Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 7, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By Dale Kueter
Is man becoming more surly? Is our patience growing thinner and tempers shorter?
Are we quicker on the drawing up of legal action to achieve redress?
Could be. Since 1965 the number of civil suits filed in Linn district court (including the former municipal court) has increased by 35 percent.
In Cedar Rapids federal court, headquarters for the northern half of Iowa, civil litigation is up 33 percent in the same period.
Some of the increase in lawsuits can be attributed to the increase in population, but the preponderance of evidence seems to point at man's change of heart.
“People are impatient with the legislative process, so they have burdened the courts to achieve change,*’ commented David M. Elderton, president of the Linn County Bar Assn.
“I think people are more
willing to go to court,'’ said U.S. Magistrate James Hodges, jr. “People used to think there was little they could do to combat General Motors. Now they sue.”
Harold Victor, chief judge of the Sixth judicial district in I o w a that includes Linn county, doesn't quite agree. “I don't think people are any quicker to take their problems to court today, and I don't think we are any more cantankerous with one another,’’ he said.
The district court civil litigation includes regular law-suits; divorces; what the clerk of court calls miscella-neons equity, and small claims.
A civil case can be taken into federal court if there is diversity of jurisdiction, that is the parties live in different states, and the damages in question exceed $10,000. There are also special federal questions which are resolved in the federal court.
The number of federal court suits has gone from 170 in 1965
to 254. In Linn district court, the number of divorce cases filed went from 827 in 1965 to 1,055 in 1973.
The total number of civil law cases filed in Linn county, including what were filed in municipal court prior to last July I, jumped from 3.136 in 1965 to 4.811 in 1973.
Court officials attribute a sizable increase in the equity category for 1972 to the dip in the economy of 1970 and 1971 when layoffs resulted in many foreclosures.
Judge Victor said the increase in lawsuits has been even more rapid in Johnson county. “The presence of the university and students have an impact on litigation in the courts.
“This is partly because of the activism in a university climate, and partly the increasing challenges to large institutions.”
Judge Victor said Johnson county civil litigation has increased by nearly IOO percent since 1965.
“One of the factors explain-
Camp Good Health
Previously reported $ 2,718.79 In rherished memory of our lifetime friend,
Curdle Vishek I iii -py, from Frank I), and Lillian Carli 50.00
In memory of loved ones from Clara 15.00
In memory of Terry Helms from Ann and Warren Kocli 15.00
In memory of Cnele Milo VV. Koutny from Linda Jo. Diane Marie and Teresa Ann 15.00 In memory of Terry Helms from Gregory Gould 10.00
Iii loving memory ol Carl L. Howland, on his birthday. April 9, I r o rn his parents, Monticello Iii memory of Joe Kremenak from ILK.
In memory of K u t Ii Mill ugh from friends at 1810 A avenue NL In memory of Isabel Winkrantz from Mr. and Mrs. William I-Quinby
In memory of A. C. Gossard from Mr. and Mrs. II. C. Jen-
2 Gazette Promotions
Promotion of two veteran members of The Gazette news staff was announced Saturday by Publisher J.F. HJadkv. jr., John M. Robertson, 47. w a s named to the newly created position of makeup editor.
Kenneth Sullivan, 33, w a s named state editor.
As makeup editor Robertson will be responsible for laying out all pages and the orderly' flow of copy and pages from the news room Sullivan will be responsible for area and state news and will direct correspondents in The Gazette area.
Robertson, a native of Hartford, Mich , came to The Ga
zette after graduation from the University of Iowa in 1950. He was assigned to the state desk and became assistant state editor several years later. He was named state editor in 1957.
Robertson and his wife have three children. The family home is at 1730 First avenue MV.
Sullivan, who has been assistant city editor since 1967, joined The Gazette as a city hall reporter in 1963. coming here from the Oelwein Daily Register. A native of Charles City, he also worked on the news staff of radio station KCHA there.
