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Iowa Supreme Court Justices to Meet with Forest City Area Students

March 26, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa—On Tuesday, April 2, and Wednesday, April 3, justices of the Iowa Supreme Court will meet with students from seven Forest City area high schools to discuss the Iowa judicial system and the role of the courts in Iowa.

High School Visit Schedule

Tuesday, April 2

1:30 pm: Justice David Wiggins will visit Clear Lake High School

2:00 pm: Justice Brent Appel will visit Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School in Garner

Wednesday, April 3

9:00 am: Justice Susan Christensen will visit Forest City High School

9:00 am: Justice Edward Mansfield will visit Hampton-Dumont High School in Hampton

9:00 am: Justice Thomas Waterman will visit Mason City High School

10:00 am: Chief Justice Mark Cady will visit Lake Mills High School

10:30 am: Justice Christopher McDonald will visit Newman Catholic High School

In addition to the school visits, the supreme court will hold a special session of oral arguments in Forest City on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:00 p.m., in the Boman Fine Arts Center, 225 John K. Hanson Drive. The oral arguments are open to the public. A public reception with the justices in the auditorium lobby will follow the oral arguments.

Special Session

Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 p.m.

Boman Fine Arts Center

225 John K. Hanson Drive

Forest City, Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court will hear attorneys argue in two companion cases during the special session. Companion cases are cases that involve the same or similar parties, common material facts, and related questions of law. Resolution of these cases is a matter of broad public importance.

Mathis v. Iowa Utilities Board, et al., case no. 18-1184, from Palo Alto County District Court

Case summary: For construction of an electric power generating facility, Iowa Code section 476A.2 requires the owners to obtain a certificate of public convenience, use, and necessity from the Iowa Utility Board (IUB) before beginning construction. Petitioners, residents of Palo Alto County, sought to require Palo Alto Wind Energy (PAWE) and MidAmerican Energy to obtain such a certificate for a planned wind energy project.  The IUB determined that a certificate was not required because the project did not meet the definition of “facility” in the statute. The district court affirmed the IUB. Petitioners contend the court erred in giving deference to the IUB’s interpretation of the statute.  PAWE and MidAmerican argue that the legislature vested the IUB with broad rulemaking authority, which the IUB properly exercised in this case.

Mathis, et al. v. Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors, et al., case no. 18-1431, from Palo Alto County District Court

Case summary: Plaintiffs challenged the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors’ (Board) wind energy ordinance and approval of Palo Alto Wind Energy’s (PAWE) construction application for a wind energy project.  The district court granted summary judgment in the Board’s favor, finding that the Board followed proper procedures.  On appeal, Plaintiffs argue the Board’s actions were arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable because essentially PAWE and MidAmerican Energy drafted the ordinance, and further that the Board failed to consider recommendations from the Iowa DNR and State Archaeologist, reports regarding the project’s noise levels, and other materials. The Board argues that it acted appropriately under its home rule authority and that the ordinance is a product of the Board’s general police power rather than the county’s zoning power.

Attorneys' briefs for Mathis v. Iowa Utilities Board, et al., are posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at https://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/supreme-court/pending-cases/case/18-1184 .

Attorney briefs for Mathis, et al. v. Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors, et al., are posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at https://www.iowacourts.gov/iowa-courts/supreme-court/pending-cases/case/18-1431 .

Note to Editors: 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 https://www.iowacourts.gov/newsroom/expanded-news-media-coverage/ .

The Iowa Court Rules regarding cameras and other electronic devices in courtrooms are on the Iowa Legislature website at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/ACO/CourtRulesChapter/12-26-2017.25.pdf .

For More Information:

Steve Davis
Director of Communications
(515) 348-4967
steve.davis@iowacourts.gov

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