from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Paul D. Scott,
injured worker appeals the district court order finding the
Iowa Workers' Compensation Commission had no jurisdiction
to award benefits. REVERSED AND REMANDED.
S. Powell of Thomas J. Reilly Law Firm, P.C., Des Moines, for
Hook and Tyler S. Smith of Peddicord Wharton, LLP, West Des
Moines, for appellee.
by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ, but Decided
by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
decide if a truck driver injured outside of Iowa is entitled
to workers' compensation benefits under Iowa Code section
85.71(1)(b) (2014). The key question is whether the
"contract of hire" between employer Roehl
Transport, Inc. (Roehl) and employee Mike Niday was
"made in this state." Because the parties assented
to all terms of the contract while Niday was in Iowa, his
claim met the requirement of territorial jurisdiction under
the statute. Accordingly, we reverse the district court's
judicial review decision and remand for further proceedings.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
mid-50s and looking for a career change, Niday enrolled in
classes at Indian Hills Community College to earn his
commercial driver's license (CDL). He worked as a
supply-chain manager for Liguria Foods in Humboldt and
attended weekend classes in the spring of 2013. On campus,
Niday noticed posters advertising employment opportunities
is a nationwide trucking company with operating authority in
forty-eight states-including Iowa. The company is
headquartered in Marshfield, Wisconsin and has nine terminals
in seven states-Wisconsin, Georgia, Indiana, Texas,
California, Arizona, and Michigan. Roehl also has drop
yards across the country, though it has none in
posters sparked Niday's interest, so he asked one of his
instructors if Roehl was a good employer. Because the
instructor had positive views of the company, Niday decided
to apply for a truck-driver position through Roehl's
website after he earned his CDL in May 2013. Roehl receives
applications from all over the country and reviews them at
its corporate headquarters in Wisconsin.
after applying, Niday received a written notice from Roehl
recruiter Alice Farvour-Smith congratulating him for passing
Roehl's initial screening process. The notice advised
Niday to call Farvour-Smith within two days if he was
interested in progressing to the next steps of the hiring
process. Before Niday had a chance to contact Farvour-Smith,
she called to discuss employment with Roehl. Niday was on the
job at Liguria Foods in Humboldt when he received
Farvour-Smith's phone call. Niday testified:
[They] said they had received my online application and would
like to discuss me com[ing] to work for them.
I don't remember verbatim, but I do remember that we
discussed the divisions they had, flatbed, dry van, reefer,
and I chose the flatbed division. They have different
subdivisions, Midwest regional, national, and of course
there's different pay packages. We discussed that. I told
them I'd like to accept the Midwest regional, have a
little more home time.
10, Farvour-Smith followed up with a letter mailed to
Niday's Dakota City, Iowa home. The letter began:
"Congratulations! Based on the information we've
received so far, I'm pleased to inform you that you
qualify for a driving position with TeamRoehl." The
letter advised Niday the employment offer was
"conditional" based on (1) the continued accuracy
of the information he provided in his application, (2)
successful completion of a "pre-work screening" to
ensure Niday could meet the physical demands of the job, (3)
passage of a pre-employment drug screen, and (4) successful
completion of "all the requirements" of Roehl's
"Safety and Job Skills Program." The letter then
described the two phases of Roehl's training
program-phase one consisted of classroom work, followed by a
preliminary test; phase two involved over-the-road experience
with another driver, followed by a final driving test.
Additionally, the letter confirmed the specific position and
associated pay Niday and Farvour-Smith discussed in their
earlier phone conversation.
letter instructed Niday to await a call from a Roehl
representative in the next twenty-four hours to arrange a
Department of Transportation medical examination, after which
Roehl would schedule Niday's orientation. The letter
promised Roehl would provide transportation to the designated
phase-one training facility, as well as lodging and meals on
phase-one training days. The letter concluded: "Again,
congratulations on qualifying for this conditional offer of
employment. You've completed the first steps toward a
rewarding career at Roehl . . . ."
provided Liguria Foods two weeks' notice of his intent to
leave his job as supply-chain manager. Roehl arranged for
Niday to pick up a rental car in Des Moines on June 1 and
directed him to report to Marshfield, Wisconsin for
orientation beginning June 3. In Marshfield, Niday completed
an "application addendum" supplementing his initial
application from May 8 and underwent a drug test. The
following day, Niday reported to Roehl's Gary, Indiana
terminal for classroom training.
10, Niday completed the phase-one classroom training and
passed the preliminary driving test. Roehl identifies that
day as Niday's hiring date, despite the fact he had yet
to complete the second phase of training and
Farvour-Smith's May 10 letter conditioned his employment
offer on completion of "all requirements of [the] Safety
and Job Skills Program."
second phase, Roehl paired Niday with a trainer who observed
him drive the trainer's truck "all over the United
States." After this on-the-road training, Niday returned
to Indiana for the final driving test. Niday testified an
instructor informed Niday he passed the test and assigned him
a fleet manager. Niday's fleet manager, Gina Sanders,
directed him to pick up a truck from Roehl's maintenance
shop in Gary. Niday retrieved the truck and returned home to
Iowa, set to begin driving solo routes for Roehl.
working for Roehl, Niday received his load assignments
through the computer in his truck. When he accepted an
assignment, Roehl sent Niday directions to the pick-up site.
Niday would drive to the vendor, load the goods into his
truck, and inform Roehl once the goods were secured so Roehl
could send directions to the destination. In his deposition,
Niday testified the pick-up locations varied based on his
location at a given time:
About every time I left my home I would have a run out of
Iowa, because [Roehl] always tried minimizing your deadhead
miles when you're not carrying freight. So Monday
mornings that I would leave, it was generally a run located
out of Iowa.
And then from there it just depended on where I dropped, and
they would give me a close pickup to run from there. But most
of my runs when I left home [were] out of the Iowa area.
seventy-three assignments Niday completed for Roehl,
twenty-five were either picked up from ...