16. Procedures/Appeals

Sanderson v. UIA – 16.94

Sanderson v. UIA
Digest No. 16.94

Section 421.32a & Section 421.62

Cite as: Sanderson v Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, unpublished decision of the Court of Claims, issued June 5, 2017 (Case No. 16-000083-MM).

Court: Court of Claims
Appeal pending: Yes
Plaintiff: Judy Sanderson, Albert Morris, Antonyal Louis, and Madeline Browne
Defendant: Unemployment Insurance Agency
Date of decision: June 5, 2017

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HOLDING: The Court granted the defendant’s motion for summary disposition because plaintiffs failed to satisfy the requirements of MCL 600.6431.

FACTS: Claimant Sanderson began receiving unemployment benefits in June 2009. The UIA issued redeterminations on September 26, 27, and 28, 2011 determining that Claimant was not entitled to benefits because she made intentional misrepresentations. The UIA gives three years from the date of the last redetermination to initiate administrative action or court action to recover improperly paid benefits. The UIA began collection efforts against Claimant in May 2014. Interception of her tax refund occurred on or about April 9, 2015.

DECISION: Plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice requirements found in MCL 600.6431. Claimant Sanderson’s complaint was filed on April 11, 2016, far more than six months after the first instance of wrongful garnishment.

The Court denied the plaintiffs’ request to amend the complaint and rejects the claim that summary disposition is premature because discovery has not yet begun.

RATIONALE: Plaintiffs’ claims do no meet the timing requirements of MCL 600.6431. This applies a six month notice deadline to file a complaint. The Court assumed without deciding that Plaintiffs’ interpretation of Section 421.62 is correct, which sets a three year period for collecting a debt. However, plaintiffs’ complaints were filed on April 11, 2016 and in order for them to satisfy the requirements under MCL 600.6431, the wrongs need to occur within six months of the filing date. None of the claims asserted fit the timeframe.

The Court denied leave to amend because there is no manner in which they could amend the complaint so that it complies with the requirements under MCL 600.6431.

The Court also determined that plaintiffs’ assertions were not enough to demonstrate that discovery is warranted in this matter.

Digest author: Sara Posner, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: December 26, 2017

16. Procedures/Appeals

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

16. Procedures/Appeals

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

16. Procedures/Appeals

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