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Cite as: Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC, Unpublished Opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, Issued August 14, 2014 (Docket no. 315347).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

UIA v Dykstra – 19.09

UIA v Dykstra
Digest no. 19.09

Cite as: Dep’t of Labor & Econ Growth, Unemployment Ins Agency v Dykstra, 283 Mich App 212 (2009).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Tracey Dykstra
Employer: N/A
Docket no.: 05-011956-AE
Date of decision: April 07, 2009

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HOLDING: The statutory time limit set forth in Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii) does not apply to submission of the form requesting waiver of the TRA training requirement under Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(i).

FACTS: Claimant lost her job due to the closure of her facility caused by foreign competition. In order to receive TRA benefits, Claimant filled out and timely submitted all the forms about which she had been informed and of which she had been provided blank copies from a Michigan Works! agent. Despite doing all she had been told to do, Claimant heard nothing back from UIA. Claimant was later informed of the need to fill out Form 802 by former co-workers, after learning this she immediately filled out the proper paperwork. This form was a request for waiver of the TRA training requirement.

Unfortunately for Claimant, the deadline for applying for TRA benefits had lapsed by the time she submitted form 802, and the UIA subsequently denied her benefits. Claimant appealed and was given a positive ruling from an Administrative Law Judge, who found that the agency error of Michigan Works! employees, who had the duty of informing her about the proper forms to file, was good cause for her failure to timely file her 802 form. This was later sustained by the Board of Review.

On request of the U.S. Dep’t of Labor, the UIA appealed the Board of Review’s decision arguing that the pertinent TRA provisions do not allow for a “good cause exception to late filings.” The Circuit Court held that Claimant was not disqualified from TRA benefits, as the doctrine of estoppel should be applied to this case, the Supreme Court had not set an absolute bar to the use of estoppel against government agencies, and equity requires that it should be permitted in this instance. The Michigan Court of Appeals initially denied the UIA’s request to appeal for lack of merit, but the Michigan Supreme Court in turn remanded the case back to the Court of Appeals for consideration as on leave granted, and it was subsequently consolidated with another claim.

DECISION: The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court.

RATIONALE: Rather than relying on the estoppel rationale of the Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals held that while executive departments may require deference regarding the interpretation of a federal law when the law is ambiguous, there is no such deference required when the law is clear on its face. Here, through statutory interpretation, the Court of Appeals found that the strict deadline provisions were only intended to apply to the provisions under Section 2291(a)(5)(A)(ii), the retraining section, and not to (a)(5)(A)(i), which is the retraining waiver section. Accordingly, the Department of Labor determination did not require deference, and the strict deadline did not apply to Claimant.

Digest Author: A. Kaled
Digest Updated:
 8/14

UIA v Varga – 19.12

UIA v Varga
Digest No. 19.12

19 USC § 2291(a)(5)

Cite as: Unemployment Insurance Agency v Redlin, unpublished opinion of the Jackson County Circuit Court, issued March 20, 2006 (Docket No. 182823).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant:  Peter Varga
Employer: N/A
Date of decision: March 20, 2006

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HOLDING: The application of agency by estoppel to the Agency is contrary to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

FACTS: Claimant filed for Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) benefits. All claimants who file for benefits are referred to Michigan Works!, Michigan Works! is changed with processing both training authorizations and waivers. Here, Claimant acted on faulty advice of a Michigan Works! Employee and was determined to be ineligible for benefits by the Agency for non-compliance with 19 USC § 2291(a)(5). The Administrative Law Judge reversed the Agency’s determination and found the Claimant eligible for TRA benefits. The Michigan Employment Security Board of Review affirmed this decision on a theory of agency by estoppel. The Board of Review reasoned that since the Agency’s Fact Sheets refer claimants to Michigan Works! and since a claimant, with no knowledge of the “system”, should not be expected to know that an employee of the Agency “acted beyond the scope of his authority”, the ALJ properly found the employee was the Agency’s agent by estoppel.

DECISION: The holding of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review is affirmed in part and reversed in part. Claimant is entitled to TRA benefits and the Board of Review’s application of estoppel to the Agency is reversed.

