark Irland appeals a March 6 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming a Polk County District Court decision that a “confidential letter of warning” issued to him by the Iowa Board of Medicine is, by statute, not subject to judicial review. The appeals court said the board’s letter only advised Irland on actions he should take in response to the complaint against him, but the board imposed no sanctions or disciplinary action that adversely affected Irland.

State v. Walker

Lawrence Walker appeals a March 20 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his convictions for sexual abuse in the second degree and lascivious acts with a child, and holding that the Scott County District Court properly excluded evidence Walter proposed to introduce at trial because it fell within the rape-shield law, and that the court did not err in allowing testimony from a doctor who interviewed the victim.

State v. Fogg

Kari Lee Fogg appeals a May 1 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming her conviction by a Boone County District Court jury on first-offense OWI, and affirming the trial court’s denial of Fogg’s motion to suppress evidence on the basis of an unreasonable seizure by the arresting officer. The appeals court also rejected Fogg’s claim that her trial attorney was ineffective for failing to object to the prosecutor’s statements made in closing argument.

Whitlow v. McConnaha

Ron and Jodi McConnaha appeal a May 1 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing a Muscatine County District Court ruling granting a new trial following an error in a jury verdict finding one defendant was not at fault for a motorcycle-tractor accident while failing to address the second defendant. The appeals court reversed the ruling granting a new trial only for the second defendant and remanded the case for a complete retrial for both defendants.

State v. Gross

Larry Gross Jr. appeals an April 17 Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming a Polk County District Court decision requiring him to reimburse the county for $11,415 for the 197 days he was in jail without first making a finding that Gross had a reasonable ability to pay the jail charge. The appeals court held that the charge was a civil judgment, not a restitution order, and thus did not require a determination that a defendant is reasonably able to pay the amount due.

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