September 13, 2017  Past Issues

Iowa Supreme Court partnering with Department of Ed and ISBA on special Constitution Day program

The Iowa Supreme Court is partnering with the Iowa Department of Education and the ISBA to provide two oral arguments to students around the state on Constitution Day, Sept. 20.

Students will attend at the Judicial Branch Building in Des Moines or live-stream the case City of Cedar Rapids v. Marla Marie Leaf beginning at 9:30 a.m. and State of Iowa v. Danielle Brown beginning at 1:30 p.m. A member of the Supreme Court will meet with the students prior to the oral arguments and a Court of Appeals judge will meet with the students immediately following the oral arguments.

The program includes an online orientation video, "We the People: The Iowa Constitution and Our Courts," addressing the importance of the Iowa Constitution and how the courts use the document to resolve disputes between Iowans. Then, Justice Daryl Hecht explains how a person can appeal a case to the supreme court and what happens during oral arguments.

Briefs are available online for Cedar Rapids v. Marla Marie Leaf and Iowa v. Danielle Brown. The live stream will be available on the Judicial Branch's Youtube channel. Full information on the day is available on the Court's Constitution Day page.

Income cap raised for Florida Free Legal Answers in wake of Hurricane Irma

The Florida Bar has raised the income cap for users of the Florida Free Legal Answers online legal clinic to help more victims of Hurricane Irma get answers to their legal questions.

According to an ABA Journal report, 500 lawyers have offered their free services for Florida Free Legal Answers, a collaboration between the Florida Bar and the ABA. The Young Lawyers Division is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local legal aid offices to provide telephone hotlines to connect hurricane victims with lawyers.

The Florida Bar Foundation also has approved up to $500,000 to support legal organizations after Irma to repair building damage, cover equipment losses and assist clients with hurricane-related legal issues.

Last chance to sign up for Bridge the Gap

Today is the last day to sign up for the Bridge the Gap seminar and receive the early-bird registration rate. After today a $50 late fee will be added to the registration amount.

The annual seminar is being held this Thursday and Friday (Sept. 14-15) at the West Des Moines Marriott, 1250 Jordan Creek Parkway. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. A legislative update with Senator Rob Hogg kicks off the seminar at 8 a.m.

Topics run the gamut from tips on going to trial presented by Timothy Semelroth, to gift tax returns by Robert Hodges, to Workers’ Compensation from both the plaintiff and defense angles by Janece Valentine and Julie Gray. Tre Critelli, director of the Iowa Supreme Court’s Office of Professional Regulation, will conclude the seminar on Friday with a presentation on succession planning/classification changes from 4-5 p.m.

The complete agenda and a link to register can be found on the ISBA website here.


IRS announces fourth-quarter interest rates

The Internal Revenue Service announced Friday that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Oct. 1 as they were for the previous quarter. The rates will be: Four percent for overpayments; three percent in the case of a corporation; 1.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000; Four percent for underpayments; Six percent for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, Section 6621, 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 three percentage points. Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus three percentage points, and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus two percentage points.

Click here for an explanation of how the interest rates are determined.

Grant applications now accepted for programs that improve the administration of justice

The American College of Trial Lawyers is accepting applications for its 2018 Emil Gumpert Award.

The award was established in honor of the late Honorable Emil Gumpert, chancellor-founder of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

A single grant of up to $100,000 will be awarded to a program, public or private, whose principal purpose is to maintain and improve the administration of justice. The program may be associated with a court, law school, bar association or any other organization that typically provides such a program.

The most recent recipient was the Immigrant Post-Conviction Relief Project at Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco.

The deadline for submitting applications is Oct. 2.


Groundbreaking Iowa U.S. attorney and judge dies at age 66
Don Nickerson, the first African-American man to serve as U.S. attorney in Iowa, died this weekend. He was 66. The cause of death was not immediately available.
Des Moines Register

Iowa pays $1.6 million to settle, sexism, racism, disability and medical negligence lawsuits
Iowa’s state government agreed Monday to pay more than $1.6 million to settle 10 lawsuits, most dealing with hiring or promotion biases.
Des Moines Register

Mistaken for the court reporter: Litigating as a woman
Ask a woman in litigation if she’s ever been mistaken for a court reporter, and there’s a good chance she’ll say yes.
Big Law Business

New Mexico files lawsuit against opioid pharmaceutical companies
New Mexico filed a lawsuit Thursday against big opioid producing pharmaceutical companies, alleging the corporations are responsible for the Opioid Epidemic flooding the state and specifically small rural communities.




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