Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC – 7.39

Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC

Digest no. 7.39

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC, Unpublished Opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, Issued August 14, 2014 (Docket no. 315347).

Appeal Pending: No
Claimant: Michael T. Ross (Appellee)
Employer: Hill’s Crate Mill (Appellants: UIA)
Docket no. 315347
Date of decision: Aug. 14, 2014

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Holding: Claimant’s receipt of social security benefits did not preclude him from asserting that he was willing and able to work for purposes of receiving unemployment benefits.

Facts: Claimant’s employer closed in 2009. In December 2009, claimant applied to the Agency for unemployment benefits, and he began to receive those benefits. Although initially claimant’s application for SSDI benefits was denied, claimant successfully appealed that decision on September 21, 2011. On November 29, 2011, claimant informed the Agency that the SSA determined that he was disabled. As a result, on December 20, 2011, the Agency issued a determination informing claimant that he was not eligible for unemployment given his receipt of SSDI benefits.  In February 2012, an administrative law judge upheld the Agency’s denial of benefits and demand for repayment as well as the imposition of penalties. The MCAC affirmed. The circuit court overruled, stating it was “unable to find merit in the [MCAC’s] finding that the claimant’s application for social security disability was inconsistent with his testimony that he was ready and able to work in connection with his application for unemployment benefits.”

Decision: The Agency issued a determination informing claimant that he was not eligible for unemployment given his receipt of SSDI benefits. The MCAC affirmed. The circuit court reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court.

Rationale: There are two broad considerations relevant to determining whether judicial estoppel should prevent an individual from bringing claims under two statutory schemes when there is a potential that the claims involved may be inconsistent. First, courts consider whether there is an inherent conflict between the statutory schemes, such that a negative presumption should apply against the possibility of an individual pursuing both types of claims. See Cleveland v Policy Management Systems Corp, 526 U.S. 795, 802-803 (1999) (finding no inherent conflict between receipt of SSDI benefits and a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and rejecting application of a negative presumption). Second, courts consider whether a claimant’s purely factual assertions in the respective contexts genuinely conflict with one another, and whether an individual can explain any apparent contradiction.

There is not an inherent conflict between the statutory schemes such that a finding of disability for purposes of SSDI necessarily precludes the possibility of also receiving unemployment.  Nothing in claimant’s specific factual assertions in each arena which can be considered wholly inconsistent.

Digest author: James C. Robinson (Michigan Law ’16)
Digest updated: 3/15

Kempf v Michigan Bell Telephone Co – 9.02

Kempf v Michigan Bell Telephone Co
Digest no. 9.02

Section 28a

Cite as: Kempf v Michigan Bell Telephone Co, 137 Mich App 574 (1984); lv den, 424 Mich 857 (1985).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Maureen Kempf
Employer: Michigan Bell Telephone Co.
Docket no.: B81 03615 77481
Date of decision: September 17, 1984

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The purpose of Section 28(a) is to prevent a person from being penalized when the sole cause of the individual’s inability to establish a benefit year is due to a period of continuous disability.

FACTS: Claimant was on a medical leave of absence from December 21, 1979, until December 25, 1980. On December 26, 1980, claimant’s doctor released her to return to work. Three days later, she was dismissed from her job. Claimant was denied unemployment benefits due to insufficient credit weeks.

DECISION: The claimant is eligible to have her credit weeks preserved.

RATIONALE: Since “it was the legislature’s intent to allow a person in plaintiff’s position to come within the purview of section 28a(6), it must be assumed that Section 48‘s provision, which deems a person on a leave of absence not unemployed, was not intended to qualify the terms ‘unemployed’ or ‘unemployment’ as used in subsection 6. Rather, it is the conclusion of this Court that subsection 6’s reference to section 48 was intended to refer only to section 48‘s general provision which deems a person ‘unemployed’ with respect to any week during which he performs services and with respect to which no remuneration is payable to him. According to this provision, plaintiff was ‘unemployed’ while on disability leave.

“This provision requires that plaintiff file her request for preservation of credit weeks ‘within 45 days after the commencement of the unemployment’ unless she is medically unable to, which is not the case here. … When plaintiff went on disability leave she expected to return to work when she was well. Until she lost her job she would have no reason to inquire about or take action under the Michigan Employment Security Act.

“[T]his Court holds that plaintiff has 45 days after her job loss to file her request for preservation of credit weeks. Since plaintiff complied with this requirement, she is entitled to have her credit weeks preserved.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 6/91

Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop – 4.05

Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop
Digest no. 4.05

Section 44

Cite as: Barnett v Good Housekeeping Shop, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued March 14, 1983 (Docket No. O/P B78 53596 60992); lv den 418 Mich 873 (1983).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Rebekah Barnett
Employer: Good Housekeeping Shop
Docket no.: O/P B78 53596 60992
Date of decision: March 14, 1983

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The distinction in Section 44(5)(a) and (c) of the MES Act as to the treatment of disability payments as wages depending on whether the disability benefits are paid directly to an employee or through a disability plan does not constitute a denial of equal protection.

FACTS: Claimant, a 12 year employee, was on a medical leave and received 26 weeks of medical disability benefits through a disability insurance plan provided by the employer. When her disability ended claimant’s employment was terminated. She applied for unemployment benefits but had insufficient credit weeks because the disability payments were not considered wages under Section 44(5) because they were paid through an insurance plan rather than directly to the employee.

DECISION: Claimant does not have sufficient credit weeks to establish a claim because disability payments she received do not constitute wages under Section 44 of the Act.

RATIONALE: “Equal protection in its guarantee of like treatment to all similarly situated citizens permits classification which is reasonable and not arbitrary and which is based upon material and substantial differences which have reasonable relation to the object or persons dealt with and to the public purpose or purposes sought to be achieved by the legislation involved. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination with respect to things that are different. Gauthier v Campbell, Wyant & Cannon Foundry Co360 Mich 510, 514 (1960). We find as did the trial court, that the legislative purpose in the distinction of Section 44 is to encourage the establishment of plans and systems which would financially aid workers when they are ill and disabled and for which unemployment benefits are not payable because the individual employees are not qualified under section 28 of the act, because they are not able and available for work due to the sickness or disability.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
6/91