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May 8 Oral Arguments in Cedar Rapids

Iowa Court of Appeals Oral Arguments at Theatre Cedar Rapids

The Iowa Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in three cases at Theatre Cedar Rapids at 102 3rd St. SE, Cedar Rapids, on May 8, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. The oral arguments are open to the public and the court encourages people to attend. There will be time after the arguments for questions from the audience. The judges enjoy this portion of the afternoon, however, judicial ethics prohibit the judges from speaking about pending cases, so they cannot discuss the cases you heard. The judges can talk in general terms about court procedures, the role of courts, and other topics.  

The court will hear attorneys argue the cases of Estate of Hazen v. Olson, a Scott County case, State v. Russell, a Webster County case, and Lotz v. Vietor, a Buchanan County case.

23-0335 Estate v. Hazen v. Olson on appeal from Scott County District Court
After Kathy Hazen died following the surgical removal of her gallbladder, her estate and husband sued Dr. William Olson, the doctor who performed the surgery, and Genesis Medical Center (Genesis), where Hazen was a patient after the surgery. Genesis settled and was released from the lawsuit. Following a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Olson, finding 100% of the fault was attributed to Genesis. On appeal, the estate and husband argue the district court abused its discretion by preventing them from introducing evidence Dr. Olson was disciplined by the Iowa Board of Medicine, erred by giving the jury an instruction on alternative treatment, and engaged in prejudicial misconduct. 
Appellant Brief
Appellee Brief
Appellant Reply Brief
Amicus Curiae Brief (State of Iowa)

23-0623 State v. Russell on appeal from Webster County District Court
Angela McLeod died from blunt force injuries to the head. In the immediate aftermath, Mark Russell admitted assaulting McLeod with a golf club. He was charged with murder in the first degree.  Before trial, Russell gave notice that he intended to claim self-defense, and the jury was instructed that the State had to prove Russell was not acting with justification at the time he struck McLeod.  The jury found Russell guilty as charged, and he was sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, Russell argues there is not substantial evidence to support his conviction. 
Appellant Brief
Appellee Brief

23-1262 Lotz v. Vietor on appeal from Buchanan County District Court
An arbitration panel of the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) imposed an award of $5,700,000 against defendant Dana Vietor in favor of the twelve named plaintiffs (William Lotz et al.). Vietor challenged the decision in the district court, asking that the arbitration award be vacated, which the district court denied. Vietor argues the award should be vacated because he was given only a minimal continuance after his lead attorney left the case and two of the arbitrators had a conflict of interest.  He also challenges whether the award of $1,400,000 in attorney fees was reasonable, asserts he was improperly held liable for contracts to which he was not a party, and maintains some of the claims were not eligible for FINRA arbitration.
Appellant Brief
Appellee Brief
Appellant Reply Brief

The Iowa Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court. It reviews appeals from trial court decisions that have been transferred to the Court of Appeals by the Iowa Supreme Court. A decision of the Iowa Court of Appeals is final unless reviewed by the Iowa Supreme Court on grant of further review. Some opinions of the Iowa Court of Appeals are published and become precedent for subsequent cases. The majority of appeals filed in Iowa are decided by the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Appeals cases are a multi-judge review of a single judge’s decision. There are no jury members at these proceedings. Typically, the Iowa Court of Appeals decides cases with randomly selected panels that change in composition every three months.

Additional information
The judges of the Iowa Court of Appeals
Iowa Court of Appels opinions (2018 – 2024)
Archived Iowa Court of Appels opinions (2006 – 2018)
Frequently Asked Questions about the Iowa Court of Appeals
Courtroom Protocol

Note to news media
News media are invited to attend the oral arguments.  Court rules apply regarding still camera, video camera, audio recording devices, and other electronic devices used during the oral arguments.  Information on expanded media coverage is available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at

The Iowa Court Rules regarding cameras and other electronic devices in courtrooms are on the Iowa Legislature website at


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