Joseph Ranney III (plaintiff) was employed by Parawax Company, Inc. (defendant) from 1975 to 1981. Ranney’s work at Parawax exposed him to toxic materials. In 1985, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Over the next couple of years, Ranney asked various physicians whether his disease might be connected to his exposure to toxic materials. None of the doctors definitively committed to a causal association. In 1987, Ranney’s wife began law school. In either 1987 or 1988, she took a class that addressed the causation of occupational diseases by exposure to toxic chemicals. At this point in time, Ranney came to believe that his work at Parawax contributed to his development of Hodgkin’s disease. In 1991, Ranney asked a new doctor about a causal link between the two. The doctor confirmed such a link. In 1992, Ranney filed a workers’ compensation claim against Parawax and its workers’ compensation carrier, American States Insurance Company (defendant). The industrial commissioner for Iowa’s workers’ compensation scheme granted summary judgment to defendants on the ground that Ranney’s claim fell outside of the two-year statute of limitations. A state district court affirmed. Ranney appealed.