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, November 17, 2016

Court of Appeals Affirms 20% Industrial Disability Award

In Polaris Industries v. Reed, No. 16-0269 (Iowa App. Nov. 9, 2016), claimant was awarded a 10% industrial award following the arbitration decision, an award that was increased to 20% on appeal.   The employer appealed, arguing that the 20% award was "inconsistent with the agency's prior practice and precedent," in violation of section 17A.19(10)(h) of the administrative procedure act. Defendants argued that the agency and courts had previously concluded that an award of industrial disability benefits was improper when a claimant was returned to work with no restrictions.  Citing Mid-American Energy v. Wright, No. 01-0312 (Iowa App. May 15, 2002).

The court notes that the determination of industrial disability is a fact specific inquiry in each case, citing Cedar Rapids Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Pease, 807 N.W.2d 839, 852 (Iowa 2011).  Because the court felt that the facts of this case were distinguishable from Wright, the 20% award was found not to violate section 17A.19(10)(h).  The court also found that substantial evidence supported the factual finding that claimant's hours had changed in the wake of her injury.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Court of Appeals Affirms Permanent Total Disability Award

In Bridgestone/Firestone v. Jackman, No. 15-2007 (Iowa App. Nov. 9, 2016), the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the award of permanent total disability, finding that substantial evidence supported the decision of the commissioner.  On appeal, only the award was contested, the defendants having conceded that claimant's back and neck injuries arose out of and in the course of employment. The court finds that the factors of industrial disability were explicitly considered in the decision of the deputy, which was affirmed by the commissioner.  The court deferred to the commissioner's finding that claimant's vocational expert was more credible than defendants' expert.  The court also noted that claimant's failure to seek other employment was not, in light of all other factors, enough to defeat the finding of permanent total disability.

Claimant was represented by Martin Ozga of Neifert, Byrne & Ozga.