What's still alive this legislative session?
Several bills of interest to ISBA members, including a medical malpractice cap and a revamp of worker's compensation laws, survived last week's funnel and remain alive for this legislative session.
The ISBA's Chief Legislative Counsel Jim Carney recorded a new video summarizing the bar's priorities going forward that you can watch by clicking on this link. The legislative team also updated the status of all ISBA bills on the bar's affirmative agenda chart.
If you wish to contact your lawmakers related to any of these pieces of legislation, go to the Find Your Legislator website. You can also find bills by number or subject matter by going to the Legislature's bill-tracking website.
Seventh Judicial District home to new Family Law trial pilot program
Iowa’s Seventh Judicial District has been selected to test the new informal trial program for family law matters created in February. In a release on March 1, the Iowa Supreme Court announced the selection of the district for new procedures aimed at expediting the resolution of cases with less complicated circumstances.
The new informal trials can be used for divorces, legal separations, paternity (unmarried parent) cases and modifications of child custody, visitation and support. They relax the rules of evidence, allowing parties to offer testimony or exhibits without objection by the other side. It means the judicial officer presiding over the hearing will question the parties.
The Seventh Judicial District has published a brochure online outlining the full list of changes and providing a detailed description of the benefits of both trial methods. However, if both parties do not agree to an informal trial, a traditional trial will be scheduled.
Attorneys in an informal trial would be limited to stating the issues, answering questions from the judicial officer and providing legal argument at the conclusion of the trial. Reducing an attorney’s involvement is intended to help reduce the cost of representation, while the overall process results in faster resolution for all parties.
Chief District Court Judge Marlita Greve said of the pilot: "We believe this process will improve access to justice for all Iowans. It also responds to the changing demands placed on our judicial system with the increasing number of self-represented parties and the increasing workload of judicial officers."
Full details on the pilot program can be found on the Supreme Court’s website.
Training opportunity available for Farm Succession Coordinator Certificate
The International Farm Transition Network and Drake University Law School are offering a Farm Succession Coordinator Certification Training on April 24-26 at the Drake University Legal Clinic in Des Moines.
This training is for individuals interested in becoming a Certified Farm Succession Coordinator. This program is offered to lawyers, agricultural professionals, service providers, educators and organizational leaders who work with farm businesses on succession issues.
You can learn more about the training in this flyer or sign up to attend on the event’s website.
Public Relations Committee seeking ideas for public service projects
The ISBA Public Relations Committee is currently gathering ideas for future public service or volunteer projects to organize on behalf of bar association membership. Before the committee votes to take action and begin planning an event or project, it would like the input of bar membership as a whole.
If you have any ideas for projects that you would like to see the bar coordinate, please share them with the PR Committee's ex-officio member, Communications Director Melissa Higgins: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bar Foundation raffle winner announced
The winner of the Iowa State Bar Foundation's Alaskan cruise raffle, selected on March 2, was Judith Amsler of Hiawatha. Foundation President Paul Tyler held the drawing at the bar offices and video is available on the ISBA's Facebook page.
The cruise is from July 21 to July 28. Foundation President Tyler congratulates Ms. Amsler and thanks everyone who purchased tickets, raising approximately $5,000 in support of the Foundation.
IRS interest rates unchanged for second quarter
The Internal Revenue Service announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning April 1. The rates will be: 4 percent for overpayments (3 percent in the case of a corporation), 1.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000, 4 percent for underpayments and 6 percent for large corporate underpayments.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.
Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. However, the rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus 0.5 of a percentage point.
Read more about how the IRS determines interest rates in Section 6621 of the Internal Revenue Code.
SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
March 3, 2017
CENTRAL BANK and REAL ESTATE OWNED, L.L.C., an Iowa Limited Liability Company vs. TIMOTHY C. HOGAN, as Trustee of the Liberty Bank Liquidating Trust; LIBERTY BANK, F.S.B.; IOWA STATE BANK; FIRST STATE BANK; FARMERS SAVINGS BANK; FARMERS TRUST & SAVINGS BANK; and FIRST COMMUNITY BANK
Bank appeals grant of summary judgment to appellees in an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the bank had no obligations under participation agreements entered into by the bank’s predecessor in interest.
DUTRAC COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION and KWIK TRIP, INC. vs. RADIOLOGY GROUP REAL ESTATE, L.C., SHAMROCK PROPERTIES, L.C.; DUFFY FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP; BIGGER BETTER BETTY BUILDING, L.L.C.; and QUAD CITY OMS, L.C.
Defendants appeal the district court order granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their declaratory judgment action.
JOHNSON PROPANE, HEATING & COOLING, INC. vs. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
A landowner appeals a district court judgment finding the district court was without authority to decide whether a condemnation proceeding left the landowner with an uneconomical remnant. AFFIRMED
IN OTHER NEWS
Yes, judicial funding decisions do affect you
It is time for the people of Iowa to speak out. Our constitution provides that the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branch are separate but equal branches of government. I would submit, however, that is not even close to reality.
Cedar Rapids Gazette
Jury secrecy doesn't apply if bias taints deliberations, Justices rule
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that courts must make an exception to the usual rule that jury deliberations are secret when evidence emerges that those discussions were marred by racial or ethnic bias.
New York Times
Lawyers probe possible evidence planting by former Des Moines police
An Iowa inmate's defense attorneys are probing another possible case of evidence planting by two former Des Moines police officers whose alleged misconduct already led a judge to vacate the drug conviction of another defendant.
Des Moines Register
Half of law firms made fewer summer associate offers, report finds
Competition for entry-level Big Law jobs was fierce last summer, but new data suggests recruiting may have peaked. For the first time in four years, more than half (51 percent) of the law firms that responded to a National Association of Law Placement survey said they had made fewer summer associate offers than in the previous year.
TIPS & TRICKS
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Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg & Helling PLC, Burlington, IA
McGrath North, Omaha, NE
City of Bettendorf, Bettendorf, IA
Banking & Finance Attorney
Goosmann Law Firm, Sioux City, IA
Confidential Employer, Des Moines, IA
Family Law Attorney
Confidential Employer, Dubuqe, IA
Travelers, West Des Moines
Kids First Law Center, Des Moines
Gruhn Law Firm, P.C., Cedar Rapids, IA
Assistant Dean-Career Services
University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, IA
Assistant County Attorney
Civil Division-Johnson County Attorney's Office, Iowa City, IA
ADMISSION ON MOTION
The following individuals applied for admission on motion to the Iowa Bar:
Jennifer Erin Lindberg, Iowa Insurance Division, Des Moines, IA
James T. Rollins,
Sinars Rollins LLC, Chicago, IL
Shana Lyn Marchand, Droel PLLC, Minneapolis, MN
Daniel Michael Nelson, Nelson Law Offices P.C., Wheaton, IL
Jeffrey W. Coleman,
The Coleman Law Firm LLC, Minneapolis, MN
Ashley Noel Parris, Livescan Ventura, Ventura, CA
Anyone with questions or comments on the above should contact: Dave Ewert at the Office of Professional Regulation, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319; Phone: 515-725-8029.