On August 31, 2020, Deputy Commissioner Andrew W. Phillips entered a Ruling in favor of the City of Bettendorf, finding that a police officer who was injured in the line of duty was NOT entitled to benefits under the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Act.
On June 19, 2020, a police officer employed with the City filed a Petition alleging entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits under Iowa Code Chapter 85 after he sustained an injury in the line of duty. Attorney Jean Dickson represented the City of Bettendorf.
Attorney Dickson, with assistance from Paul Powers and Amanda Richards, filed a motion to dismiss the workers’ compensation claim, asserting the Commissioner did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claim. The Motion to Dismiss was filed by Attorneys Dickson and Powers, with Attorney Richards handling the oral argument.
Dickson, Powers, and Richards argued that the officer was already receiving benefits under Iowa Code Chapter 411, thereby precluding the officer from also claiming benefits under Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Act. In fact, Iowa Code 85.1 provides that Chapter 85 does not apply to individuals entitled to benefits under Iowa Code Chapter 411.
The Deputy Commissioner agreed, citing Paulsen v. City of Davenport, a 2015 appeal handled by attorneys Amanda Richards and Peter Thill, where the Iowa Court of Appeals and Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner addressed the interplay between Iowa Code Chapter 85 and Iowa Code Chapter 411. Following that precedent, the Deputy Commissioner dismissed this action, confirming that the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner did not have subject matter jurisdiction over a claim by a police officer entitled to benefits under Iowa Code Chapter 411.
The Deputy Commissioner held “where a member in standing (from a Police department) is eligible for benefits under Iowa Code Chapter 411, benefits would not be awarded under Iowa Code 85”.