Gerdau Ameristeel And ESIS Win – Iowa Court Of Appeals Reverses District Court On Notice Defense

BNM attorney, Jordan Kaplan, represented Gerdau Ameristeel and ESIS in an Iowa workers’ compensation claim alleging cumulative bilateral upper extremity injuries. The Deputy agreed with the employer that the claimant failed to satisfy the 90-day notice requirement. The claimant appealed and also filed a new petition alleging different cumulative injury dates for the same exact injury to try and avoid application of the 90-day notice rule. The Deputy granted the employer’s motion to dismiss the second petition based on claim preclusion; the employer also raised judicial estoppel as a basis to dismiss the second petition. The Commissioner affirmed the employer’s favorable rulings on both the notice defense and the motion to dismiss. The claimant filed a petition for judicial review and the District Court overturned the Commissioner’s rulings. The employer appealed and the Iowa Court of Appeals held (1) that the Commissioner correctly held the employer’s notice defense was supported by substantial evidence; and (2) that because the Commissioner adopted the claimant’s alleged cumulative injury date in the first petition, the claimant was judicially estopped from asserting a new cumulative injury date within the second petition. The employer won on all counts.