Categories
16. Procedures/Appeals

Gordon v. Miller Apple – 16.82

Gordon v. Miller Apple
Digest No. 16.82

Section 421.54

Cite as: Gordon v Miller Apple, unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued October 3, 2012 (Docket No. B2011-11754-RM9-228743W).

Court: Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission
Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Thomas Gordon
Employer: Miller Apple, LP
Date of decision: October 3, 2012

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HOLDING: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) 1) reversed an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) order denying rehearing, and 2) found the claimant had not committed fraud under Section 54(b).  

FACTS:  The Agency found Claimant disqualified for benefits and liable for penalties under the fraud provision of Section 54(b).  Claimant did not contest his ineligibility, but did deny that he had committed fraud under the statute.  Because both cases involve similar facts and points of law, they were docketed together for a hearing pursuant to Administrative Rule R421.1205.  Because the ALJ was unavailable, those hearings were cancelled and rescheduled for a subsequent date at 11:00am and 12:00 pm respectively.  Claimant’s attorney received only one of these notices of hearing, and thus told Claimant to arrive at noon on the day of the hearing.  When Claimant failed to appear for his 11:00 am hearing, he found the claim had been dismissed.  The ALJ subsequently found no good cause for Claimant’s failure to appear and denied his request for rehearing.  On the question of fraud, Claimant testified that while he did not contest his ineligibility, he did not commit fraud under Section 54(b).  Claimant had not reported his irregular part time earnings, but immediately began reporting them when informed of this requirement.

DECISION: The Commission made two holdings: on the question of Claimant’s request for rehearing, the Commission found good cause for Claimant’s failure to appear and set aside the ALJ order denying rehearing.  On the question of fraud, the Commission reversed the Agency determination finding fraud under Section 54(b), finding that Claimant did not intentionally misrepresent a material fact to obtain benefits to which he was not entitled.

RATIONALE: On the question of Claimant’s request for rehearing, the Commission found that the attorney’s failure to receive both notices of hearing established good cause for Claimant’s failure to appear at his first scheduled hearing.  On the question of fraud, the Commission found Claimant’s testimony credible in showing he did not intentionally misrepresent a material fact to the Agency to obtain benefits he was not entitled to, and thus did not commit fraud within the meaning of Section 54(b).  Here, Claimant incorrectly reported irregular part-time income to the Agency, but called the Agency to determine if and how to report these earnings.  As soon as Claimant discovered his error, he began reporting his earnings.  The Commission thus found that while he remained ineligible for benefits, he did not commit fraud under Section 54(b).

Digest author: Laura Page, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 27, 2017

Categories
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