16. Procedures/Appeals

Whitcomb v Stowe Davis Furniture – 16.06

Whitcomb v Stowe Davis Furniture
Digest No. 16.06
Section 421.33

Cite as: Whitcomb v Stowe Davis Furniture, Unpublished Opinion of the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, Issued May 2, 1985
Court: The State of Michigan Court of Appeals
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Wayne Whitcomb
Employer: Stow Davis Furniture
Date of decision: May 2, 1985

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HOLDING: Ignorance of the law resulting from delay in seeking legal advice does not constitute good cause for reopening a referee’s decision under MCL § 421.33. See Herman v Chrysler Corp, 106 Mich App 709, 718-719; 308 NW2d 616 (1981). The date that an appeal is stamped received, not the date that it’s postmarked or mailed, constitutes filing of the appeal for the purpose of determining whether an appeal was filed within the time period prescribed by the Employment Security Act for the taking of an appeal from a referee’s decision under MCL § 421.33.

FACTS: Claimant appealed a decision from the Michigan Employment Security Commission’s (“MESC”) dismissing his application for reopening of the referee’s determination that Claimant was ineligible for benefits because he was discharged for work-related misconduct under MCL 421.29(l)(b). The circuit court affirmed the MESC’s decision. When the court found that Claimant did not make a timely request of reopening of the referee, Claimant then argued that he “didn’t know the law before and [he] didn’t know [he] should have come up and protest repayment of the money [he] owes to the Commission.” The court rejected such argument because Claimant had failed to show good cause as a matter of law. The record showed that Claimant knew that a decision by the referee was imminent, and Claimant was found to have admitted that he nevertheless moved without leaving a forwarding address.

DECISION: The court affirmed the MESC’s decision.

RATIONALE: Citing Cherry River Nat’l Bank v Wallace, 329 Mich 384, 389; 45 NW2d 332 (1951), the court found that a person is chargeable with constructive notice where he has the means of obtaining knowledge but does not use them. Therefore, Claimant had no one to blame but himself for his failure to receive notice of the decision and the failure to receive notice of the decision under these circumstances cannot constitute good cause.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 28, 2021