Neifert, Byrne & Ozga, P.C.

Welcome to the blog for Neifert, Byrne & Ozga, P.C., devoted to developments in the field of workers' compensation in the State of Iowa. We hope the blog provides helpful information to users, including updates of Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals cases of interest to claimants and workers' compensation practitioners.

Neifert, Byrne & Ozga represents only injured workers in workers' compensation claims in Iowa. This blog is meant to provide accurate and updated information on state of workers' compensation claims in our state. Should you have further questions, please contact us at Neifert, Byrne & Ozga, P.C, 1441 29th Street, Suite 111, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Tel. 888-926-2117 (toll free). Visit us on the web at www.nbolawfirm.com or www.iowa-workers-comp.com.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Court of Appeals Affirms District Court Opinion Reversing Commissioner and Finding That Claimant Proved a Second Qualifying Loss

In Buttrey v. Second Injury Fund of Iowa, No. 1-678 (Iowa App. Oct. 5, 2011), the court of appeals affirmed the action of the district court, which had reversed the decision of the commissioner and found that claimant had established a second qualifying injury for second injury fund purposes.  The district court had concluded that the commissioner's election to give more weight to one of two competing expert opinions was based on facts that were incorrect and not supported by the record.  The district court had specifically found that additional reasons would need to be given for choosing Dr. Reagen's opinion over that of Dr. Koenig. 

The court of appeals discusses the facts in the case in some detail, and recites the district court's decision finding that Dr. Koenig had clearly indicated that the second injury was work related, while Dr. Reagen had only found that there was no causation based on a description of claimant's symptoms from defendants' attorney.  The court of appeals concluded that although evidence should not be considered insubstantial simply because the court may draw different conclusions from the record, just an expert's opinion is not binding on the commissioner when it is based on an incomplete history, "the commissioner's opinion grounded upon inaccurate facts does not warrant the deference normally accorded."  The court appeals affirmed the decision of the district court remanding the case to the agency for further proceedings.