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Update: On April 11, 2017, DMWW announced that it would not be appealing this decision.
Here is an updated list on the pleadings and resources on the Des Moines Water Works litigation.
Update: The 2017 Iowa Legislative Session ended on April 22, 2017. No water quality legislation was enacted.
Update: On March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan cancelled a vote scheduled for that day on the Republicans proposed repeal and replacement plan. Officials have stated that they will now turn their attention to tax reform.
HSB134 passed out of an Iowa House agricultural subcommittee on February 22. The bill would limit allowable damages in nuisance lawsuits filed against animal feeding operations that have used “existing prudent and generally utilized management practices reasonable” for their operations. The bill would also allow animal feeding operations that prevail in a nuisance lawsuit brought against them to recover reasonable attorney fees from the losing plaintiff.
In a 4-3 decision, the Iowa Supreme Court today ruled that a 69-year-old woman was a “vulnerable elder” under Iowa’s Elder Abuse statute because of her age.
A Polk County District Court judge has ruled that the Iowa Utilities Board properly acted within its discretion in determining that the Dakota Access pipeline would promote the “public convenience and necessity.” The court also found that the Board had statutory authority to grant Dakota Access eminent domain
In a filing last evening, the parties to the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit—the Board of Water Works Trustees and the drainage districts—again showed they are miles apart in their interpretation of the law.
The Iowa Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a jury verdict awarding a brother more than $1.5 million in damages against his two sisters. The court found that substantial evidence supported the jury’s finding that the sisters exerted undue influence over their father, causing him to execute a will that disinherited the brother.
Last week, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s order specifically enforcing a partition fence agreement between neighbors. The opinion illustrates that such an agreement does not necessarily preclude costly litigation. It also demonstrates the importance of engaging legal counsel at the beginning of a dispute.
The Iowa Supreme Court today issued a ruling favoring the drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties in the high profile Des Moines Water Works nitrate litigation. This ruling effectively means that the federal court will enter summary judgment in favor of the districts with respect to DMWW’s claims for money damages and injunctive relief and will likely grant similar relief with respect to DMWW’s claims alleging violations of DMWW’s constitutional rights.
Open enrollment for purchasing 2017 health plans on the Marketplace ends January 31. In the meantime, Congress and President Trump have been paving the way to unwind and recalibrate the Affordable Care Act, a massive chunk of (largely) tax legislation.
A custom feeding endorsement may not cover growers for unexpected or negligent losses to livestock. An opinion from the Iowa Court of Appeals yesterday again raises this important warning.
In light of the tough farm economy, dealers are offering producers even more options when it comes to purchasing upgraded equipment. Because different tax implications flow from different contractual arrangements, it is crucial that a producer understand the true nature of a lease or purchase contract before he signs it. This will avoid big surprises come tax time.
As we close out the year, we pause to review important developments in agricultural law from 2016. The year saw several notable rulings under the Clean Water Act,as well as the progression of several key Clean Water Act cases. Federal regulators unveiled new rules, and Congress passed legislation impacting producers and ag businesses.
The Iowa Supreme Court recently provided an excellent overview of the rules governing the partition of concurrently owned property in Iowa. In reversing a court of appeals decision ordering a partition in kind, the Court reiterated that Iowa law favors partition by sale.
This December 20, 2016 webinar is designed for both practitioners and producers. Teaching this webinar is Dr. Keri Jacobs, an assistant professor and cooperatives extension economist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University.
“Midnight” action by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) caused a stir this week. GIPSA, the USDA division tasked with interpreting the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, 7 U.S.C. 181, (the Act) unveiled an interim final rule and two proposed rules that have been in the works for many years.
While death may be beneficial for tax purposes, it is difficult to regard it as a tax avoidance scheme.
This line is a great summary of the reasoning of the Tax Court in a recent case that illustrates an interesting interplay between cash accounting and death.
In a case study of the balance of governmental powers, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled this month that local ordinances passed by three Hawaii Counties to ban the cultivation of GM (genetically modified) plants were preempted by state and federal law.
The November 8, 2016, election will be long-remembered. Although the result was surprising to many, it was largely driven by rural Americans seeking change to the status quo. But, what will a new Administration actually mean for rural America?
It has been estimated that the Internal Revenue Code and its accompanying regulations comprise more than 10 million words. The complexity is staggering. Yet, every taxpayer is expected to follow every mandate. Business taxpayers, including farmers, should always seek out trusted tax advisors to guide them through the thorny tax code. The money paid for good counsel is a wise and necessary investment.
Update: On November 22, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction, blocking implementation of the new Rule nationwide, pending futher review. The court ruled that the state plaintiffs have established a prima facie case that the Department’s salary level under the Final Rule and the automatic updating mechanism are without statutory authority. It is unlikely the matter will be resolved before January 20, 2017, the date a new administration steps in. Consequently, the future of the Rule is very uncertain.