The Sullivans, who have four children, live at 210 Fleetwood road SVW
sen, I. a g ii n a Hills,
Iii memory of >1 r s.
Chris Robinson from
/hor Xnna Naprstck,
Cislo No. 24
In memory of Kath
from Bernice Diser-
and I ielden on their
birthday, April 9
In loving memory of
my bus b a n d. Ray
Goodwater, on his
birthday, April 8
In memory of Allan
In loving memory of
my brother. Carl Ii.
Howland, on h i s
birthday. April 9. front
In loving memory of
my husband, Clyde
Markham, on his
birthday. April 9
In loving: memory of
my dear wife, our
er and great-grand
mother, II e d v i k a
Stary, from the
I rank Stary family
Ladies Aid. Spring
In memory of Mrs.
front Bernice Diser-
In loving memory of
Bill Lambertson from
Trisha Kahler, Palo
In memory of Idor
mer Spencer from
Mr. and Mrs. Leon
In memory of Clem J.
Weis in lieu of flow
ers from Mr. and
Vies. B. K. Wetzel
Total . S
1974 Budget $21,500.00
Vet to he raised $18,565.21
Dick Berreth To
Gem, Mineral Show Slated
The tenth annual Gem and Mineral show, sponsored by the Cedar Valley Rocks and Minerals society, will be held Apr. 27-28 in the Exhibition Hall at Hawkeye Downs. The show opens at IO a m. both days. On Satur-day it (lases at 9 p.m.; it runs until 5 p m. on Sunday.
In addition to displays bv rock
dealers and collectors, educational shows will be presented.
Cost tor the event is 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children Youth groups and science classes, with supervision, will be admitted free from IO a rn. to noon on both days.
Proceeds from the show are used to sponsor students in earth sciences at the University of Iowa.
Dick Berreth, general manager - manufacturing. Norman-dal division. Control Data, will speak to members of the Ameri-1 can Production Inventory Control society Tuesday at 8 p.m. at! the Longbranch.
Social hour will start at 6 with dinner at 7.
His topic will be “Materials Management at Control Data Corp—the Management Information System”.
An industrial engineer, he formerly was inventory control manager and material control1 manager at Collins Radio. Be-1 fore being named to his present i job with Control Data last year. ho was director of material for the firm for four years.
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Hodges said he believes people are just more aware of their rights. “In the past. they were more willing to take it, and of course, the legislation is available now.’’
Hodges said he doesn't believe many lawyers solicit cases. He said in most instances it is the client looking for an attorney, instead of attorney looking for business.
Judge Vietor said some attorneys encourage clients to resort to litigation as a solution more readily than others. “Some go to great lengths to discourage lawsuits.
“I really see no trend." said Vietor, “no change in the roll of the attorney” in relationship to the increase in civil cases.
“I would point out that some of the younger attorneys are more inclined to be involved in new types of litigation.’ Victor said.
While there may be disagreement on the forces behind the burgeoning civil suit filings, there is one thing leisure. There is no dearth of law business.
ing part of the increase in lawsuits in the past several years,’’ said Vietor, “is the new areas of civil rights and new areas of legal remedies that virtually were non-existent a few years back.”
Vietor predicted that the I area of equal rights litigation j will continue to grow at least j for several more years.
“Products liability is a real new area,” Vietor continued. “And in Iowa the habeas corpus proceeding for prisoners with grievances has been replaced by new, post-conviction review laws.”
Elderton noted the great number of areas “that we j never used to think were legal matters—long hair, ecology : and many others.
“There has been a flood of litigation because of new concepts of what courts should do, because of impatience in making social reforms through democratic processes.*'
Elderton pointed to the area i of product liability, where, he 1 said, negligence is not always ! necessary now to gain damages. “If you're going to place liability on a manufacturer w-ithout negligence, it should be done by legislation,” he j maintained.
