Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pella Corp. v. Winn

Court of Appeals of Iowa

January 9, 2019

PELLA CORPORATION, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
DIANA G. WINN, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Michael D. Huppert, Judge.

         Pella 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.

          David L. Jenkins of Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, PC, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Fredd J. Haas of Fredd J. Haas Law Offices, PC, Des Moines, for appellee.

          Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Vaitheswaran and McDonald, JJ.

          VOGEL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         Pella 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.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         On 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.[1] Pella Corp. v. Winn, No. 12-0592, 2013 WL 519972, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 13, 2013).

          On 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.

         II. Standard of Review

         "The 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";[2] "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).

         III. Statutory Basis for Review-Reopening

         Pella 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.