16. Procedures/Appeals

Cotton v. Express Employment Professionals – 16.93

Cotton v. Express Employment Professionals
Digest No. 16.93

Section 421.62

Cite as: Cotton v Express Employment Professionals, unpublished opinion of the Maycomb County Circuit Court, issued June 5, 2017 (Docket No. 2016 -4047-AE).

Court: Macomb County Circuit Court
Appeal pending: Yes
Claimant: Yvette Cotton
Employer: Express Employment Professionals
Date of decision: June 5, 2017

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HOLDING: The court found that the Agency lacked jurisdiction to issue a redetermination of the claimant’s “benefit check determinations” under 32a(2), which holds that the Agency must have good cause to reconsider a prior determination or redetermination after the 30-day period has expired and must re-open within a year of the previous determination. The court therefore found it unnecessary to address the timeliness of the claimant’s subsequent protests.

FACTS: Claimant had received benefits and the Agency issued her redeterminations accusing her of committing fraud. She was required to repay the amount received in benefits plus penalty. The Agency did not receive a timely employer protest, and the employer did not show good cause for issuing a late protest.

The Agency argued that the benefit check determinations under 32(f) of the Act were sufficient to allow it to issue redeterminations. The Court disagreed.

DECISION: The Court’s decision rested on procedural due process. It decided that the method employed by the Agency in issuing the redetermination violated claimant’s due process rights. The court remanded for further proceedings to determine the basis for the determinations, but noted it did not need to reach Claimant’s good cause for late appeal, as the redeterminations were issued erroneously.

RATIONALE: The court’s decision stemmed from both a statutory construction of the MESA and due process. The court demurred the Agency’s contention that section 62 of the Act gave it authority to issue determinations and redeterminations. Rather, the court reasoned, MESA gives the Agency authority under 32a. This means that the Agency does not have broad, sweeping authority, over the course of three years, to make determinations and redeterminations. They must do so within the parameters of 32a and 32.

The court made clear that the deficiencies in the Agency’s process meant the court did not need to address Claimant’s good cause for reopening.

Digest author: Travis R. Miller, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: January 2, 2018

16. Procedures/Appeals

Jenkins v. UIA – 16.83

Jenkins v. UIA
Digest No. 16.83

Section 421.38

Cite as: Jenkins v UIA, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued March, 7, 2013 (Docket Nos. 309625 & 309644).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Gary Jenkins
Employer: Unemployment Insurance Agency
Date of decision: March 7, 2013

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HOLDING: The courts only have subject matter jurisdiction with respect to Unemployment Insurance matters once all administrative proceedings are complete.

FACTS: On November 8, 2011, the ALJ mailed a decision holding that claimant was entitled to benefits under MCL 421.1 et seq. conditioned on Claimant’s being “otherwise eligible and qualified.” Claimant submitted the ALJ’s decision to the UIA, but the UIA refused to pay. Instead, the UIA initiated an investigation in order to determine whether MWJ Construction (Claimant’s employer) was an “employer” within the meaning of the MESA.  Claimant then filed a complaint requesting the circuit court to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the director of the agency to pay Claimant benefits. On January 27, 2012, the circuit court ordered the UIA to pay Claimant benefits. The UIA did not pay and on February 20, 2012, Claimant filed an ex parte motion for an order to show cause regarding why the UIA should be held in civil contempt for failure to comply with the court’s order. Two days before the show-cause hearing, the UIA tendered a check to the court in the full amount due to Claimant. The check was payable to the court and Claimant. At the show-cause hearing, the court found that the tendered check did not comply with the court order because it was payable to the court and Claimant instead of being payable solely to Claimant. The court found the UIA in contempt of court, ordered the UIA to pay Claimant in accordance with the January 27 order, and ordered the UIA to pay attorney fees and costs in connection with the contempt proceedings. The UIA appealed as of right from the order granting Claimant’s request for a writ of mandamus. Additionally, the UIA appeals by leave granted from an order finding the UIA in civil contempt.

