Koehler v General Motors Corp – 7.29

Koehler v General Motors Corp
Digest no. 7.29

Sections 28(1)(c), 48

Cite as: Koehler v General Motors Corp, unpublished opinion of the Oakland Circuit Court, issued May 6, 1997 (Docker No. 96-532329-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Carl Koehler
Employer: General Motors Corporation
Docket no.: B94-10946-134361W and FSC94-00569-134392W
Date of decision: May 6, 1997

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where a claimant worked full-time for a self-owned business he was not unemployed within the meaning of Section 48 of the MES Act. Moreover, where a claimant is preoccupied with developing his own business, putting in hours equivalent to full-time work, he is not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c).

FACTS: The claimant was a part-owner of an irrigation company. While collecting unemployment benefits, the claimant worked for his company in excess of 40 hours per week and received distributions from profits. During this period the claimant sought other work but his efforts were infrequent and indifferent. Claimant did not receive a paycheck from this company but did pay personal expenses out of the business’ account.

DECISION: The claimant was not unemployed within the meaning of Section 48 and was not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c). Claimant was properly subject to the penalties for fraud.

RATIONALE: Where the claimant is not ready, willing, able and anxious to resume work in industry, his efforts should be considered startup as opposed to self-help. With respect to availability, the claimant’s indifferent job search efforts established he was not truly attached to the labor market and therefore not available within the meaning of Section 28(1)(c). Claimant’s testimony was inconsistent and self-serving and therefore unreliable. In light of his representations to the Agency that he was not employed and his failure to disclose his connection to or responsibilities with his business, the assessment of penalties and sanctions was correct.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

Postema v Grand Rapids Diecraft Inc – 7.30

Postema v Grand Rapids Diecraft Inc
Digest no. 7.30

Sections 28, 54(b)

Cite as: Postema v Grand Rapids Diecraft Inc, unpublished opinion of the Ottawa Circuit Court, issued September 19, 1996 (Docket No. 95-23141-AA).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: James Postema
Employer: Grand Rapids Diecraft Inc.
Docket no.: B93-06258-127231W
Date of decision: September 19, 1996

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant was primarily engaged in establishing his own business, his mental attitude was not one of genuine attachment to the labor market. Where the claimant only sought work via networking with potential customers and other industry contacts, he was not “seeking work” and was not “available to work.”

FACTS: Claimant was laid off from an executive position in February, 1992. He received regular benefits then extended benefits until December 12, 1992. Claimant started his own tool and die business on August 15 as 51% owner. Corporate status was established week of August 9, 1992. During the first week the business grossed $24,000. After that, expenses exceeded profits. Claimant received no wages. For weeks ending August 29, 1992, and September 5, 1992, claimant failed to report self employment. Thereafter, he reported self employment but zero earnings. For week ending September 12, 1992, claimant reported 70+ hours at his business, but thereafter reported only 20 hours. Claimant sought work primarily through “networking” with contacts who were also potential customers. He never actually filled out any job applications.

DECISION: Claimant ineligible for benefits for period August 9, 1992, through December 12, 1992. Claimant must pay restitution and penalties only for some of the weeks in question as for the most part claimant disclosed his interest in self employment and the nature of his job seeking efforts.

RATIONALE: Claimant’s own testimony demonstrated that he was not diligently searching for employment or truly available for work. “His `mental attitude’ was not that of someone attached to the labor market; rather, it was that of an entrepreneur spending his time and energy trying to make his business successful.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

Kenkel v Tremec Trading Co – 4.30

Kenkel v Tremec Trading Co
Digest no. 4.30

Section 48

Cite as: Kenkel v Tremec Trading Co, unissued opinion of the Oakland County Circuit Court, issued January 30, 1995 (Docket No. 94-476557).

Appeal pending: No
Claimants: Matthew Kenkel
Employer: Tremec Trading Co.
Docket no.: B93-05246-126675W
Date of decision: January 30, 1995

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Self-employment does not, per se, disqualify an individual from receiving benefits so long as they receive no remuneration and remain genuinely attached to the labor market.

FACTS: Claimant’s job with employer was eliminated in April 1992. At that time, Claimant purchased 50 percent interest in a real estate franchise. Claimant was not involved in day to day running of business, but did assist with long term planning. He received no compensation for services provided. He testified that he was at all times available for and seeking work. Any time he spent at the business was to increase the equity of his holding.

DECISION: Claimant was unemployed within the meaning of Section 48.

RATIONALE: Claimant’s situation was compared and contrasted with that of claimants in Phillips v UCC, 323 Mich 188 (1948) and Bolles v ESC, 361 Mich 378 (1960). Found to be similar to facts of Bolles which enunciated test of whether or not claimant remained genuinely attached to the labor market despite his self-employment. Distinguish from Phillips, because claimant had not returned to a profession in which he had previously worked and he earned no remuneration. Citing Bolles, the court noted the intent of the Act is to foster industry and self-help, not idleness and inactivity.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
7/99

Anulli v Easy Cut Tool Corp – 7.32

Anulli v Easy Cut Tool Corp
Digest no. 7.32

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Anulli v Easy Cut Tool Corp, unpublished opinion of the Macomb County Circuit Court, issued November 8, 1990 (Docket No. 89-3688-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ettore Anulli
Employer: Easy Cut Tool Corporation
Docket no.: B87-15460-107554W
Date of decision: November 8, 1990

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where claimant spent time answering phones and giving quotes for 20 hours a week for a company in which he had substantial investment, and also was unable to show he was seeking work, he did not establish he was available for full time work.

