Iowa Supreme Court Holds Tolling Provisions of Covid-Related Supervisory Orders Do Not Apply to the 30-Day Deadline to File a Petition for Judicial Review

Posted on: January 17th, 2022

Pursuant to Iowa Code section 17A.19(3), after an Application for Rehearing has been denied or deemed denied, a party has 30 days to file a Petition for Judicial Review. See Iowa Code section 17A.19(3). An Application for Rehearing is deemed denied if the workers’ compensation commission does not act upon it within 20 days. See Iowa Admin. Code r. 876–4.24.

An employee pursued a workers’ compensation claim against her employer to recover benefits for injuries to her right upper extremity and right shoulder. The workers’ compensation commissioner awarded benefits for the employee’s right upper extremity injury but rejected the right shoulder claim. The employee filed an Application for Rehearing, which the commissioner did not act upon within 20 days. Therefore, the application was deemed denied. Thereafter, the employee filed a Petition for Judicial Review with the district court. However, the Petition was filed more than 30 days after the Application for Rehearing had been deemed denied. The employer filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition arguing that it was untimely. The district court agreed and granted the dismissal. The employee appealed and the Iowa Supreme Court retained the case.

Affirming the district court’s Order of Dismissal, the Iowa Supreme Court found the employee failed to file her Petition for Judicial Review within the 30 days required by Iowa Code section 17A.19(3). The employee conceded that her Petition for Judicial Review was untimely under section 17A.19(3). However, she argued that the Covid-related supervisory orders that the Iowa Supreme Court issued on April 2, 2021, and May 8, 2021, “had the effect of tolling the deadline for seeking judicial review.” The Court disagreed.

The Iowa Supreme Court acknowledged that its Covid-related supervisory orders tolled the “statute of limitations, statute of repose, or similar deadline for commencing an action in district court.” However, the Court concluded that the 30-day deadline for judicial review set forth in Iowa Code section 17A.19(3) “is not a statute of limitations, statute of repose, or similar deadline for commencing an action in district court.” Accordingly, the district court was correct in dismissing the employee’s untimely Petition for Judicial Review.

Askvig v. Snap-On Logistics Co., No. 20–0997 (Iowa Dec. 17, 2021).

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