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 or

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Court of Appeal Affirms Denial of Benefits; Refuses to Address Issue of Whether Deputy Acted as an Advocate for Claimant

In Estness v. Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, No. 1-832 (Iowa App. Dec. 7, 2011), the court agreed with the assessment of the commissioner (per Deputy Walleser) that claimant's shoulder injury was not related.  The deputy (Heitland) had initially concluded that the injury was related to repetitious work pushing chairs at Prairie Meadows, and provided a 10% industrial disability finding,  but this conclusion was reversed by the commissioner, who found that claimant did not perform any repetitive work for the employer.  On review, the commissioner's decision was affirmed by the court of appeals.

The district court affirmed, and addressed a question raised by the employer of whether the deputy's questioning of the claimant and an employer representative violated due process because the deputy allegedly acted as an advocate for the claimant.  The court found that the employer's due process rights had not been violated.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the agency on substantial evidence grounds.  Because the court affirmed the decision of the agency, it concluded that it was not necessary to address the due process question raised by the employer.