from the Iowa District Court for Hancock County, Rustin T.
appeals from judgment in a claim arising under the Iowa Civil
Rights Act, Iowa Code chapter 216 (2013). AFFIRMED AND
H. Luginbill and Lindsay A. Vaught of Ahlers & Cooney,
P.C., Des Moines, for appellant.
A. Reindl, of Reindl Law Firm, Mason City, for appellee.
by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
Brittney Tibodeau sued her former employer, CDI, LLC
(hereinafter "CDI"), and her former supervisor at
CDI, David Monoit, for sex discrimination, sexual harassment,
and retaliation in violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act,
Iowa Code chapter 216 (2013). The jury found Tibodeau proved
her claims against CDI but did not prove her claims against
Monoit. The jury awarded Tibodeau back pay and past and
future emotional distress damages. The district court awarded
Tibodeau front pay and attorney's fees. CDI timely filed
this appeal, raising several claims of error.
jury could have found the following. Tibodeau worked at CDI
in Forest City in 2013. During the summer of that year,
Tibodeau took leave for a medical issue. While on leave,
Tibodeau attempted suicide. She was treated for depression
and anxiety and returned to work.
workplace was hostile. Tibodeau's coworkers discussed her
body in offensive terms, called her derogatory names, started
a rumor she was having an affair with another employee,
looked at a nude photo of her, displayed provocative photos
of women throughout the work area, made phallic shapes out of
tape, made humping motions behind her when she bent over,
discussed the intimate hygiene practices of a female
coworker, made sexually suggestive jokes, discussed
pornography, made comments about raping women and children,
and threw balled-up tape at Tibodeau's breasts and
backside. As a result of this conduct, Tibodeau terminated
her employment with CDI after her boyfriend, who also worked
at CDI, was fired. The jury found Tibodeau was constructively
first claim of error, CDI contends the district court erred
in denying CDI's motion for directed verdict on CDI's
statute of limitations defense. Our review is for the
correction of legal error. See James v. Burlington N.,
Inc., 587 N.W.2d 462, 464 (Iowa 1998).
prevail on its statute-of-limitations defense, CDI was
required to prove the relevant statute of limitations lapsed
prior to the initiation of the action and no savings statute
applied. See Furnald v. Hughes, 804 N.W.2d 273,
275-76 (Iowa 2011) (discussing the purpose of statutes of
limitation and savings statutes).
relevant limitation periods are set forth in the Iowa Civil
Rights Act. As a prerequisite to pursuing a claim arising
under the act, "[a] person claiming to be aggrieved by
an unfair or discriminatory practice must initially seek an
administrative relief by filing a complaint with the [Iowa
Civil Rights Commission] in accordance with section
216.15." Iowa Code § 216.16(1). Section 216.15
provides the complaint must be filed "within three
hundred days after the alleged discriminatory or unfair
practice occurred." Iowa Code § 216.15(13). The
complainant may seek relief in the district court upon
receiving an administrative release, commonly called a
right-to-sue letter, from the commission. See Iowa
Code § 216.16(2). The complainant must commence an
action in the district court "within ninety days after
issuance by the commission of a release" otherwise the
action "is barred." Iowa Code § 216.16(4). In
this case, Tibodeau timely filed a complaint with the
commission. She received an administrative release on July
31, 2014. She filed her petition in Winnebago County on
October 7, 2014, within the ninety-day filing period.
Tibodeau filed her action in Winnebago County, CDI filed a
motion for a change of venue, contending the proper venue was
in Hancock County. On October 31, the district court granted
the motion and transferred the case to Hancock County and
ordered Tibodeau to pay twenty dollars in costs to CDI.
See Iowa R. Civ. P. 1.808(1) ("An action
brought in the wrong county may be prosecuted there until
termination, unless a defendant, before answer, moves for
change to the proper county. Thereupon the court shall order
the change at plaintiff's costs, which may include
reasonable compensation for defendant's trouble and
expense, including attorney's fees, in attending in the
wrong county."). The costs were due within twenty days
of the district court's order. See Iowa R. Civ.
P. 1.808(2) ("If all such costs are not paid within
[twenty] days of the transfer order, the action shall be
dismissed."). Tibodeau did not pay the costs within
twenty days of the district court's order. On December 2,
CDI filed a motion to dismiss the action due to
Tibodeau's failure to pay the costs within the twenty-day
period. On January 30, 2015, the district court granted the
motion, dismissed the action in Winnebago County, and
immediately reinstated the action in Hancock County because
the costs had been paid by that time, although ...