Saylor v. C.L. Rieckhoff Co. – 16.95

Saylor v. C.L. Rieckhoff Co.
Digest No. 16.95

Section 421.62

Cite as: Saylor v C L Rieckhoff Co, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued August 2, 2017 (Docket No. 16-029832-252337W).

Court: Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Brian Saylor
Employer: C.L. Rieckhoff Co.
Date of decision: August 2, 2017

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission held that the Agency must have an employer protest and a determination of eligibility before it can initiate a fraud investigation. Further, the Commission held that a benefit check determination of eligibility under 32(f) is not a sufficient predicate determination to issue a 62(a) fraud determination.

FACTS: Claimant had received benefits and the Agency issued him redeterminations accusing him of committing fraud. He was required to repay the amount received in benefits plus penalty. The Agency did not receive an employer protest, but rather issued the redetermination on its own motion.

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

DECISION: The Commission’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.

RATIONALE: The Commission’s decision stemmed from both a statutory construction of the MESA, due process, and the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act. The Commission found that 32(f) did not provide the basis for redeterminations finding fraud; rather, a separate determination of ineligibility needed to occur before a 62(a) redetermination of fraud could be found. Further, because there was no initial determination to serve as the foundation for the redetermination, the issuance of the redeterminations were procedurally deficient. The Commission reasoned that the MAPA required it to set aside the redeterminations regardless of whether Claimant timely appealed, as they were issued erroneously.

The Commission further noted that the Agency did not have the ability to issue redeterminations without an employer protest outside of the time frame prescribed by section 32a of the Act.

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

 

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

 

Sanderson v. UIA – 16.94

Sanderson v. UIA
Digest No. 16.94

Section 421.32a & Section 421.62

Cite as: Sanderson v Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, unpublished decision of the Court of Claims, issued June 5, 2017 (Case No. 16-000083-MM).

Court: Court of Claims
Appeal pending: Yes
Plaintiff: Judy Sanderson, Albert Morris, Antonyal Louis, and Madeline Browne
Defendant: Unemployment Insurance Agency
Date of decision: June 5, 2017

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The Court granted the defendant’s motion for summary disposition because plaintiffs failed to satisfy the requirements of MCL 600.6431.

FACTS: Claimant Sanderson began receiving unemployment benefits in June 2009. The UIA issued redeterminations on September 26, 27, and 28, 2011 determining that Claimant was not entitled to benefits because she made intentional misrepresentations. The UIA gives three years from the date of the last redetermination to initiate administrative action or court action to recover improperly paid benefits. The UIA began collection efforts against Claimant in May 2014. Interception of her tax refund occurred on or about April 9, 2015.

DECISION: Plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements found in MCL 600.6431. Claimant Sanderson’s complaint was filed on April 11, 2016, far more than six months after the first instance of wrongful garnishment.

The Court denied the plaintiffs’ request to amend the complaint and rejects the claim that summary disposition is premature because discovery has not yet begun.

RATIONALE: Plaintiffs’ claims do no meet the timing requirements of MCL 600.6431. This applies a six month notice deadline to file a complaint. The Court assumed without deciding that Plaintiffs’ interpretation of Section 421.62 is correct, which sets a three year period for collecting a debt. However, plaintiffs’ complaints were filed on April 11, 2016 and in order for them to satisfy the requirements under MCL 600.6431, the wrongs need to occur within six months of the filing date. None of the claims asserted fit the timeframe.

The Court denied leave to amend because there is no manner in which they could amend the complaint so that it complies with the requirements under MCL 600.6431.

The Court also determined that plaintiffs’ assertions were not enough to demonstrate that discovery is warranted in this matter.

Digest author: Sara Posner, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: December 26, 2017

 

Hicks v. Randstad – 18.26

Hicks v. Randstad
Digest No. 18.26

Section 421.54 & Section 421.62

Cite as: Hicks v Randstad Employment Solutions LP, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued July 14, 2016 (Docket No. 15-064475-248535W).

Court: Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Derrick Hicks
Employer: Randstad Employment Solutions LP
Date of decision: July 14, 2016

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: Even though Claimant did not have good cause for the late protest, the fact that the Agency dismissed the fraud charges overrides the lack of good cause for late protest. The ALJ should have reversed the adjudications or held them void.

FACTS: On August 12, 2015, the Agency issued a determination that found Claimant subject to restitution and fraud provisions of the MESA. Claimant had until September 11, 2015 to file a protest. However the Agency did not receive a protest until December 9, 2015. On December 15, 2015 the Agency issued a redetermination that Claimant did not have good cause for the late protest. Claimant timely appealed the redetermination and had hearing before an ALJ on February 20, 2016. At the hearing, the Agency informed the ALJ that it was no longer pursuing fraud charges against Claimant because there was no indication that he intentionally misled the Agency or concealed information. Nevertheless, the ALJ affirmed the redetermination.

DECISION: The Appellate Commission decided that the fact that the Agency wished to dismiss the fraud charges overrides the lack of good cause for late protest. The Appellate Commission reversed the ALJ’s decision as well as the determination and redetermination. The Appellate Commission further decided that Claimant is not subject to penalties.

RATIONALE: While the claimant had no good cause for the late protest, since the Agency wished to dismiss the fraud charges, there was no need for a showing of good cause.

Digest author: Sara Posner, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: December 26, 2017

 

Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency – 18.16

Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency
Digest No. 18.16

Section 62 & Section 54

Cite as: Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency, unpublished opinion of the Saginaw County Circuit Court, issued November 17, 2008 (Docket No. 08-000366-AE-3).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: William Olivarez
Employer: Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency
Date of decision: November 17, 2008

View/download the full decision

HOLDING: The court reversed the fraud decision because there was not competent, material, and substantial evidence to support it.

FACTS: Claimant  worked for the Agency and applied for benefits while on long term disability. The Agency ordered restitution and Claimant won at the ALJ hearing but lost at MCAC.

MCAC held that there was fraud because Claimant collected while on long term disability; he knew there was an issue about whether he could do so; an employee of the disability insurance company told him this was alright; and Claimant should have known to go to Agency with questions about eligibility.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits. The Agency did not provide sufficient evidence for fraud.

RATIONALE: On eligibility, there was a doctor’s note that said Claimant could not do any work at all. This was competent, material, and substantial evidence and the court affirmed this decision.

Regarding fraud, there was not sufficient evidence to “support a finding of wrongful, quasi-criminal behavior.” The court went on to say: “Fraud, while easily claimed, is not lightly proven.” Citing Mallery v Van Hoeven, 332 Mich 561, 568; (1952). Fraud must be established by evidence. This was a “skimpy record” and does not “support a finding of serious wrongdoing, even under the relatively light standard of substantial evidence.”

Digest author: Benjamin Tigay, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 1, 2017