Wickham v. Adecco CS, Inc. – 18.23

Wickham v. Adecco CS, Inc.
Digest No. 18.23

Section 421.32(a)

Cite as: Wickham v Adecco CS, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, issued September 28, 2016 (Docket No. 16-021211).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Margaret M. Wickham
Employer: Adecco CS Inc.
Date of decision: September 28, 2016

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HOLDING: Under Michigan law, when pleading a cause of action involving fraud, the circumstances alleged to must be stated with particularity. In addition, in a fraud case, due process of law is violated when a claimant is not apprised of when, why, or how her actions constitute intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

FACTS: Claimant received a November 21, 2014 adjudication that concludes that Claimant’s “actions” indicate that she intentionally misled and/or concealed information to obtain benefits to which she was not otherwise entitled.

DECISION: The November 21, 2014 adjudication is facially defective as a matter of law, so it is void, set aside, vacated, and dismissed. Therefore the Agency’s denial of reconsideration concerns an invalid underlying adjudication, so it must also be set aside, vacated, and dismissed as a matter of law.

RATIONALE: The November 21, 2014 adjudication includes no factual assertions in support of the vague generalized legal conclusion that Claimant’s “actions” indicate that she intentionally misled and/or concealed information to obtain benefits to which she was not otherwise entitled. The Agency’s omission of particularized factual assertions in support of its legal conclusions violates Michigan law concerning the pleading of causes of action including fraud. Kassab v Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association, 441 Mich 433 (1992) requires that, when pleading a cause of action involving fraud, the circumstances alleged to must be stated with particularity. Section 421.32(a) requires the Agency to examine claims and render determinations on the facts; the Unemployment Insurance Agency lacks jurisdiction to render adjudications containing summary legal conclusions unsupported by factual assertions. In addition, the November 21, 2014 adjudication violates the demands of due process of law by failing to apprise Claimant of when, why, and how her “actions” constitute intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

Digest author: Winne Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: November 26, 2017

 

Bouier v. DAFS Indianapolis-Army Military Pay – 16.74

Bouier v. DAFS Indianapolis-Army Military Pay
Digest No. 16.74

Section 421.210 (repealed and replaced by Section 421.32a)

Cite as: Bouier v DAFS Indianapolis-Army Military Pay, unpublished opinion of the Macomb County Circuit Court, issued August 30, 2007 (Docket No. 2007-1505-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Everett Bouier, Jr.
Employer: DFAS Indianapolis-Army Military Pay
Date of decision: August 30, 2007

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HOLDING: A claimant must file his application for benefits within the fourteen day grace period under Section 421.210 (repealed and replaced by Section 421.32a).

FACTS: Claimant separated from the military on April 2, 2006. Upon his separation, Claimant was told by his former employer to go to his local employment office. He was also advised that he would not be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Claimant believed that the purpose for visiting the unemployment office was to find a new job, not to file for unemployment benefits. Because he was unaware of his eligibility, Claimant did not file for benefits until June 18, 2006. On filing, Claimant requested payments backdated to his original separation date of April 2, 2006.

DECISION: Claimant is not eligible for backdating of benefits to his original separation date. Appeal is dismissed.

RATIONALE: Because Claimant failed to file his application for benefits within the fourteen day grace period under Section 421.210 (repealed and replaced by Section 421.32a), Claimant was ineligible to receive benefits backdated to his initial separation. Section 421.210 (repealed and replaced by Section 421.32a) only allows backdating to the claimant’s separation date if the benefit application is timely filed within fourteen days of the Friday after the end of the week in which the claimant became unemployed. The plain language of the Agency’s rules supports this determination.

Digest author: Winne Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 11, 2017

 

 

 

Kas-Petrus v. Bushings, Inc. – 16.78

Kas-Petrus v. Bushings, Inc.
Digest No. 16.78

Section 421.32(a)

Cite as: Kas-Petrus v Bushings, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Macomb County Circuit Court, issued April 10, 2007 (Docket No. 2006-5196-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Muayed Kas-Petrus
Employer: Bushings, Inc.
Date of decision: April 10, 2007

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HOLDING: MCL 421.32(a) does not require fault by the Agency to demonstrate good cause for his untimely appeal. Despite this, a claimant’s failure to timely appeal a determination due to a language barrier does not constitute good cause under MCL 421.32(a) when the claimant failed to notify the Agency of his language barrier and failed to explain why his appeal was untimely.

FACTS: On December 11, 2006, the Unemployment Insurance Agency determined Claimant was disqualified from benefits under MCL 421.29(1)(b). Claimant submitted an untimely appeal for this determination on January 26, 2006.