“Sometimes there is danger to have social reform created by people who are not respon- ; sible to the electorate,'’ El-derkin said.
“I think people are more litigation conscious. I have been defending medical malpractice cases for years, and there is a big difference now. Sometimes they will sue the doctor, and come back the next week for treatment.
“And there are a great many activists, so-called legal poverty lawyers who will bring actions to break down some governmental law they don't like."
-Gaze'te Photo by Duane Crock
Nope, it’s not a take-off ramp for one of Evel Knievel's motorcycle jumps. It's the start of a new, wider viaduct for A avenue NE over the Fourth street railroad tracks. The old viaduct was closed and demolition began in late January. The new one, four lanes instead of two, is part of a widening project on the avenue from Third street to Tenth street, scheduled for completion by next fall. Contractor is Ray Bertelli.
Robert Mafias Candidate for County Attorney
State-Local Collections of Taxes Continue Rise to Record Highs
Robert W. Matias. Cedar Rapids attorney since 1961. has announced as a Democratic candidate for Linn county attorney.
Formerly an assistant county attorney in 1963 and 1964, Matias said that his experience is needed in the county attorney’s office. He also cited his experience representing many defendants in criminal actions.
Matias was born in Cedar Rapids April 12. 1937. He was graduated from Franklin high school and Coe college. He is a 1961 graduate cf the University of Iowa college of law and a veteran of the marines.
Matias is admitted to practice before the courts of the state, the U.S. district court for both the Northern and Southern districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth district.
He is married and the father of three children. Hi* and his family live at 365 Park Terrace SPU He is a member of Immacu-1 a t e Conception church, a former state judge advocate of the Marine Corps league, a member of the American Bar Assn., the Linn County Bar Assn., and the Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America.
State-local tax collections continued their steady rise to record highs in calendar 1973, Commerce Clearing House reports.
Taking a 9 2 percent jump, these combined collections rose to $125.1 billion. The one-year increase marked a surge of $10.5 billion, compared with the then record $114 6 billion recorded the year before.
State tax c o 11 e c t i o n s climbed to STI billion, or 10.6 percent above the 1972 level of $64.2 billion. Local tax collections rose to $54 billion, a 7.3 percent jump from the $50.4
Kennedy, Jeff Choirs To Sing
Jefferson and Kennedy high school concert choirs will perform in a joint concert Monday at 7:30 p m. in the Jefferson auditorium.
The concert will precede a tour by both choirs to Ixis Angeles April 20-23. In Los Angeles the choirs will sing separate programs at various high schools and churches and a joint program at Ixtng Beach State university.
Uhoir members will also visit Disneyland. Universal Studios and Santa Monica beach in I>os
20 YEARS AGO French military authorities reported more American-lent B-36 bombers
had arrived in Indochina.
billion rolled up the year before, according to the CCH report of the latest Census Bureau data.
Corporate net income taxes were the largest gainers, percentage-wise. rising 17.1 percent from $4 7 billion to $5.5 billion. In second place were general sales and gross receipts imposts with a 13.7 percent leap to $24.4 billion.
Eight states Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana. .Minnesota. N e w York. Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia — recorded less than a IO percent gain in sales tax revenues and Kentucky recorded a decline from this source, largely because of the exemption ot food from the
sales tax beginning in October, 1972.
At the other end, CCH reported. three states recorded sales tax revenue gains of 20 percent or more, with Hawaii topping the list at 26.1 percent.
Levies on motor fuel sales, up 10.3 percent, garnered $8 3 billion while motor vehicle and operators' license revenues*, $3.9 billion, were up 9 percent. Individual income tax dollars. $190 billion, reflected an 8.6 percent jump.
Finally. CCH noted, the property tax revenue boost trailed percentage-wise at 7.1 percent, but nevertheless hit the top dollar sum of $47.2 billion.
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2A The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sun., April 7, 1974
More Civil Suits
Are Tempers Growing Shorter?