Iowa Lawyer Weekly (04/09/2014)
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April 9, 2014
Past Issues

Supreme Court approves amendments to rules governing expanded media coverage

The Iowa Supreme Court last Wednesday (April 2) approved amendments to the Iowa Court Rules for Expanded News Media Coverage (ENMC). The changes affect Court Rule 25 regulating audio and video recording and photography of courtroom procedures.

The amendments broaden the court's definition of news media and allow for live electronic reporting, such as tweeting and blogging, from the courtroom by members of the news media, with advance approval from the presiding judge. The amendments to Chapter 25 of the Iowa Court Rules and the new forms accompanying chapter 25 are effective May 1, 2014.

The updated rules are the product of a 10-month review by a 15-person supreme court advisory committee consisting of Iowa judges, attorneys and members of the media.

Read the full release and see the amendments and new forms here

Civil jury verdicts

The Fifth Judicial District recently released statistics on civil jury trial verdicts dating back to 2007. While the verdicts are for the Fifth Judicial District, they provide some guidance for civil jury trial verdicts in other parts of the state.

The statistics cover six case types – contract debt collection, commercial contracts, fraud/misrepresentation contracts, employment claims, property finance damage and wrongful death. The number of verdicts in each type varies from seven in contract/debt collection to 41 in commercial contracts.

To view the statistics for each case type, click on the case type above.

Prizes! Prizes! Prizes! to be part of 2014 Annual Meeting

In keeping with the biggest and best annual meeting ever, this year’s annual meeting will see many more prizes given away than in past meetings. Included are a cruise, iPads, and other electronic gadgets.

Prizes will be awarded at every break during the meeting, which runs from Monday, June 16, to Thursday, June 19. The ISBA is also working with Go Next, Inc., its endorsed travel company, to give away a yet to be determined cruise.

About $5,000 in prizes will be given away as part of the biggest and best theme – a significant increase from previous annual meetings.

Historically, most vendors have provided door prizes for the final break of the meeting as well. It is expected that tradition will continue at this year’s event.

It’s not too early to register for the 2014 annual meeting. To register online, simply click on this link, then on the "Register” button on the page that opens. There's also an option for a printable registration form. Come for CLE, leave with a prize.

DMACC offers court reporting program

Des Moines Area Community College announced last week that it is offering a Court Reporting Program for students for the first time this fall on the Newton Campus.

Students will be able to earn a two-year, associate of applied science degree, preparing students for a career in the judicial system, law firms and more.

DMACC’s new program is the first of its kind in Iowa, according to the college. The program was developed during a year of collaboration with the Iowa Court Reporters Association as well as The Iowa State Bar Association.

Students with a degree in court reporting can use their skills in a variety of ways including legal and medical transcription, depositions, important meetings, as well as captioning, real-time broadcast captioning and conferences or conventions.

"The court reporter is an essential part of any legal proceeding,” said ISBA President Guy Cook. "Court reporters are the guardians of the record. Accurate transcription of a proceeding is the key to a fair hearing and any appeal. On behalf of the 8,000-plus members of the Iowa State Bar Association spread throughout Iowa’s 99 counties and beyond, I thank DMACC for making this important investment in the Iowa’s legal system,” he said.

People interested in a career in court reporting can contact Angie Neville on the DMACC Newton Campus by email (, by calling (641) 791-3622 or by visiting the DMACC Court Reporting Program webpage.

Drake names Judge Eisenhauer Alumnus of the Year

Long-time district and appellate court judge Larry Eisenhauer received Drake University’s annual Alumnus of the Year Award last Saturday night, April 5. The award was conveyed as part of the university’s annual Supreme Court Celebration, and was presented during its 77th Annual Supreme Court Celebration Banquet.

ISBA President Guy Cook delivered the keynote address at the awards banquet.