RATIONALE: The Board of Review reached the correct conclusion regarding eligibility for benefits but for the wrong reasons. Claimant received a waiver and therefore met the eligibility requirements of 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(C) which does not contain the deadlines in 19 USC § 2291(a)(5)(A). As a result, Claimant is eligible for TRA benefits. However, the portion of the Board of Review’s reliance on the theory of estoppel was contrary to law as it is inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.  

Digest author: Cydney Warburton, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 11/19/2017

UIA v Redlin – 19.11

UIA v Redlin
Digest No. 19.11

19 USC § 2291(a)(5)

Cite as: Unemployment Insurance Agency v Redlin, unpublished opinion of the Lenawee County Circuit Court, issued January 11, 2006 (Docket No. 182123).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Matthew Redlin
Employer: N/A
Date of decision: January 11, 2006

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HOLDING: Agency was not established where a claimant relied on the faulty advice of a Michigan Works! employee who was acting beyond the scope of his authority, regarding filing for Trade Readjustment Allowance benefits.

FACTS: Claimant filed for Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) benefits. All claimants who file for benefits are referred to Michigan Works!, Michigan Works! is changed with processing both training authorizations and waivers. Here, Claimant acted on faulty advice of a Michigan Works! Employee and was determined to be ineligible for benefits by the Agency for non-compliance with 19 USC § 2291(a)(5). The Administrative Law Judge reversed the Agency’s determination and found the Claimant eligible for TRA benefits. The Michigan Employment Security Board of Review affirmed this decision on a theory of agency by estoppel. The Board of Review reasoned that since the Agency’s Fact Sheets refer claimants to Michigan Works! and since a claimant, with no knowledge of the “system”, should not be expected to know that an employee of the Agency “acted beyond the scope of his authority”, the ALJ properly found the employee was the Agency’s agent by estoppel.

DECISION: The holding of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review is reversed. Claimant is not entitled to TRA benefits.

RATIONALE:  The Board of Review’s reliance on the theory of estoppel was contrary to law.

Digest author: Cydney Warburton, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 11/19/2017

 

Wiersma v. Michigan Bell Telephone Co – 9.05

Wiersma v. Michigan Bell Telephone Co
Digest no. 9.05

Section 28a

Cite as: Wiersma v. Michigan Bell Telephone Co, 156 Mich App 176 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Tribunal: Michigan Court of Appeals
Appellant: Michigan Bell Telephone (employer)
Docket no.: B82 5578 84393
Date of decision: July 24, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Even though claimant failed to request to preserve credit weeks within 45 days, she made diligent attempts to file and was misled by the MESC. As such the MESC is estopped from denying her entitlement to preserve credit weeks.

FACTS: On 1-26-81 claimant was placed on an approved disability leave for back problems until 4-4-81. Claimant was then on 3 weeks vacation and subsequently began a pregnancy related disability leave. While on leave, claimant was told the employer was closing the office where she had worked. Claimant contacted the MESC by phone and twice in person and was informed she needed to be willing and able to work and be unemployed; and 10-1-81 was the last day she could file for benefits. Her child was born 9-27-81 and she was released to return to work 12-3-81. When claimant applied for benefits she was denied because of insufficient credit weeks. Despite opportunities before and after she applied, the MESC never explained to her about preservation of credit weeks.

DECISION: Claimant is entitled to preserve credit weeks under Section 28a.

RATIONALE: Claimant diligently sought to preserve her rights, but she was affirmatively misled by the MESC. “We hold, under the circumstances of this case, that the MESC cannot misinform a claimant in regard to her rights or the appropriate procedures to take and then deny her benefits because she did not know her rights or because she took inappropriate procedural steps.”

“Second, the MESC may be equitably estopped in this case. An equitable estoppel arises where: (1) a party by representations, admissions or silence induces another party to believe facts; (2) the other party detrimentally relies and acts on this belief; and (3) the other party will be prejudiced if the first party is allowed to deny the existence of the facts…. Information regarding a claimant’s ability to obtain benefits may well be considered a “fact” in this context where the bureaucracy of an administrative agency is involved.”

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