Iowa Supreme Court to hear oral argument in one case April 20

by Rox Laird | April 19, 2022

The Iowa Supreme Court on April 20 will hear its final scheduled oral argument for the 2021-22 term, which ends in June.

One case, Hoffman v. Clark, will be argued at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Two other cases will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Go to On Brief’s “Cases in the Pipeline” page to read briefs filed in these cases.

Scott Clark and RealTuners LLC seek further review of a May 12, 2021, Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming a Pottawattamie County District Court jury award of $11 million against Clark for defamation of his former employer, Jerry Hoffman and Georgia-based DIY AutoTune, which provides services for do-it-yourself automobile racing.

After Clark was fired by DIY AutoTune for insubordination, he started a competing business, RealTuner, and frequently criticized Hoffman and DIY AutoTune in Facebook posts and online videos. Hoffman and DIY AutoTune sued Clark for defamation, among other claims, which resulted in the jury verdict of $1 million in personal libel per say damages for Hoffman, $4.5 million in business reputational damages for DIY AutoTune, and $5.5 million in punitive damages.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury award and the trial court’s rulings during and after the trial.

In their application for further review, Clark and RealTuners urge the Supreme Court to vacate the Court of Appeals decision and remand for a new trial on grounds that the District Court erred in striking their answer and counterclaims at trial, the jury’s verdict was excessive, and attorney fees were wrongly awarded to plaintiffs.




Iowa Constitution mandates face-to-face confrontation by witness, Iowa Supreme Court rules

A defendant’s right under the Iowa Constitution to confront witnesses at trial is not satisfied by one-way video testimony where the witness testifying on camera is not able to see the defendant, the Iowa Supreme Court held in a 4-3 ruling handed down June 28. In reaching that conclusion, the Court declined to follow a U.S. Supreme Court precedent and overruled one of its own prior rulings.

April 2024 Opinion Roundup

The Iowa Supreme Court entered opinions in nine cases during April 2024.  Opinions from April not covered elsewhere on the blog are summarized below.



On Brief: Iowa’s Appellate Blog is devoted to appellate litigation with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


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