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Iowa Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in eight appeals Jan. 22 and 23

by Rox Laird | January 17, 2020

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in eight cases Jan. 22 and 23, and three appeals will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Following are brief summaries of the cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read briefs submitted by the parties to the Court.

State v. Fordyce

Scheduled for oral argument Jan. 22, 9 a.m.

Steve W. Fordyce II seeks further review of a June 5 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming his conviction by the Black Hawk County District Court for voluntary manslaughter. The appeals court held that substantial evidence disproved Fordyce’s justifications for a self-defense defense, and that the District Court did not err in refusing to apply the stand-your-ground law in Fordyce’s case.

Harold Youngblut v. Leonard Youngblut

Set for argument Jan. 22, 9 a.m.

Leonard Youngblut appeals a $596,000 jury verdict against him in Black Hawk County District Court, in Harold Youngblut’s favor, in a dispute between Harold and Leonard over distribution of the family’s farm. The question in this appeal is whether Harold can bring a tortious interference claim after accepting the benefits of his mother’s will rather than contesting it in a timely manner.

Olutunde v. Iowa Department of Human Services

Set for oral argument Jan. 22, 9 a.m.

Romoke Olutunde appeals a Dec. 5, 2018, decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming a Linn County District Court decision that the Department of Human Services’ finding of dependent adult abuse was correct. The Court of Appeals held that Olutunde was a caretaker of J.N., a dependent adult, and that Olutunde was negligent in the supervision of employees, who were not consistently providing J.N.’s medications.

Estate of Franken

Set for oral argument Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m.

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.

State v. Boyer

Scheduled for oral argument Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m.

Travis Boyer appeals a Mills County District Court order that he pay jail fees following his guilty plea to third-degree sexual abuse. Boyer was charged $60 a day for the 78 days he spent in jail, totaling $4,680. He argues the trial court erred in ordering him to pay room and board for the time he spent in jail without a finding that he had a reasonable ability to pay. Boyer argues that the statute is unconstitutional if it allows the judgment as a civil matter in a criminal case.

Ommen and Watkins v. Milliman, Hiemenz, and Strum

Scheduled for oral argument Jan. 23, 9 a.m.

Milliman, Inc., Kimberley Hiemenz, and Michael Sturm appeal a Polk County District Court ruling on their motion to dismiss and compel arbitration based on Milliman’s consulting agreement with an insurance company that subsequently failed and was being liquidated by the Iowa Insurance Commissioner. Milliman argues that the District Court erred in holding that the Iowa Liquidation Act supersedes Milliman’s arbitration rights under the Federal Arbitration Act and that the liquidator could choose the forum for litigation.

Dickey v. Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Jan. 23.

Gary Dickey Jr. seeks further review of a Sept. 11 decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming a Polk County District Court decision dismissing his petition for judicial review of his challenge to a decision by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. Dickey filed a complaint with the board alleging Gov. Kim Reynolds underreported the value of an in-kind contribution to her campaign in the form of a plane flight to a college bowl game. The District Court ruled that Dickey failed to demonstrate a “specific and injurious effect” from the board’s dismissal of his complaint.

33 Carpenters Construction, Inc. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

Set for oral argument Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m.

33 Carpenters appeals a Scott County District Court holding on summary judgment that its insurance claim was based on an invalid assignment agreement obtained without the necessary Iowa public adjuster license, and that 33 Carpenters could not recover from State Farm based on an invalid assignment.

33 Carpenters Construction, Inc. v. IMT Insurance Company

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Jan. 23.

33 Carpenters Construction appeals a Scott County District Court ruling on summary judgment that an assignment of a homeowner’s insurance claim to 33 Carpenters was unenforceable because 33 Carpenters had been acting as unlicensed public adjuster in obtaining assignment of the insurance claim.

33 Carpenters Construction, Inc. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co.

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument Jan. 23

33 Carpenters seeks further 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.

Irland v. Board of Medicine

Scheduled for oral argument Jan. 23, 1:30 p.m.

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.

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