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Cite as: Wickham v Adecco CS, Inc, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, issued September 28, 2016 (Docket No. 16-021211).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

 

DiGregorio v J C Concrete Inc. – 16.92

DiGregorio v J C Concrete Inc.
Digest No. 16.92

Section 421.32a

Cite as: DiGregorio v J C Concrete Inc, unpublished decision of the Michigan Administrative Hearing System, issued September 8, 2016 (Case No. 15-060623).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Daniel DiGregorio
Employer: J C Concrete Inc.
Date of decision: September 8, 2016

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HOLDING: Claimant had good cause for his late appeal because he could not understand the conflicting decisions of the Agency with his ADD. Restitution is cancelled because of deficient notice and the Agency’s failure to collect within the statutory period.

FACTS: On September 1, 2015, the Agency issued a redetermination seeking restitution. Claimant did not appeal this until October 29, 2015. Claimant received “over twenty” adjudications from the Agency and was confused because he felt they were conflicting. Claimant concluded that he did not owe anything, so he did not appeal. He did not appeal until he received a bill from the Agency. Claimant also alleges that his ADD and anxiety, for which he sees a doctor and takes medication, affected his ability to comprehend things.

DECISION: Claimant had good cause for the late appeal. Fraud penalties reversed and Claimant does not owe any restitution.

RATIONALE: On good cause, Claimant was confronted at once with many decisions with “conflicting results [that] would be confusing to all but the most seasoned claimant.” In light of this and Claimant’s comprehension limitations, he had good cause for the late appeal.

The Agency violated due process with its fraud redeterminations. Due process requires that the party has notice that is “reasonably calculated, under the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them the opportunity to present their objections.” Brooks Williamson & Associates, Inc v Mayflower Const Co, 308 Mich App 18, 35; (2014) citing Mullane v Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co  “A bare demand for payment of fraud penalties does not establish or give notice of the basis for the demand.”

As for restitution, the Agency issued the fraud claim after three years, so the claim for restitution is time barred under Section 62(a). Further, the Agency failed to issue a determination in this case, and a “redetermination without a determination is void as a matter of law.” Fisk v Prostaff Employment Solutions LLC, 15-057282-248256W and 15-057299-238257W MCAC (May 23, 2016).

Digest author: Benjamin Tigay, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: January 26, 2018

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

 

 

 

Hoppe v City of Warren – 16.33

Hoppe v City of Warren
Digest No. 16.33

Section 421.32a

Cite as: Hoppe v City of Warren, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued August 26, 1983 (Docket No. 67671).

Court: State of Michigan Court of Appeals
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Chester M. Hoppe
Employer: City of Warren
Date of decision: August 26, 1983

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HOLDING: Claimant failed to establish good cause for his untimely appeal of the redetermination.

FACTS: Claimant retired involuntarily as a City of Warren employee because a city ordinance required forced retirement of its employees at age 65. He applied with MESC for unemployment benefits but was deemed ineligible because the City had an equivalent unemployment compensation ordinance.  Claimant timely appealed that determination. A redetermination followed which held again that Claimant was ineligible for unemployment compensation.

DECISION: The Court held that the Claimant’s argument that he failed to timely appeal a redetermination because of a good-faith misunderstanding of agency procedures is not supported by the record. The MESC employee’s instructions to plaintiff to stop reporting was not misinformation or information that would cause an average reasonable person to file an untimely appeal. After the 20- day appeal period had passed, Claimant filed an untimely appeal for  review of the redetermination. MESC denied his request because he failed to show good cause for the untimely appeal.

Claimant timely appealed the boards denial and requested a hearing before an ALJ. At the hearing, Claimant testified that he received the notice of redetermination but failed to read the portion instructing him that he had 20 days to file an appeal. He also said he did not file a timely appeal because an agent of the MESC told him he no longer needed to report. The ALJ decided that Claimant failed to establish good cause for his untimely appeal of the redetermination.

RATIONALE: The Court was limited to the construction of the phrase “good cause” in Section 421.32a. The MESC also issued a regulation which includes guidelines for what constitutes good cause. While the Court agreed that the examples of good cause included in the guidelines are not self limiting. Additionally, they recognized that a claimant’s good-faith misunderstanding of agency procedures may be a basis for good cause for delay. Good cause for delay may also occur when a reasonable claimant relies upon misinformation or incorrect guidance given to the claimant by an MESC employee.

Claimant admitted that he failed to timely appeal because he neglected to read the notice of redetermination. The MESC employee’s instruction to stop reporting was not misinformation or information that would cause an average reasonable claimant to file an untimely appeal.

Digest author: Sara Posner, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: December 5, 2017

 

Donahoo v. Michigan Department of Social Services & Michigan Employment Security Commission – 16.10

Donahoo v. Michigan Department of Social Services &– Michigan Employment Security Commission
Digest No. 16.10

Section 421.32a(2)

Cite as: Donahoo v Mich Dep’t of Soc Servs, Unpublished opinion of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, issued February 15, 1980 (Docket No. 79-17785-AE).

Court: Circuit Court of Washtenaw County
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Leonard Donahoo
Employer: State of Michigan, Department of Social Services
Date of decision: February 15, 1980

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HOLDING: The Agency’s failure to serve Claimant with a determination notice prevented the 20-day statutory appeal period from triggering. Because the appeal limitation was not triggered, Claimant’s appeal was timely.

FACTS: The order provides no facts, and I could not find the docket, so as to read briefing. One can infer this was a good cause for reopening case under 32a(2) where the claimant appealed after the 20-day (now 30-day) period, but before the one-year statute of limitations. The Agency, one can infer, demurred claimant’s appeal and the adjudicating body (ALJ/MCAC) sustained the Agency’s position that the appeal was not timely. Claimant appealed to the Circuit Court.

DECISION: Because the Agency didn’t send claimant a determination, the court found Claimant had good cause for reopening for lack of adequate notice. The court further held that without a determination by the Agency, Claimant’s appeal window could not be triggered.

RATIONALE: Again, there is only an order, so the rationale is non-existent. One can infer that this hinged on a due process argument. Without proper notice claimant had no way to know the Agency was taking action against him.

Digest author: Travis Miller, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 23, 2017