Is a Nut Allergy a Disability?


In a ruling issued today, the Iowa Court of Appeals ("Court") sent a case back to the District Court for determination on whether a tree nut allergy fits the description of a "disability" under the Iowa Civil Rights Act.  The Court examined the similarities between the Iowa and Federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").  The Court reasoned that the Iowa Act has always closely followed the Federal ADA, and since the Federal ADA has recently broadened its definitions of the term "disability," the District Court should further examine whether a nut allergy fits within this expanded definition.

Photo on Flickr by uacescomm

Update: Bernstein v. Bribriesco & Associates

Previously I discussed Bernstein v. Bribriesco & Associates, a case regarding the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act that was pending before the Iowa Court of Appeals. I had the opportunity to listen to the oral arguments, but was not privy to all the facts. The case has been decided. 

I suggested that Bernstein should be entitled to liquidated damages despite the fact that Bribriesco has paid all wages prior to Bernstein filing suit. The Iowa Court of Appeals, apparently did not agree with my reasoning or Bernstein's reasoning. Rather, the Court held that liquidated damages are not available under chapter 91A in the absence of some unpaid wages. 


Take away:  Although I would never advise any of my clients to do this, the Court of Appeals seems to be giving its blessing for employers to hold an employee's paycheck until just before the employee files an action.  However, the employer better be good at guessing when the employee will file his action.

Court of Appeals affirms Polk County decision in Boesen case

The Iowa Court of Appeals issued its ruling today in Freedom Financial Bank v. Estate of Edward Boesen et al.  The Court upheld the priority of Freedom Financial's purchase money mortgage which the late Edward Boesen used to buy a commercial property in Ankeny.  Citing century-old case law, the Court noted that prinicples of equity and fairness demand that the mortgage, which was used solely to purchase the property, be acknowledged.