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Godfrey v. Branstad et al

Case Summary: 13-cv-00042

On January 30, 2013, Plaintiff Christopher Godfrey filed a complaint in the Southern District of Iowa alleging that the Governor of Iowa and his staff, Defendants in this case, deprived him of due process rights and equal protection under the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

According to Plaintiff, Defendants asked him to resign from his position as the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the State of Iowa in 2010, shortly after Branstad was elected Governor of Iowa. When Plaintiff refused, Defendants attempted to force him to resign by lowering his salary to the statutory minimum, threatening him in private meetings, and criticizing him publicly. Plaintiff sued Defendants individually and in their official capacities, arguing that these actions constituted discrimination based on political affiliation and sexual orientation, and requesting compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, court costs, and interest.

On March 26, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss or stay the case. According to Defendants’ brief, the case should be dismissed because Plaintiff did not have a constitutionally-protected property interest in the portion of his salary that can be changed at the Governor’s discretion. Alternatively, the case should be stayed or dismissed because it is substantially similar to a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff in state court that will fully dispose of the claims presented in federal court.

The video shows the hearing on the Defendants’ motion, held on July 30, 2013.

Case Highlights

  • Complaint filed 1/30/2013 (Doc #1)
  • Defendants filed Motion to Dismiss 03/26/2013 (Doc #9)
  • Plaintiff filed Reply opposing Defendants’ motion 4/18/2013 (Doc #15)
  • Motion hearing held 7/30/2013 (Doc #22)

Case-related documents, including those referenced above, are available via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service. For more information, visit

Godfrey v. Branstad et al
Godfrey v. Branstad et al
Godfrey v. Branstad et al, Case Number 4:13-cv-00042 JEG-TJS, 7/30/2013, 9:00 AM (CST), Des Moines U.S. Courthouse, Des Moines, IA, Chief Judge James E. Gritzner presiding.

Click to Play Video