DECISION: The court vacated both orders because the circuit court did not have subject matter jurisdiction in these matters.

RATIONALE: Direct review by the courts is only available when all administrative remedies available within the agency have already been exhausted by the parties. MCL 24.301. This is required because: (1) an untimely resort to the courts may result in delay and disruption of an otherwise cohesive administrative scheme; (2) judicial review is best made upon a full factual record developed before the agency; (3) resolution of the issues may require the accumulated technical competence of the agency or may have been entrusted by the Legislature to the agency’s discretion; and (4) a successful agency settlement of the dispute may render a judicial resolution unnecessary. Int’l Business Machines Corp v Dep’t of Treasury, 75 Mich App 604, 610; 255 NW2d 702 (1977).

Here, the standard procedures under MCL 421.33 were not followed with respect to the questions of whether MWJ Construction was an “employer” and whether plaintiff’s claim was valid. The ALJ did not explicitly decide whether MWJ Construction was an employer in the order, and the order was conditioned on Claimant’s being “otherwise eligible and qualified.”  As a result, the UIA was in the process of determining whether MWJ Construction was an employer, at the time the circuit court took jurisdiction. Since the administrative process was ongoing, the circuit court’s assumption of jurisdiction was in error.

Digest author: Cydney Warburton, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 3/30/2016

16. Procedures/Appeals

Hurley Medical Center v. Thames – 16.77

Hurley Medical Center v. Thames
Digest No. 16.77

Section 421.38(1)

Cite as: Hurley Medical Center v Thames, unpublished opinion of the Genesee County Circuit Court, issued September 5, 2006 (Docket No. 06-84151-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Kimberly Thames
Employer: Hurley Medical Center
Date of decision: September 5, 2006

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HOLDING: Under MCL 421.38(1), a reviewing court can only obtain jurisdiction over an appeal if the appeal is filed within 30 days of a lower court’s decision.

FACTS: On June 20, 2006, Appellant Hurley Medical Center filed an application for leave to appeal with the Genesee County Circuit Court. Appellee filed its answer on July 10, 2006. During their hearing, Appellee argued that Hurley’s appeal was filed outside the thirty day statutory appeal period required by MCL 421.38(1) and moved to dismiss Hurley’s leave to appeal. The Genesee County Circuit Court issued an order dismissing Hurley Medical Center’s application for leave to appeal on August 16, 2006. Hurley filed a motion to reconsider with the Court.

DECISION: The Court denied Hurley Medical Center’s motion for reconsideration because Hurley failed to show that the Court’s August 16, 2006 decision contained palpable error.

RATIONALE: MCL 421.38(1) requires a party to file an appeal within 30 days of a lower court’s decision. In Gunderson v Rose Hill Realty, 136 Mich App 559 (1984), the Michigan Court of Appeals held that MCL 421.38 is a jurisdictional statute. This means that a reviewing court can only obtain jurisdiction over an appeal if the appeal is filed within the 30 day period required by MCL 421.38(1).

The Genesee County Circuit Court denied Hurley’s application for leave on jurisdictional grounds on August 16, 2006 because the application for leave was filed beyond the thirty day period provided by MCL 421.38(1). In its motion for reconsideration, Hurley merely presented the same issues from its earlier application for leave and failed to demonstrate that the Court’s August 16, 2006 decision contained palpable error. For that reason, the Court denied Hurley’s motion for reconsideration.

Digest author: Sean Higgins, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

16. Procedures/Appeals

Barbee v. J.C. Penney – 16.73

Barbee v. J.C. Penney
Digest No. 16.73

Section 421.29(b), 421.33, 421.34, 421.38

Cite as: Barbee v JC Penney Corp, Inc, Unpublished Opinion of the Circuit Court for the County of Oakland, Issued January 26, 2006 (Docket No. 177083W).

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Appeal Pending: No
Claimant: Della M. Barbee
Employer: J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc.
Tribunal: Circuit Court for the County of Oakland
Date of Decision: January 26, 2006

HOLDING: The State of Michigan Employment Security Board of Review’s (“Board”) lacks jurisdiction to review untimely appeals.

