from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P.
driver challenges a decision by the workers' compensation
commission that he failed to prove his knee injury arose out
of and in the course of his employment.
Matthew A. Leddin of Soper Leddin Law Firm, P.C., Davenport,
J. Rose of Betty, Neuman & McMahon, P.L.C., Davenport,
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
David Swanson appeals the district court's affirmance of
a determination by the Iowa Workers' Compensation
Commission that he failed to prove his knee injury was
related to his work as a truck driver. Swanson contends the
commissioner wrongly discounted uncontested expert testimony
that Swanson's injury resulted from an accident when he
was "gassing up" his truck. Because the
administrative record supports the district court's
decision, we affirm.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
Transportation, Inc. (A.V.) hired Swanson as a semi-truck
driver in 2008. In February 2013, Swanson reported an injury
to his A.V. supervisor. Swanson wrote on the company's
form that he hurt his knee as he climbed out of his
truck's cabin to fuel up on A.V. property. Recounting the
incident, Swanson said his right foot slipped on the
ice-covered ground, he grabbed the truck's support rail,
and he "did the splits." He felt pain in his right
knee but thought it would subside so he did not immediately
report the fall. When the pain didn't get better he
reported the accident, estimating it occurred on February 14,
but he later amended his report to allege the injury occurred
on February 15. He eventually claimed the accident occurred
on February 7.
met with Dr. Mary Shook and Dr. Camila Frederick at Clinton
Occupational Health at the direction of A.V. Based on
Swanson's retelling of events, Dr. Shook diagnosed
Swanson with a knee strain resulting from his work
activities. Swanson continued treatment at Clinton
Occupational Health and when his knee pain did not improve,
Dr. Frederick recommended magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of
Swanson's knee. The scan showed a tear in the knee's
meniscus. Swanson met with an orthopedic specialist, Dr. John
Hoffman. Dr. Hoffman surgically repaired Swanson's knee
and treated lingering pain with cortisone shots before
determining Swanson reached maximum medical improvement.
After receiving treatment from Dr. Hoffman, Swanson sought
out an independent medical examination with Dr. Robert Milas.
Based on Swanson's account, Dr. Milas determined
Swanson's knee injury resulted from work-related
March 2014, Swanson filed a petition with the workers'
compensation commission seeking arbitration and medical
benefits for his injury. A.V. and its insurance carrier,
Sparta, answered the petition by challenging whether
Swanson's injury was connected to his employment. The
deputy commissioner reviewed testimony from Swanson and two
A.V. employees, as well as both parties'
exhibits-including surveillance video showing Swanson get in
and out of his truck without incident on the alleged date of
injury. The deputy concluded Swanson failed to show by a
preponderance of the evidence that his injury "arose out
of and in the course" of his employment.
appealed to the commissioner. After a de novo review, the
commissioner adopted the deputy's findings and agreed
Swanson failed to show a causal connection between his work
and his injury. Undeterred, Swanson sought review in the
district court. The district court found substantial evidence
in the record supporting the commissioner's conclusions.
Swanson now appeals.
Scope and Standards of Review
review is governed by the Iowa Administrative Procedure Act,
chapter 17A of the Iowa Code. See Iowa Code §