The Iowa Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in five cases Nov. 13 and 14

By: Rox Laird on November 9th, 2018

The Iowa Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in five cases Nov. 13 and 14. Five other cases will be submitted to the Court without oral argument. Following are summaries of the November cases. Go to On Brief’s Cases in the Pipeline page to read the briefs filed with the Court in these cases.

Service Employees International Union, Local 199 v. State and Iowa Board of Regents

Scheduled for argument Nov. 13, 9 a.m.

The Service Employees International Union appeals a Polk County District Court ruling that a proposed collective-bargaining agreement with the Iowa Board of Regents was not final because it had not been ratified by the Board. The union that represents University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics employees argues that a final offer made on behalf of the Board of Regents by its bargaining representative constituted an enforceable agreement once it was ratified by the union membership.

UE Local 893/IUP v. State of Iowa

Scheduled for argument Nov. 13, 9 a.m.

The State appeals a ruling from Polk County District Court granting summary judgment to the UE Local 893/IUP state employees’ union. The District Court held that a collective-bargaining agreement between the union and the State was valid and enforceable. The State argues that the proposed agreement was not final because the State had withdrawn its offer while it awaited action pending in the Iowa General Assembly that would affect the public employment collective bargaining law.

Sauser v. State

Will be submitted to the Court Nov. 13 without oral argument.

Revette Ann Sauser appeals an Iowa Court of Appeals decision upholding a ruling by the Delaware County District Court denying her petition for post-conviction relief. Sauser pled guilty to kidnapping in the second degree, voluntary manslaughter, and going armed with intent after fatally shooting her husband. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s denial of Sauser’s claim in a post-conviction relief petition that her counsel was ineffective for allowing her to plead guilty because the record lacked a factual basis for the kidnapping charge.

Behm, et al. v. City of Cedar Rapids and Gatso USA, Inc.

Will be submitted to the Court Nov. 13 without oral argument.

Six motor-vehicle owners challenge the City of Cedar Rapids’ automated traffic enforcement system on a number of grounds. Among them is whether the city unconstitutionally delegated core police functions to a private contractor to install and operate the speed cameras. This case was initially argued in September 2017, but it was held over to the current term along with two other traffic cameras appeals, City of Cedar Rapids v. Leaf, which was re-argued in August, and Weizberg v. City of Des Moines.

State v. Headley

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 13, 1:30 p.m.

Evan Paul Headley appeals his 18-year prison sentence imposed by the Polk County District Court for burglary in the second degree and second-offense domestic abuse assault. Headley urges the Court to rule that a sentencing court may not consider a risk-assessment tool to determine whether to impose a prison sentence versus community-based supervision. The risk-assessment tool relied upon by the trial judge in sentencing Headley to prison scored Headley as a high risk for future violence and a moderate to high risk to fail on community-based supervision. Headley argues the risk-assessment tools can be inaccurate and imprecise. Two other appeals on the same issue are before the Court this term, State v. Gordon and State v. Guise, argued in October.

Winger Contracting Company, et al. v. Cargill, Inc.

Scheduled for oral argument Nov. 13, 1:30 p.m.

Winger Contracting Co., and other general contractors on a chemical plant in Eddyville, appeal a summary judgment decision by the Monroe County District Court that “there must be a contract with the owner before the lienholder’s lien attaches to the land belonging to the owner upon which the building sits.” Here’s how Winger summarized the case in a brief filed with the Court: “When a lessor and lessee participate in a major construction project, is the lessor’s land subject to a mechanic’s lien for the lessee’s failure to pay third party laborer and material suppliers when the lessor knowingly receives the service. The district court said ‘no.’ With all due respect that was the wrong answer.”

State v. Davis

Scheduled for oral argument on Nov. 14, 9 a.m.

Robert Arthur Davis appeals an Iowa Court of Appeals ruling affirming his conviction for second-offense operating while intoxicated. Davis argues the Muscatine County District Court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from a chemical breath test. Davis argues that evidence should be suppressed because he consented to the breath test after the arresting officer conducted a field sobriety test without allowing Davis to first consult with his attorney, who would have advised him not to submit to the test. Thus, he argues, the breath test evidence was the fruit of the violation of his right to contact his attorney.

Seeberger v. Davenport Civil Rights Commission and Schreurs

Will be submitted to the Court Nov. 14 without oral argument.

Theresa Seeberger appeals a ruling of the Iowa Court of Appeals that her First Amendment rights were not violated by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission’s action in a housing-discrimination complaint against her. The Commission upheld an administrative law judge’s decision that Seeberger’s statements made to a tenant regarding the tenant’s teenage daughter’s pregnancy were discriminatory on the basis of familial status. Seeberger argued that the Commission’s action was unconstitutional because it violated her free-speech rights. The Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that because Seeberger’s statements to the tenant were made in her role as a landlord, they fall into the category of commercial speech, and thus are not protected by the First Amendment.

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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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