Supreme Court Upholds Part Of Lawsuit By Former DPH Spokesperson

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld part of a lawsuit against the state by the former spokesperson of the Department of Public Health.

Polly Carver-Kimm sued the State of Iowa, the Governor, and her communications director for wrongful discharge alleging she was forced out after refusing to deny public records requests in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled it is possible that Carver-Kimm will be able to prove that she was actually terminated for carrying out her mandatory legal duty, and if the state fired her for that reason, it “would have a chilling effect on other employees by discouraging them from engaging in similar conduct.”

Her claim against the state can proceed, but the Supreme Court dismissed Governor Kim Reynolds from that claim. It agreed with the governor’s assertion that she did not have the authority to fire Carver-Kimm, the department director did.