In his introduction of Judge Eisenhauer, Drake Law School Dean Allan Vestal highlighted the judge’s judicial career, which included being appointed as a juvenile court referee in 1985, being appointed to the district court in 1993, the court of appeals in 2001 and being elected Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals in 2012. He now serves as a senior judge of that body.

"But it is the person, not merely the paper record, who we honor tonight,” the dean continued. "To get some personal insights, I looked at his admissions file for law school.”

Read what Dean Vestal found in the admissions file, including his remarks about Judge Eisenhauer’s prowess on the golf course, particularly as it relates to his role in the annual Dean’s Cup Tournament.

International Law Section hosts foreign dignitaries

Judge Mark Schlenker, chair of the ISBA’s International Law Section, spent a couple of hours visiting with representatives from about five different countries as part of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on Monday, March 31. The countries represented included Cambodia and Uganda.

The members visiting Iowa represented a third of the total delegation in the IVLP on a three-week tour of the U.S. The five members chose Iowa because of their interest in the rule of law and independent judiciaries, and the desire to explore how civil and criminal justice systems operate at the federal, state and municipal levels.

Pocahontas Area High School crowned 2014 Mock Trial champion

A team from Pocahontas Area High School triumphed over a team from Robins near Cedar Rapids to take the championship in the 2014 High School Mock Trial State Tournament Friday, March 28.

Team Pocahontas had the task of defending a young woman, Tatum Woodley, who was charged by the state with harassing another young woman via the intranet system at Kingswood College where they both attended. "Team Sunday,” as the Robins team called itself, had the challenge of prosecuting Woodley.

The decision on which team won the case was a close one, according to John Wheeler, director of The Iowa State Bar Association’s Center for Law and Civic Education which administers the mock trial program as part of the ISBA’s Young Lawyers Division.

A total of 32 teams out of the 106 teams from across the state who participated in this year’s high school mock trial program competed in the state tournament this year. They earned a berth in the state tournament based on their performances at one of eight regional tournaments earlier in the month.

Read more about the 2014 high school tournament, including which teams made the top 12 and which individuals were selected by the judges as outstanding attorneys and witnesses, in this news release. See photos of the championship round here.

Did You Know...

as a member you are able to receive ShareFile for $5 a month? ShareFile lets you securely deliver and provide access to confidential correspondence and other documents with clients and other attorneys. The number of $5-per-month accounts are limited. But you still get 20 percent off any regularly priced ShareFile plan. Learn more here.

Benefit of the Week

Staples Advantage
All ISBA members, regardless of the size of the individual law firm, are part of a nearly 8,000-person buying group giving you access to all the significant price breaks that Staples Advantage has created for the program. With Staples Advantage, you now have access to products you use every day at special contract prices.

Aside from office supplies, the Staples Advantage program offers:

  • Breakroom (beverages, snacks, plates/cups, etc…)
  • Cleaning & Janitorial (hand sanitizer, soap, tissue/towels, etc…)
  • Technology (computers, software, printer/fax, etc…)
  • Furniture (file, desk, chair, space planning, etc…)
  • Custom Print (forms, envelopes, business cards, etc…)
  • Promotional Items (pens, mugs, hats, apparel, etc…)
To get more information and to setup your law firm with access to the website please contact the account manager, Renee Dunatchik. Renee can be reached via e-mail at, or by phone at 800-693-9900, Ext. 24729.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

April 4, 2014

No. 11-1842

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.

Homeowners’ association seeks further review of court of appeals decision affirming district court’s grant of summary judgment to subcontractors. AFFIRMED BY OPERATION OF LAW.

No. 12-1771

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Humboldt County, Gary L. McMinimee, Judge.

An applicant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming the district court judgment that she did not qualify for compensation as a wrongfully imprisoned person. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS AND JUDGMENT OF DISTRICT COURT AFFIRMED.

No. 13-1871

On review of the report of the Grievance Commission of the Supreme Court of Iowa.

Grievance commission reports respondent committed numerous violations of the rules of professional conduct and recommends suspension. LICENSE SUSPENDED.