The Weeks News In Iowa - Gambling, Snow, Madoff, Becker, Hawkeys, Divorce and the Working Stiffs
Polk County – A woman died in a fatal single car crash on Tuesday here in Polk County on Iowa’s Highway 65 at about the same location as NE 46th Avenue. This year has been the worst season for snow and ice covered roads. Lately maintaining control on ice and snow covered roads is getting worse not better. Cities, counties and the State of Iowa’s snow removal budgets have long ago been exhausted and the snow seems to come every two-days. This winter weather is relentless if nothing else – you can check the weather on WHO-TV by following that link.
Is this a record season for snow in Iowa? It seems close to a record and certainly is in my lifetime of being an Iowan, but no brass ring yet. So far this season we have 57.10 inches. But in 1911-12 there was 72 inches. There is a seasonal record fall chart on the Des Moines Register in a story written by Tom Alex, Update: Slippery roads leave highways snarled around Des Moines, February 15, 2010. I moved to Iowa to attend the University of Iowa in 1975, born in 1954. In 1959 – 60 there was 58.2 inches. I do recall walking east from the Pentacrest towards Iowa Book and Supply and waiting to cross the street with the wind striking my face and thinking my face might crack. It was -45 degrees with the wind chill factor but I still liked Iowa winters. That said, at 55-years-of-age the snow is getting old this year. It seems like we have snow every two-days. There isn’t any place else to put it.
Gamblers Are Fair Game for Being Taken Advantage – In an Iowa Supreme Court ruling Prairie Meadows won it’s case against the gambler they say was banned from the casino in 2006, then won $9,387.00 from a slot machine and was denied the winnings because he had previously been banned. The facts in the case show the patron had been banned allegedly for striking a slot machine and breaking the machine’s belly glass. They caught him inside in 1998 and simply escorted him out. My first thought was why they hadn’t checked him at the door and simply turned him away. The patron wrote a letter to the casino asking that his ban be lifted; they said they didn’t find such a letter, but then did but couldn’t see where the ban had been lifted; even though the patron claimed it was lifted. Interesting that at one point the decision shows he was in the past escorted off the premises and his winnings confiscated. Apparently the jury found the facts presented did not prove the ban had been lifted. Why once he’s allowed into the casino is the casino allowed to take his money and then deny him the winnings? The courts reasoning turns on contract law. It seems the plaintiff’s claim was based on the legal doctrine of conversion. Here is the legislative guide to gambling in Iowa. To read the decision you can follow the link to Troy Blackford vs. Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, Inc. (12 Pages, No. 08-0586) The lawyers include Ryan T. Beattie of the Beattie Law Firm and Dennis P. Ogden and Margaret C. Callahan of Belin, Lamson, McCormick, Zumbach and Flynn both of Des Moines. It’s been awhile since I’ve looked at the law of estoppel, detrimental reliance and unconscionability. I can’t see how the casino is allowed to take a patron’s money when gambling and then claim he was trespassing and get to keep the dough. Seems a bit unfair to me, but then the law isn’t about fairness is it?
Bernie Madoff Update – Seems the prosecutors have turned their attention to the rest of the family. The Trustee continues to sniff out the scent of those who may have been involved. The Madoff victims list has a nice Madoff Victim’s map of the United States showing the three epi-centers and how much each donated to his lifestyle and those who profited along the way. I have to wonder if this isn’t why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce constantly beats the drum for more and more tort reform in favor of big business and against the working man and woman of America. That way those who lose their retirement savings have no recourse. As I’ve said before you can have tort reform, just remember you voted for it when it’s your ticket that gets pulled. When the tort reformers gun turns its ugly barrel in your direction your lawyer’s bullets will have no gunpowder. “What do you mean there isn’t anything you can do for me? Tort reform wasn’t supposed to affect my claims! I’m the good guy! Aren’t I?”
Mark Becker First Degree Murder Trial – Continues to produce testimony that will bring chills to your spine. The only legal question seems to be whether or not he was insane at the time of the shooting of his former coach Ed Thomas.
Iowa Divorce Filings Are Up – Seems that divorces in Iowa go along with the poor economy. The two move in opposite directions. A bad economy means more divorces. It makes you wonder how high it can go. Add in gay marriage divorces that are sure to start and a bad economy will produce a bumper crop of divorce filings and a growth industry for divorce lawyers in general. For more information see Dan Piller’s article in the Register, Polk divorce lawyers blame economy for uptick in clients.
Hawkeye Wrestling Rolls Onward and Upward – Gophers came to town and left after taking a 28-9 beating from the Hawks. The Hawkeye wrestlers are 21-0 overall and 6-0 in the Big Ten.
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