Case Conclusion Date: 01.22.2010
Practice Area: Workers compensation
Outcome: Establed 1st Injury law in Iowa Work Injuries
Description: Lori began her employment with Jeld-Wen, Inc. d/b/a Doorcraft of Iowa in September of 1999 and worked there building doors and working as a cart stocker. During her employment with Doorcraft in September of 2000, Lori sustained bilateral hand (carpel tunnel) and shoulder impingement injuries. These injuries required surgeries first to both of her hands and later to both of her shoulders. She was eventually released to return to full duty by Dr. Kirkland and returned to her job at Doorcraft. (Ex. 3, p. 4-5; App. p. 59). On August 17, 2001, Dr. Quenzer determined that Lori sustained a 6% impairment to her right hand and a 2% impairment rating to her left hand. (Ex. 2, p. 3; App. p. 58). The controversy in this case is the agency’s determination that because Lori’s first injuries were to both her hands and shoulders that she did not sustain a “first qualifying injury” under Iowa Code § 85.64. On October 8, 2002, while working for Doorcraft doing her cart stocking job, a stack of end rails fell landing on her foot causing a fracture of her 4th metatarsal. Lori was put in a cam-walker, had two casts, multiple injections, prescription medications and physical therapy in an attempt to treat her condition. It was not until after her October 8, 2002, work related foot fracture injury that Lori was recommended to find a sit-down job. On June 23, 2003, Tracy Dickel, ARNP recommended that “Lori seek employment in which she can sit down due to right foot injury after fracture.” Dr. McKnight also indicated that Lori “would be better off in finding a job in which she did not have to stand for extended periods of time.” Dr. Kuhnlein, whose opinions were adopted by the agency, indicates that Lori’s restrictions should include “rarely” or “occasionally” standing and walking. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner and found that Lori sustained a first qualifying injury even though her first injury involved both her hands and shoulders.