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    November 11, 2015
Past Issues   

YLD’s jury trial email service adds criminal trials, database of Iowa civil jury verdicts

The Litigation Committee of the YLD has expanded its weekly jury trial email service to include criminal trials as of Nov. 2, and has added a new service entitled Iowa Jury Verdict Reporter. The weekly emails are designed primarily for YLD members to help them become skilled trial attorneys through participating in, or watching, jury trials. It is also available to members of the ISBA’s Litigation and Alternate Dispute Resolution Sections.

The Iowa Jury Verdict Reporter is a collection of Iowa civil jury verdicts. It allows attorneys to search hundreds of cases to view comparable verdicts and sample documents used within the cases. With that information, attorneys can:

  • Assess the value of a case;
  • Support a demand or offer;
  • Evaluate whether an opposition’s offer is reasonable, and decide whether to take a case to trial or settle;
  • Access actual pre-trial filings, motions in limine, trial briefs and jury instructions.

While the weekly email notifications are only available to the above-mentioned groups, any ISBA member can access the Iowa Jury Verdict Reporter database at this link.

Need CLE ethics credit before the end of the year?

The ISBA’s CLE department has compiled a list of upcoming telephone- and webinar-based CLE seminars that provide ethics hours for those who need ethics credit by Dec. 31.

The Iowa Supreme Court’s Commission on Continuing Legal Education requires lawyers and judges to complete a minimum of 15 hours of legal education each year. The requirement includes a minimum of three hours every two years devoted exclusively to legal ethics.

The list, accessible here, includes topics such as "Depression and the Need for Balance,” "Competence in a Client-Lawyer Relationship. Are You Meeting the Ethical Standard?” and "The Ethics Complaint Process – and Tips to Help You Avoid It Altogether.

To sign up for a seminar, click on "Upcoming CLE” under the "CLE Information” tab at the top of the ISBA website home page, then click on "Webinars” or "Teleseminars” in the drop-down menu. Click on the desired seminar.

Justices to hear oral arguments in West Des Moines, Nov. 16

On Monday, Nov.16, the Iowa Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of the State of Iowa v. Donald Benjamin Earl Reed, case no. 13-0988, from Black Hawk County District Court. The arguments, which are open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines, Iowa.

In the case, defendant Donald Reed seeks further review of an Iowa Court of Appeals decision affirming his convictions on a variety of drug-related charges and affirming the sentence of 100 years imposed on him that was enhanced by a prior juvenile adjudication. Issues before the supreme court include whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the convictions, whether trial counsel was ineffective, and whether the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Iowa Constitution affords defendant an individualized evidentiary sentencing hearing.

Details about the hearing can be found in this news release on the Iowa Judicial Branch website.



Fundraiser to assist low-income immigrants, unaccompanied minors to be held tomorrow evening

"Give Children and Families a Chance” is the title of a fundraiser sponsored by Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors tomorrow, Nov. 12, from 5:30-7:00 p.m., at the Dorsey & Whitney Law Firm in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The firm is located in Suite 4100 at 801 Grand Avenue.

JFON is a statewide, non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees. In 2014, JFON handled 1,414 cases including work authorization, family reunification, citizenship and immigrants escaping from violence. One of its dedicated projects is representing the unaccompanied minors – children, mostly from Central America – who began entering the U.S. in unexpected numbers during the summer of 2014 to escape extreme gang violence, deep poverty, abuse and abandonment in their home countries.

More than 400 of those unaccompanied children have settled in Iowa. All must appear before a federal immigration judge to plead their cases even though they are not provided with an attorney. Nine out of 10 who did not have legal representation were ordered deported when they appeared in court. In contrast, nearly 80 percent who had legal representation won their cases and were allowed to remain legally in the U.S.

More information about the JFON event can be found here. General admission is $50. Host levels can be found on the pledge/gift formhere. RSVPs to Alicia Claypool at apclaypool@aol.comare preferred, but all are welcome.

5th annual professional development panel discussion and social, Nov. 12

The ISBA Diversity & Inclusiveness Committee, the ISBA YLD Diversity Committee, the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys and the Polk County Women Attorneys are co-sponsoring a professional development panel and social tomorrow, Nov. 12. The panel discussion is from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and is preceeded and followed by social hours. Social hours are from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., respectively, at Dos Rios in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

Panelists will discuss how women in the legal profession can define and achieve success and include: Jean Baker, president and owner of Jean M. Baker & Associates; Paige Fiedler, partner and owner, Fiedler & Timmer, P.L.L.C.; The Honorable Karen Romano, Polk County district judge; Chinyere Ukabiala, Grinnell College ombudsperson; Lu Ann White, partner and owner, Russell & White, L.L.P.

Dos Rios is located at 316 Court Avenue. The event is free for members of sponsoring organizations and $10 for non-members. RSPVs are preferred to Whitney Judkins or Amber Shanahan-Fricke via email at whitney@employmentlawiowa.comor Questions are welcome. CLE credit is not available for this event.



In Other News ...

Governor’s working group on criminal justice policy submits final strategy recommendations
The Governor’s Working Group on Criminal Justice Policy Reform has submitted its final strategy proposals related to four specific areas of criminal justice policy. Those areas include mental health & drug courts, the jury pool selection process, juvenile delinquency records and prison and jail phone rate fees.
State of Iowa Public Comment Website

Reynoldson becomes president of Iowa Legal Aid Board

Iowa Legal Aid’s Board of Directors, at its annual meeting held earlier this year, elected Elisabeth Reynoldson, a lawyer in Osceola, to serve as president of the board. Reynoldson has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the work of Iowa Legal Aid, beginning her service as a volunteer attorney with Iowa Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Project in 1996. Reynoldson was first appointed to the board by the Iowa State Bar Association in 2011. Prior to becoming president, she chaired the board’s personnel, grievance and governance committee. In addition, Reynoldson has been a member of the Advisory Council of Iowa Legal Aid’s Central Iowa Regional Office in Des Moines for many years, and currently serves as the chair of that council.
Osceola Sentinel-Tribune

Compliance with the Clean Air Act increasingly unlikely to protect companies from nuisance suits
A recent decision out of the Sixth Circuit found that the Clean Air Act ("CAA”) does not preempt common law claims brought against an emitter based on the law of the state in which the emitter operates. This decision, Merrick v. Diageo Americas Supply, Inc., No. 14-6198, 2015 WL 6646818 (6th Cir. Nov. 2, 2015), highlights the increasingly fractured regulatory landscape of preemption protection from state-law nuisance claims.

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.

November 6

No. 14-0205

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Rustin Davenport, Judge.

The court of appeals held that no exceptions to Iowa Code section 625.29(1) applied to preclude an award of attorney fees to Branstad. It reversed the decision of the district court and remanded for a calculation of attorney fees. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED.



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