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Eighth Circuit to hold arguments at Drake

October 21, 2015

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit will hold oral arguments in the Neal and Bea Smith Law Center courtroom on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m.

The Eighth Circuit is the court immediately below the United States Supreme Court. The court usually meets in St. Louis or St. Paul, but is holding a special session at Drake University. The court was last on Drake’s campus in 2010.

The panel will consist of judges Jane Kelly of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (appointed April 2013), Lavenski R. Smith of Little Rock, Ark. (appointed July 2002), and Steven M. Colloton of Des Moines (appointed September 2003).

The court will hear three cases:

National Surety Corporation v. Dustex Corporation (15-2096) – The appellant Dustex asks the court to reverse a district court’s decision. An arbitration panel issued an award of more than $3.3 million when a utility’s baghouse dust collector allegedly did not work as warranted. The insurer sought declaration that coverage was absent for arbitration. The district court found no coverage for arbitration and, following magistrate’s report, found that Dustex failed to establish equitable estoppel. Choice of law issue between Iowa and Georgia as to burden of proof is briefed.

Clarke County Development Corp v. Affinity Gaming (15-2032) – The issue is whether the parties’ Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning Lakeside Casino is enforceable. The district court found that the MOU was not a binding and enforceable contract because the terms of the MOU had not been approved by the parties’ respective Boards. The district court granted summary judgment for Affinity.

Kelleher v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (15-2105) – The plaintiff appeals dismissal of claims on summary judgment. The plaintiff alleges discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The plaintiff had been a stocker, but when medical problems from multiple sclerosis caused difficulty in meeting ladder and weight requirements as a stocker, the plaintiff was reassigned to a cashier’s position as an accommodation. About two months after taking that position, the plaintiff filed her claims and ceased working as a cashier.

Copies of the briefs are available at the Drake Law Library Information Desk in Opperman Hall.

The hearing is open to the public. Attendees are asked to arrive early and not bring bags, laptops, or similar items. Photography is not allowed in the courtroom.