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Saghir v. Menards

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

HEDAYAT KHALDAR SAGHIR, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
MENARDS, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, David May, Judge.

         An employee appeals the district court's decision upholding the worker's compensation commissioner's finding of no permanent disability.

          Randall P. Schueller of Loney & Schueller, LLC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Cynthia S. Sueppel and Lindsey E. Mills of Smith Mills Schrock Blades Montei, P.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellee.

          Considered by Mullins, P.J., Bower, J., and Vogel, S.J. [*] May, J., takes no part.

          BOWER, JUDGE.

         Hedayat Khaldar Saghir appeals the district court ruling on judicial review, upholding the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner's decision. Khaldar Saghir claims the district court erred in finding he did not establish permanent impairment and requests a determination of industrial disability. We affirm the decision of the district court and the commissioner.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         Khaldar Saghir moved to the United States in 2006. He earned a college degree in civil engineering in 1996; however, since moving here he has worked as a forklift driver, house cleaner, pizza deliverer, handyman, and in the lumberyard at Menards. He has sustained a number of injuries over the years.

         In 2007, Khaldar Saghir sustained a back injury from a lifting injury due to his employment. In 2008, he was involved in a work-related forklift collision, which he claimed resulted in head and neck injuries. He had a CT scan of his head and spine, which came back normal.

         In 2010, Khaldar Saghir was involved in a car accident while delivering pizza in the course of his employment. He initially complained of head, neck, and back injuries. He had CT scans and x-rays, which came back normal. He returned to the hospital multiple times in the following months complaining of head pain, blurred and double vision, hearing issues, and persistent memory problems. He was diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome. He received medical treatment relating to the accident through November 2013. Neuropsychological testing in 2010, 2011, and 2013 noted Khaldar Saghir claimed symptoms atypical of concussive brain damage. The records reveal the evaluators did not consider Khaldar Saghir to be putting forth sufficient effort for an accurate diagnosis and specifically noted motivational factors affecting the tests. CT and MRI scans performed for a variety of complaints all showed normal function.

         Khaldar Saghir began working in the lumberyard at Menards in 2013. On January 1, 2015, Khaldar Saghir incurred a work-related injury when a piece of lumber fell on his head during the course of his employment. Khaldar Saghir received medical treatment and temporary disability workers' compensation benefits. CT and MRI scans of his head, neck, and back had normal results, aside from a slight bulging disk in his neck not related to his claimed symptoms. By mid-February, his treating neurologist recommended he return to at least light duty and opined most of his symptoms related more to depression than any physical result of the injury. In April and May, Khaldar Saghir participated in occupational therapy for his vision and sensory symptoms.

         On February 11, 2015, Khaldar Saghir filed a workers' compensation petition. He moved to Florida in May or June. In June, Khaldar Saghir underwent a neuropsychological evaluation. His test results and complaints were found to be inconsistent with the injury sustained, and behavioral observations conflicted with test performance. On August 3, the neurologist determined Khaldar Saghir was at maximum medical improvement and in need of no further treatment. The neurologist opined no permanent neurological impairment was sustained and imposed no permanent work restrictions.

         At the arbitration hearing on March 30, 2016, Khaldar Saghir and Menards stipulated the injury was work related and caused temporary disability during a recovery period. The parties disputed the permanent nature of any disability, Khaldar Saghir's entitlement to permanent ...


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