Jacqueline George v. Second Injury Fund of Iowa

Corey Joseph Lee Walker

Case Conclusion Date:August 11, 2007

Practice Area:Workers Compensation

Outcome:Established Law on Bilateral Work Injuries

Description:We conclude the Fund’s position that the statute applies only to injuries of a single scheduled member would lead to impractical and absurd results . . . The legislature could not have intended for an injured worker with only one impaired scheduled member to be placed in a better position than a more severely injured worker with bilateral injuries. Therefore, we conclude that a bilateral simultaneous injury under section 85.34(2)(s) is a qualifying loss under section 85.64. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s and the agency’s determination that George’s bilateral knee injury qualified her for Fund Benefits. The plain language or plain meaning of a statute “is not limited to the meaning of individual terms, but rather, such inquiry requires examining the text of the statute as a whole by considering its context, object, and policy.” Forbes v. Hadenfeldt, 648 N.W.2d 124, 126 (Iowa 2002). “[W]e must avoid legislating in our own right and placing upon statutory language a strained, impractical, or absurd construction.” Anderson v. Second Injury Fund, 262 N.W.2d 789, 791 (Iowa 1978) (citation omitted). After examining the statute as a whole, and considering its object and policy, we conclude the Fund's position that the statute applies only to injuries of a single scheduled member would lead to impractical and absurd results. George provided documentation from the workers' compensation commissioner that due to the May 3, 1996, injury she was paid permanent partial disability for a seven percent impairment to her left knee. Concerning her June 21, 2000, injury George testified she sustained a bilateral knee injury when she knelt in front of a copy machine to begin a repair. Second Injury Fund of Iowa v. George, 737 N.W.2d 141, 144 (Iowa 2007)

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