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Whistleblower’s appeal goes to Iowa high court

Jul 07, 2014

KEOKUK (AP) — A former Lee County maintenance worker who sued under Iowa’s whistleblower law is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s ruling setting aside the $186,000 that a jury awarded him.

Rick Carter has filed a motion asking the high court to reinstate the jury’s verdict, the Burlington Hawk Eye reported Saturday.

Carter was fired in 2010. His lawsuit says he was fired because he reported problems with the Lee County Jail during its construction and accused the County Board of malfeasance.


In February 2013, a jury awarded Carter $141,000 in back wages and $45,000 in lost benefits. But several weeks later, District Judge Mary Ann Brown set aside the jury award, saying Carter was fired for incompetence, not in retaliation for his public accusations.


The state Supreme Court can decide to hear the appeal itself or send it down to the Court of Appeals for review.


If the court decides to hear the case, it has three options: reinstate the jury’s verdict, order a new trial or sustain Brown’s ruling setting aside the jury’s verdict.


Carter’s attorney, Curtis Dial, and Steven Ort, who represents the County Board, agreed it’s likely the high court will hear the case, mainly because there is little precedent in Iowa regarding the state’s whistleblower law.

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