UPDATES & ANALYSIS

6.10

Iowa Supreme Court expected to release opinions in three cases Friday

by Rox Laird | June 10, 2021

Opinions in three cases are expected to be released by the Iowa Supreme Court Friday, June 11. With those three cases decided, 17 cases argued in the 2020-21 term remain to be decided. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page and click on the “Cases Argued” tab to see which cases that were argued this term remain to be decided.

Following are On Brief’s previously published summaries of the three cases scheduled for release June 11.

David Buboltz and Donna Reece v. Patricia Birusingh, individually and in Her Capacity as Co-Executor of the Estate of Cletis C. Ireland, and Kumari Durick

 Argued March 23, 2021

Issue: Should a claim of intentional interference with inheritance have  been submitted to a jury?

David Buboltz and Donna Reece appeal from a Pottawattamie County District Court summary judgment ruling dismissing their claim of intentional interference with inheritance. At issue is the Cass County Century Farm owned by the late Cletis Ireland, whose 2001 will named plaintiffs as beneficiaries. Ireland changed her will in 2015 to say defendant-appellee Kumari Durick would inherit the farm and defendant-appellee Patricia Birusingh would inherit the vast majority of her money and personal assets. The District Court in granting partial summary judgment held that the plaintiffs were required to show that the defendants knew of the plaintiffs’ expected inheritance from Ireland. The plaintiffs’ separate claim for undue influence regarding Ireland’s 2015 will was submitted to the jury, which returned a unanimous verdict for plaintiffs. The plaintiffs urge the Supreme Court to reinstate their claim for intentional interference with inheritance. Appellees cross-appeal seeking a new trial due to the trial court’s admission of prejudicial hearsay testimony, and a prejudicial closing argument by plaintiffs’ trial counsel.

Colwell v. Department of Human Services

Argued Dec. 11, 2020

The Department of Human Services appeals a decision of the Polk County District Court reversing the department’s decision denying dentist Robert Colwell a hearing to consider his appeal of the decision by a DHS managed-care provider denying claims for dental services Colwell provided to Medicaid patients.

EMC Insurance Group Inc. v. Shepard

 Argued April 14, 2021

Issue: Did a shareholder properly exercise his right to challenge the price paid to minority shareholders as part of a corporate merger? [Disclosure: Nyemaster Goode attorneys Michael Thrall, Mark Dickinson, and Lynn Herndon represent plaintiff-appellee EMC Insurance Group Inc.]

Gregory Shepard appeals a Polk County District Court ruling granting summary judgment to plaintiff EMC Insurance Group Inc. (EMCI) on its petition for a declaratory order that Shepard had lost his right to challenge the share price EMC set for buying out minority shareholders. Shepard raises three issues in his appeal: 1) Was the list of record shareholders used by EMCI to send proxy voting forms to those record shareholders in connection with the proposed merger properly constituted under Iowa law? 2) Did EMCI waive its right to argue that Shepard failed to comply with the Iowa appraisal statute? 3) Can EMCI claim that Shepard failed to obtain record shareholder consent to an appraisal by canceling Shepard’s EMCI shares? An amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief was filed with the Court in this case by the Depository Trust Co., not in support of either party on the merits but to clarify the law on record ownership of securities.

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