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Ortiz v. Loyd Roling Construction

Supreme Court of Iowa

May 24, 2019

ISAAC ORTIZ, Appellant,
v.
LOYD ROLING CONSTRUCTION and GRINNELL MUTUAL REINSURANCE, Appellees.

          On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K. Vaudt, Judge.

         Petitioner appeals from an order by the district court dismissing a petition for judicial review. DECISION OF COURT OF APPEALS VACATED; DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND REMANDED.

          Anthony J. Bribriesco and Andrew W. Bribriesco of Bribriesco Law Firm, PLLC, Bettendorf, for appellant.

          Stephen W. Spencer and Christopher S. Spencer of Peddicord Wharton, LLP, West Des Moines, for appellees.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Ranscht and Alan W. Nagel, Assistant Attorneys General, for amicus curiae State of Iowa.

          CADY, CHIEF JUSTICE.

         The question presented in this appeal is whether Iowa Code section 17A.19(2) (2017), which imposes a jurisdictional requirement for the petitioner in an action for judicial review to timely mail a copy of the petition to attorneys for all the parties in the case, is satisfied when the attorney representing the petitioner timely emails a copy of the petition to opposing counsel. The district court held that a copy sent by email failed to comply with the statute and dismissed the petition for judicial review on jurisdictional grounds. On our review, we vacate the court of appeals decision, reverse the decision of the district court, and remand the case to the district court for further proceedings. We hold that emailing between attorneys in Iowa satisfies the jurisdictional requirement of section 17A.19(2).

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Isaac Ortiz filed a petition for judicial review with the district court on September 19, 2017, after the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner issued a decision in a contested case proceeding filed against Loyd Roling Construction. The following day, September 20, the attorney representing Ortiz, Andrew Bribriesco, emailed a file-stamped copy of the petition to Stephen Spencer, the attorney representing Loyd Roling Construction.

         On September 28, Spencer emailed Bribriesco to inquire if he intended to send him a copy of the petition by "regular mail." Bribriesco used the USPS Mail Services to send Spencer a copy of the petition but not until after September 29, the expiration of ten day since its filing.

         Loyd Roling filed a motion to dismiss the petition for judicial review. It claimed the district court lacked jurisdiction over the action because Ortiz's attorney did not mail the copy of the petition through the postal system until more than ten days after the petition was filed, as required by Iowa Code section 17A.19(2).

         The district court dismissed the petition. It held the language of the statute only provided for mail through the postal system or personal service and that electronic mailing did not constitute substantial compliance with the statute.

         Ortiz appealed, and we transferred the case to the court of appeals. He argued his attorney substantially complied with the statutory requirement by timely emailing a copy of the petition to opposing counsel. The court of appeals did not agree and affirmed the district court's ruling. We granted Oritz's application for further review.

         II. ...


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