Attorney for the Appellee
Attorney for the Appellant
Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals Opinion
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Crawford County, Duane E. Hoffmeyer, Judge. AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART ON CROSS-APPEAL; AND REMANDED. Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Ahlers, JJ. Opinion by Ahlers, J. (17 pages)
Chad Goslar appeals the district court judgment finding him liable to Chad Kiepe for unpaid wages under the Wage Payment Collection Act. On appeal, Goslar argues (1) the doctrine of judicial estoppel barred Kiepe from arguing Goslar owed him for unpaid wages because Kiepe previously claimed in bankruptcy proceedings that he was not owed any such unpaid wages; (2) the district court’s finding that the parties agreed to an hourly component to Kiepe’s employment with Goslar was not supported by substantial evidence; and (3) the district court abused its discretion by awarding Kiepe attorney fees. On cross-appeal, Kiepe argues the district court erred by improperly calculating liquidated damages under Iowa Code section 91A.2(6) (2018) and by improperly concluding Goslar modified the employment agreement rather than repudiating it. OPINION HOLDS: We affirm the judgment of the district court on Goslar’s appeal. Substantial evidence supports the district court findings that Kiepe’s employment agreement with Goslar included an hourly wage component. The statements Goslar points to on appeal are insufficient to overcome the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the district court’s finding Goslar did not repudiate the employment agreement prior to Goslar’s express repudiation in January 2017. The evidence on record is sufficient to conclude Goslar intentionally withheld wages from Kiepe. The district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees in the full amount claimed. On Kiepe’s cross-appeal, we affirm in part and reverse in part and remand for modification of the judgment in favor of Kiepe for liquidated damages from $836.17 to $17,263.50. The district court did not err by considering contract modification in this case, and did not abuse its discretion by declining to award Kiepe liquidated damages for the hourly wage for the hours worked in 2017. We also remand for a determination of the proper amount to award to Kiepe for usual and necessary attorney fees and costs expended on appeal.