Wood v. JMJ Equipment Transport, Inc., 020721 IAWC, 5063827

Docket Nº5063827
Case DateFebruary 07, 2021
ELOLE INSURANCE COMPANY, Insurance Carrier, Defendants.
No. 5063827
Iowa Workers Compensation
Before the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner
February 7, 2021
         Head Note: 2303           RULING ON INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL           JOSEPH S. CORTESE II WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          Defendants JMJ Equipment Transport, Inc. (JMJ), employer and Elole Insurance Company, insurer, both as defendants, appealed a ruling, filed in this matter on May 31, 2019.          Defendants' motion for interlocutory appeal was granted on December 17, 2019.          The evidentiary record in this matter consists of Claimant's Exhibits 1-17, Defendants' Exhibits A through B, and Defendants' Response to Claimant's Exhibit 17. Claimant, Michael Wood, and Jason Jones, JMJ's owner, testified via video conference.          The detailed arguments of the parties have been considered and a review of the evidence has been reviewed de novo.          ISSUES          The issue on interlocutory appeal is whether the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner may exercise personal jurisdiction over defendants in this matter under Iowa Code section 85.3(2).          FINDINGS OF FACT          Claimant was employed by JMJ as a semi-truck driver. As a driver for JMJ, claimant moved farm equipment, truck chassis, garbage bodies, and other large equipment across country. (Hearing Transcript, pages 18-19) When in Iowa claimant picked up loads consisting of tractors and other equipment from John Deere and J I Case in Waterloo, Davenport, and Dubuque. (Tr. p. 24)          On September 12, 2016, claimant was traveling in his truck to a John Deere plant in Dubuque, Iowa, to pick up a load for JMJ. Claimant had a motor vehicle accident on his way to the Dubuque plant. (Tr. pp. 26-28; Ex. A, deposition pp. 14-15)          The accident occurred within the Dubuque city limits. (Tr. p. 28) Before the accident, claimant had spent the weekend in Davenport, after delivering a load in Illinois. (Tr. pp. 26-27)          After the accident, claimant was transported to Mercy Hospital in Dubuque. He was eventually flown to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), in Iowa City for further care. (Tr. p. 29) Claimant was inpatient at the UIHC for approximately three weeks. (Tr. p. 30; Ex. A, deposition p. 17)          After he was released from UIHC, claimant returned to Arizona. Claimant is a resident of Arizona. All medical care after claimant's stay at UIHC has been in Arizona. (Tr. p. 41) Claimant has a claim for workers' compensation benefits in Arizona and has been receiving benefits. (Tr. pp. 43-44)          JMJ is headquartered and incorporated in Arizona. (Tr. pp. 61, 63) JMJ's bank accounts are in Arizona. (Tr. p. 63) JMJ has never had a physical office in Iowa. (Tr. pp. 62-63) JMJ has no contracts with customers located in Iowa. (Tr. pp. 62-63)          JMJ is a regional and long-distance trucking company. This requires the company to travel through Iowa. (Tr. p. 67)          Between March 2014 and March 2016, JMJ truckers traveled more than 200,000 miles in Iowa. (Ex. 1) This was due, in part, to many of JMJ's deliveries in Minnesota and other states surrounding Iowa. (Ex. 3, p. 45; Ex. 17; Tr. pp. 21-22)          JMJ's employees made numerous stops in Iowa for fuel, food, and other items. This resulted in thousands of dollars being spent by JMJ in Iowa every year. (Ex. 5, pp. 66-71, 73-82) JMJ's drivers, when in Iowa, are bound by Iowa traffic laws. Claimant and other JMJ drivers have been cited by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), while driving within Iowa. (Ex. 7-9) JMJ drivers use Iowa weigh stations. JMJ has received permits from the Iowa DOT...

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