West Des Moines Community Schools v. John Frye

Posted on Jul 14, 2015

The Iowa Court of Appeals decided a case of West Des Moines Community Schools v. John Frye.  Frye had been working as a custodian for the West Des Moines schools.  He eventually was promoted to head custodian.  His work entailed considerable physical activity. 

            On January 15, 2007, Frye was walking down an icy ramp leading to the back door, lost his footing, landing on the left side of his body.  Frye sustained an additional injury when he was using a heavy vacuum sweeper when he felt a pop and experienced pain on the left side of his spine, his hip, and SI joint.  Frye alleged that his injury was an immediate traumatic injury and also was a cumulative injury based on his many years of work as a custodian. 

            The Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner found that the years of working as a custodian bending, twisting, and lifting had resulted in an aggravation to his pre-existing condition.  In Iowa, if a pre-existing condition is lit up, aggravated, accelerated, or made worse by a work injury, the condition is compensable.  The Iowa Court of Appeals found that there was substantial evidence in the record to support that Frye had sustained a work-related injury. 

Niko Pothitakis
Attorney Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C.