Grefe Sidney http://www.grefesidney.com Just another WordPress site Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:26:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GREFE & SIDNEY ANNOUNCES NEW MEMBER AND NEW ATTORNEYS http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/11/grefe-sidney-announces-new-member-new-attorneys/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:26:45 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2068 Grefe & Sidney is pleased to announce that Laura Martino has become a member with the firm. Tansha Clarke, Sean Corpstein, Michael Currie, Benjamin Erickson, Jaclyn Zimmerman and Colin Grace have joined Grefe & Sidney as associates in our Des Moines office. Laura N. Martino Laura Martino is a trial attorney in the firm’s litigation […]

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Grefe & Sidney is pleased to announce that Laura Martino has become a member with the firm. Tansha Clarke, Sean Corpstein, Michael Currie, Benjamin Erickson, Jaclyn Zimmerman and Colin Grace have joined Grefe & Sidney as associates in our Des Moines office.

Laura N. Martino

Laura Martino is a trial attorney in the firm’s litigation division and has recently become a partner with the firm. She represents clients on a wide array of civil litigation matters including insurance defense, municipal liability claims, professional malpractice, and workers compensation claims. In addition, she represents insurance companies and self-insured clients in coverage and bad faith disputes.

Before joining Grefe Sidney, Laura clerked for the 7th Judicial District of Iowa and worked in the renewable fuels industry. Laura is a member of the American Bar Association, the Iowa Bar Association and the Polk County Bar Association and was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Laura is actively involved in the Des Moines community having served as the president of the Orchard Place Foundation board of directors (2012-2013) and the Greater Des Moines Young Professionals Connection (2009). She is a 2013 graduate of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.

 

Tansha T. Clarke

Tansha Clarke is an associate attorney in the firm’s litigation division.

While in law school, Tansha externed with the Honorable Justice Mansfield of the Iowa Supreme Court. She also practiced as a student attorney and guardian ad litem in the Middleton Center for Children’s Rights, representing clients in Delinquency and Child in Need of Assistance (CINA) proceedings. Tansha also served as an Associate Editor for the Drake Law Review and worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Jonathan Rosenbloom.
Tansha is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Bar Association.

 

Sean M. Corpstein

Sean Corpstein is a trial attorney in the firm’s litigation division and a member of the Iowa State Bar Association.

Before joining Grefe & Sidney, Sean clerked for the Honorable Leonard T. Strand, Chief United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Iowa.  During law school, he served as a prosecution intern for the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, trying simple misdemeanors in magistrate court and externed for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office in the Criminal Appeals Division, successfully arguing a case before the Iowa Court of Appeals.  Sean also served as a Research Assistant to Professors James T. Tomcovicz and L. Song Richardson.  In addition, he was the President of the Sports Law Society and volunteered yearly at their annual three-on-three charity basketball tournament.

In his free time, Sean enjoys supporting both the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings.

Michael D. Currie

Michael Currie is an associate in the firm’s trial division.

While Mr. Currie handles all manner of litigated cases, his trial practice focuses on business litigation, employment law, insurance defense and coverage, and white collar criminal defense.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law where he served on the Iowa Law Review. His note was published in the Iowa Law Review in 99 Iowa L. Rev. 1363: Scrutiny Mutiny: Why the Iowa Supreme Court Should Reject Employment Division v. Smith and Adopt a Strict Scrutiny Standard for Free-Exercise Claims Arising Under the Iowa Constitution.

He is a member of the Iowa Bar Association and the Polk County Bar Association.

Ben Erickson

Benjamin Erickson

Ben Erickson is a trial attorney in the firm’s litigation division.

Before joining Grefe & Sidney, Ben maintained a diverse legal practice in Black Hawk County, Iowa. His experience includes workers’ compensation, commercial litigation, personal injury, and family law.

During Law school, Ben clerked for both Judge Robert Hanson in the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa and the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation. He also practiced as a student attorney in the elder law division of the Drake Legal Clinic, representing elderly citizens in a variety of legal matters. In addition, Ben served on the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law Executive Board.

Ben is a member of the Iowa Bar Association.

