Garcia v. Naylor Concrete Co.

650 N.W.2d 87 (2002)

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Garcia v. Naylor Concrete Co.

Iowa Supreme Court
650 N.W.2d 87 (2002)

Facts

Juan Mario Garcia (plaintiff) was employed by Naylor Concrete Co. (Naylor) (defendant) as a welder. Early in the morning of September 30, 1997, Garcia was working on a shopping-mall roof. Naylor did not provide cables for Garcia to tie off his harness to the safety lanyard. Around 7:55 a.m., Garcia fell off the edge of the roof, causing injuries to his wrists, elbow, eye, and knee. Garcia was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where blood and urine samples were taken. The tests revealed a blood-alcohol level of .094. Subsequently, Garcia filed for workers’-compensation benefits. Naylor contested the claim, asserting a voluntary-intoxication affirmative defense. At the arbitration hearing, Garcia testified that he was near the edge of the roof, that the day before the accident there was heavy wind, and that he and his friends drank beer the day before, stopping by 10:45 p.m. An expert toxicologist testified that Garcia’s ability to perform his job would have been impaired by the level of alcohol in his system, and that his intoxication was a meaningful factor in Garcia’s fall. The expert testified that the blood-alcohol level would affect Garcia’s ability to see clearly, impair his reaction time, and affect his perception. The deputy commissioner denied benefits, stating that the cause of injury was Garcia’s intoxication. On an intra-agency appeal, the decision was affirmed. Garcia filed a petition for judicial review. The district court affirmed the agency’s decision. Garcia appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carter, J.)

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