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Schultz v. Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 16, 2017

ROBERT J. SCHULTZ, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, David L. Christensen (first petition) and Terry Rickers (second petition), Judges.

         Plaintiff appeals the district court opinion affirming the agency's decision denying his request for a resident hunting license.

          Verle W. Norris, Corydon, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and David L. Dorff, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         Robert Schultz appeals the district court opinion affirming the agency's decision denying his request for a resident hunting license. We find the agency properly applied the law after the case was remanded back to the agency by the district court. The agency's decision is supported by substantial evidence. Other issues raised on appeal have not been preserved for our review. We affirm the district court's opinion affirming the agency's ruling Schultz was not entitled to a resident hunting license.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Schultz purchased a resident hunting license in Iowa for several years prior to 2010. In 2009, the legislature amended the residency requirements for fishing and hunting licenses. See 2009 Iowa Acts ch. 144, §§ 34, 35. A conservation officer noticed Schultz was at a trailer on his father's property only on weekends or during hunting season, and this raised "red flags" about his residency in Iowa.

         The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent Schultz a letter requesting information about his residency status. Schultz responded he was employed in Medina, Minnesota; he did not receive mail in Iowa; he did not pay any utility bills, as his father paid them; he considered his father's home in Chariton, Iowa, to be his residence; and he had no vehicles registered in Iowa. The DNR additionally determined Schultz listed a Minnesota address on his tax returns, he paid property taxes in Iowa, his job in Minnesota was a five-hour drive from Chariton, and Schultz did not own a vehicle-he either drove a company vehicle or his father's vehicle. In June 2010, the DNR informed Schultz "the totality of the circumstances indicate that Mr. Schultz was claiming Iowa residence solely for hunting purposes, " and he therefore, did not meet the residency requirements found in Iowa Code section 483A.1A(10)(a) (2010).

         Schultz appealed the agency's decision. A hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) was held on May 27, 2011. During the hearing, evidence was presented to show Schultz had both Iowa and Minnesota driver's licenses. The ALJ noted under section 483A.2, a person cannot obtain a resident hunting license if the person claims any resident privileges in another state. The ALJ determined Schultz had claimed resident privileges in Minnesota by obtaining a driver's license there and so could not be considered a resident of Iowa for purposes of obtaining a hunting license. The DNR affirmed the ALJ's decision.

         Schultz filed a petition for judicial review (CVCV032267). The district court entered a decision on December 6, 2012, making the following rulings: (1) the 2009 amendments to section 483A.1A did not operate retroactively; (2) Schultz was required to meet current residency requirements; (3) the statute was not void for vagueness; (4) the statute did not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause; (5) the statute did not violate the Equal Protection Clause; (6) the statute did not violate the Due Process Clause; and (7) Schultz had the burden of proof to show he was a resident of Iowa. The court determined a Minnesota driver's license was not a resident privilege of Minnesota and the DNR should not have based its decision on section 483A.2. The court also determined the ALJ should not have made an adverse inference because Schultz did not specify how much time he spent in Iowa. The court reversed the decision of the DNR and remanded for further proceedings.

         The ALJ held a hearing on remand on June 27, 2013. No new evidence was presented, and the hearing consisted solely of legal arguments. Looking at the evidence previously submitted, the ALJ concluded:

In light of the paucity of relevant evidence produced by Schultz, and the other evidence submitted by the department showing Schultz's extensive physical and legal ties to the state of Minnesota, I must conclude that Schultz has not carried his burden of proof to establish that he is a resident of the State of Iowa for purposes of enjoying ...

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