Lane & Waterman Successfully Defends Eastern Iowa College Accused of Discrimination
Diane Reinsch and Alex Barnett successfully defended an eastern Iowa college, whose former student claimed the college discriminated against him based upon his age and disability, retaliated against him and breached a contract. The Iowa District court judge in Scott County agreed that Iowa law does not authorize a local commission to confer original jurisdiction on a state or federal court for claims arising under a local civil rights ordinance and, therefore, dismissed the claims arising under the Davenport Civil Rights Ordinance. The court dismissed the claims under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because they were based on the same acts and practices of a prior complaint and were therefore time barred. The court dismissed the breach of contract claim because it was not predicated on the college’s failure to follow promulgated procedures regarding discipline or expulsion from the college. Rather, the breach of contract claim was predicated on the same conduct the former student alleged violated his civil rights. As a result, the breach of contract claim amounted to a quasi-tort that was preempted by the Iowa Civil Rights Act.