Helm v University of Michigan – 12.19

Helm v University of Michigan
Digest no. 12.19

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Helm v Univ of Michigan, 147 Mich App 135 (1985).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Paul Helm
Employer: University of Michigan
Docket no.: B81 16305 80496
Date of decision: September 20, 1985

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: A therapist’s letter in support of claimant’s testimony is entitled to be given probative effect as “evidence of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs.”

FACTS: Claimant, an alcoholic, blacked out during off-duty hours due to drinking and was hospitalized. The claimant’s girl friend notified the employer. The employer’s attempts to speak to the doctor were unsuccessful. Claimant was discharged for not calling in after three days. The employer, at the Referee hearing, submitted a letter purportedly from the therapist, which was not identified as to the author or his/her qualifications. The employer was aware of claimant’s alcoholism.

DECISION: The credibility finding made by the Referee must be “adequately considered” by the Board of Review and the Circuit Court; therefore, the case is remanded to the Board of Review.

RATIONALE: The letter from the therapist was submitted by the employer, not the claimant. The letter was signed by the therapist and written on hospital stationery. No objection was raised to the submission of the letter at the hearing. Even without the letter … plaintiff’s testimony, if believed, constituted proof of his alcoholic blackout.

Digest Author:  Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91