RANDLE S. JENSEN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CHAMPION WINDOW OF OMAHA, L.L.C., Defendant-Appellee.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul D. Scott,
former employee appeals the district court's summary
judgment ruling and argues the court erred in applying
Nebraska law to this dispute.
A. White of Carlson & Burnett, LLP, Omaha, Nebraska, for
Kenneth M. Wentz III and Sarah J. Millsap of Jackson Lewis,
P.C., Omaha, Nebraska, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Bower, JJ.
Jensen was fired from his job with Champion Window of Omaha,
L.L.C., in August 2013. In February 2016, he filed a lawsuit
against Champion in Iowa alleging he was wrongfully
discharged when he refused to sign a lead certification form
for an Iowa construction project. Champion filed a motion to
dismiss the claim, which the district court granted based on
the court's conclusion that Nebraska law applied to the
dispute. Jensen appeals claiming the court erred in applying
Nebraska law and that Iowa law should be applicable to his
claim. Because we conclude the district court correctly
applied Nebraska law to this dispute, we affirm the district
court's dismissal of Jensen's lawsuit.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
Jensen was fired from employment, he filed a lawsuit against
Champion in Nebraska Federal District Court. That action was
dismissed following Champion's motion for summary
judgment. The federal court concluded the federal claims had
no merit and then decided to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the state-law claims. Jensen then filed
petitions against Champion in both the state court in
Nebraska, and in the Iowa District Court in Polk County.
Nebraska state lawsuit was dismissed following Champion's
motion to dismiss after that court concluded the law Jensen
cited to support his claims did not contain a private right
of action, his newly asserted claims were precluded by the
federal district court's dismissal, and the claims were
otherwise time barred. This dismissal was upheld on appeal by
the Nebraska Court of Appeals. Jensen v. Champion Window
of Omaha, LLC, 900 N.W.2d 590, 592 (Neb. Ct. App. 2017)
(addressing Jensen's challenge to the lower court's
conclusion that his newly asserted claims were barred by
respect to the litigation in Iowa, Champion filed a motion to
dismiss in July 2016, asserting there is no private right of
action under the law Jensen cited for his retaliation claims
and the Nebraska federal court's dismissal precluded the
retaliation claims and the wrongful discharge claim. The
court granted in part Champion's motion, concluding there
was no private right of action under the law Jensen cited in
support of his retaliation claims but determining his
wrongful discharge claim was not precluded by the federal
then filed a second motion to dismiss, asserting Nebraska law
applied to the parties' employment relationship and as a
result, Jensen's petition, which alleged only wrongful
discharge under Iowa law, failed to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted. After a hearing, the district court
granted Champion's second motion to dismiss, concluding
Nebraska law applied because "[e]very aspect of
Jensen's relationship with Champion occurred in Nebraska.
Jensen is a Nebraska resident. Champion is a Nebraska
company. Champion hired Jensen in Nebraska. Jensen worked
primarily in Nebraska." The court went on to find:
"Iowa does not have the most significant relationship to
the events giving rise to Jensen's complaint . . . . Iowa
law cannot govern the employment relationship between a
foreign company that performs minimal . . . work in Iowa, and
its employee, a citizen of a foreign state, who has no ties
to Iowa." Jensen appeals the court's dismissal of
Scope and Standard of Review.
review of the district court's ruling on a motion to
dismiss is for the correction of errors at law. Griffen
v. State, 767 N.W.2d 633, 634 (Iowa 2009). "We view
the petition in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
will uphold dismissal only if the plaintiff's claim could
not be ...