07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Rodzik v Tri-Hospital EMS – 7.37

Rodzik v Tri-Hospital EMS
Digest no. 7.37

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Rodzik v Tri-Hospital EMS, Unpublished Opinion of the St. Clair County Circuit Court, Issued Sept. 7, 2007 (Docket No. 07-000683-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Genevieve Rodzik
Employer: Tri-Hospital EMS
Docket no.: 189568
Date of decision: September 7, 2007

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HOLDING: The Board of Review’s decision that claimant was physically unable to work was not supported by competent, material and substantial evidence on the record.

FACTS: Claimant Rodzik worked for Employer Tri-Hospital EMS for a number of years prior to going on disability leave on April 29, 2005. In August of 2005, Claimant requested additional leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, and she believed that her leave was to extend to January 2006. However, she was placed on “inactive status” on November 4, 2005, and she applied for unemployment benefits on December 2, 2005. She was denied unemployment compensation by the Bureau of Workers & Unemployment Compensation on January 18, 2006, which ruled that she was ineligible due to misconduct. The Bureau made a number of redeterminations finding that she was ineligible, one of which based on her inability to work.

Claimant appealed to the ALJ, which found that Claimant was able to perform full-time work on January 1, 2006, which is when she became eligible to receive benefits. Tri-Hospital appealed to the Board of Review, which found that Claimant had offered conflicting evidence regarding her ability to work in the form of two statements from her doctor. For this reason, the Board of Review found that Claimant did not establish that she was able to work, and determined Claimant was ineligible for benefits.

DECISION: The Circuit Court reversed the decision Board of Review, finding that Claimant was able to work and eligible for benefits beginning January 1, 2006.

RATIONALE: First, the Court determined that the Board of Review was able to properly consider the physician’s statement dated February 15, 2007, as the record indicates that it had been considered by the ALJ, and therefore could have been considered by the Board.

Next was the issue of whether the Board of Review’s decision was supported by competent, material and substantial evidence on the record, and it determined that it was not. The reasoning behind the Board of Review’s determination was allegedly conflicting statements from Claimant’s physician regarding when Claimant was physically able to resume work: one statement was a prospective estimate, while the other was a retrospective report of when Claimant was actually able to resume work. While these dates do not exactly align, there is nothing about an educated guess not precisely accurate which is later revised that indicates that Claimant was not physically able to work at the time later reported. Without this so-called evidence of conflicting information, there is nothing else that supports the Board of Review’s decision to find Claimant ineligible to receive benefits after January 1, 2006.

Digest Author: Nick Phillips
Digest Updated: 8/14