DES MOINES — Pella Corporation’s bid to overturn a lower court ruling in favor of a former employee’s workers’ compensation award has been rejected by the Iowa Court of Appeals.
The company appealed the award of total permanent disability benefits to Diana Winn. Winn initially filed for benefits in August 2008, claiming injuries left her unable to work. She was awarded medical benefits.
Winn sought a review of the decision in 2013. In March 2015 she was awarded permanent total benefits and penalty benefits. Pella Corp., argued that was an error because Winn should not have been able to reopen the case.
The appeals court found the compensation commissioner did not misinterpret Iowa law in allowing Winn to seek a review of her case. It said the state supreme court has set the precedent of allowing reviews for medical-only benefits.
The decision also said the evidence supported Winn’s claim that the injuries continued to limit both her physical activities and employment options.
“The review-reopening proceeding and the award of permanent total disability benefits are supported by a factual and legal basis,” the court concluded. “Additionally, the award of penalty benefits was justified because Pella did not concurrently convey a reasonable basis to deny benefits.”