Jaclyn Zimmerman

Jaclyn M. Zimmerman

Jaclyn Zimmerman is an attorney and mediator with the firm’s family law division.  Jaclyn has focused her legal practice on family law and appellate work since 2009.  Her years of experience include work on complex and high conflict cases. Jaclyn works as a certified mediator and collaborative attorney, and as a litigator advocating client interests in the courtroom. She is also a parenting coordinator.

The goal of many individuals who need a family law attorney, is to avoid the courtroom, and find solutions privately and with dignity. A collaborative, or settlement-minded approach, can often be the best approach. In cases where this is not possible, however, Jaclyn embraces her role as litigator, and strategically employs facts and Iowa law to zealously and effectively advocate for her client in the courtroom.  Jaclyn has successfully litigated dozens of cases. Jaclyn’s practice is always tailored to address the unique needs of each particular client.

Jaclyn’s practice is approachable; it is one that recognizes the need for connection and empathy, in addition to keen, informed, and strategic legal representation. Jaclyn successfully advocates client interests at the district court level, and on appeal. In 2016, Jaclyn’s advocacy obtained a favorable outcome for her client before the Iowa Supreme Court.

Colin Grace

Colin Grace

Colin Grace is a trial attorney in the firm’s litigation division.

Colin’s practice focuses on insurance defense, general civil defense, and trial work. Colin is a graduate of the University of Iowa Law School. During law school, Colin served on the University of Iowa Moot Court Board as Competitions Director. He was a member of the Iowa National Moot Court Team, competing nationally. He wrote and directed the problem for the University of Iowa Supreme Court Day 2015, argued in front of the Iowa Supreme Court. He was a member of the Journal of Corporations Law, Iowa Legal Clinic, and served as President of the Iowa chapter of Phi Delta Phi.

Colin is a member of the American Bar Association and the Iowa State Bar Association.

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THE RIGHT FINAL RESTING PLACE http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/10/right-final-resting-place/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2036 The best funeral and resting place is often the one that you plan before you die.  Preplanning your funeral is a way to ensure your wishes are met and spares your family the stress of making these decisions under the pressure of time and strong emotions.  A few questions to consider: 1) Do you want […]

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The best funeral and resting place is often the one that you plan before you die.  Preplanning your funeral is a way to ensure your wishes are met and spares your family the stress of making these decisions under the pressure of time and strong emotions.  A few questions to consider:

1) Do you want your body buried, cremated, or donated to science?
2) Do you have a final resting place in mind? Have you purchased a cemetery plot or do you have a location you wish your ashes to be spread?
3) What type of service do you wish to have?
4) Would you like a visitation or viewing?

Once you’ve thought about these things, you can begin searching for funeral services.  To begin, check a recent price survey by visiting www.parting.com to find estimated prices by searching for funeral homes by zip code and by service type. Prepayment is also an option to consider as it allows you the opportunity to determine exactly how much to spend for funeral services and transfers any risk of inflation of funeral costs to the funeral home.

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INC., LLC, PLC, HUH? THE BASIC STRUCTURES OF BUSINESSES http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/10/inc-llc-plc-huh-basic-structures-businesses/ Thu, 12 Oct 2017 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2038 Over the next few newsletters, we will be doing a series on “The Basics” of a variety of things in our practice areas, including Trusts, Residential Real Estate Transactions, Probate, etc. In this Newsletter, we are starting with business structures and how they each differ from one another. Sole Proprietorship – A sole proprietor is […]

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Over the next few newsletters, we will be doing a series on “The Basics” of a variety of things in our practice areas, including Trusts, Residential Real Estate Transactions, Probate, etc. In this Newsletter, we are starting with business structures and how they each differ from one another.

Sole Proprietorship – A sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.  It is not technically a legal entity, but simply refers to the person who owns the business and is personally responsible for its debts.  The owner’s assets are all subject to his/her business liabilities.

Partnership – A partnership is a business operation between two or more individuals who share management, profits, and liabilities of a business.  Partnerships do not pay income tax, instead the partnership “passes through” any profits or losses to its partners.  Each partner then includes his/her share of the partnership income or loss on his or her tax return.  The partners’ individual non-exempt assets are all subject to the business’s liabilities.

