Iowa exhausts appeals in worker lawsuit; costs could top $1M - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Iowa exhausts appeals in worker lawsuit; costs could top $1M

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By BARBARA RODRIGUEZ
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa has exhausted its challenges to a lawsuit filed by a former state employee who said an agency fired him because of a work injury, and the costs to the state could top $1 million.

The Iowa Supreme Court declined this month to hear an appeal from the state connected to a 2013 lawsuit filed by former Iowa Department of Natural Resources worker John Vetter. The move affirms a May 2017 ruling from the lower Iowa Court of Appeals that sided with Vetter.

Vetter alleged he was fired in 2013 after a work-related injury to his back. Following a 2015 trial, a district court judge ordered Iowa to pay more than $930,000. The state appealed.

The judge is now determining final costs associated with the appeal. Vetter's lawyers say new expenses like interest and attorneys' fees have increased the total due to more than $1 million. A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment.

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