State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, No. 65827

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMcGIVERIN
Citation308 N.W.2d 8
Docket NumberNo. 65827
Decision Date15 July 1981
PartiesSTATE of Iowa ex rel. Zelma M. PARCEL, Appellee, v. Ricky ST. JOHN, Appellant.

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308 N.W.2d 8
STATE of Iowa ex rel. Zelma M. PARCEL, Appellee,
v.
Ricky ST. JOHN, Appellant.
No. 65827.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
July 15, 1981.

Eldon J. Winkel and James A. McGlynn of Winkel, Nitchals & Winkel, Algona, for appellant.

David L. Leitner, Asst. Kossuth County Atty., for appellee.

Keith A. Kreiman, Hampton, Iowa, for amicus curiae Legal Services Corp. of Iowa.

Considered en banc.

McGIVERIN, Justice.

This appeal arises from an action to determine paternity and impose a child support obligation under chapter 252A, The Code 1979, the Uniform Support of Dependents Law. Respondent Ricky St. John, the putative father, appeals from the trial court's order finding him to be the father. We reverse and remand.

We will consider the following issues:

1. Whether we should grant this interlocutory appeal; and

2. Whether the trial court abused its discretion by ordering entry of a default judgment on the merits of the paternity issue as a sanction for the putative father's failure to comply with orders that he pay for blood tests.

Zelma Parcel is the mother of Eric Parcel, born August 13, 1975. She receives AFDC payments and has therefore assigned to the Department of Social Services any rights she has to child support payments from Eric's natural father. § 252A.13.

In December 1978 the Department of Social Services filed a petition pursuant to chapter 252A. § 252A.5(5); Foreman v. Wilcox, 305 N.W.2d 703 (Iowa 1981). The

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petition alleged that Eric's natural father is the respondent, Ricky St. John. The petition also asked that St. John be directed to pay "fair and reasonable" child support.

St. John, who at all times has been represented by counsel, answered and filed a request that the court order blood tests for himself, the child, and the mother. The State on behalf of the mother acquiesced in this request. The trial court ordered blood tests and directed St. John to pay the expenses of the tests. When St. John did not submit to the tests, the State filed a motion to compel discovery, seeking an order directing him to cooperate in the blood test procedures. Respondent filed a resistance in which he asserted he had decided to forego the blood tests unless someone else paid for them because he had learned that the cost would be prohibitive. The court sustained the State's motion to compel discovery and directed respondent to submit to a blood test and to pay the costs of the tests. Blood tests were performed on all three persons.

Although the tests were performed, respondent did not pay for them. The State moved for a default judgment under Iowa R.Civ.P. 134(b)(2)(C) as a sanction for failure to pay for the blood tests. Although the motion alleged St. John's lack of compliance with several previous discovery orders, at the time of the motion the only order with which he had failed to comply was the one ordering him to pay for the blood tests. Respondent resisted this motion and also filed an application for counsel and blood tests at public expense. He did not assert in the application any constitutional or statutory basis for these requests. Respondent alleged his inability to pay for counsel and the tests but did not allege or show any specific facts from which the court could determine his indigency. The State filed a resistance.

On August 8, 1980, Judge Murray S. Underwood filed an order denying respondent's motion for counsel at public expense "for all the reasons set forth in the (State's) resistance" to that motion. Since the resistance dealt solely with legal arguments that there is no procedural due process right to counsel at public expense in paternity actions regardless of indigency, the court's order incorporating the legal arguments of the State's resistance did not decide whether St. John was in fact indigent. The August 8 order also provided that unless the respondent paid the $210 fee for the blood tests before September 19, the State's motion for default would be sustained and "an order will be entered by the court designating that it is established as a fact that the respondent is the father of the child, Eric Parcel." Impliedly, therefore, St. John's request for blood tests at public expense was overruled.

St. John did not pay the $210 fee for the blood tests by September 19. Therefore, on October 2, 1980, the court filed an order finding that St. John is the father of Eric Parcel and directing that default judgment be entered against St. John on the issue of paternity. This order did not determine the amount of child support. The court also ordered entry of judgment against St. John for $210 in favor of the blood bank that processed the tests. On October 23 the court set a hearing for November 17 on the issue of the amount of child support. However, on October 28 respondent filed a notice of appeal from "the final order, judgment and decree entered on October 2, 1980." The notice did not designate an appeal from any other rulings of the court.

I. Jurisdiction of the appeal. Respondent filed his notice of appeal before the trial court had fixed the amount of his child support obligation as requested by the State's petition. Therefore, the October 2, 1980, order, which...

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14 practice notes
  • Moser v. Thorp Sales Corp., No. 61995
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 25, 1981
    ...interlocutory appeal as to the issues properly preserved and raised before us. Iowa R.App.P. 1(c), 2(a). State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 9-10 (Iowa We will consider the following issues: 1. Were Woods good faith purchasers of the land for value without notice? 2. Was the sum......
  • Davenport Bank & Trust Co. v. City of Davenport, No. 66022
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 21, 1982
    ...order. An order is not final unless it is finally decisive of the case; otherwise it is interlocutory. State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 9 (Iowa 1981); Johnson v. Iowa State Highway Comm., 257 Iowa 810, 812, 134 N.W.2d 916, 918 (1965); In re Brooks' Estate, 250 Iowa 662, 667, ......
  • Hense v. G.D. Searle & Co., No. 88-1429
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 21, 1990
    ...As for the size of the sanction, that too is ordinarily within the sound discretion of the trial court. State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 10 (Iowa 1981). To overturn the trial court's ruling, the burden rests on Searle to show that the award was imposed "on clearly untena......
  • Carter v. Wiese Corp., No. 83-1624
    • United States
    • Iowa Court of Appeals
    • October 23, 1984
    ..."radical surgery should not be performed on the ... case if conservative therapy will bring about a cure." State v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 11 (Iowa 1981) (quoting State v. Marchellino, 304 N.W.2d at Plaintiff moved the court to apply discovery sanctions in a motion titled "M......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Moser v. Thorp Sales Corp., No. 61995
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 25, 1981
    ...interlocutory appeal as to the issues properly preserved and raised before us. Iowa R.App.P. 1(c), 2(a). State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 9-10 (Iowa We will consider the following issues: 1. Were Woods good faith purchasers of the land for value without notice? 2. Was the sum......
  • Davenport Bank & Trust Co. v. City of Davenport, No. 66022
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 21, 1982
    ...order. An order is not final unless it is finally decisive of the case; otherwise it is interlocutory. State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 9 (Iowa 1981); Johnson v. Iowa State Highway Comm., 257 Iowa 810, 812, 134 N.W.2d 916, 918 (1965); In re Brooks' Estate, 250 Iowa 662, 667, ......
  • Hense v. G.D. Searle & Co., No. 88-1429
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 21, 1990
    ...As for the size of the sanction, that too is ordinarily within the sound discretion of the trial court. State ex rel. Parcel v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 10 (Iowa 1981). To overturn the trial court's ruling, the burden rests on Searle to show that the award was imposed "on clearly untena......
  • Carter v. Wiese Corp., No. 83-1624
    • United States
    • Iowa Court of Appeals
    • October 23, 1984
    ..."radical surgery should not be performed on the ... case if conservative therapy will bring about a cure." State v. St. John, 308 N.W.2d 8, 11 (Iowa 1981) (quoting State v. Marchellino, 304 N.W.2d at Plaintiff moved the court to apply discovery sanctions in a motion titled "M......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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