Corporation (Inc., Co.) – A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners.  It is viewed as a legal “person” and can be engaged in business and contracts, can initiate lawsuits, be sued, and pay taxes.  A Board of Directors appoints others who oversee management of the day-to-day activities of the corporation.  People with ownership interests of a corporation are called shareholders and their interests are held in the form of stock. Corporations have limited liability, meaning that the shareholders are not personally liable for any debts of the company.  Taxation of a corporation depends of whether the entity is a C Corporation or an S Corporation.  C Corporations are on taxed on their profits at the corporate level, and the shareholders are taxed when profits are distributed as dividends.  S Corporations allocate all net income to shareholders, and the business entity itself is not taxed.  See Iowa Code § 490 for more information.

Limited Liability Company (LLC or LC) – An LLC is essentially a hybrid entity that combines the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership.  It combines the pass-through taxation of a partnership with the limited liability of a corporation.  People with interests in an LLC are called “Members.”  To start an LLC in Iowa, you are required to file a Certificate of Organization with the Iowa Secretary of State.  LLCs are governed by an operating agreement.  See Iowa Code § 489 for more information.

What about PLC and PC? – The “P” here stands for Professional, so these entities are a Professional Limited Liability Company (abbreviated PLC or PLLC) and a Professional Corporation (PC). These entities provides Iowa licensed professional services, such as Accountants, Dentists, Lawyers, Doctors, etc.  For example, Grefe & Sidney is a PLC – Professional Limited Liability Company.

If you’re considering starting a business or have additional questions regarding corporate structures, feel free to contact us at 515-245-4300.

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SEE THE IOWA SUPREME COURT IN ACTION! http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/10/see-iowa-supreme-court-action/ Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2040 What is the Iowa Supreme Court? It is the highest court in the Iowa state court system. It is comprised of 7 justices and is an appellate court—meaning that is reviews cases that have already been heard by a lower level court.  Appellate court hearings do not involve witnesses, juries, or new evidence.  An appellate […]

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What is the Iowa Supreme Court? It is the highest court in the Iowa state court system. It is comprised of 7 justices and is an appellate court—meaning that is reviews cases that have already been heard by a lower level court.  Appellate court hearings do not involve witnesses, juries, or new evidence.  An appellate court reviews the record of the lower court to determine whether any significant legal errors occurred.

 

The Supreme Courts holds Oral Argument sessions for many of the cases that it hears.  These sessions are open to the public and usually take place at the Judicial Building in Des Moines.  However, the Supreme Court also takes itself “on the road” and will host oral arguments around the State in the evenings, so the public can attend.  Below are dates and locations for some of these Special Sessions:

 

October 12 – Davenport Central High School – 7:00p.m.

November 2 – Cedar Falls High School – 7:00p.m.

February 12 – Iowa Judicial Branch Building, Des Moines – 7:00p.m.

April 3 – Knoxville High School – 7:00p.m.

 

Visit http://www.iowacourts.gov for more information regarding The Iowa Supreme Court’s Adjudicative Schedule, including information regarding special sessions.

 

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After 57 Years in Practice, Thomas Carpenter Retires http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/10/57-years-practice-thomas-carpenter-retires/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2009 Thomas “Tom” Carpenter has been a mainstay at Grefe & Sidney since the firm began in 1971.  His sage advice, caring nature, and highest ethical standards have provided an excellent example for all attorneys at the firm and within the Iowa Bar.  It is with appreciation and best wishes that we announce that Tom is […]

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Thomas W. Carpenter

Thomas “Tom” Carpenter has been a mainstay at Grefe & Sidney since the firm began in 1971.  His sage advice, caring nature, and highest ethical standards have provided an excellent example for all attorneys at the firm and within the Iowa Bar.  It is with appreciation and best wishes that we announce that Tom is retiring after 57 years in the practice of law.

Tom is a Harlan, Iowa native and attended Grinnell College, graduating in 1954.  After a few years in the Air Force stationed in Houston, Texas, Tom and his wife Dottie returned to Iowa so Tom could attend law school.  He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1960.  Following graduation and passing the Bar, he began practicing law in the Des Moines area, first with the law firm of Schaetzle, Austin and Grefe from 1960 to 1962, then with the firm Austin, Grefe & Sidney from 1962 to 1971, and then being a founding member of Grefe & Sidney in 1971.

