02. Employer Liability, Tax Rate, Successorship

MESC v Park Lane Management – 2.22

MESC v Park Lane Management
Digest no. 2.22

Section 22

Cite as: MESC v Park Lane Mgt, unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, issued September 28, 1999 (Docket No. 210592).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: N/A
Employer: Park Lane Management
Docket no.: N/A
Date of decision: September 28, 1999

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The doctrines of res judicata, and collateral estoppel may preclude relitigation of MESC administrative decisions that are adjudicatory in nature. The defendant’s failure to timely appeal the MESC determination of successorship rendered that determination res judicata, to any subsequent challenges.

FACTS: Defendant provided information to the MESC, from which the MESC was able to determine that defendant acquired 100% of its predecessor’s Michigan assets. The MESC ruled that defendant was subject to the 10% unemployment tax rate. The MESC sent a notice of successorship determination to the defendant, which had 30 days to appeal. The defendant failed to timely appeal. Plaintiff sent revised 10% yearly rate notices to defendant’s correct address. Defendant’s witness denied seeing the notices but admitted that a secretary opened the mail and sent any tax-related documents to a firm that prepared defendant’s taxes.

DECISION: Plaintiff was entitled to collect $23,698.02 in disputed unemployment insurance taxes.

RATIONALE: Plaintiff relied on the “mailbox rule” to prove that defendant received the notice of successorship and yearly tax notices. “[P]roper addressing and mailing of a letter creates a [rebuttable] legal presumption it was received.” Stacey v Sankovich, 19 Mich App 688 (1969) . Plaintiff’s regularly conducted business included the mailing of 200,000 rate determinations and payment notices a year. In this matter, although direct proof that the notices were mailed to defendant was impractical due to the large volume of mailing plaintiff generated, “evidence of the settled custom and usage of the sender in the regular and systematic transaction of its business may be sufficient to give rise to a presumption of receipt by the addressee. ” Insurance Placements v Utica Mutual Ins, 917 SW2d 592, 595 (1996). Plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to give rise to the common-law presumption that defendant received the mailed notices, which defendant failed to rebut.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 11/04

10. Voluntary Leaving

Webber v Lansing Insurance Agency – 10.18

Webber v Lansing Insurance Agency
Digest no. 10.18

Section 29(1)(a)

Cite as: Webber v Lansing Ins Agency, unpublished opinion of the Ingham Circuit Court, issued April 18, 1980 (No. 78-22105 AA).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Bobbi Webber
Employer: Lansing Insurance Agency
Docket no.: B77 7500 55662
Date of decision: April 18, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Good cause for voluntary leaving may be found where the claimant felt discriminated against, even where a final order of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission has found no actionable discrimination.

FACTS: The claimant resigned and filed a Civil Rights Commission complaint alleging sex discrimination. An M.E.S.C. referee found good cause for voluntary leaving. The Civil Rights complaint was dismissed, but the Board of Review subsequently affirmed the referee.

DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for voluntary leaving.

RATIONALE: “The binding effect of administrative rulings has been dealt with by the Court of Appeals in the case of Strachan v Mutual Aid Club, 81 Mich App 165 (1978).” “The court illustrates that once an administrative order becomes final, res judicata will attach.” “The Michigan Employment Security Commission is barred from making an actual finding of fact that actionable discrimination here exists.” “[T]he Referee did not determine that there was actionable discrimination. Rather, the decision is founded upon appellee’s belief that her employer had discriminated against her.” “This determination is a far cry from a finding of actionable discrimination, and that is the only holding which can be barred by res judicata.”

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