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Cerwick v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 6, 2019

NAIMA CERWICK, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
TYSON FRESH MEATS, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeffrey D. Farrell, Judge.

         Naima Cerwick appeals the denial of her petition for judicial review of the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner's decision. AFFIRMED.

          R. Saffin Parrish-Sams of Soldat & Parrish-Sams, PLC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Jason P. Wiltfang of Scheldrup Blades, Cedar Rapids, and Stephanie L. Marett (until withdrawal) of Nyemaster Goode, P.C., Des Moines, for appellee.

          Thomas Newkirk of Newkirk Zwagerman P.L.C., Des Moines, amicus curiae.

          Melissa C. Hasso of Sherinian & Hasso Law Firm, Des Moines, and Lori Bullock of Newkirk Zwagerman P.L.C., Des Moines, for amicus curiae National Employment Lawyers Association.

          Tyler M. Smith of Smith Law Firm PLC, Altoona, for amicus curiae Iowa Defense Counsel Association.

          Joel E. Fenton of Law Offices of Joel E. Fenton, PLC, Des Moines, for amicus curiae Iowa Association for Justice.

          Heard by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.

          Doyle, Presiding Judge.

         Naima Cerwick appeals the district court's ruling on judicial review, which affirmed the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner's decision. She contends the decision was unfairly influenced by implicit bias.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Cerwick was reporting for her work shift at Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. (Tyson) on February 28, 2013, when she slipped on ice and fell in the parking lot. According to Cerwick, she fell backward and hit the ground with her hands first. Cerwick reported the fall to a supervisor, who directed her to health services. She reported no pain at that time and returned to work.

         On March 6, 2013, Cerwick returned to Tyson's health services, reporting that she was experiencing back pain and asking to see a doctor. Health services referred Cerwick to Concentra, where Dr. Sherry Hutchins examined her and assessed her as having a thoracic strain. Dr. Hutchins prescribed medication to treat the pain and referred Cerwick to physical therapy. At a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hutchins on March 25, 2013, ...


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