February 12, 2020  Past Issues

Please help: Sign up now as a mock trial competition judge
The Iowa High School Mock Trial Tournament begins in March, and there is a great need for ISBA-member attorneys to serve as judges. This year's high school regional tournaments will be held March 2-12 all over the state, with the high school state tournament scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Des Moines. Please visit this site and click on "Register" to see the list of specific dates and locations.

Mock trial is designed to introduce students to Iowa’s legal system through a challenging academic competition. But without the assistance of volunteer judges, these competitions would not be possible. If you have questions, please contact ISBA Center for Law & Civic Education Director John Wheeler at 515-697-7882 or jwheeler@iowabar.org.

People's Law School series continues with focus on elder abuse prevention
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, The Iowa State Bar Association will host its next free public event as part of the "ISBA People's Law School" series. This event will focus on elder abuse, including prevention resources. The speakers are Andrew Cederdahl and Chantelle Smith, both assistant attorneys general with the Office of the Iowa Attorney General.

The public seminar will be held at the ISBA Headquarters at 625 E. Court Ave. in Des Moines from 5:30-7 p.m. and live-streamed to local communities throughout the state. Details on future People's Law School events can be found here. You may contact peopleslawschool@iowabar.org for more information.

Juvenile and Criminal Law Seminars available at bundle registration rate
The first week of April brings members both the Juvenile Law and Criminal Law Seminars. After a successful implementation in past years, those interested in the seminars once again have the opportunity to register for both at a discounted bundle rate.

The Juvenile Law Seminar takes place April 2. Topics include:
• Implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act: Requirements, Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead
• Ten Commandments of Parent Representation
• Minor Guardianship: Primer and Lessons Learned

Allison Green from the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) will be featured during this year’s program with her two-part presentation on the Family First Prevention Services Act.

On April 3, the Criminal Law Seminar takes center stage and features timely topics for both prosecutors and defense attorneys, including:
• Showcase Panel: Interlocutory Appeals in Criminal Cases
• Iowa Criminal Rules Revision Committee

Both seminars allow for attendees to participate in-person at the ISBA Building in Des Moines or via the live webinar option. Early-bird registration ends on April 1.


Feb. 21 is deadline for Iowa Supreme Court application process
The State Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications for the vacancy on the Iowa Supreme Court that will occur when Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins retires on March 13.

Application forms can be obtained on the State Judicial Nominating Commission website. Those interested in applying need to send materials to the commission by Feb. 21. More information on the process can be found here.

Governor Kim Reynolds recently selected Dana Oxley from Cedar Rapids to fill the seat that opened with the passing of Chief Justice Mark Cady.

Legislative update: Family Law bills
Now in the fifth week of the session, the ISBA legislative team continues to push the ISBA Affirmative Legislative Program, as well as track bills of importance to members. Several related to family law have been introduced this session and are highlighted below.

SF 545 Reinstatement of Parental Rights after Termination: A bill for an act providing for the reinstatement of parental rights following the granting of a termination of parental rights order, under certain circumstances. Requires the DHS or guardian ad litem to notify any eligible children over the age of 12 of their right to petition the court. Requires that the child be over 12 and not have been adopted. Includes exceptions for children under 12 for sibling groups. Requires the court to find by a preponderance of the evidence that holding a hearing is in the best interest of the child and that the former parent remediated their issues that led to the termination and to find by clear and convincing evidence that suspending the termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest. Makes the initial decision conditional, and requires a second hearing six months later on the matter. Fiscal Note: Annual fiscal impact of SF 545 to the Indigent Defense Fund could be approximately $1 million. The subcommittee recommended passage on Jan. 23, and it will now move to full committee. The ISBA is registered as undecided on the legislation, but members of the legislative committee are generally supportive of the idea, as it has worked in other states.

SF 571 Presumption of Joint Physical Care: This legislative proposal creates a rebuttable presumption that joint physical custody is in the best interest of the child in instances where the court previously awarded joint legal custody. This presumption can only be overcome if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that joint physical custody is not in the best interests of the child. Requires that each parent, together or separately, provide a parenting plan to the court. The subcommittee recommended passage on Jan. 29. The ISBA Family Law Section opposes this legislation and the ISBA legislative team will continue to work in opposition. Here is a link to the position paper.

HF 706 Parenting Time: A bill for an act relating to replacement of the term “visitation” with the phrase “parenting time” in regard to times that a child spends with a parent. The subcommittee recommended passage on Jan. 23. The ISBA supports this legislation.

SF 522 Grandparents Rights: This act relates to grandparent and great-grandparent visitation rights. Specifically, it requires that the parties attempt mediation prior to initiating court proceedings for visitation. In addition, this legislation provides that the petitioner must pay for the costs of mediation. A subcommittee met on Jan. 22, and the three members did not recommend passage. ISBA was registered undecided on this legislation.

You can follow along with all the bills that the ISBA is tracking at this link. The first funnel date, when Senate bills need to be passed out of Senate committees and House bills out of House committees, is Feb. 21.

Gig economy work can affect a taxpayer’s bottom line
Taxpayers who work in the gig economy need to understand how their work affects their taxes. A little pre-planning can help make sure gig economy workers are prepared when it's time to file their tax return. Read more from the IRS.

No. 17-2009
Standard Water Control Systems, Inc. v. Michael D. Jones and Cori Jones
Homeowners appeal a district court order allowing a contractor to recover attorney fees against a homestead in an action to enforce a mechanic's lien.

No. 18-0950
Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC v. Steven J. Retterath, Jason Retterath and Annie Retterath et. Al
A defendant and the intervenors appeal a district court decision holding the defendant breached a contract.

Legal jobs take another leap and hit 10-year high; what's driving the increase?
The legal industry gained 2,900 jobs in November, according to new seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
ABA Journal

Courthouse security boost clears budget hurdle
Black Hawk County leaders have agreed to boost courthouse security after recent incidents and concerns voiced by employees.
The Courier

Judge bans QC-based telemarketing operation for "National Advertising Scam"
A judge is banning a Quad Cities-based telemarketing operation from doing business and ordering it to pay more than $2.5 million.


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Assistant Attorney General - Iowa Department of Justice - Attorney General, Mason City, IA

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Staff Attorney - Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA), Des Moines, IA

General Counsel - Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Des Moines, IA

Staff Attorney - Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines, IA

Litigation Attorney - Finley Law Firm, P.C., Des Moines, IA

Corporate/Transactional Attorney - Finley Law Firm, P.C., Des Moines, IA

Associate Attorney - McEnroe, Gotsdiner, Brewer, Steinbach & Rothman, P.C., West Des Moines, IA


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