Tom has spent the majority of his time in the areas of estate planning, probate, business, and tax law.  He has worked with thousands of clients over the years.  One of his favorite areas of practice was representing small family-owned businesses in the Des Moines area. With these clients he was able to help solve their problems in real time, while developing strong personal relationships with them and their families.  In fact, many of these families, their children, and grandchildren have continued to use him as their attorney over the years.

In 57 years, the law and the practice of law have both changed tremendously.  Technology and accessibility to information have shifted the way attorneys work.  Tom has taken it all in stride and is grateful for all he has been able to accomplish during his career.

In retirement, Tom plans to relax and was told by friends “not to commit to anything.”   He is looking forward to spending time with his two children, Mary and Jim, and his grandchildren, as well as spending time at the family cabin in Minnesota.  His first retirement journey will be a trip to Eastern Europe.

Tom has been a hard worker, having excellent rapport with clients and understands the law of his practice areas better than anyone.

From all of us at Grefe & Sidney, thank you Tom for all the memories, the advice, and for truly being “one of a kind.”

Happy Retirement!

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What is “Contempt” or “Show Cause”? http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/09/contempt-show-cause/ Fri, 29 Sep 2017 23:12:33 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=1996   What is “Contempt”? What happens if your teenager does not want to visit his father?  What if you get laid off and can’t pay child support?  What if your child’s parent files for contempt? In Iowa, a contempt, or Rule to Show Cause, occurs when a party fails to follow a court order. The […]

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What is “Contempt”?

What happens if your teenager does not want to visit his father?  What if you get laid off and can’t pay child support?  What if your child’s parent files for contempt?

In Iowa, a contempt, or Rule to Show Cause, occurs when a party fails to follow a court order. The most common reason parties file a Rule to Show Cause in family law cases include the following:

  • Failure to pay alimony or child support;
  • Interference with visitation;
  • Violation of joint legal custodial rights;
  • Failure to refinance a debt or obligation; and
  • Failure to follow a property settlement.

A finding of contempt requires two things: 1) The party failed to follow a court order, and 2) The failure to follow the court was order willful.  Although it is relatively easy to prove a party’s failure to follow a court order, it is significantly more challenging to prove willful disobedience of the order. Common defenses to willful disobedience are inability to comply with the order, safety of the party or the children, and the order was ambiguous. Ultimately, if the judge finds that the violating party’s actions were willful, that party will be found in contempt.

The consequences of being found in contempt are contingent on the court’s analysis of several factors, including the severity of the contempt, the number of previous contempt findings against the party, and the party’s ability to pay. Based on the factors, a judge can impose a jail sentence, order attorney fees, order make-up visitation, or change the order itself. For a first offense, courts in Iowa generally give the violating party an opportunity to cure, or purge, his or her contempt.

A contempt action brings with it serious consequences, including a potential jail sentence. Be sure to contact a family law attorney from Grefe and Sidney to protect your rights.

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Your Son Just Graduated From High School – How Do You Terminate Your Child Support Obligation? http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/09/son-just-graduated-high-school-terminate-child-support-obligation/ Wed, 27 Sep 2017 23:10:46 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=1994   There are three main reasons to terminate a child support obligation: the child has phased out, the child is emancipated, and the child is now living with the noncustodial parent. The child has phased out. A child support obligation can be terminated once the child at issue phases out, or is no longer eligible. […]

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There are three main reasons to terminate a child support obligation: the child has phased out, the child is emancipated, and the child is now living with the noncustodial parent.

The child has phased out. A child support obligation can be terminated once the child at issue phases out, or is no longer eligible. Generally speaking, this occurs when the child either reaches the age of 18 years, or graduates high school, whichever occurs last. The exception to the phase out rule is when the child becomes a disabled adult who requires the support of their parents.

The child is now living with the noncustodial parent. On occasion, the parties’ custodial arrangement shifts and the child begins living with the noncustodial parent. When this happens, the noncustodial parent must modify the order or decree to request a change of custodial parent and that his or her child support obligation be terminated. The noncustodial parent’s child support obligation continues until the court issues an order terminating his or her obligation.

