from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D.
Corporation appeals from the district court's ruling on
judicial review affirming the decision of the Iowa
workers' compensation commissioner awarding permanent
total disability benefits and penalty benefits in a
review-reopening proceeding. AFFIRMED.
L. Jenkins of Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, PC,
Des Moines, for appellant.
J. Haas of Fredd J. Haas Law Offices, PC, Des Moines, for
by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.
Corporation (Pella) appeals from the district court's
ruling affirming the decision of the Iowa workers'
compensation commissioner (commissioner) awarding benefits to
Diana Winn. Pella argues Winn's petition for
review-reopening was untimely and she was not entitled to
permanent total disability benefits or penalty benefits. We
find the agency did not erroneously interpret the law,
including our supreme court's precedent; the
review-reopening proceeding and the award of total permanent
disability benefits have factual support; and the penalty
benefits are authorized because Pella did not concurrently
convey a reasonable basis to deny disability benefits.
Therefore, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
December 4, 2008, Winn initially filed for workers'
compensation benefits. She claimed she experienced a
work-related injury to her left wrist, arm, shoulder, upper
extremity, and body as a whole on August 11, 2008. In the
hearing report of January 2010, the parties stipulated that
neither temporary total nor permanent partial disability
benefits were "in dispute." Therefore, the agency
did not consider either. After finding Winn's injury to
be work-related, the agency awarded medical benefits only.
This court ultimately affirmed the agency. Pella Corp.
v. Winn, No. 12-0592, 2013 WL 519972, at *1 (Iowa Ct.
App. Feb. 13, 2013).
September 5, 2013, Winn filed a petition for review-reopening
seeking disability benefits for her August 2008 injury. On
March 26, 2015, the agency approved the review-reopening
proceeding and awarded her permanent total disability
benefits and penalty benefits. On October 19, 2016, on
intra-agency review, the commissioner affirmed the decision.
On December 5, the commissioner denied Pella's
application for rehearing. Pella then sought judicial review,
and the district court affirmed the agency's decision on
July 27, 2017. Pella filed a motion to enlarge findings and
conclusions, and the district court granted the motion to
expand on certain issues while still affirming the agency on
August 31, 2017. Pella now appeals, arguing Winn's
petition for review-reopening was untimely under Iowa Code
sections 85.26(2) and 86.14(2) (2013) and she was not
entitled to permanent total disability or penalty benefits.
Standard of Review
standards set forth in Iowa Code chapter 17A govern judicial
review of final decisions by the workers' compensation
commissioner." Ramirez-Trujillo v. Quality
Egg, L.L.C., 878 N.W.2d 759, 768 (Iowa 2016). "We
will apply the standards of section 7A.19');">17A.19(10) to determine
whether we reach the same results as the district
court." Evercom Sys., Inc. v. Iowa Utils. Bd.,
805 N.W.2d 758, 762 (Iowa 2011).
[I]t [is] essential for counsel to search for and pinpoint
the precise claim of error on appeal [under section
7A.19');">17A.19(10)]. If the claim of error lies with the agency's
findings of fact, the proper question on review is whether
substantial evidence supports those findings of fact. If the
findings of fact are not challenged, but the claim of error
lies with the agency's interpretation of the law, the
question on review is whether the agency's interpretation
was erroneous, and we may substitute our interpretation for
the agency's. Still, if there is no challenge to the
agency's findings of fact or interpretation of the law,
but the claim of error lies with the ultimate conclusion
reached, then the challenge is to the agency's
application of the law to the facts, and the question on
review is whether the agency abused its discretion by, for
example, employing wholly irrational reasoning or ignoring
important and relevant evidence.
Meyer v. IBP, Inc., 710 N.W.2d 213, 219 (Iowa 2006)
(internal citation omitted). Pella asserts several standards
of review on appeal, arguing the agency's decision was:
"Based upon an erroneous interpretation of a provision
of law whose interpretation has not clearly been vested by a
provision of law in the discretion of the
agency"; "Based upon a determination of fact
clearly vested by a provision of law in the discretion of the
agency that is not supported by substantial evidence in the
record before the court when that record is viewed as a
whole"; "The product of reasoning that is so
illogical as to render it wholly irrational"; "The
product of a decision-making process in which the agency did
not consider a relevant and important matter";
"Based upon an irrational, illogical, or wholly
unjustifiable application of law to fact"; and
"Otherwise unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or an
abuse of discretion." Iowa Code § 7A.19');">17A.19(10)(c),
(f), (i), (j), (m), (n).
Statutory Basis for Review-Reopening
argues a review-reopening is not available to Winn under Iowa
Code sections 85.26(2) and 86.14(2) when her initial award
did not include weekly disability benefits. Because Pella
focuses on the commissioner's interpretation of the Iowa
Code and related case law, we view Pella's primary
argument as being the commissioner committed "an
erroneous interpretation of a provision of law whose
interpretation has not clearly ...