Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Winnebago County, Rustin T. Davenport, Judge.
Diana Horn appeals the ruling on judicial review affirming the workers' compensation commissioner's award of benefits.
Mark S. Soldat of Soldat & Parrish-Sams, P.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.
Richard G. Book of Huber, Book, Cortese & Lanz, P.L.L.C., West Des Moines, for appellee.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, J.
Diana Horn appeals the ruling on judicial review affirming the workers' compensation commissioner's award of permanent partial disability benefits. On appeal, Horn contends the agency failed to adequately explain its impairment determination. We find no error of law or misapplication of law to fact. We therefore affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Diana Horn was injured at work on April 3, 2003. She filed a petition seeking workers' compensation benefits from her employer, Cummins Filtration. An arbitration hearing was held on May 14, 2009, to address these issues: "(1) Extent of permanent disability, and commencement date; (2) Temporary partial benefits; (3) The claimant's rate of compensation at the time of injury; (4) Whether the claimant is entitled to payment of medical expenses; and (5) Whether the claimant is entitled to penalty benefits."
On September 11, 2009, a deputy commissioner noted the differing determinations of impairment made by Drs. Teri Formanek (ten percent permanent impairment), Brian Adams (twelve percent), and John Kuhnlein (six percent). The deputy "accepted" Dr. Kuhnlein's opinion and awarded Horn fifteen weeks of permanent partial disability benefits.
Horn filed an application for rehearing in which she vigorously contested all aspects of the deputy's ruling, including the deputy's finding as to permanent partial impairment. With respect to the deputy's finding of six percent permanent disability, Horn argued—among other things—the deputy had used the "wrong legal standard, " and numerous aspects of the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment used in workers' compensation cases are faulty and unscientific. Horn also disagreed with specific portions of Dr. Kuhnlein's evaluation and complained numerous aspects of her functional disability were not adequately considered. After an extensive recitation of Horn and her husband's testimony, Horn concluded, "In sum then, taking the evidence as a whole, there is no credible way to hold that following her stipulated work injury, Horn retained 94% of her right arm functional ability." The rehearing application was deemed denied by administrative rule.
On intra-agency appeal, which was delegated by the commissioner to another deputy commissioner, the impairment determination of the arbitration ruling was affirmed.
In her application for rehearing, Horn asserted;
12. In the appeal decision, p. 1, the commissioner by delegation affirmed and adopted the hearing deputy's determination of the extent of permanent disability made by him merely ...