The Iowa Court of Appeals today affirmed a half a million dollar judgment against Prestage Farms in a neighboring landowner’s nuisance lawsuit alleging that the company’s hog confinement substantially deprived her of the comfortable use and enjoyment of her property.[i]
I’ve called it the “Hokey-Pokey” law. The California Legislature passed AB 1437 in 2010 to make it a crime to sell a shelled egg in California if that egg came from a hen confined in a cage that did not allow it to “lie down, stand up, fully extend its limbs, and turn around freely” (hence the Hokey-Pokey reference).
Larry died intestate, survived by his third wife and sons from a previous marriage. So begins a recent opinion from the Iowa Court of Appeals.
Marketplace open enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016. Consequently, beginning tomorrow, eligible Americans can go to healthcare.gov to enroll in a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. Likewise, many open enrollment periods for employer-provided health care coverage are also underway.
The Iowa Supreme Court today issued an opinion clarifying the reach of Iowa Const. art. I, § 24. The Court ruled that the provision does not apply to lands suitable for agricultural purposes if only an incidental portion of the land is used for farming purposes. Iowa Const. art. I, § 24 states:
Last year, the Iowa Department of Revenue unveiled a new form for claiming the Iowa Capital Gain Deduction. IA 100 was designed to collect key information up-front, rather than after the fact, regarding transactions qualifying for the rather unique Iowa deduction.
This morning, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an opinion clarifying that an at-will contract with an independent contractor can be unilaterally modified prospectively, upon reasonable notice. A proposal for modification effectively terminates the original contract and offers new terms for acceptance. The modification can be accepted by performance or the contract terminates.
In the case at hand, the court affirmed a district court ruling finding that the City of Bettendorf violated that principle by initiating a new streambank-stabilization project without acquiring expanded easements from the impacted landowners.
During this election season, we’ve had a number of questions regarding what the candidates' tax proposals would mean for typical taxpayers, particularly farmers. In this post, I’ll provide a high level summary of several of the key provisions proposed by the two major candidates.
During a financial downturn, the law of secured transactions becomes more important. More financial impairment means more disputes over who has priority in a pot that’s not large enough to go around. During these times, a key, but sometimes overlooked, component of debtor-creditor law—the law of agricultural liens—rises in importance. This fact sheet provides readers with a review of agricultural lien law in Iowa, included the creation, perfection, and enforcement of these nonconsensual, statutory liens.
A case from the Iowa Court of Appeals today highlights a little provision in an Iowa wind energy agreement that may have killed a contract for the sale of farmland. This case should remind anyone negotiating a wind energy agreement to understand the provisions and their consequences before you sign the agreement.
The Syngenta litigation reached a crucial milestone on September 26, 2016, when U.S. District Judge John W. Lungstrum issued an order certifying a nationwide class and eight statewide classes of producer plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation pending since 2014. Many farmers will soon receive notice informing them that they are automatically included in this class action, unless they choose to opt-out.
The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments on September 14, 2016, regarding the common law claims set forth in the Des Moines Water Works complaint. The Court will now consider whether the lawsuit’s claims seeking money damages and injunctive relief can continue under Iowa law or whether the drainage districts are immune from these types of legal claims.
Note: On July 13, 2017, the Iowa Supreme Court granted a petition for further review of this case. We will keep you posted!
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a big win to CAFO owners last Friday when it ruled that the EPA abused its discretion by concluding that the release of personal information about CAFO owners would not invade substantial privacy interests.
It is well-known that fewer people in the United States are getting married. In fact, according to the CDC, marriage rates in the United States have been in a steady decline since the 1980s. Conversely, cohabitation rates are steadily rising.
Owning property is richly rewarding. It can also be fraught with liability. This fact sheet provides a general overview of several key legal issues that owners and occupiers of rural property in Iowa should understand.
During the past several years it often seemed like the day would never come. But Monday, August 29, the new FAA rule for integrating small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the U.S. airspace is effective. The rule applies to all UAS weighing less than 55 pounds (sUAS) that are flown for commercial (not hobby) purposes.
Just next door to the location of next week’s Farm Progress show (and across Iowa), Dakota Access is working to construct its pipeline to transport crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a refining station in Illinois. Last March, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) granted Dakota Access a hazardous liquid pipeline permit, clearing the way for the company to construct their 346-mile pipeline across Iowa.
It was the wrong procedural posture to create new law. But a recent case from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut has some interesting discussion regarding limits to the FAA’s right to regulate airspace.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 has ensured that only a select few pay any estate taxes in America. To be liable for estate tax in 2016, for example, you must die with more than $5.45 million in assets. The news gets better for married taxpayers.
A case from the Iowa Court of Appeals last week should warn attorneys and clients that they must remain on the same page during settlement negotiations. If they don’t, the result can be bad…both for the client and the attorney.
The background facts are summarized in these short sentences from the court’s opinion:
The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation does not provide legal advice. Any information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for legal services from a competent professional. The Center's work is supported by fee-based seminars and generous private gifts. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material contained on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Iowa State University.