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Carroll Area Nursing Services v. Malloy

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 24, 2019

CARROLL AREA NURSING SERVICES and THE CINCINNATI INSURANCE COMPANIES, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
AMY MALLOY, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Sarah Crane, Judge.

         An employer appeals the district court decision affirming the award of healing period benefits by the workers' compensation commissioner. AFFIRMED.

          Matthew R. Phillips, Des Moines, for appellants.

          Jacob J. Peters of Peters Law Firm, P.C., Council Bluffs, for appellee.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Scott, S.J. [*]

          SCOTT, SENIOR JUDGE.

         An employer appeals the district court decision affirming the award of healing period benefits by the workers' compensation commissioner. We find there is substantial evidence in the record to support a finding the employee came within the personal-vehicle exception to the coming-and-going rule and was not engaged in a deviation from the course of employment at the time of the accident. We affirm the district court and the workers' compensation commissioner.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Amy Malloy is a registered nurse employed by Carroll Area Nursing Services (CANS).[1] Malloy lived in Walnut, Iowa. As part of her employment, Malloy traveled to patients' homes in the surrounding area to provide medical care. She drove her own vehicle to the patients' homes. CANS provided Malloy with a GPS unit, which could track her location. Malloy was reimbursed by CANS for "miles above what you would normally have to drive to your office."

         On October 14, 2014, Malloy had arranged to have the morning off to attend a medical appointment in Omaha. She drove her vehicle to the home of her mother, Deborah, which was two miles north of her home, and left her car there.[2]Malloy had medical supplies needed for her work in her vehicle. Deborah drove Malloy to Omaha in Deborah's car. On the way back, Malloy received a telephone call from a health care aide about one of her patients, Patient A. Malloy talked to Patient A and told him she would see him that day.

         Deborah took Malloy to Malloy's house, where she changed into her work uniform. Deborah then drove Malloy to Deborah's house so Malloy could pick up her car, which contained the medical supplies she needed for her work. Malloy decided to go to Patient A's house first, before her other appointments. As Malloy was traveling in her vehicle in the direction of Patient A's house, she was involved in a head-on collision and sustained serious injuries.

         Malloy filed a petition seeking workers' compensation benefits. CANS asserted Malloy was not entitled to benefits because she was not injured while in the course of her employment. At the time of the administrative hearing, held on November 3, 2016, Malloy was still receiving medical treatment and had not returned to work. A deputy workers' compensation commissioner found Malloy came within the personal-vehicle exception to the coming-and-going rule, and her injury arose out of and in the course of her employment with CANS. The deputy also found Malloy had not deviated from the course of her employment at the time of the accident. The deputy determined Malloy was entitled to a running award of healing period benefits. The deputy's decision was affirmed by the workers' compensation commissioner.

         CANS filed a petition for judicial review. The district court found there was substantial evidence in the record to support the commissioner's finding that Malloy came within the personal-vehicle exception to the coming-and-going rule. The court found Malloy's trip to Patient A's house was within the course of her employment because she was required by CANS to provide a vehicle to travel to patients' homes to provide nursing services. The court also found there was substantial evidence to show Malloy was not making a personal deviation at the time of the accident. The court affirmed the commissioner. CANS now appeals.

         II. ...


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