Winfied Machine Service LLC v. UIA – 14.19

Winfied Machine Service LLC v. UIA
Digest No. 14.19

Section 429.21(1)(i)

Cite as: Winfied Machine Services, LLC v Havens, unpublished opinion of the Macomb Circuit Court, issued July 13, 2009 (Docket No. 2009-­0342-­AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Dennis Havens
Employer: Winfied Machine Services LLC
Date of decision: July 13, 2009

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HOLDING: Because the Michigan Employment Security Act does not define “theft” for the purposes of MCL 429.21(1)(i), a claimant cannot be disqualified from receiving benefits when “theft” is interpreted as requiring felonious intent and the employer fails to establish that the claimant acted with felonious intent.

FACTS: Claimant was fired after his employer discovered that he had sold a hydraulic pump allegedly stolen from the employer. Testimony on behalf of the Claimant suggested that a third party had given Claimant the pump, and that Claimant was unaware of any prior owners.  Neither the ALJ nor the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review could determine true ownership of the pump. Since ownership of the pump was unclear, the Board found that the employer failed to meet its burden of demonstrating Claimant’s felonious intent to deprive the employer of its alleged property.

DECISION: The court declined to reverse the decision of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review because it was supported by “competent, material and substantial evidence on the whole record, and clearly conformed to the law.”

RATIONALE: Because the Michigan Employment Security Act does not define “theft,” it is not contrary to the law to determine that an element of theft is felonious intent.  Under such an interpretation, a claimant cannot be disqualified from receiving benefits under MCL 429.21(1)(i) when the Employer fails to establish felonious intent.

Digest author: James Mestichelli, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 3/29/2016

Streeter v River Rouge Board of Education – 12.21

Streeter v River Rouge Board of Education
Digest no. 12.21

Section 29(1)(b)

Cite as: Streeter v River Rouge Board of Ed, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued October 12, 1981 (Docket No. 54997).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Johnnie Streeter
Employer: River Rouge Board of Education
Docket no.: B79 03208 67059
Date of decision: October 12, 1981

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: ” … [S]ection 29 does not make the commission of acts which might be the subject of criminal prosecution a reason for disqualification for benefits.”

FACTS: An elementary school teacher was discharged for carrying a concealed .38 caliber pistol to school. She testified that she had been unable to obtain protection from the employer after being threatened by a parent who had been convicted of felonious assault.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for misconduct discharge.

RATIONALE: “We first note, as did the referee, that it is irrelevant to our application of the term ‘misconduct’ in section 29 whether appellee’s conduct may have been sufficient cause for her dismissal by appellant.

“The record reveals that the first thing that appellee did when threatened by the angry parent was to report it to the acting principal. Only upon his failure to take what appellee believed to be definitive measures to divert the anticipated confrontation did she seek her own protection. Although her reaction to the situation constituted a grave error in judgment, there is competent evidence to support the referee’s conclusion that appellee’s actions did not constitute a ‘wilful or wanton disregard of [her] employer’s interests.’ Appellee’s actions were motivated by personal fear, and she attempted in good faith to perform her duty properly before the misconduct took place.”

Digest Author:  Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/90