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Case No. 21-1176

Swanson v. Oldenburger

Stephen J. Swanson, Plaintiff-Appellant


Gary Oldenburger, Wapello County Attorney, and Wapello County, Defendants-Appellees

Attorney for Appellant

Matthew B. Moore

Attorney for Appellees

David E. Schrock and Rachael D. Neff

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Sep 21, 2022

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, John G. Linn, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.  Heard by Tabor, P.J., and Greer and Chicchelly, JJ.  Opinion by Chicchelly, J. Special concurrence by Greer, J.  (14 pages)

            Stephen Swanson appeals the grant of summary judgment for the defendants on claims related to disclosing information in his personnel record.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Because nothing in the record supports a finding that Swanson exhausted all contractual, legal, and statutory remedies after a final disciplinary action, the disclosure of his personnel record was not permitted under the open records statute.  II. Swanson’s blacklisting claim fails as a matter of law because he only presents speculation and conjecture to show the defendants intended to injure him by preventing future employment.  III. Swanson failed to show a factual dispute on whether the statements Oldenburger made in disclosing the termination notice were false or made with actual malice, so his defamation claim fails as a matter of law.  SPECIAL CONCURRENCE ASSERTS: I concur in the majority opinion but write separately to offer additional support for the analysis of the open records violation.

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