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Iowa Supreme Court revives fired agent’s whistleblower claim

June 28, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has revived a long-running lawsuit that claims a state agent was fired in retaliation for his complaint about speeding by the governor’s security detail.

The court on Friday ruled that a judge erred in dismissing a whistleblower claim filed by former Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund. The decision sends the 6-year-old case back to a lower court for a trial.

The Department of Public Safety terminated Hedlund, a top criminal investigator, in 2013. The move came shortly after Hedlund had reported Gov. Terry Branstad’s vehicle for speeding and filed a complaint to superiors alleging it was a common and dangerous practice.

The department claimed that Hedlund had been insubordinate in unrelated actions.

On Friday, the high court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of Hedlund’s age discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.

The court’s majority says jurors could find the department’s treatment of Hedlund “petty, wrong, or even malicious” but not “outrageous.”

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