I’ve been following the Virgina Tech tragedy closely. Being an Iowa alum, I’m reminded of the Gang Lu murders at the University of Iowa in 1991.
The Gang Lu murders involved a graduate student who, upset at being passed over for an award, took revenge on faculty and students who he felt had done him wrong, before taking the gun on himself. The case was tragic, but has also interested me for the impact it had on Workers Compensation law in Iowa.
Iowa’s Workers Compensation law requires an employer to provide an injured employee with services and supplies needed to treat a injury (ie crutches). In this case, one student who was shot by Gang Lu (in the course and scope of her employment with the University) survived, but was rendered a quadriplegic. The case of Manpower Temporary Services vs. Sioson, 529 N.W.2d 529 (Iowa 1995) required the victim’s employer to buy her a wheelchair-accessible van. That was really the first time an Iowa appellate court had allowed something that “out of the ordinary” in a workers comp case. A later case, Quaker Oats v. Ciha, 552 N.W.2d 143 (Iowa 1996) allowed an award of a van and significant modifications to an employee’s home.
Manpower is an important case for any Iowa Workers Compensation Lawyer. This expansion of injured workers’ rights has doubtlessly helped hundreds of other employees the care and treatment they deserve.
Sometimes… good things can come out of tragedy.