Cotton v. Express Employment Professionals – 16.93

Cotton v. Express Employment Professionals
Digest No. 16.93

Section 421.62

Cite as: Cotton v Express Employment Professionals, unpublished opinion of the Maycomb County Circuit Court, issued June 5, 2017 (Docket No. 2016 -4047-AE).

Court: Macomb County Circuit Court
Appeal pending: Yes
Claimant: Yvette Cotton
Employer: Express Employment Professionals
Date of decision: June 5, 2017

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The court found that the Agency lacked jurisdiction to issue a redetermination of the claimant’s “benefit check determinations” under 32a(2), which holds that the Agency must have good cause to reconsider a prior determination or redetermination after the 30-day period has expired and must re-open within a year of the previous determination. The court therefore found it unnecessary to address the timeliness of the claimant’s subsequent protests.

FACTS: Claimant had received benefits and the Agency issued her redeterminations accusing her of committing fraud. She was required to repay the amount received in benefits plus penalty. The Agency did not receive a timely employer protest, and the employer did not show good cause for issuing a late protest.

The Agency argued that the benefit check determinations under 32(f) of the Act were sufficient to allow it to issue redeterminations. The Court disagreed.

DECISION: The Court’s decision rested on procedural due process. It decided that the method employed by the Agency in issuing the redetermination violated claimant’s due process rights. The court remanded for further proceedings to determine the basis for the determinations, but noted it did not need to reach Claimant’s good cause for late appeal, as the redeterminations were issued erroneously.

RATIONALE: The court’s decision stemmed from both a statutory construction of the MESA and due process. The court demurred the Agency’s contention that section 62 of the Act gave it authority to issue determinations and redeterminations. Rather, the court reasoned, MESA gives the Agency authority under 32a. This means that the Agency does not have broad, sweeping authority, over the course of three years, to make determinations and redeterminations. They must do so within the parameters of 32a and 32.

The court made clear that the deficiencies in the Agency’s process meant the court did not need to address Claimant’s good cause for reopening.

Digest author: Travis R. Miller, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: January 2, 2018