Largest share of claims involves Board of Regents institutions
Documents presented to the three-member panel Tuesday indicated $6,805,423 was paid to cover claims of medical malpractice, workplace discrimination and other problems brought by Iowans who felt they were wrongly treated by University of Iowa Health Clinics personnel, state agency supervisors, co-workers or others under the umbrella of state government during the 12 months that ended June 30.
The yearly payout was down from nearly $15 million the previous fiscal year and more than $11.7 million in fiscal 2019 but slightly higher than the $6.6 million figure in fiscal 2018, according to board records.
Overall, the UIHC settlements topped $3.07 million while the university paid $350,000, according to board documents. Slightly less than $2 million was paid by the University of Northern Iowa — the bulk being a nearly $1.84 million payment to a sound technician hit by a forklift at a concert venue — and Iowa State University paid claims totaling $713,500 during the just-completed 2021 fiscal year.
Payments authorized by the State Appeal Board to resolve settlements and judgments caused by employee mistakes, workplace misconduct or other damages involving government operations hit an all-time high in fiscal 2008 when $23.5 million was paid to settle claims tied to the Iowa Lottery's TouchPlay program.
In fiscal 2015, the paid nearly $19.6 million to settle claims and judgments brought before the State Appeal Board that include more than $12.3 million to resolve construction issues at the state's maximum-security prison in Fort Madison, while fiscal 2012 saw a spike in claims stemming from the now-defunct state film tax credit program.
On Tuesday, the board approved two settlements for the next fiscal year by approving a $50,000 payment to resolve an injury claim involving the University of Iowa in Iowa City and a $28,500 discrimination complaint brought against the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
The state agreed to pay $50,000 to the parents of a minor who was injured when she collided with a golf cart operated by a University of Iowa volunteer. The parents of the child claimed the golf cart operator was negligent in operating the vehicle, causing injuries and loss of consortium.
The three-member panel also voted Tuesday to pay a $28,500 employment discrimination claim based on race and perceived disability brought by former employee Martha Washington of Waterloo against the University of Northern Iowa. Washington alleged she was subjected to disparate treatment, including denial of training and unfair disciplinary action — ultimately leading to her termination in September 2019.
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Total for the fiscal years approved by the State Appeal Board: