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March 4, 2015
Past Issues

Deadline approaching for filing CLE reports

The due date for filing 2015 annual reports to the CLE Commission/Client Security Commission without penalty is next Tuesday, March 10. The ISBA published a listing of all 2014 Continuing Legal Education courses for members who may be looking to finalize their reports to the commission on continuing legal education and the client security commission.

The courses are listed in chronological order and include the course title, CLE credits by area (state, federal, or ethics) and activity identification numbers.Click here to view the full listings of ISBA CLE events in 2014.

For more information about filing visit

Des Moines Taxpayer Assistance Center to offer appointments

Beginning Monday, March 9, the Internal Revenue Service, Des Moines Taxpayer Assistance Center will offer appointments to better assist taxpayers and more effectively utilize the expertise of TAC employees. More than 60 IRS TACs across the nation will participate in a service delivery test by offering free taxpayer appointments this tax filing season.

Prior to this test, the TACs only operated based on a first-come, first-served business model. Taxpayers had no guarantee of assistance when making the trip to the TAC and waiting in line for help. During the test, taxpayers can get face-to-face tax assistance at a designated time, increasing the likelihood that their tax issues will be resolved.

More information is available on the IRS fact sheet. Those with questions can contact Kyle Hrastich, Senior Stakeholder Liaison, at

Clarence Darrow: A One Man Play debuts in Des Moines next week

The Repertory Theatre of Iowa’s production of Clarence Darrow: A One Man Play will debut next week at the Kum&Go Theater in downtown Des Moines. The play portrays one of America’s turn-of-the-century criminal attorneys.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Richards will be performing the lead, and only, acting role. Richards, an ISBA member, has been a contract artist performing with regional opera and theater companies for the past 20 years.

Show times are March 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. each night and March 14 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$30 for adults, $22 for seniors and $15 for students.

More information about the production is available on the RTI’s Clarence Darrow performance page and tickets are available through MIDWESTIX or by calling 515-244-2771.


Iowa Dept. of Revenue warns of new scam

The Iowa Department of Revenue is warning Iowa taxpayers about a potential scam by phone. The scam begins through an automated phone call, which shows on caller ID as being from 515-281-3114, the department’s general taxpayer services number. However, no automated phone calls originate from that number.

When answering the call, the taxpayer is informed they are eligible for a refund from the Iowa Department of Revenue. The taxpayer is then asked whether the refund should be deposited into the account the Department has on file or if they’d like to donate the refund to an animal charity.

The Iowa Department of Revenue does not make these types of calls. This is a potential attempt to steal bank account or other personal information. Those who are targets of such a call should not provide any information to the caller. A report of the incident should be filed with the Iowa Department of Revenue or the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

ISBA Caselaw listserv summarizes recent appellate opinions

Some attorneys may not know that new court opinions are typically available each week online. The Iowa Supreme Court files opinions Fridays, and the Iowa Court of Appeals files opinions biweekly on Wednesdays. Attorneys can use these appellate opinions to keep up to date on important developments in Iowa case law.

Caselaw updates, offered by the ISBA, provide member-subscribers with brief summaries of Iowa appellate court decisions as opinions become available. Caselaw email editions include direct links to complete slip opinions. Attorneys can use Caselaw’s direct links to selectively review the cases that will keep them up to date on the important developments in specific areas of law. More information about ISBA’s Caselaw listserv and the free member subscription is available on the ISBA website.

The Iowa Judicial Branch also offers a free email notification service for recent Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinions.

In Other News ...

Law center for children continues growing
When Jenny Schulz started the Kids First Law Center in 2005, she represented about 50 clients by herself from a cramped, one-room office. After Laura Ebinger joined her in 2007, the two shared a desk. But 10 years after Schulz founded the non-profit center that represents children whose parents are either divorced or getting divorced, the Kids First Law Center has grown substantially by broadening its offerings even as the state and national divorce rates have been declining. Schulz, the executive director, and her six employees will serve more than 800 children this year, including about 200 in Johnson County, where they started operations Jan. 1.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Court hears case against Governor Branstad
Attorneys in a lawsuit over the closing of the Iowa Juvenile Home for Girls in Toledo presented oral arguments before the Iowa Supreme Court. The president of the state’s largest public employees union and four Democratic lawmakers sued the governor for closing the home when the legislature had appropriated money for it to operate. The governor is appealing a district court order granting a preliminary injunction to reopen the home. The justices will rule in 90 days on whether a district court should have granted an injunction to reopen the home.
Iowa Public Radio

LSAT gone for certain Iowa law school applicants
Iowa's law schools will allow certain undergraduate students to apply for the 2015 first-year class without taking the LSAT, the three-hour admissions test and first hurdle for aspiring lawyers. The law schools at Drake University and the University of Iowa will consider students who haven't taken the test if they meet strict requirements set by the American Bar Association, which accredits the country's 205 law schools. The change comes as law schools nationwide face an application crisis; between 2010 and 2014, schools saw application numbers plummet by 41.4 percent, according to the nonprofit Law School Admissions Council.
The Des Moines Register

A candid talk about race
The nation has spent the past month honoring black history. Part of that past includes the lingering disparities between blacks and whites in the U.S. It’s been more than 60 years since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown vs. Board of Education, which judged separate public schools for black and white students in Topeka, Kansas, were unconstitutional. And yet, says University of Iowa Law Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, schools are more segregated today than they were then. Her conclusion is supported by a study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Onwuachi-Willig, a former finalist for a seat on the Iowa Supreme Court, says if the races are ever to come closer to understanding one another, the lessons have to start young.
Iowa Public Radio

Roses & Thistles: A new Dubuque landmark for a landmark Iowa court case
A rose to the Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque for an effort to create a monument to a man who played a role in a monumental Iowa court decision. The first ruling of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Iowa in 1839 was titled, "In the Matter of Ralph (a colored man).” Ralph had been released from slavery in Missouri and was working in the lead mines in Dubuque when his former owner sought to reclaim him because of an unpaid bill. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a slave released to live on free soil could not be claimed as the property of another man, and ordered that Ralph be "permitted to go free.” Ralph Montgomery (the last name adopted from his former owner) is buried in the Linwood Cemetery, though his gravesite is unmarked. The cemetery board is raising money to put up a proper marker.
The Des Moines Register

Siouxland students take part in mock trial
Students from 12 Siouxland high schools are acting out a criminal trial at Morningside College. It's part of a Regional Mock Trial competition for High School students. The teams are given a fictitious legal problem and have to present compelling arguments for both the plaintiff and the defense. The students had three months to prepare for Monday's competition, with four teams from the event advancing to the State tournament.
Siouxland News


The Iowa Lawyer Weekly is an electronic newsletter published every Wednesday. Please submit comments, letters to the editor, articles, or photos, to Contact information should be included with submissions. The ISBA reserves the right to refuse any submission, but will take all submissions into consideration for future publication.


Legislative Report - March 4

February 27, 2015

No. 13–1403
On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Henry W. Latham II, Judge.

Defendant appeals his conviction for lascivious acts with a child pursuant to Iowa Code section 709.8, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 10 of the Iowa Constitution. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AND JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT AFFIRMED.

No. 13–1872
STEVEN A. MUELLER, BRADLEY J. BROWN, MARK A. KRUSE, KEVIN D. MILLER, and LARRY E. PHIPPS, on Behalf of Themselves and Those Like Situated vs. WELLMARK, INC. d/b/a WELLMARK BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF IOWA, an Iowa Corporation, and WELLMARK HEALTH PLAN OF IOWA, INC., an Iowa Corporation
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert A. Hutchison, Judge.

Plaintiff chiropractors appeal from a summary judgment entered by the district court in favor of defendant health insurers on per se antitrust claims under the Iowa Competition Law. AFFIRMED.

No. 14–0339
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Mary Pat Gunderson, Judge.

Claimants of tax credits appeal a district court ruling dismissing their claim for tax credits because the claimants failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. AFFIRMED.

No. 14–0757
Appeal from the report of the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa.

The grievance commission reports an attorney violated several court rules and rules of professional conduct and recommends suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED.



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