During an ALJ hearing, Claimant testified that his primary language was Arabic and that he could not read English. Claimant lived with his son, who spoke and read fluent English. Claimant’s son read the disqualifying determination to Claimant shortly after Claimant received it. The son informed Claimant that he was denied unemployment benefits but did not inform him of his right to appeal. Two weeks later, Claimant’s sister-in-law informed Claimant of his right to appeal. Despite still having time within his 30 day appeal window, Claimant did not appeal and was unable to explain to the ALJ why his protest was untimely.

The ALJ held that Claimant did not have good cause for his untimely appeal. The ALJ emphasized that the late protest could not be attributed to the Agency because appellant failed to inform the Agency that he required language assistance. The Board of Review affirmed the ALJ’s ruling. Claimant appealed to the Macomb County Circuit Court.

DECISION: The Board of Review’s decision is affirmed because Claimant lacked good cause for his untimely appeal under MCL 421.32(a). Claimant did not have a “legitimate inability to act sooner” under Agency Rule 421.270(d) because he was unable to explain why he filed in an untimely manner. Furthermore, Claimant’s language barrier did not constitute good cause because he failed to inform the Agency of his need for language assistance.

RATIONALE: MCL 421.32(a) provides claimants 30 days to file an appeal to an Agency determination. A claimant may appeal beyond the 30 day period if the claimant has good cause for the untimely appeal. MCL 421.32(a)(2).

Under Agency Rule 421.270(d), “good cause” includes a party’s “legitimate inability to act sooner.” Claimant argued that his inability to read English constituted a legitimate inability to act sooner. Claimant also argued that good cause does not require fault by the Agency.

The Court agreed that a claimant does not need to demonstrate Agency fault to show good cause under MCL 421.32(a). However, the Court rejected Claimant’s contention that he had a legitimate inability to act sooner. Claimant was informed of his right to appeal by his sister-in-law before the 30 day appeal period expired. Despite this, Claimant failed to file a timely appeal and offered no explanation. Because the Claimant was provided notice of his right to appeal within the 30 day period and failed to demonstrate why he appealed late, Claimant lacks good cause under MCL 421.32(a).

Digest author: Sean Higgins, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 31, 2017

Hill v Department of Community Health – 16.76

Hill v Department of Community Health
Digest No. 16.76

Section 421.29; Section 421.32

Cite as: Hill v Dep’t of Community Health, unpublished opinion of the Wayne County Circuit Court, issued September 27, 2005 (Docket No. 05-514911-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Darlene Hill
Employer: Department of Community Health; State of Michigan, Department of Labor & Economic Growth
Date of decision: September 27, 2005

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HOLDING: When a claimant incorrectly thinks she is terminated and there is no evidence that 1) she acted with deliberate intent to evade her job responsibilities, or 2) her employer communicated its expectations to her, she has not committed misconduct by failing to appear at work, even if it was ignorant of her to believe that she was terminated. Section 421.32 provides that if within ten days the employer does not respond to the Agency’s request for information, the Agency shall decide the matter on the information provided. Furthermore, if the employer cannot show that it reasonably could not meet the ten day deadline, all benefits paid before the employer’s reply was received are deemed proper.

FACTS: The patient Claimant was tending indicated that he did not want her in his home because Claimant could not physically perform the necessary tasks. Claimant thought that the patient was her employer, and did not realize that the Department of Community Health was actually her employer. Claimant did not seek a new assignment and thought her job was terminated.  The employer did not respond to the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s request for information, did not send a representative to the hearing, and did not file a brief on appeal. The Board of Review denied benefits to Claimant on the basis of a voluntary quit.

DECISION: The claimant’s disqualification from benefits is reversed.

RATIONALE: Claimant was not told how to seek another assignment. She did not appear to have acted with deliberate intent to evade her job responsibilities, nor was she warned of any deficiencies in her performance. “Unless an employer’s expectations can be expected to ‘flow naturally’ from the employee relationship itself . . . they must be communicated to the employee before they can serve as a proper basis for a charge of misconduct.” McAlpin v Wood River Med. Ctr., 921 P2d 178, 183 (Idaho 1966) (quoting Davis v Howard O. Miller Co., 695 P2d 1231, 1233 (Idaho 1984)). There was not evidence of communication here. A decision “cannot rest upon mere conjecture or speculation.” Clements v Clements, 2 Mich App 370, 374 (1966). Therefore, because the employer has the burden to show misconduct, the lack of evidence of misconduct here compelled a finding for the employee. In addition, the testimony of even a single witness (in this instance, the claimant) can meet the substantial evidence standard.

Section 421.32 provides that if within ten days the employer does not respond to the Agency’s request for information, the Agency shall decide the matter on the information provided. Furthermore, if the employer cannot show that it reasonably could not meet the ten day deadline, all benefits paid before the employer’s reply was received are deemed proper.

Digest author: Winne Chen, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: October 30, 2017