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Case No. 19-1511

Clifford J. Watkins, III
City of Des Moines, Pat Kozitza, John Desio, and Tony Chiodo


Clifford J. Watkins, III


City of Des Moines, Pat Kozitza, John Desio, and Tony Chiodo

Attorney for the Appellant

Matthew R. Denning

Attorney for the Appellee

John O. Haraldson, Assistant City Attorney

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Jun 03, 2020

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Samantha Gronewald, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Schumacher, JJ.  Opinion by Tabor, P.J.  (16 pages)

            Clifford J. Watkins III sued the City of Des Moines and three of its administrators.  He raised claims of racial discrimination in promotions and hostile work environment.  The district court granted the city’s motion for summary judgment.  Watkins asks us to reverse the summary judgment and remand for trial.  OPINION HOLDS: Because Watkins offered evidence that two of three members of the interview panel made statements arguably showing racial animus, he generated a jury question on the city’s motivation in turning him down for a promotion.  We reverse the summary judgment on that claim.  Because Watkins did not create a genuine issue of material fact that “discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult” permeated his workplace, the city was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the hostile work environment claim.  We thus affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

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