Editor's Note: The ISBA will maintain a constantly-updated list of information and resources related to COVID-19 on the iowabar.org website at this link.
Help Iowans navigate the legal ramifications of the COVID-19 disaster
In partnership with Iowa Legal Aid, The Iowa State Bar Association and Polk County Volunteer Lawyers Project are stepping up to create a hotline to help Iowans with legal issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline, announced by the governor on Tuesday, focuses on helping Iowans with COVID-19 issues related to evictions, foreclosures, employment, domestic violence, child custody, living wills, business issues and more. The hotline phone number is 1-800-332-0419.
Volunteer lawyers from a broad range of practice areas are needed to provide brief, limited scope, pro bono legal services, typically in the form of one return call per hotline call. Volunteer lawyers are covered by the ISBA’s professional liability insurance for pro bono projects. If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact ISBA Director of Innovation and Outreach Virginia Sipes at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your practice areas in the email.
Weekly webinar trainings and a variety of additional resources will be available to help volunteer lawyers throughout this project. The next one-hour volunteer lawyer webinar training will take place on Friday, April 3, at 10 a.m. Iowa Legal Aid's website has resources related to legal issues impacted by COVID-19, available at this link.
ISBA COVID-19 webinar series continues to produce critically important programming
The ISBA continues to produce frequent FREE webinars on a variety of topics related to COVID-19. Upcoming noon webinars include:
• April 6 - Small Business Assistance Under the CARES Act
• April 7 - How to Practice Remotely & Securely Amid COVID-19
• April 9 – The CARES Act and other COVID-19 developments
• April 10 - Coronavirus Considerations for Litigators
• April 16 - The Coronavirus Outbreak is a Referendum on Virtual Practice
For the latest schedule of upcoming live webinar events, visit the ISBA event calendar. Recordings of selected webinars will also be posted on the website iowabar.org/COVIDwebinars. The ISBA is maintaining a list of COVID-19-related resources at iowabar.org/COVIDResources.
New supervisory order from chief justice provides additional coronavirus guidance
Chief Justice Susan Christensen on Tuesday, March 31, signed a new supervisory order regarding modifications to certain court functions and forms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There are updates in this order related to criminal trial postponements, signatures on civil court documents, revisions to eliminate mandatory notarization and guidance on child custody schedules (this replaces a similar order originally issued March 28).
The latest summary of Judicial Branch actions related to coronavirus is available here. All coronavirus orders are posted at this webpage.
Economic impact payments: What you need to know
On Monday, March 30, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released a document containing a series of questions and answers related to the stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump last week. The document can help attorneys answer tax clients’ questions about the stimulus package.
Among the questions addressed in the document, in addition to eligibility, are:
1) How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
2) What do I do since the IRS doesn’t have my direct deposit information?
3) I’m typically not required to file a tax return, can I still receive a payment?
4) How long are the stimulus payments available?
A full list of the questions and answers is available here.
Iowa Title Guaranty moves to remote work, updates e-submission requirements
As Iowa Title Guaranty (ITG) moves to a remote work policy due to COVID-19, it has created a policy to minimize disruption to Iowa’s real estate industry. By utilizing technology which allows remote workers to answer Help Desk calls and conduct virtual meetings across the state, ITG will continue at full operational capacity without disruption to participants. However, there are some changes to take note of.
Effective immediately, ITG will no longer be accepting paper applications for division-issued commitments and certificates. They must be submitted electronically. All ITG premiums must be paid via e-payment through the online portal, and all claims submissions must be sent to ITG electronically. These changes and all others are detailed in this summary sheet.
Governor’s latest proclamation allows for electronic corporate shareholder meetings
On Tuesday, March 31, Gov. Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration which, among other things, permits electronic-only shareholder, policyholder and member meetings for Iowa’s corporations and cooperatives.
The proclamation suspends the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code chapters 490, 491, 499 and 501A to the extent they require a physical meeting of shareholders, policyholders or members, if the meeting is held by means of remote communication and provides shareholders, policyholders or members a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting and to vote on matters submitted for action at such meeting.
For nonprofits, the Revised Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act already allows for virtual-only member meetings if authorized in the articles or bylaws. The ISBA was in communication with the governor’s office regarding this proclamation. Read the full text of the proclamation here.
Multiple options for paying court fines and fees available during pandemic
Iowans now have four ways to pay outstanding court fines and fees while following social distancing and self-isolation restrictions. All fines and fees can be mailed to the appropriate clerk of court office or paid online. People with multiple fines or fees on multiple cases can pay with a single payment using the shopping cart feature on Iowa Courts Online. And, the newest option is a single statewide number to pay by phone. Click here for more information.
Cady Cup postponed until June
In consideration of the pandemic health and safety concerns, the 2020 Cady Cup scheduled for May 18 at Echo Valley Golf Course has been rescheduled. The new date is June 29 at Echo Valley, which is in Norwalk.
The golf outing, originally called the Dean's Cup but renamed in honor of the late Chief Justice Mark Cady, is an annual fundraiser for Iowa Legal Aid. Details on the event can be found here.
Request for public comment on proposed amendments to Chapter 2, Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure
The Iowa Supreme Court requests public comment regarding proposed amendments to Chapter 2, Iowa Rules of Criminal Procedure. The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30. Click here for a summary of the proposed changes, and here for the order, which provides additional background information and details on how to submit a comment.
SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
Blue Grass Savings Bank v. Community Bank & Trust Company
A subsequent lienholder appeals a foreclosure decree giving priority under a future-advances clause to the full amount of credit extended by the first lienholder rather than the maximum amount set forth in the notice provision of the first lienholder's mortgage.
DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED
Michael Merrill and Karen Jo Frescoln v. Valley View Swine, LLC and JBS Live Pork, LLC f/k/a Cargill Pork, LLC
Two plaintiffs who voluntarily dismissed their claims appeal a district court order directing them to reimburse the defendants for costs and expenses.
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