August 18, 2008
Iowa Supreme Court Rejects, um, Creative Workers Compensation Interpretation
I love lawyers who are creative, even when they go one step beyond.
Iowa Code section 85.38(2) relates to the issue of employer credits when payments are made by a group health plan. This provision provides, in relevant part: "In the event the employee with a disability shall receive
any benefits, including medical, surgical, or hospital benefits, under any group plan covering nonoccupational
disability contributed to wholly or partially by the employer . . . then the amounts so paid to the employee from the group plan shall be credited to or against any compensation payments. . . .” Iowa Code § 85.38(2).
Suppose Plaintiff is injured and can't work, so uses COBRA to get health insurance under Group Plan A. She pays the premiums herself. She receives benefits from Plan A. Suppose the employer also pays premiums to Group Plan A -- for all its other employees, but not the Plaintiff. Read literally the employer is entitled to get a credit for the amounts the plan pays Plaintiff...
Not so, say the Iowa Supreme Court, in Midwest Ambulance Serv. v. Ruud, __ N.W.2d __ (Iowa 2008). Interesting case that can be read as purposive or to avoid absurd results.
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Tracked on Sep 21, 2009 10:58:41 PM