Marc Linder/University of Iowa - Dismissal Order
The Iowa Public Information Board
In re the Matter of:
Marc Linder, Complainant
University of Iowa, Respondent
Case Number: 17FC:0079
AMENDED DISMISSAL ORDER
COMES NOW, Margaret E. Johnson, Executive Director for the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB), and enters this Amended Dismissal Order:
On November 11, 2017, Marc Linder filed this formal complaint, alleging that the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) violated Chapter 22 by refusing to release certain records.
Specifically, on August 8, 2017, he requested from UIHC:
1. 2017 Report for 2016 with all information Dr. Brown filed about his expert witness activity.
2. Dr. Brown’s reports with all the required information for all previous years.
3. All of Dr. Brown’s pre-2016 reports regarding non-expert witness activities.
On August 31, 2017, UIHC responded by providing the information requested in each item, but not any copies of actual records.
On September 1, 2017, Mr. Linder submitted a further request, asking for documentation of each answer rather than a summarization.
UIHC responded that the information sought was not retained in a record.
On September 25, 2017, Mr. Linder requested informal assistance from the IPIB (17IC:0095). His request for assistance resulted in an exchange of telephone calls and emails with the legal counsel for the UIHC.
Counsel stated that UIHC has a policy for reporting on outside employment, but that policy does not require submission of the information Mr. Linder sought. Whether this policy is appropriate is not an issue the IPIB can address. UIHC employees do submit a conflict of interest report that is maintained in personnel files. Personnel files are confidential pursuant to Iowa Code section 22.7(11).
UIHC also has a policy to report expert witness outside employment income as a income range (i.e. $50,001-100,000) rather than listing specific employment and amounts received from each employment. This information is reported on the UIHC Conflict of Interest website and updated annually.
UIHC does not require its employees to disclose if they have been engaged as an expert witness, and, if so, the name of the entity that engaged the services and the amount of compensation for each activity.
Mr. Linder requested records pertaining to Dr. Brown dating back to 2009. Dr. Brown did not disclose any outside activity prior to 2013, so there are no records responsive to this request. On August 31, 2017, UIHC prepared and released a report to Mr. Linder detailing all information from the conflict of interest database report for the disclosure years 2013 to 2017.
This report appears to completely respond to the record request made by Mr. Linder as stated in his complaint dated November 8, 2017. Counsel for UIHC responded to the formal complaint that there was no other information to report. All information possessed by UIHC was included in the August 31, 2017, report.
UIHC stated on October 9, 2017, that all records responsive to Mr. Linder’s request had been provided to him. Mr. Linder believes that UIHC policy should require more information concerning outside employment.
Mr. Linder stated that Dr. Brown made a statement on a report that contradicts what UIHC is now reporting when the doctor referenced expert witness employment dating back to 2009. He noted that a UIHC employee referenced “documentation” that the doctor submitted to UIHC indicating that he had submitted reports as early as 2009. Counsel confirmed that there are no reports prior to 2013 and “documentation” refers to the statement made by the doctor on a recent report.
Whether UIHC has an appropriate conflict of interest policy and whether Dr. Brown correctly filed his conflict of interest form are not matters within the jurisdiction of the IPIB.
Iowa Code section 23.8 requires that a complaint be within the IPIB’s jurisdiction, appear legally sufficient, and have merit before the IPIB accepts a complaint. This complaint does not fulfill those requirements.
IT IS SO ORDERED: Formal complaint 17FC:0079 is dismissed as legally insufficient pursuant to Iowa Code section 23.8(2) and Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(2)(b).
Pursuant to Iowa Administrative Rule 497-2.1(3), the IPIB may “delegate acceptance or dismissal of a complaint to the executive director, subject to review by the board.” The IPIB will review this Order on February 15, 2018. Pursuant to IPIB rule 497-2.1(4), the parties will be notified in writing of its decision.
By the IPIB Executive Director
Margaret E. Johnson, J.D.
Dated this _____ day of February, 2018.
Cc: Marc Linder
Nathan Levin, counsel for UIHC