Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Latino civil rights organization requests that the Court interpret the term “shoulder” in favor of Iowa workers, the established purpose of worker compensation laws and to consider the impact on Latinos and other vulnerable workers in Iowa.

DENISON, IOWA — How the Iowa Supreme Court defines one word will have a great impact on injured workers’ in the state. This week the the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa (LULAC of Iowa) filed an amicus curiae brief before the Iowa Supreme Court in Deng v. Farmland Food Inc. and Safety National Casualty Corp. to provide insight on a case that will determine how the Court interprets the word “shoulder” under Iowa law.

Attorney Andrew Bribriesco, on behalf of LULAC of Iowa, filed the amicus brief asserting that a Crawford County District Court’s interpretation of the word “shoulder” under Iowa law would be harmful to Iowa workers, which is contrary to the purpose of worker compensation laws.

"In 2017, the Iowa Legislature amended Iowa Code to add ‘shoulder’ to the list of scheduled member injuries for which workers’ compensation benefits are arbitrarily limited. The legislature did not define the word ‘shoulder’ and, thus, it is an ambiguous term,” explained Bribriesco. “The district court’s interpretation of the word ‘shoulder’ will significantly decrease the compensation the industry will pay to workers who suffer permanent disability from a rotator cuff injury.” Bribriesco continued, “The Court should adopt the position of Appellant Mary Deng because, to do otherwise, would cause detrimental impacts to the health, safety, and economic condition of Iowa workers.”

The brief also requests that the Iowa Supreme Court strongly consider how the district court’s interpretation will impact Latinos, immigrants, and other vulnerable workers in Iowa. LULAC Iowa leadership agrees.

“The harmful impact will hit harder and disproportionately on Latino workers in Iowa,” said LULAC Iowa State Director Nick Salazar. “We know that Latinos and immigrants are overrepresented in the meatpacking industry and other hazardous jobs that require minimal education and English proficiency.”

LULAC Iowa requests that the Court broadly and liberally construe the word “shoulder” consistent with the arguments set out by Appellant Mary Deng. LULAC Iowa urges the Court to adopt Appellant Mary Deng’s position, and reverse the district court’s decision, especially in light of the detrimental impacts that decision will have on Iowa workers, which will fall even harder and disproportionately on Latino workers, Latino families, and Latino communities in Iowa.

View the full amicus brief filed here.



The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/

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