The child is emancipated. If a child becomes emancipated, a parent paying child support for the support of that child can ask the court to terminate his or her child support obligation. Ultimately, the emancipated child is an adult in the eyes of the court, and his or her parents are no longer responsible for his or her support.

You need to get a court order to terminate a child support obligation.  An attorney can help you file a motion and proposed order to terminate the child support order and any associated income withholding.  It is important to note that the payor’s child support continues until a court order terminates the child support obligation. Therefore, you should set up a meeting with an attorney a 2-3 months prior to the expected termination date.  Call us at 245-4300 to discuss your case.

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WILL MY INHERITANCE BE PROTECTED IN MY DIVORCE? http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/09/will-inheritance-protected-divorce/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 16:53:25 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=1988   Iowa is an equitable distribution state, which means that that courts divide all of the property of the parties at the time of divorce, except “separate property”, in an equitable manner in light of the particular circumstances of the parties. It is the general rule that the inheritance (whether money or property) you receive […]

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Iowa is an equitable distribution state, which means that that courts divide all of the property of the parties at the time of divorce, except “separate property”, in an equitable manner in light of the particular circumstances of the parties.

It is the general rule that the inheritance (whether money or property) you receive is considered separate property and therefore not a marital asset that is divided by the judge when you divorce.  But, like with most things in a divorce, this simple rule is subject to modification depending on your situation.

  • A judge will consider the length of your marriage as an important factor in considering when gifted or inherited property should be divided. The longer your marriage, the more likely a judge will consider an argument that the inherited property should be divided between spouses.
  • How the money is used is also important. For example, if the money is used to purchase a home or invested in your family business, or otherwise “comingled” with your marital assets, a judge may find it equitable to drop the protection for the inherited funds.
  • If you have limited assets and the inherited property is needed to ensure an equitable division, a judge will consider that.
  • If one party has very few assets and/or earning capacity, and therefore the inherited property may be considered if alimony is awarded.

Even if your property was inherited, a judge may still split any increase in value (appreciation) that occurred during the marriage.  This might happen when stocks or farmland increases in value, for example.

There are several factors the judge will consider to determine an equitable distribution of the appreciated portion of the property:

  • First, the “tangible contributions of each party” to the marital relationship are considered. Homemaking is considered a tangible contribution to a marriage. Looking to the tangible contributions prevents entitlement to appreciated property due to the mere existence of the relationship.
  • Second, the judge will look at whether the appreciation of the property is attributed to fortuitous circumstances or the efforts of the parties.
  • Third, the length of the marriage is considered (the shorter the marriage, the less likely the other spouse will be awarded part of the property).

Because many factors may impact your ability to protect your inheritance or gifts you receive, it is best to discuss all options with an attorney.  Contact us at 515-245-4300.

Donna Miller

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Iowa Court of Appeals Holds Contraband Found on a Vehicle’s Passenger Alone Does Not Provide Probable Cause to Search Entire Vehicle http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/09/iowa-court-appeals-holds-contraband-found-vehicles-passenger-alone-not-provide-probable-cause-search-entire-vehicle/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:32:37 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2003   The Iowa Court of Appeals recently reversed two drug convictions and ordered a new trial for Shannon See, holding that the contraband found during a warrantless search of her person and vehicle should have been suppressed for lack of probable cause.  The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the particular factual circumstances. On February 15, […]

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The Iowa Court of Appeals recently reversed two drug convictions and ordered a new trial for Shannon See, holding that the contraband found during a warrantless search of her person and vehicle should have been suppressed for lack of probable cause.  The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the particular factual circumstances.

On February 15, 2015, at 2:45 a.m., Waterloo police officers responded to a report of suspicious behavior in a gas station parking lot.  The police found Shannon See and Trivino Clark inside See’s vehicle.  Pursuant to an outstanding warrant, the police arrested Trivino Clark.  Officers discovered a glass pipe and marijuana residue on Clark’s person during the arrest.   Thereafter, based on the evidence found on Clark, the police performed a warrantless search of See’s vehicle, finding drugs and drug paraphernalia.  See was charged with two counts of possession.

