Knox v. Right At Home Southeastern MI Inc. – 16.90

Knox v. Right At Home Southeastern MI Inc.
Digest No. 16.90

Section 421.29; Section 421.32a; Section 421.62; Section 421.33

Cite as: Knox v Right At Home Southeastern MI Inc, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued July 29, 2016 (Docket No. 15-018792-247172W).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Teresa R. Knox
Employer: Right at Home Southeastern MI Inc.
Date of decision: July 29, 2016

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HOLDING: Under Section 421.32a, the Agency cannot reconsider a prior determination or redetermination more than one year from the date of mailing or personal service of the original determination on the disputed issue. All adjudications issued by the Agency that are contrary to this rule are void and must be set aside. All ALJ decisions made after the Agency improperly transferred over a case due to a violation of Section 421.32a are to be set aside as well.

FACTS: In February 2012, the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) issued a Notice of Determination holding the claimant disqualified from receipt of unemployment insurance benefits under Section 421.29(1)(a). In June 2014, more than two years after the February 2012 Determination was issued, the Agency, on its own motion, reconsidered the Determination and issued a June 25, 2014 Redetermination. A March 2015 Redetermination held the claimant disqualified from receipt of unemployment insurance benefits under the voluntary leaving provisions of Section 421.29(1)(a) and held the claimant subject to restitution under Section 421.62(a). A November 2015 ALJ decision affirmed the March 2015 Redetermination. The claimant timely appealed to the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) from the November 2015 ALJ decision.

DECISION: The November 2015 ALJ decision is set aside. The June 25, 2014 Redetermination and all subsequent Agency adjudications are set aside. The February 2012 Determination is a final ruling on this matter. Therefore Claimant is disqualified from receipt of benefits but Claimant is not subject to restitution.

RATIONALE:

Section 421.32a(2) provides that the Agency may, for good cause, reconsider a prior determination or redetermination after the 30 day period has expired, but that a reconsideration shall not be made unless the request is filed with the UIA, or reconsideration is initiated by the UIA with notice to the interested parties, within one year from the date of mailing or personal service of the original determination on the disputed issue.

The Michigan Supreme Court held in Roman Cleanser v Murphy, 386 Mich 698 (1972) that the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel apply to an Agency ruling that has become “final” under Section 421.32a(2). As a result, the February 2012 Determination, which did not include any ruling on restitution under Section 421.62(a), is a final ruling. Therefore the June 25, 2014 Redetermination is void and must be set aside as the Agency had no legal authority to issue that ruling. All adjudications issued by the Agency after the June 25, 2014 Redetermination are void and must be set aside.

In addition, because the June 25, 2014 Redetermination was not in accordance with Section 421.32a, under Section 421.33 (“An appeal from a redetermination issued . . . in accordance with section 32a or a matter transferred for hearing and decision in accordance with section 32a shall be referred to the Michigan administrative hearing system for assignment to an administrative law judge”), the Agency was without authority to transfer the matter for hearing and assignment to an ALJ.

Digest author: Winne Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017