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What if Accommodations for Disabled are Inconvenient?

Fri, 06/27/2014

Palmer College of Chiropractic v. Davenport Civil Rights Commission: Aaron Cannon, a blind student of Palmer College, requested that the college and its program make accommodations for his disability so that he can participate. The College denied the request stating that fulfillment would greatly alter the educational program. Cannon and the Civil Rights Commission filed suit against the College on the basis of discrimination. The lower courts ruled in favor of the College.


The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower court and ruled in support of the Civil Rights Commission in its decision to require the College to pay relief to Palmer in exchange for not accommodating disabled students in accordance with state and federal law. The Court based their decision on the fact that College did not adequately prove that making accommodations for Cannon would alter their educational program in a substantial way.

Read the full decision here

Don't Step on the Crack...

Fri, 06/13/2014

Beth Madden v. City of Iowa City & State of Iowa: Madden crashed her bike after hitting a flaw in the sidewalk that borders the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She filed suit against the City for negligence because of the sidewalk’s poor condition. In response, the City filed suit against the State since the State was the owner of the land that bordered the sidewalk and thus holds responsibility for its upkeep. The City sued in order to be awarded funds from the State.


The Supreme Court of Iowa upheld the decision of the lower courts by affirming the motion of Iowa City to add Iowa State onto the case as a third-party defendant. The Court ruled that the City and State both have a duty in this situation to insure the safety of the sidewalks to protect the taxpayers who use them. It is not solely the responsibility of the City to maintain common property surrounding a state sponsored institution.

Read the full decision here

Legal Hangover from Previous State of Residence

Fri, 05/23/2014

Velma Hussemann v. Herbert & Robert Hussemann: Herbert and Velma married in Florida and entered into a postnuptial agreement in which Velma signed away all of her rights to her husband’s estate upon his death, including her elective share. Years later, the Hussemanns moved to Iowa where Herbert died. Upon his death, Velma claimed that she was entitled to her elective share of her husband’s estate because the Florida postnuptial agreement was void since Iowa law states it is illegal for a spouse to waive their rights to an estate in such a fashion.


The Supreme Court in Iowa affirmed the decision of the lower courts by ruling that the prenuptial agreement into which the Hussemanns entered into back in Florida still applies and thus, Velma is not entitled to any portion of her husband’s estate. The Court affirmed that the Florida law still applies to the marriage and is therefore a law that carries over into Iowa with the couple. In the decision, the Court clarified that the only exception in which out-of-state law does not carry over in contractual agreements is in cases related to land or houses, for the Iowa Constitution protects this property from “alienation.”

Read the full decision here