Iowa District Court Upholds Commissioner’s Decision that Surveillance Video of Claimants Must be Disclosed Regardless of Whether the Employer Intends to Use the Same at Trial or With an Expert Witness
Recently, the Iowa District Court for Polk County ruled that the Iowa Industrial Commissioner’s prior decision regarding disclosure of surveillance was to be upheld. As discussed in the prior blog entry below, Commissioner Godfrey previously determined on October 23, 2012 that I.C.A. §85.27(2) is a statutory waiver of the attorney client privilege as it applies to surveillance materials in workers’ compensation matters. Subsequent to the Commissioner’s decision, the Iowa Insurance Defense Institute filed a petition for judicial review of the Commissioner’s decision. Judge Scott D. Rosenberg of the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa ruled that I.C.A. §85.27(2) requires release of all information concerning a claimant’s physical or mental condition. Accordingly, surveillance of a claimant is evidence of his or her physical condition and falls under the mandatory disclosure provisions of I.C.A. §85.27(2).
The District Court made note that had the legislature wanted to limit the mandatory disclosure guideline requirements of I.C.A. §85.27, it could have done so. But, the District Court reasoned, the statute as it currently stands requires a release of all information concerning a claimant’s physical or mental condition, not just medical records.
Currently, it is unknown whether this matter will be appealed to a court of appellate review. However, it appears that the most direct method of addressing this issue would be via legislative intervention that specifically limits the applicability of I.C.A. §85.27(2) solely to medical records. If this is an issue that concerns you, we encourage you to reach out to state legislators in Iowa to raise this issue. To find a list of elected state senators, please go to: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/find.aspx. For any questions, please contact our Iowa Workers Compensation attorneys at 402-475-1075.