from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul R.
injured worker appeals the district court's judicial
review decision in his workers' compensation case.
S. Soldat of Soldat & Parrish-Sams, PLC, West Des Moines,
Patrick V. Waldron and Michael S. Jones of Patterson Law
Firm, L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellees.
by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
Baccam appeals the district court's ruling on his
petition for judicial review, which affirmed the workers'
compensation commissioner's award of benefits except on
the issue of penalty benefits, which the district court
remanded to the commissioner. On appeal, Baccam contends the
district court erred in: (1) affirming the commissioner's
award of three percent permanent partial disability (PPD),
claiming the award was the result of multiple errors by the
commissioner; (2) failing to solely order the commissioner to
determine penalty benefits on remand; (3) affirming the
denial of his request to tax all of the transcript costs; and
(4) taxing Baccam with three-quarters of the court costs.
Background Facts and Proceedings
sustained a work-related injury on June 12, 2012, when his
leg became caught between the forklift he was operating and a
door frame. His employer, ACH Food Companies, Inc., a/k/a
Tone's, provided bandages and ice on-site and then
transported Baccam to the emergency room. Baccam's leg
was sutured and x-rayed. On the same day, Baccam was referred
to an occupational-medicine clinic where he was evaluated by
Dr. Bingham. Following an examination, Dr. Bingham released
Baccam to return to work with the restriction of sit-down
duty only. Baccam did not report to work on June 13, as he
voluntarily took a vacation day. When he returned to work,
his light-duty assignment resulted in a change in the days he
worked and the hours of his workday, and he was paid a lower
hourly wage than his normal assignment, with no opportunity
returned to Dr. Bingham on June 15 with complaints of
bruising, redness, and warmth around the wound. The physician
continued the existing work restrictions. Baccam saw Dr.
Bingham again on June 19 with complaints of continued pain
but acknowledged the pain had decreased. Dr. Bingham noted a
nearly full range of motion, some pain, and swelling. He
modified Baccam's work restrictions to primarily sit-down
duty with standing and walking as tolerated. Dr. Bingham saw
Baccam again on June 22 and noted mild swelling and a mild
limitation of motion. Baccam's work restrictions were
eased to include kneeling and squatting as tolerated.
Baccam's work restrictions were fully lifted on June 29,
as Baccam indicated to Dr. Bingham he had little pain and
some swelling but believed he was capable of returning to
work without restriction. At the hearing, Baccam denied
requesting the restriction release and testified that his
symptoms had remained, including tingling, burning, and
25, Baccam filed a claim with Tone's insurance company,
Sentry, about the injury, his symptoms, and change in work
assignment. Baccam saw his personal physician, Dr. Madson, on
July 6 and reported soreness and swelling of his leg. Dr.
Madson noted no redness, sign of infection, or significant
swelling. He also noted Baccam walked with a normal gait. He
assured Baccam the laceration would continue to heal and any
soreness or tenderness would resolve over time. Baccam
returned to Dr. Bingham on July 13, complaining of a pulling
sensation in his leg and an inability to exercise as he had
before the injury. Dr. Bingham noted some swelling and
Baccam's complaints of pain. He continued to recommend
Baccam work without restriction but referred him to physical
engaged in seven sessions of physical therapy from August 2
to August 20. The physical therapist noted the leg pain was
resolved, the strength of the leg was five on a scale of
five, and excellent range of motion. He discharged
to continue with exercises at home. Baccam returned to Dr.
Bingham on August 24, claiming he received no relief from
physical therapy and still suffered from swelling, tingling,
and burning in his leg. Dr. Bingham noted some swelling
around the wound but a full range of motion and a normal
gait. At Baccam's insistence, Dr. Bingham referred Baccam
to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kimelman.
September 6, Dr. Kimelman evaluated Baccam for his reported
symptoms of tingling, numbness, and swelling. Baccam reported
these symptoms were mild but constant. Dr. Kimelman
determined Baccam's injury caused nerve damage in the
back of his leg but the damaged area would improve over time.
However, the nerves near the wound were lacerated and would
likely not improve so there was some permanency to
Baccam's injury, but it was "cosmetic and
returned to Dr. Kimelman on January 6, 2013 with complaints
of itching, burning, and numbness. Kimelman noted Baccam
reported improvement of the level of these symptoms. He
recommended Baccam return in June, one year after the injury,
to determine if there was permanency to his issues. Baccam
returned in June and reported no change in his symptoms. Dr.
Kimelman noted Baccam walked with a normal gait, but measured
loss in the girth of Baccam's injured leg as compared to
the other. He also noted some decreased sensation and local
tenderness. Dr. Kimelman's opinion after examination was
that Baccam's condition was unlikely to change or worsen
but resulted in some permanence. On August 9, Dr. Kimelman
opined Baccam sustained a one percent impairment to his leg
as determined by the American Medical Association Guides to
the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fifth Edition. On
August 15, Sentry sent a letter to Baccam about Dr.
Kimelman's impairment rating, which warranted 2.2 weeks
of PPD benefits and included a check for the period of June
27 through July 11, 2013.
filed an arbitration petition with the workers'
compensation commissioner in September. Baccam sought
temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits plus interest to
compensate for the reduced hourly wage and the hours he lost
while on restricted duty. On March 25, 2014, Baccam completed
an independent medical exam with Dr. Taylor. Dr. Taylor
reported Baccam could walk without difficulty or a limp and
he had full strength, no range-of-motion deficits, and no
noticeable visible differences between his legs, but Dr.
Taylor noted Baccam complained of pain upon palpation. He
determined no further treatment was needed and assigned a