Iowa Lawyer Weekly (11/06/2013)
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November 6, 2013
Past Issues

Polk County justice complex receives resounding Yes

Voters in Polk County gave a big thumbs up to a bond issue that will improve access to, and administration of justice in the county. The vote was 67 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed.

The $81 million bond issue will be used to refurbish the historic courthouse for probate, family and civil court matters, remodel what was formerly the J.C. Penney building to create a justice center annex housing juvenile court and juvenile court services, as well as small claims and traffic court, the county attorney's office and record storage for the clerk of court’s office, and renovate the old jail to handle criminal cases.

Work is expected to start soon.

Supreme Court requests comments on discovery rule amendments and expedited civil action rule change

The Iowa Supreme Court is requesting public comment on proposed amendments to the discovery provisions in the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure and a proposed new rule allowing for streamlined and expedited civil actions for cases involving $75,000 or less in money damages. Comments are due by Jan. 31, 2014.

The proposals are an outgrowth of the work of the Iowa Civil Justice Reform Task Force, which produced a report in early 2012 that recommended changes to discovery processes as well as consideration of a separate track for civil cases falling below a threshold dollar value. A committee was formed in the fall of 2012, to implement these recommendations.

The committee held a series of meetings between November 2012 and July 2013. Ultimately, the committee developed and recommended a set of changes to the existing discovery rules as well as a proposed new rule authorizing streamlined and expedited case procedures for actions involving $75,000 or less in money damages. The supreme court has reviewed these proposals. The court has now decided to solicit comments from the public on the proposals.

Plans are underway for Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield to present a three-quarter-hour webinar for CLE credit regarding the proposed court rules.

Read the complete order and the proposed changes...

Military museum honors three long-time ISBA members

Three ISBA members are being honored this Veterans Day by the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum located at Camp Dodge in Johnston.

Phillip Dorweiler, West Des Moines, Judge Larry Eisenhauer, Ankeny, and Judge Ross Walters, Des Moines, are featured in a new photographic exhibit honoring notable Iowa veterans that opens Friday (Nov. 8). The Notable Iowa Veterans exhibit was photographed by Grandview University Professor Emeritus Dr. Bill Schaefer. It is the second installment of the project, which honors the significant military and civilian accomplishments of Iowa veterans from across the state.

Established in 1985, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is the only federally-recognized repository for military artifacts in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is to preserve Iowa’s military history and honor the military service of all Iowans.

The museum will be open Friday (Nov. 8) from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday (Nov. 9) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Monday (Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free.

ISBA President Guy Cook personally, and on behalf of the entire bar staff, thanks all veterans and current military members for their service.

Accessing the new ISBA website

A sign-in is required to access the members-only benefits such as the Fastcase legal research and registration for CLE events on the ISBA’s new website.

To sign in once you have opened the website (, provide your username and password in the blue bar on the left side of the home page. All members should have received an email on Oct. 7, the day the new website was launched, giving them their usernames and password to sign in for the first time.

If you didn’t receive the email, or missed it, your initial username is your last name followed by your ISBA member number with no space between the two. You may obtain your password by using the "forgot your password” link under the sign in button. You simply provide your username or email address and an email with a link to change your password will be sent to the email address on file. For additional help please use our help desk found on the front page of our website.

If you still have problems signing in to the new website, contact Mary Hill, membership director, at 515-697-7870, or via email at

Scammers targeting lawyers – AGAIN

Several members have reported that they’ve received emails asking for legal representation to resolve an issue. The emails vary, but the general thrust is that a woman from Japan or some foreign country writes asking for legal help in collecting a settlement from her ex-husband in the United States.

The long and short of the scam is that the husband ends up sending the attorney a "cashiers check” for the sum he owes, and asks the attorney to deposit the check, then remit the funds – minus a professional fee – to the ex-wife.

The attorney complies with the request only to find out days later that the cashiers check is bogus. So he/she is out the sum that was remitted.

The key to determining if the request is a scam or legitimate is for the attorney to visit with the banker and not remit any funds until the cashiers check is determined to be legitimate, has cleared the bank and the funds are actually deposited in the attorney’s account. This can take 10 days to two weeks at most banks.

Labor & Employment Law seminar coming a week from Friday

Topics ranging from the Affordable Care Act to a Wage & Hour Update await those who attend the Labor & Employment Law seminar on Friday (Nov. 15) at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston.

The day-long seminar, which begins with registration at 8 a.m. and the first presentation at 8:30 a.m., is good for 6.5 hours of state CLE that includes one hour of ethics and 3.25 hours of federal credit. Rick Autry of the Employment Appeal Board will present a case law update with part one occurring in the morning and part two in the afternoon. Tre Critelli with the Attorney Disciplinary Board will close the seminar with a one-hour presentation on changes to Iowa’s advertising rules.

A complimentary reception for attendees is being held the night before the seminar (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.) in Room 611 of the hotel.

For more information, and to register, click here.

Visiting Mom project donations featured at open house

Donations of books, educational toys and other items provided by the Visiting Mom project occupied a central spot in the open house that showed off renovations at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville a week ago.

The project arose out of a visit to the prison by judges attending the joint ISBA-IJA annual meeting last June. The resulting project raised $15,000 to purchase materials for the room where mothers and their children visit.

Read Senior Judge Donna Paulsen’s thank you to all of the supporters here.

Click here for more photos.

Windows XP support ending next April

If you are still using Windows XP as the operating system on your computer(s), be aware that Microsoft will stop providing any kind of support for the program on April 8, 2014. Without security patches and updates that the company currently provides, this will make your computers "an open playground for hackers and malware pushers,” according to the Windows Club website.

Windows XP Professional, as well as the Home Edition, debuted on Dec. 31, 2001. Many users liked it for its ease of use and its stability. In fact, it still holds a 31 percent share of the Windows operating system market. Advances in the computer world, however, have made it obsolete. For example, the internet browser, Internet Explorer 11, won’t run on XP. Nor will Office 2013.

Anand Khanse, administrator of the Windows Club website, recommends that XP users switch to Windows 7, or the latest operating system, Windows 8. Alternatively, users can switch to Apple’s Mac or to a Linux-based operating system.

Read more on the Windows Club website.

Did You Know...

you can find services such as private investigators and appraisers, as well as office needs, in the ISBA’s Vendor Mall? You can also list services you offer in the Vendor Mall. Click here to access the mall, or go to "Vendor Mall” under the "Practice Tools” tab on the ISBA home page.

Benefit of the Week

Free Fastcase Webinars
Fastcase provides free live training webinars so that you can learn how to use Fastcase, right from the comfort of your own computer. Below are the topics available, the handouts for the subject, and the dates the webinar will be taking place. These webinars have all been approved for 1 state hour of CLE. Free, convenient, plus CLE credit = must register! Register here today!

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

November 1, 2013

No. 12-0618

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert B. Hanson, Judge.

A criminal defendant alleges the district court imposed an illegal sentence by not granting him credit for time served. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT SENTENCE VACATED IN PART, AND CASE REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.

No. 12-1636

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Jackson County, Paul L. Macek, Judge.

A criminal defendant appeals the denial of his application for an order satisfying restitution. REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.