Iowa Supreme Court issues three opinions from May 1-7

The Iowa Supreme Court issued three opinions from May 1-7. As of May 7, the court issued 50 opinions in 2023 — six fewer than this point a year ago. The three opinions are below: 

  • Burnett v. Smith, where the court “affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants and dismissing Plaintiff’s various legal theories of direct damages liability under the Iowa Constitution, holding that Godfrey v. State, 898 N.W.2d 844 (Iowa 2017), is hereby overruled.”  
  • Story County Wind, LLC v. Story County Bd. of Review, where the court “affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that ‘repowering’ a wind plant, or replacing a substantial proportion of its parts, does not change the analysis for valuing wind plants for property tax purposes under Iowa Code 427B.26, holding that the district court did not err.”
  • Wallace v. Wildensee, where the court “affirmed the judgment of the district court denying a request for a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), holding that without a divorce or separate maintenance proceeding under Iowa Code chapter 598 Iowa district courts cannot enter QDROs for the sole purpose of transferring a plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).” 

From May 1-7, state supreme courts issued 156 opinions nationally. The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued the most with 22. State supreme courts in Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, and South Dakota issued the fewest with zero. Courts where judges are elected have issued 91 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 65.

The Iowa Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort and has seven judgeships. The current chief of the court is Susan Christensen. The court issued 110 opinions in 2022 and 112 in 2021. Nationally, state supreme courts issued 7,423 opinions in 2022 and 8,320 in 2021. The courts have issued 2,357 opinions in 2023. Courts where judges are elected have issued 1,315 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 1,042. Iowa is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

Additional reading: