Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments in eight cases March 5 and 6

By: Rox Laird on March 1st, 2019

The Iowa Supreme Court entered the home stretch of its 2018-19 term March 1, with four months remaining before the administrative term begins in July.

The Court has disposed of 38 of the 90 cases submitted thus far this term. The Court has scheduled five more days to hear arguments in March and April.

The Court will hear arguments in eight cases March 5 and 6, and two cases will be submitted without oral argument. Following are summaries of those cases.

Following are summaries of the March oral arguments. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read the briefs filed with the Court in these cases.

State v. Baker

Scheduled for oral argument March 5, 9 a.m.

Justin Andre Baker seeks further review of a decision by the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming his conviction and sentences by the Black Hawk County District Court for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Baker argues the police seizure of his vehicle was not supported by articulable reasonable suspicion and challenges the legality of a search warrant based on evidence from that seizure. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s denial of Baker’s motion to suppress in an opinion written by Chief Judge Gayle Nelson Vogel and joined by Judge Patrick Carr. Judge Mary Tabor dissented, saying the lower court should have granted Baker’s suppression motion.

Konrardy and Burmeister v. Vincent Angerer Trust and Dewitt Bank and Trust

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument March 5.

Appellants, The Vincent Angerer Trust and Dewitt Bank and Trust Co., as Trustee of the Vincent Angerer Trust, seek further review of an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming a Clinton County District Court denial of the defendants’ motion of summary judgment. The issue in the District Court was whether the value of the plaintiffs/appellees’ shares in the Vincent Angerer Trust should be valued at the date of Angerer’s death or at the date of distribution.

Clark, et al. v. Insurance Company State of Pennsylvania

Scheduled for oral argument March 5, 9 a.m.

Dillon Clark, Agnes Dusabe, Musa Ezeirig, Zarpka Green, Abraham Tarpeh, and Dusty Nyonee appeal the Jasper County District Court’s dismissal of their consolidated workers’ compensation claims. In this interlocutory appeal of the lower court ruling, the plaintiffs/appellants argue that Iowa Code 517.5, which states that an insurance carrier’s inspection of a place of employment is not a basis for civil liability, violates the equal protection, inalienable rights and due process clauses of the Iowa Constitution.

Anderson v. Anderson Tooling

Scheduled for oral argument March 5, 1:30 p.m.

Anderson Tooling Inc. seeks further review of a decision by the Iowa Court of Appeals affirming in part, reversing in part and remanding a Jefferson County District Court holdings and judgment in the parties’ claims and counterclaims. Anderson Tooling argues the Court of Appeals “erroneously concluded that record evidence did not support the conspiracy judgment” against Lori J. Anderson and Fabrication and Construction Services and “applied an unreasonably restrictive definition of ‘conspiracy.’ ”

State v. Aschbrenner

Scheduled for oral argument March 5, 1:30 p.m.

Lloyd Aschbrenner appeals a Linn County District Court judgment and sentence for a violation of the sex offender registry requirement. Aschbrenner argues the Iowa Code requirement that convicted sex offenders must disclose all social media addresses violates free speech provisions of the U.S and Iowa Constitutions. And he argues that recent legislative amendments making retroactive changes to Iowa’s sex-offender registration requirement violates the constitutional ex post facto prohibition.

In re the Detention of Ruthers

Scheduled for oral argument March 6, 9 a.m.

The State seeks further review of an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling reversing and remanding a Mahaska County District Court ruling finding Thomas G. Ruthers Jr. to be a sexually-violent predator as defined by the Iowa Code. The Court of Appeals ruled that the State’s petition to find Ruthers a sexually-violent predator was not properly filed because Ruther was not “presently confined” as required by the Code, and Ruthers’ previous act of sexual abuse 4½ years earlier was too distant to predict his future risk of offending. The decision was written by Judge Amanda Potterfield and joined by Judge Richard Doyle. Chief Judge David Danilson (since retired) dissented from the court’s holding on the issue of whether Ruthers’ previous sex abuse act could be applied, and would have affirmed the lower court.

Ortiz v. Roling Construction and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance

Will be submitted to the Court without oral argument March 6.

Isaac Ortiz seeks further review of a Court of Appeals decision affirming the Polk County District Court’s dismissal of his petition for judicial review of a workers’ compensation commissioner’s decision. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that Ortiz failed to “substantially comply” with the service requirements of the Iowa Code. Ortiz served the respondents with his petition by email and the Electronic Data Management System (EDMS), rather than by personal service or regular mail, but the Court of Appeals held that an electronic service is not an option under the statute.

State v. Jane Doe

Scheduled for oral argument March 6, 9 a.m.

The appellant, identified as “Jane Doe,” appeals a decision of the Polk County District Court denial of her motion to expunge from the public record criminal charges, which had been dismissed, because she had not paid court-appointed attorney fees. Doe argues the State violates the equal-protection clause of the U.S. and Iowa Constitutions by imposing discriminatory restrictions on indigent defendants who rely on court-appointed counsel not imposed on those who can afford to hire counsel at their own expense.

Westra v. Iowa Department of Transportation

Scheduled for oral argument March 6, 1:30 p.m.

Alex Wayne Westra appeals a Polk County District Court ruling denying his petition for review of the DOT’s suspension of Westra’s driver’s license. Westra urges the Supreme Court to rule that the DOT officer unconstitutionally exceeded his legal authority in making the traffic stop, that the Iowa Constitution’s exclusionary rule applies to such administrative proceedings, and that due process under the Iowa Constitution requires traffic-stop challenges be allowed in administrative proceedings.

Albaugh v. The Reserve

Scheduled for oral argument March 6, 1:30 p.m.

Cheryl Albaugh appeals a Polk County District Court summary judgment ruling that her mother was required to forfeit entrance fees at her senior-living facility when worsening health required that she move out because she could no longer care for herself. Albaugh argues the trial court should have ordered The Reserve to refund her mother’s fees because the fees amounted to a rental deposit under Iowa’s Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

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On Brief is devoted to appellate litigation, with a focus on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
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