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Coppoc v. Board of Regents

Court of Appeals of Iowa

June 7, 2017

JAMES COPPOC, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
BOARD OF REGENTS, STATE OF IOWA, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.

         James Coppoc appeals the district court's ruling on judicial review.

          James Coppoc, Ames, pro se appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Jeffrey S. Thompson, Solicitor General, and Tyler M. Smith (until withdrawal), Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ,

          DOYLE, Judge.

         James Coppoc appeals following judicial review of an administrative action concerning the rate of pay he was entitled to while on Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Because this case involves "other agency action, " Coppoc was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing before the Iowa Board of Regents, the agency in this case. Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Coppoc began teaching classes as a lecturer at Iowa State University (ISU) in 2004. Over the years, Coppoc signed letters of intent setting forth the annual base salary at which ISU would compensate him, the number of months he would work, and whether he would be compensated at full-time or part-time pay. If part-time, the letter provided what fraction of the base salary Coppoc would receive. If Coppoc agreed to teach additional courses, ISU increased Coppoc's salary based on the total number of courses he taught.

         In 2011, ISU provided Coppoc with a letter of intent to employ him as a part-time employee at 3/4 the full-time rate from August 2011 until May 2016. Coppoc signed the letter. In July 2015, Coppoc requested to take FMLA leave for the 2015-16 school year. Because Coppoc had agreed to teach an extra class during the fall semester before taking FMLA leave, ISU determined it should pay Coppoc leave at 7/8 the full-time rate. Coppoc appealed this determination to the Iowa Board of Regents, arguing he should receive full-time pay based on his history of teaching enough extra courses to maintain a full-time course load. After the board's director determined Coppoc's appeal was discretionary and dismissed it, Coppoc filed a petition for judicial review claiming he was entitled to a contested case hearing on appeal. The district court denied his petition. Coppoc appeals.

         II. Scope and Standard of Review.

         Review of agency action is governed by the Iowa Administrative Procedures Act. See Iowa Code § 17A.19 (2016). On appeal from the district court's ruling on judicial review, we apply the standards of section 17A.19(10) to determine whether we reach the same result as the district court. See

         Exceptional Persons, Inc. v. Iowa Dep't of Human Servs., 878 N.W.2d 247, 250 (Iowa 2016). If we reach the same conclusions as the district court, we affirm; if we do not, we may reverse. See id.

         III. ...


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