Recent Iowa News
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Summarizing the 2015 legislative session
Justice Dept. settles $30 million lawsuit against Watts
Iowa City Attorney Jeremy Flaming represents an employee who was injured while working for Hawkeye Waste in 2009… Flaming says not only did Watts fail to pay taxes, but Hawkeye Waste never bought workers’ compensation insurance, which is a felony. Even after Iowa Workforce Development ruled the injured worker should receive more than $200,000, the company never paid. “The state in Iowa is aware that they have been in violation of the law for at least the last 6 years but they can still do business, presumably they can still generate revenue, they can still hire employees. I think that’s what strikes me most is that they can still do business, that the IRS allowed them to still do business for 24 years and that the state of Iowa is letting them to do business without comp insurance,” said Flaming.
The deputy commissioner who ruled in favor of the injured worker also told Flaming he referred the ruling to the Iowa Attorney General’s office and the Johnson County Attorney. Flaming explained that, “this isn’t a labor versus business issue. This is a criminal versus law abiding citizens issue. The businesses suffer just as much as our clients do when they have foot the bill for companies like this who won’t abide by their obligations. Legitimate businesses premiums go up, taxpayers have to pay for medical treatment that should be the responsibility of the workers’ compensation system. So this kind of conduct hurts everyone, not just the injured workers and I think it’s a real shame that none of our law enforcement agencies are sort of taking responsibility and sticking up for us.”
Iowa-expunged criminal records bill signed into law
Supporters say indivuals cleared of charges sometimes face public shame and difficulty getting jobs, and online public records are not clear as to when charges resulted in acquittal or dismissal... read more.
Dubuque goes overboard with sledding ordinance
As far as we can tell, there have been only three sledding lawsuits against Iowa cities in history. These were not cases of bruises or broken bones, but sledders permanently paralyzed after slamming into dangerous obstacles that were placed at the bottom of designated sledding hills by city employees who should have known better... read more
IAJ installs new officers and board members, and honors award winners
CNN's Michael Smerconish on the power of the civil justice system
Don't lower strip-search standard
A bill approved by the Iowa House would allow officers to strip-search anyone in a jail's general population if they have "reasonable suspicion" that detainee is in possession for contraband. That includes offenders arrested for low-level misdemeanors, such as traffic violations and public intoxication. read more
Who should decide the outcome of civil disputes?
For hundreds of years in America the answer was simple. Local jurors decided disputes between parties and complicated cases were then reviewed by appellate judges. Our founders fought for this system. They demanded it in our Bill of Rights with the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury in civil cases. This system ensured that citizens would hear all the facts of each individual case, weigh the arguments of each party, and come to a common-sense solution. James Madison went so far as to say that, “trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature.” read more