Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Szypa v. Kasler Electric Company – 16.07

Szypa v Kasler Electric Company
Digest no. 16.07

Sections 33 & 34

Cite as: Szypa v. Kasler Electric Company, 136 Mich. App. 116 (1984).

Appeal pending: No
Date of decision: July 9, 1984
Court: Court of Appeals of Michigan

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where the notice of hearing limits itself to an issue, where neither party requests an adjournment for further development of additional issues, where the Board of Review does not remand for the taking of further testimony on such additional issues and, where a knowing and informed waiver of an adjournment of the referee hearing was not obtained from the parties, the decision of the referee must be limited to the issue contained in the notice of hearing.

FACTS: The Referee limited his decision to the issue contained in the notice of hearing which was voluntary leaving. Employer attempted to introduce evidence of claimant’s misconduct. Employer appealed to the Board of Review. The appeal did not mention the misconduct discharge issue. The Board of Review decided that claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with work. The Circuit Court reversed the Board of Review because the decision was based upon an issue not properly before the Board.

DECISION: The Referee’s decision was appropriate based upon the admissible evidence presented; and the decision of the Circuit Court reversing the Board of Review was correct.

RATIONALE: ” … if the notice of hearing does not place the parties on notice of an issue which is raised at the referee hearing the hearing shall either be adjourned for a reasonable time if requested by either party, or in any event, evidence shall not be taken on the issue nor a decision be made thereon unless a knowing and informed waiver of adjournment is obtained from the parties.

“The employer and the referee had the opportunity to adjourn the hearing to allow the employee to gather rebuttal evidence on the misconduct issue and they failed to do so. The Board had the authority to remand the case for further testimony and it failed to do so. The employee had the right to assume that the only issue before the referee was whether he had voluntarily quit … ”

EDITORS NOTE: Also see Rule 1410 of MCAC/MAHS Rules of Practice (R. 792.11410) which has been revised since Szypa. (SG – 06/16)

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
 11/91

Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Snyder v RAM Broadcasting – 16.34

Snyder v RAM Broadcasting
Digest No. 16.34

Section 29

Cite as: Snyder v RAM Broadcasting, unpublished opinion of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, issued April 26, 1983 (Docket No. 8223718AE).

Court: Washtenaw Circuit Court
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ann Snyder
Employer: RAM Broadcasting
Date of decision: April 26, 1983

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HOLDING: The court held that a hearing notice was deficient under the Administrative Procedures Act and the due process clause of the Michigan and United States Constitutions where (1)  it was not a plain statement  of the matters asserted and (2) even if understandable, was not listed in the notice of hearing as an issue which would be presented before the referee.

FACTS:  Claimant filed a timely appeal after the Agency disqualified her from benefits under the Voluntary Quit provision of Section 29(1)(a).  During her hearing, testimony was taken regarding her availability to work and efforts to obtain a job during the period in which she claimed benefits. As a result, she was found disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(a) and the seeking work provision of Section 28.  On appeal, the claimant sought reversal of the of the judge’s finding on the “seeking work” issue.  She alleged that she did actively seek employment and was denied a fair hearing on this issue in violation of the Michigan Employment Security Act and the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions.

DECISION: The court held that the hearing notice was deficient under the Administrative Procedures Act and the due process clauses of the Michigan and United States Constitutions. In addition, the referee’s failure to inform the claimant of all issues he planned to decide during the hearing, along with the consequences of failing to meet her burden of proof violated the fairness requirement of Section 33 of the Michigan Employment Security Act.

RATIONALE: The court found that the hearing notice violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) provision requiring “a short and plain statement of the matters asserted.”  Here, the court found that “words and phrases divided by slashes and followed by a string citation . . . do not provide a reasonably understandable notification that an issue will be considered, especially when the notification is intended for a lay person.”  

In discussing the due process requirements under the state and federal constitutions, the court cited Hanson v State Board of Registration, 253 Mich 601, 607 (1931), holding that unless the right is waived, a party before a state agency is “at least entitled to a reasonably definite statement of the charge or charges preferred against the accused.”  Here, the court found that the notice of hearing was not reasonably calculated to inform the claimant of the pendency of the seeking work issue: “Whatever the purpose of this convoluted array of words and slashes, it was not to intelligibly notify the plaintiff that her entire benefits package prior to the hearing date was in jeopardy if she did not affirmatively prove her efforts in search of employment.” Thus, the hearing notice was deficient under the APA and the Michigan and United States constitutions.

The court further held that Ms. Snyder was denied a fair hearing where she was not apprised of all the issues the referee intended to decide, along with the consequences of the plaintiff’s failure to carry her burden of proof.  As a result, Ms. Snyder’s hearing violated the fairness requirement of Section 33 of the Act.

Digest author: Laura Page, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 1, 2017