Federal Court Finds No Standing in Three “Drive By” Discrimination Lawsuits

By: Michael Dee | 08.28.2020

  In the course of one week in early August 2020, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa and other Midwestern states, struck a blow to so-called “drive by” discrimination lawsuits – and bolstered employers’ defenses thereto – by holding in three separate lawsuits that three different plaintiffs who alleged violations of the Read…

Court Reaffirms Employees Complaining about Sexual Harassment Must Prove They Were Actually Offended

By: Michael Dee | 07.15.2020

  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Iowa and other Midwestern states, recently affirmed the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit because the plaintiff could not establish she was actually offended by the alleged harassing conduct.  Although this requirement seems like common sense – that a complaining employee must actually be offended by Read…

Is Your Business at Risk for Coronavirus Lawsuits, and What Can You Do NOW To Avoid It?

By: Michael Dee | 04.06.2020

  Whether you are a small business, large business or even a government entity, are you ready (or preparing your business) for the onslaught of lawsuits resulting from the pandemic?  Google “coronavirus lawsuits” — over 300 billion hits. Unfortunately, a number of those hits are plaintiffs’ class action law firms asking people to submit information Read…

Do You Have Insurance for Lost Business Due to COVID-19?

By: Michael Dee | 03.31.2020

  Unless you are extraordinarily fortunate, your business will surely see a drop in revenue due to the economic slowdown caused by the virus.  Do you have insurance coverage for this?  Past world events such as the Ebola outbreak, 9/11 and hurricanes can provide some guidance.  Rest assured, however, that insurance companies will be inundated Read…

BW Wins Appeal in $30 Million Contract Dispute

By: Michael Dee | 02.18.2020

  The Iowa Supreme Court on February 7, 2020, held that BrownWinick client Homeland Energy Solutions, LLC (HES) had an enforceable contract with a former HES board member to repurchase the member’s units in HES.  In 2013, HES entered into a contract with then-board member Steve J. Retterath to repurchase Retterath’s units in HES for Read…

Iowa Supreme Court Confirms Employers May Use Same Decision Defense in Discrimination and Retaliation Cases

By: Michael Dee | 12.06.2019

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an important decision for employers in employment discrimination cases. The Court confirmed that employers are entitled to raise the “same decision” affirmative defense, which states that even if a discriminatory factor played a motivating role in a decision to terminate an employee, the employer may avoid liability by presenting Read…

Cost-Plus Contracts – A New Warning For Contractors

By: Michael Dee | 10.21.2019

A recent decision from the Iowa Court of Appeals serves as a cautionary tale for contractors: Contractors must prove their actual costs under cost-plus contracts or they may not be paid.   In Olmstead Construction, Inc. v. Otter Creek Investments, LLC, the contractor and owner entered into a cost-plus contract to build a convenience store. After receiving revised Read…

8th Circuit Upholds Iowa City’s Rights Regarding Installation of Fiber Optic Networks

By: Michael Dee | 04.04.2018

BrownWinick successfully defended the City of Iowa City in an appeal before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals involving the City’s passage of three resolutions to facilitate ImOn Communications, LLC’s (“ImOn”) construction of a fiber optic network in Iowa City that would provide only telephone and internet service.  Mediacom sued the City arguing that ImOn Read…

Are You Ready if a Sexual Harassment Scandal Hits Your Business? – Part III

By: Michael Dee | 03.20.2018

As outlined in our earlier posts, business leaders are subject to increasing scrutiny in light of the national dialogue happening right now. This movement is not limited to the arena of celebrities and politicians. Does your business know what to do if allegations are lodged against your CEO or other critical managers?    Given the spotlight being Read…

Are You Ready if a Sexual Harassment Scandal Hits Your Business? – Part II

By: Michael Dee | 12.20.2017

Does your business have a handle on its policy enforcement? As outlined in our earlier post, charges of sexual harassment have always posed the potential for very serious liability.  Historically, however, sexual harassment has been relatively difficult to prove from the legal perspective. That tide is turning, however, as technology and social media have armed victims Read…