Practice Area: Appellate

SCOTUS to Issue a Decision Soon in Important First Amendment Case

June 6, 2017

A major First Amendment case is pending before the United States Supreme Court, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, No. 15-577.  A daycare operated by and in Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, applied for a grant from the state Department of Natural Resources to help resurface the daycare’s playground.  The grant was […]


Zenor and Van Waardhuizen Succeed at Court of Appeals

On February 27, 2015, the vehicle Rhonda Banwart was driving was impacted from the rear by a woman, who had recently been a patron at Draught House 50 in West Des Moines.  Banwart sued the woman who rear-ended her and Draught House 50 under Iowa’s dram shop act, for allegedly overserving the woman.  Adam Zenor […]


Iowa’s Highest Court: Not So Fast as to Plaintiff’s Claimed Attorney Fees

October 11, 2016

In Iowa, a plaintiff is generally entitled to recovery of attorney fees where such a recovery is contemplated by a contract or a statute.  Of course, the plaintiff has to succeed in his or her lawsuit to recover as well.  But, to what extent must a plaintiff succeed prior to recovery of attorney fees?  For […]


Court Rules Company’s Pricing and Financing Terms are Trade Secret and Protected From Disclosure

September 12, 2016

Sysco Iowa, Inc., a food distribution company, appealed a district court’s determination its contract with the University of Iowa does not contain trade secrets, and therefore, is subject to disclosure under Iowa’s Open Records Act. Sysco and the University of Iowa entered into a contract in 2008, providing Sysco would supply the University with food […]


Biomechanical Engineer is Qualified to Give Opinion on Causation of Shoulder Injury

Plaintiff James Walton appealed the district court’s ruling allowing expert testimony at trial. Walton sued defendant Sean Prunchack for damages arising out of a rear-end car accident. Walton alleged Prunchack was negligent in the operation of his motor vehicle, causing personal injuries to Walton. After the accident, Walton sought medical treatment for wrist and neck […]


Court Holds Tentative Construction Proposal is Not an Enforceable Contract

August 10, 2016

In October 2012, Plaintiffs Brian and Tracy Liphardt hired Defendant Scott Shaw to renovate their home. The Liphardts communicated with Shaw, their friend and distant relative, about their desire to convert their garage and add improvements to their home. Shaw provided the Liphards with a document entitled “Remodel and garage addition,” which contained Shaw’s contact […]


Supreme Court Issues Decision Denying Felons’ Voting Rights

July 11, 2016

In Griffin v. Pate, et al., the Supreme Court considered whether delivery of a controlled substance is an “infamous crime” under the voter disqualification provision of the Iowa Constitution. The lawsuit challenged the 1994 law that defined all felonies as “infamous crimes,” unless restored by the governor. The Court held the term “infamous crime” was […]


Supreme Court Finds Violation of Local Ordinance Constitutes Negligence Per Se

July 8, 2016

The Supreme Court of Iowa ordered a new trial in a wrongful-death action arising from a fatal fall from an apartment balcony. The case presented several issues on the applicability of the negligence per se doctrine to an alleged municipal housing code violation. In 2011, Shannon Potts was drinking with friends in a Des Moines […]


Insurer Beware:  Defective Workmanship Claims and CGL Implications

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an important decision as it relates to coverage of defective workmanship claims.  In National Surety Corp. v. Westlake Investments, LLC., an owner of an apartment complex (Westlake) and its excess carrier (National Surety) squared of as to who was obligated to pay, if anyone, for water penetration into Westlake’s […]


Supreme Court of Iowa Holds Statutory Immunity for Non-Manufacturers in Products Liability Cases Does Not Apply to Cases Based Solely on Economic Loss

June 10, 2016

An aviation company challenged the application of a statutory immunity provision to its claim of a breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. Cedar Valley Aviation, a subsidiary of Aerial Services, Inc. (hereafter “ASI”), brought a Piper plane to Des Moines Flying Service, Inc. (hereafter “DMFS”) for maintenance. After inspection, DFMS replaced the plane’s windshields.  […]