Iowa Lawyer Weekly (02/12/2014)
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February 12, 2014
Past Issues

Scam emails about phony court cases

The Iowa Supreme Court issued a news release yesterday warning attorneys to disregard emails that claim to be from the Iowa Judicial Branch or a court official. According to the release, the scam emails state that a complaint was received, or court-ordered restitution is due, or a trial date with the Iowa Court of Appeals is set.

The Iowa Judicial Branch doesn’t issue official court communications by email unless the recipient is a registered eFile user and the document is clearly identified as a "Notice of Electronic Filing or Presentation.” Such notices will never ask the recipient to send money, request a social security number, direct the recipient to call a certain phone number or advise the reader to download a document.

According to the release, if you receive an email of the nature described above, don’t open it, don’t respond to it and don’t click on any links in it.

28 attorneys elected to district judicial nominating commissions

Election results for the two open attorney positions on each of Iowa’s 14 district judicial nominating commissions have been certified and released. The 28 new attorney members were elected by their fellow attorneys in each district in a January vote.

As commissioners responsible for selecting candidates for open judgeships in the district, they join three other attorney members and five governor-appointed members on the 11-person commissions in each district. The chief judges of the districts serve as chairs of the commissions and as the eleventh members.

Click here to see the list of those elected.

Online video provides one hour of free ethics credit

If you’re one of the many members who forgot about the new court rule requiring three hours of ethics in two years and had to file an extension for turning in your report, the ISBA has a deal for you. As one of the benefits of membership, you can pick up that extra hour free by viewing the video "Ethics Law for New Lawyers.” Non members still have to pay the $35 cover price.

In the video, Paul Wieck II, director of the Office of Professional Regulation, discusses lawyer regulation in Iowa, sources of ethics law for lawyers, reporting by Iowa lawyers and other topics.

The video can be accessed from the "On Demand CLE” page on the ISBA website at this link. (Note that the price shown is $35. Ignore that price if you are a member. When you click on "View Product” and add the video to your cart, you will see $0.00 as the price. ISBA members, please remember to log-in to receive the video for free).

You can also check out all of the videos in the CLE arsenal, including this one, by going to the ISBA website, hovering your mouse over "CLE” in the gold bar at the top of the home page, then clicking on "On Demand CLE.”

FYI: Clicking on the submenu item "My CLE – View Now!” will give you information about courses, seminars or webinars that you have in progress, or ones that you have completed. Again, to view your videos, you must be logged on to the ISBA website.

Check out these legislative bills

Now it’s easier than ever to monitor legislative bills that potentially impact law practice in Iowa. Click on this link to open a pdf that lists all of the bills that ISBA legislative counsel are watching. The bills are categorized by the section or committee that would be impacted the most by their passage.

Clicking on the bill number on the left side of the document takes you to a screen that provides more detailed information about the bill, including the ISBA’s position on it (monitoring, opposing, or supporting), the last action taken on the bill, a link that gives you the bill history and an opportunity to post your comments.

You can also access a list of bills relevant to the section(s) of which you are a member by clicking on the logo "Legislative Bills of Interest” on the section web page. Clicking on the bill number will give you the same detailed information and the opportunity to post a comment that is discussed above.

Reminder: Only two weeks left to sign up for committees, section councils

There’s still time to apply for the committees or section councils if you hurry. The deadline is Friday (Feb. 28).

President-elect Joe Feller has begun making assignments based on applications received so far. However, there still are openings for which applications are needed.

"This is your bar association, take this opportunity to make it better,” Feller wrote in his letter announcing that the application period had begun in the January 2014 issue of the Iowa Lawyer magazine.

To apply online, click here for a printable application form.

Savings on health insurance premiums

ISBA’s endorsed health insurance provider, Reynolds & Reynolds, Inc., has worked out a plan for the ISBA staff that resulted in a 25 percent reduction in premiums while retaining the same or better benefits.

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created many changes to health insurance coverage options and how insurance is purchased. Reynolds & Reynolds would welcome the opportunity to visit with you in light of these changes to see if you could save premium costs and still have the same or better benefits.

In the next few weeks, a Reynolds & Reynolds representative may call you to see what service they can provide you, your family and your employees. Click here to see how they might be able to help.

If you prefer, you can call them at 1-855-870-4261, or email Kristi or David at the addresses shown here.

Judge McDonald investiture on Feb. 25

Judge Christopher Lee McDonald will take the oath of office administered by Governor Terry Branstad as the newest member of the Iowa Court of Appeals at 3 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 25) in the supreme court courtroom. The 39-year-old judge, who comes to the court of appeals from his role as a district court judge in the Fifth Judicial District, fills the vacancy created when Chief Judge Larry Eisenhauer retired.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Judge McDonald received his undergraduate degree from Grand View University in 1997 and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. After graduation, he clerked for Judge David R. Hansen at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Following his clerkship, he worked in private practice until being appointed to the bench.

A reception for Judge McDonald will be held from 4:30-7 p.m. at the ISBA headquarters following the investiture ceremony.

Gov. Branstad appoints Jeanie Kunkle Vaudt District Court Judge

Gov. Branstad has appointed Jeanie Kunkle Vaudt as the newest judge in the Fifth Judicial District. She was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Glenn E. Pille.

Judge Vaudt received her law degree from Drake University Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1991. Most recently she served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

Registration now open for Criminal Law seminar

Details about the agenda and registration information for the ISBA Criminal Law Section’s 2014 seminar are now available. The seminar will be held May 2 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the ISBA headquarters in Des Moines.

Among the topics planned are attorney qualifications for court-appointed criminal defense work, immigration issues, representing juveniles in adult court, and the effect on Iowa from the legalization of marijuana in other states.

Click here to get your name on the rolls for this upcoming seminar.

Did You Know...

the ISBA is offering a free one-hour ethics presentation titled "Ethics Law for New Lawyers" from its listings of "on-demand” CLE courses in its On-Demand CLE Catalog + Previews? Topics, including Business Entities, Civil Procedure, Guardianships, Iowa Contracts, and Probate and Estate Administration are presented by various speakers in a convenient-to-use video format. To access the catalog directly, click here, or from the ISBA homepage, go to "CLE,” then click on "On-Demand CLE.” ISBA members, please log on to the ISBA website to get the full benefits of the On-Demand CLE Catalog.

Benefit of the Week

Caselaw Update
Caselaw Update is a free email service that keeps you abreast of recent cases that have been added to the Iowa Bar’s case law archives. Once you are subscribed, you will receive an email each time decisions are handed down by the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Each edition summarizes recent cases by topic and provides direct links to the full text of each decision.

Subscribe to Caselaw Update here.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

February 7, 2014

No. 12-1192


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, David F. Staudt, Judge.

Plaintiffs appeal from judgment on defense verdict in rear-end collision. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.