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Stone Container Corp. v. Castle

Supreme Court of Iowa
657 N.W.2d 485 (Iowa 2003)


Facts

Walker Castle (plaintiff) suffered a work-related injury while working for Stone Container Corporation (Stone) (defendant). As a result, Castle lost his legs at the hip joints and was required to undergo multiple skin grafts. The grafts caused Castle to become very sensitive to temperature. Castle was required to spend most of his time secluded in a temperature-controlled room. Stone provided workers’ compensation benefits to Castle after the accident. At Castle’s request, Stone provided a laptop computer to Castle as part of his benefits. The laptop broke, and Castle requested another laptop. Castle sought the laptop for educational pursuits, rehabilitation purposes, and replacement of functions lost as a result of Castle’s injury. Stone refused to provide another laptop on the ground that the laptop did not qualify as medical care under Iowa Code section 85.27. The industrial commissioner, who was authorized to make a final determination on Castle’s request, ruled that the cost of the laptop was compensable under section 85.27. The trial court affirmed. The court of appeals reversed. Castle appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ternus, J.)

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