FACTS: Claimant had a 51 percent ownership interest in the involved employer. It was decided to dissolve the business. Claimant filed for benefits. While collecting benefits claimant spent 20 hours per week at Vance, Inc., another business in which he had a substantial investment.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible under Section 28(1)(c).

RATIONALE: Court cites Dwyer v UCC, 321 Mich 178 (1948). Claimant spent substantial amount of time at Vance, Inc. while drawing benefits, although he wasn’t paid. He also failed to demonstrate that he was seeking work and therefore was unable to show a genuine attachment to labor market.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

Bateman v Jackson Industrial Manufacturing Co – 7.17

Bateman v Jackson Industrial Manufacturing Co
Digest no. 7.17

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Bateman v Jackson Industrial Manufacturing Co, unpublished opinion of the Kent County Circuit Court, issued May 5, 1980 (Docket No. 80 29462 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Robert L. Bateman
Employer: Jackson Industrial Manufacturing Company
Docket no.: B77 10805 RO2 62489
Date of decision: May 5, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: (1) Where a medical restriction limits an individual to seated work, which the claimant has never performed for wages, the claimant is not able and available for work. (2) Lack of counsel is not good cause for reopening. (3) A late appeal to the Board may be treated as a request for reopening.

FACTS: An equipment painter became medically restricted to seated work, which he had never performed for wages. He appeared before the referee without an attorney. His late appeal to the Board was treated as a request for reopening.

DECISION: The claimant is ineligible for benefits.

RATIONALE: “The Board of Review was within its authority in rejecting the so-called Delayed Appeal for lack of jurisdiction because of untimely filing and did properly refer it back to the Referee for a rehearing.”

“The claimant was fully advised of his rights to counsel..”

“[A]fter May 18, 1977 claimant was released and permitted by his doctor to perform ‘seated work only.’ Claimant did not meet the test of able and available for work requirements. The claimant’s testimony at the hearing indicated that all his work experience training and background has been in heavy work active jobs and not seated work.”

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

High Scope Educational Research Foundation v Easton – 7.19

High Scope Educational Research Foundation v Easton
Digest no. 7.19

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: High Scope Ed Research Foundation v Easton, unpublished opinion of the Washtenaw Circuit Court, issued September 25, 1979 (No. 78 15844 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Nick J. Easton
Employer: High Scope Educational Research Foundation
Docket no.: B77 8 55981
Date of decision: September 25, 1979

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where an unemployed person becomes the proprietor of an antique shop, but remains able and available and continues to seek work, the claimant is still attached to the labor market.

FACTS: The claimant was laid off from full-time employment in June, 1976. While still unemployed, he invested $3,500 and opened an antique shop. The claimant continued to look for employment at numerous places, made arrangements to have someone fill in for him if necessary, and was willing to give up the shop if he found suitable employment.

DECISION: The claimant was genuinely attached to the labor market.

RATIONALE: The Court followed the reasoning adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court in Bolles v ESC, 361 Mich 378 (1960), and concluded: “In the instant case, Mr. Easton was not ‘content to remain idle,’ and so opened the antique store. During the period in question, he lost money in all but one week. High Scope attempts to distinguish Bolles on the ground that Mr. Easton had a ‘large’ inventory (approximately $3,500.00) tied up in the store, and so could not ignore his store obligations, making him effectively unavailable for full-time employment. This court does not agree. The claimants in Bolles also had a substantial investment in their jewelry store. No figure is mentioned, but they did pay for the remodeling and redecoration of the building which they rented and paid for advertising. The Bolles court did not mention the investment by claimant as a factor for consideration.”

“There was ample evidence in the instant case that Mr. Easton had made arrangements to cover his shop obligations in the event he found a job. Further, this court does not consider $3,500.00 such a substantial inventory investment to preclude Mr. Easton from accepting a full-time job.”

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

Bolles v MESC – 7.01

Bolles v MESC
Digest no. 7.01

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Bolles v MESC, 361 Mich 378 (1960).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Lewis F. Bolles
Employer: Continental Motors Corporation
Docket no.: B56 362 18231
Date of decision: September 16, 1960

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: “. . . the test properly to be employed is that of genuine attachment to the labor market.”

FACTS: Claimants were laid off by the employer. Each had been trained in watch repair work and each had at one time or another engaged in this occupation. Consequently, they pooled their resources, rented a building, remodeled and redecorated, and opened it for business under the name of Muskegon Jewelers. They advertised and they did what work they could get. It wasn’t much. Each averaged about a dollar a day over the period in question.

During the period of seven weeks’ operation from October 30 through December 17, the period here involved, the claimants reported a total gain each of around $60.00 although some doubt is cast upon the accuracy of such figures as “gain” since additional expenses of almost the same amount had not been included in the computation. During this same period both claimants were actively seeking work in industry; both applied, unsuccessfully, for jobs referred to them by the Employment Security Commission, and both drew their unemployment compensation.

DECISION: Claimants were unemployed within the meaning of Section 48 of the Act.

RATIONALE: … all courts would undoubtedly agree that the Act was not intended to place a premium on idleness, to stifle initiative, or to penalize a laid-off worker’s attempt to make his time economically productive. The claimants before us, subsequent to their lay-off, continued seeking work. Each of them accepted referrals to other industrial employment. Each was ready, willing, able, and anxious to continue work in industry. They were genuinely attached to the labor market, neither casually nor as a matter of transition. There meager efforts to augment their unemployment checks did not break their genuine attachment to the labor market.

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