Iowa State University research on "pink slime" barred from public to protect trade secrets, judge ruled

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | April 16, 2013
April 16, 2013

Iowa State University cannot release research data about how a meat packaging company processes the controversial “pink slime” beef product because the processes are trade secrets, a district judge ruled.

The research a professor conducted for Beef Products, Inc. (BPI) at a university laboratory falls under the trade secrets exemption of the state Freedom of Information Act, Story County District Judge Dale Ruigh stated in an opinion released last month.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): Iowa has two sets of similar statutes dealing with the interception of oral, telephonic or electronic communications. Both laws bar the recording or interception of such communications by means of any mechanical or electronic device without the consent of at least one party. The state prohibits disclosure of the illegally intercepted contents of such communications. Violators can face both civil and criminal penalties.

University of Iowa sexual assault records to remain private

Emily Miller | Freedom of Information | News | July 16, 2012
July 16, 2012

Documents related to the 2007 sexual assault arrests of two University of Iowa football players will remain private, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision Friday.


May 1, 2012


Delinquency and dependency proceedings: Juvenile court proceedings generally are open in Iowa, although the court, on the motion of any of the parties or on its own, may exclude the public from the hearing if the court determines that the possibility of damage or harm to the child outweighs the public’s interest in an open hearing. Upon closing the hearing to the public, however, the court may admit those people with a direct interest in the case or in the work of the court. Iowa Code Ann. §§ 232.39, 232.92 (West 2012).

Iowa state senator wins $231,000 in defamation suit over campaign ad

Haley Behre | Libel | News | April 11, 2012
April 11, 2012

An Iowa jury awarded a state senator $231,000 in a defamation suit last week, finding that his opponent and the local Democratic Party defamed him in a TV ad that ran during the 2010 senate race.

State Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican, filed the suit with the Woodbury County District Court within 48 hours after the campaign ad aired claiming that Bertrand “put profit over children’s health,” according to the senator. The ad was paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party and approved by his opponent Rick Mullin, who would eventually lose the election to Bertrand.

Iowa court rules pharmacy audit report in drug theft investigation must be made public

Andrea Papagianis | Freedom of Information | Feature | March 12, 2012
March 12, 2012

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that an internal pharmacy audit in a drug theft investigation is a public record. With its decision, the court reversed a lower court's ruling that allowed a taxpayer-funded hospital to withhold audit reports from the public.

Iowa ruling clarifies who must pay legal fees in FOI suits

Jamie Schuman | Freedom of Information | Feature | November 21, 2011
November 21, 2011

The Iowa Supreme Court recently clarified the state’s open records statute by ruling that a government agency must prove it acted in “good faith” in withholding documents if it wants to not be liable for paying attorneys fees of people who successfully challenge freedom of information decisions.

The city of Riverdale had claimed that a state district court erred in requiring it to pay defendants’ attorneys fees because that court never explicitly said the municipality did not act in “good faith.”

Court considers whether FERPA overrides records law

Rosemary Lane | Freedom of Information | Feature | October 19, 2010
October 19, 2010

The Iowa Supreme Court will weigh whether a federal student privacy law should override a state open records law, after the court heard oral arguments Oct. 15 over a university's withholding of documents in a sexual assault case.

Forward thinking again, that Iowa

Corinna Zarek | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | May 7, 2009
May 7, 2009

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said he will allow the public to see e-mail he sent privately in his first two years in office -- even as counterparts in other states fight for the opposite result.

Newspaper gets list of withheld documents

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | September 19, 2008
September 19, 2008

The Iowa City Press-Citizen is forging ahead with an open records suit against the University of Iowa.  

In response to an ongoing records request, the newspaper this week received a log of information the university is withholding from it related to an alleged sexual assault involving the university’s football players.