Iowa Lawyer Weekly (11/20/2013)
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November 20, 2013
Past Issues

President Cook urges members to serve on district judicial nominating commissions

In 1962 Iowans amended the Iowa Constitution to provide for the merit selection and retention of judges and justices in our state.  The system has worked well over the last 50 years to produce a high caliber judiciary, as reflected in various rating services, including the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, which has routinely rated Iowa’s judiciary in the top 10, if not the top five in the country. 

Essential to maintaining the high quality of judges in our state is ensuring the judicial district nominating commissions have a cross-section of effective and involved bar members serving.

If you have not served on a nominating commission before, I urge you to consider filing nomination papers and running for a position on the judicial nominating commission in your district.

Thank you, and best of luck.

Guy R. Cook
ISBA President

Attorneys interested in serving on their districts’ judicial nominating commissions are asked to file a nominating petition with the state court administrator’s office on or before Jan. 1, 2014. Details for filing and serving, along with a list of the members whose terms are expiring the end of January, are available

You’re invited to a ‘Burn the Mortgage’ celebration

The dream of owning its own headquarters building someday will come to fruition on Thursday, Dec. 5, with a mortgage burning ceremony from 6-8 p.m. at the ISBA headquarters.
The ceremony, which includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages, officially closes a chapter in the association’s nearly 140-year history that began when the ISBA Board of Governors voted in 2006 to purchase and remodel the 103-year-old railway freight house on Des Moines’ east side. Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of members and the Iowa State Bar Foundation, the first-ever, association-owned building is paid for.
In the years since the building opened at the end of December 2007, tens of thousands of members have visited, and hundreds of association meetings, continuing legal education programs and community events have been hosted in the building. Almost all visitors comment on how beautiful it is, and how well it accommodates gatherings.

"If you were not one of the original contributors to the building fund – or even if you were and want to contribute more – you can still be a part of it. Please consider a contribution to carry our bar building headquarters forward for future generations of lawyers,” said President Guy Cook.  Bring your contribution to the mortgage burning party, or mail it to: Harry Shipley, assistant executive director, 625 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309. Indicate that the contribution is for the building fund.

RSVP for the mortgage burning ceremony to Lisa Hanson at Please RSVP by this Friday (Nov. 22).

Property tax credits, proposed court rule changes are two webinars not to miss

Two upcoming webinars will address timely issues of importance to attorneys and their clients.


One, scheduled for this Friday (Nov. 22) from noon to 12:50 p.m., will discuss the change to taxes on business and commercial property brought about by the passage of SF 295 last June. Any attorney who owns commercial property or has clients who do, should participate. Julie G. Roisen from the Iowa Department of Revenue Property Tax Division will discuss the property tax reforms enacted during the 2013 legislative session, including the application process.

Deadline for applying for the business property tax credit is Jan. 15.

The other, scheduled for Monday (Dec. 16) will feature Supreme Court Justice Edward Mansfield and two other speakers discussing the rules proposed by the supreme court on discovery and expedited trials. The bulk of the proposed changes are in the area of expedited litigation for suits under 75k.  If enacted, the proposed rules would significantly change how lawsuits are tried in Iowa.

For more information about the webinars, and to register for either one or both, go to the ISBA website. Click here to register for Friday’s property tax webinar. Click here to register for the proposed rule changes webinar.

Boost clients’ philanthropic reach with Endow Iowa tax credits

Charitable contributions made through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit program enables clients to expand the impact of their philanthropic giving by 25 percent. That’s because the Endow Iowa program allows Iowa taxpayers to receive a 25 percent Iowa tax credit, in addition to the federal charitable income tax deduction, for charitable gifts.


Des Moines attorney Gordon Fischer writes in this short article that cash, real estate, grain, appreciated securities and outright gifts of retirement assets qualify for the Endow Iowa program. In the article, he explains the limits on gifted amounts, how the credits are issued on a first-come/first-served basis, and that the credits can be carried for up to five years after the year the donation was made.


Read the full article. Contact Fischer at: or by phone at 515-447-4203.

USDA seeks attorneys

The United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel, is seeking to fill four attorney positions throughout the country – Kansas City, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; and Harrisburg, Penn.


The Office of the General Counsel provides legal advice and services to all agencies of the USDA in administering programs and activities within the defined geographic area, according to the USAJobs website.


Click here to see the duties an attorney is expected to perform as well as the required qualifications. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 9.

Fiduciary Tax manual now available

A new edition of the Fiduciary Tax manual is now available. Originally written in 1991 and revised in 1994, 2003 and October 2013, the 365-page manual provides an overview of the federal and Iowa fiduciary income tax returns for estates and trusts, and incorporates examples and forms to illustrate certain aspects of those returns.


Those attending this year’s tax school (Dec. 4-6) can pre-order a copy of the manual here and save the shipping and handling charges by picking it up at the registration desk.


Those not attending this year’s tax school can purchase the manual here.

Did You Know...

that you can "connect” with other members on the ISBA’s new website? Once connected, you can send private messages to the person, view photos they post on their profile page, etc. You can even send messages to all of your connections, or any combination of them, at one time.To connect to another member, type the person’s name in the search box above "Your Member Profile” on your own profile page, then click on the "Connect” button above the person’s name. Enter a short message, if you want, in the window that opens and click the "Request” button. You’ll receive a message when the person accepts or declines.

Benefit of the Week

CLE Season Pass
Receive all of your CLE credits by using The Iowa State Bar Association’s affordable CLE Season Pass. It’s the one and only pass that offers hundreds of CLE credits at the best price in town! For only $550, you can take all the CLE credits you need in a 12-month span. Sign up for the Season Pass today and have the opportunity to choose from over 200 hours of live CLEs in addition to the 20 hours of telephone CLEs the ISBA offers.

Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

November 15, 2013

No. 12-0912


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Andrea J. Dryer, Judge.

Ex-husband sought, and we granted, further review of a court of appeals decision reversing in part the district court’s modification of his spousal support obligation. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED IN PART AND AFFIRMED IN PART; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED.


No. 12-1645


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Arthur E. Gamble, Judge.

An employer appeals a district court judgment affirming the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner’s decision awarding benefits. AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.


No. 12-2176


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Marlita A. Greve, Judge.

The State of Iowa appeals from an order finding that an individual was a wrongfully imprisoned person. REVERSED AND REMANDED.