Iowa's Highest Court May Consider Davenport Open Records Case

Mar 6, 2017

The Iowa Supreme Court has decided it may review an open records case stemming from Davenport's attempt to buy the Rhythm City Casino. Late last week, the high court released a list of cases it has denied consideration, and a list of cases it might accept.

In 2012, city leaders began working on a deal to buy the Rhythm City Casino from Isle of Capri, and hired an accounting firm to examine the casino's value and financial condition. Later in 2012, Allen Diercks and Patricia Lane filed a lawsuit against the city and its administrator and clerk.

Dierks and Lane claimed the city didn't give them documents and emails they requested under the Freedom of Information Act. But three years later, a district judge ruled the city and its employees did not withhold any public records. He also ordered Diercks and Lane to pay the cost of the case.

Instead, they filed an appeal. And in December, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Davenport only partially complied with the open records law. The court reversed two of the district court's findings and sent the case back to Scott County.

The Iowa Supreme Court may also decide to accept four other cases from Scott County and one from Clinton County.

We don't know yet whether the high court will take the Dierks case. Steve Davis, Court Communications Officer, explains the entire process. "A party dissatisfied with the final outcome of a case at the trial level may appeal. In Iowa, all appeals go first to the supreme court, which chooses to hear the appeal or transfers it to the court of appeals. A party dissatisfied with a decision of the court of appeals may file a petition for further review by the supreme court. The supreme court as a whole decides whether to grant or deny the application."