Before trial, See moved to suppress the evidence found during the search. See argued that the police were without probable cause, because:

  • No marijuana odor emanated from See’s vehicle;
  • The pipe found on Clark was not warm;
  • See did not appear under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and
  • No contraband was in plain view inside the vehicle.

The State argued that the contraband found on Clark’s person, as well as the marijuana odor emanating from Clark’s person, were indeed sufficient to support probable cause to search the vehicle.  The trial court denied See’s motion.

On appeal, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the police lacked probable cause to search See’s vehicle.  The Court ordered a new trial with instructions to suppress the items found during the warrantless search of her vehicle. The Court also noted that the police had no particularized knowledge of any history of drug use or activity by See, and she did not appear nervous when interacting with officers.  The Court concluded that the officers relied solely on the pipe found on Clark’s person, and that this fact alone did not provide probable cause to perform a warrantless search of See’s vehicle.

 

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Iowa Court of Appeals Holds Accelerating Effective Resignation Date Does Not Amount to ‘Involuntary Termination’ Under Employment Contract http://www.grefesidney.com/news/2017/09/iowa-court-appeals-holds-accelerating-effective-resignation-date-not-amount-involuntary-termination-employment-contract/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:26:54 +0000 http://www.grefesidney.com/?p=2000   Opinion Summary In Bradshaw v. Cedar Rapids Airport Comm’n, No. 16-1639, Plaintiff Bradshaw sued his former employer, the Cedar Rapid Airport Commission, arguing the Commission owed him severance pay pursuant to his employment contract.  The contract provided for twelve months’ severance if the Commission involuntarily terminated Bradshaw.  Conversely, Bradshaw would receive no severance if […]

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Opinion Summary

In Bradshaw v. Cedar Rapids Airport Comm’n, No. 16-1639, Plaintiff Bradshaw sued his former employer, the Cedar Rapid Airport Commission, arguing the Commission owed him severance pay pursuant to his employment contract.  The contract provided for twelve months’ severance if the Commission involuntarily terminated Bradshaw.  Conversely, Bradshaw would receive no severance if he voluntarily resigned.

On September 3, 2014, Plaintiff Bradshaw emailed his voluntary resignation to the Commission, and indicated that his “last date of employment will be November 3, 2014.”  On September 5, 2014, the Commission passed a resolution accepting Bradshaw’s resignation “effective 30 days from the date of this Resolution,” i.e. October 5, 2014.

In February 2015, Bradshaw demanded the severance outlined in the contract.  The Commission refused.  Bradshaw then brought a breach of contract action suit against the Commission. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment.  Bradshaw argued that his effective date of resignation was November 3, 2014, and that the Commission’s unilateral acceleration of that date was an “involuntary termination” under the contract.  The Commission argued that the accelerated date did not change the nature of the voluntary resignation.  The district court ruled that Bradshaw was not entitled to severance, but also that Bradshaw was entitled to additional compensation from October 5, 2014, through November 3, 2014.  Both parties appealed.

The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed and reversed in part.  The Court agreed that Bradshaw was not entitled to severance payment, but also that Bradshaw was not entitled to the additional compensation.  The Court noted that the parties did not dispute that Bradshaw intended to voluntarily resign, or that the Commission accepted the resignation.  However, as it related to interpreting the employment contract’s severance provision, it was “immaterial the parties disagreed on the effective date of the resignation.  As a matter of law, Bradshaw was not ‘involuntarily terminated’ within the meaning of the employment agreement.”

While Bradshaw conceded in his reply brief that he was not entitled to additional compensation, the Court briefly elaborated on this issue.  The Court noted that concluding Bradshaw was entitled to additional compensation would be an “untenable result” and “[i]t would allow for an employee to change his or her status from employed-at-will to employed-for-a-definite-term by simply including an effective date in a notice of resignation.”

In conclusion, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an employer who unilaterally advanced a resigning employee’s effective termination date by thirty days.  The Court found that this acceleration did not amount to an “involuntary resignation,” nor was the employee entitled to compensation for that period.

Opinion available at:

http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/Court_of_Appeals/Court_of_Appeals_Opinions/Recent_Opinions/20170913/16-1639.pdf

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