STEVEN J. BELL, JR., Petitioner-Appellee,
3E, a/k/a ELECTRICAL & ENGINEERING CO., and TRAVELERS INDEMNITY CO. OF CT., Respondents-Appellants.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K.
appeal the district court's decision denying their motion
to dismiss petitioner's petition for judicial review on
the ground he failed to timely serve notice of the petition.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.
M. Ballard of Ballard Law Firm, PLLC, Waukee, for appellants.
S. Soldat of Soldat & Parrish-Sam, PLC, West Des Moines,
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Greer, J., and Carr, S.J.
also known as Electrical & Engineering Company, and
Travelers Indemnity Company (together referred to as
respondents) appeal the district court's decision denying
their motion to dismiss Steven Bell Jr.'s petition for
judicial review on the ground Bell failed to timely serve
notice of the petition. We determine the district court erred
by denying the motion to dismiss, as Bell did not
substantially comply with the requirements for service of
notice found in Iowa Code section 17A.19(2) (2018). We
reverse the decision of the district court and remand for an
order dismissing the petition for judicial review.
Background Facts & Proceedings
22, 2018, Bell filed a petition for judicial review of a
decision of the workers' compensation commissioner. The
petition stated it was served electronically by means of the
Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) to the attorney
for respondents, James Ballard of the Ballard Law Firm,
own initiative, the district court issued an order on August
22, stating there was no evidence in the record to show Bell
served the respondents notice as required by Iowa Rule of
Civil Procedure 1.302(5). The court ordered Bell to file a
return of service or other document showing service on the
respondents within fourteen days. In the alternative, the
court informed Bell he could file a motion for good cause to
timely serve notice and request an extension of time. The
court informed Bell it would dismiss the case if he failed to
comply with these requirements.
August 27, Bell moved to extend the time for service of the
judicial review petition. He attached an affidavit from his
attorney's legal assistant, who stated she was unaware of
the need to mail a copy of the judicial review petition in
addition to electronically serving notice. Bell also attached
a copy of a certified mail receipt showing he sent notice to
the Ballard Law Firm on August 24. The respondents resisted
the motion and requested dismissal. The district court
granted the motion to extend time, stating, "The court
does not condone the delay in service present here. However,
under this record the delay in service will not prejudice
oral argument on the merits of Bell's petition for
judicial review, the respondents again moved to dismiss the
petition based on Bell's failure to serve timely notice.
Bell resisted. The district court denied motion, and the
respondents now appeal.
Service of Notice
respondents claim the district court should have granted
their motion to dismiss on the ground Bell's petition for
judicial review did not substantially comply with the service
requirements found in section 17A.19(2). The respondents
assert the court was without jurisdiction to consider
Bell's petition for judicial review because he did not
timely mail notice of the petition. This case involves the
district court's ruling on a motion to ...