FACTS: Claimant was employed by J.C. Penney as a Customer Service Associate until she was discharged for misconduct. Her alleged misconduct included obtaining fraudulent refunds, discount abuse, and unauthorized price adjustments. The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) disqualified the claimant from benefits due to her misconduct under MCL 421.29(b).

Claimant appealed the ALJ’s decision to the State of Michigan Employment Security Board of Review (“Board”). The deadline to appeal was September 24, 2004, but claimant did not file her appeal until October 6, 2004. Pursuant to MCL 421.33, the Board dismissed the late appeal due to lack of jurisdiction.

Claimant did not seek rehearing or to reopen the case with the Board for good cause but instead, appealed to the Circuit Court (“Court”) for de novo review of the Board’s (1) arbitrary Appeal deadline and (2) the underlying determination in finding the Plaintiff guilty of misconduct.

DECISION: The Board’s deadlines cannot be challenged as arbitrary because they were set by the legislature and codified as MCL 421.33(2) and MCL 421.34. Additionally, the Circuit Court cannot de novo review claimant’s underlying determination because she appealed the Board’s decision. Finally, the Board’s order dismissing claimant’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction was proper.

RATIONALE: The Circuit Court ruled that the appeal deadlines were not arbitrary because they were established by the legislature through MCL 421.33(2) and MCL 421.34.

The Court also denied claimant’s appeal for de novo review of her underlying determination as guilty of misconduct. The Court noted that a claimant can appeal a referee’s (ALJ’s) decision to the Circuit Court directly under MCL 421.38(2). However, because the claimant appealed the Board’s decision and said decision did not include a review of claimant’s determination as guilty of misconduct, the Circuit Court lacks authority to de novo review the claimant’s guilty determination.

The Circuit Court reviewed the whole record to determine if claimant’s appeal was untimely. Pursuant to MCL 421.38(1), the standard for finding an appeal untimely is support by competent, material, and substantial evidence. After finding that the appeal was untimely under the standard, the Court affirmed the Board’s decision dismissing claimant’s untimely appeal for lack of jurisdiction under MCL 421.33.

Digest Author: Sean Higgins, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest Updated: 3/27/2016

02. Employer Liability, Tax Rate, Successorship

MESC v Monkman Construction – 2.20

MESC v Monkman Construction
Digest no. 2.20

Sections 18(d)(2), 32a

Cite as: MESC v Monkman Constr, unpublished per curiam Court of Appeals, issued May 7, 1996 (Docket No. 176053).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: N/A
Employer: Monkman Construction
Docket no.: L92-02019-2287
Date of decision: May 7, 1996

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Where employer failed to request redetermination of its tax rate for more than one year after issuance of rate determination, reconsideration was time barred and Referee properly dismissed case for lack of jurisdiction.

FACTS: Employer’s contribution rate was set at 10 percent and a determination to that effect was issued on February 14, 1990. Employer failed to submit a quarterly report for 1989. The 30 day protest period ended March 16, 1990. Employer submitted the missing report on March 27, 1990, but did not request redetermination of its rate until November 19, 1991, more than a year after the determination was issued.

DECISION: Redetermination of tax rate denied due to lack of jurisdiction.

RATIONALE: Section 32a(2) bars appeals filed more than one year after prior decision or determination. Statutory time restrictions on seeking review of unemployment tax assessments are jurisdictional. As a result, the “good cause” analysis was inapposite.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Walters v Kelsey Hayes Wheel Co – 4.08

Walters v Kelsey Hayes Wheel Co
Digest no. 4.08

Section 48

Cite as: Walters v Kelsey Hayes Wheel Co, unpublished opinion of the Wayne Circuit Court, issued January 31, 1980 (Docket No. 74 005517 AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Johnnie Walters
Employer: Kelsey Hayes Wheel Co.
Docket no.: B73 1040 43943
Date of decision: January 31, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Back pay received as the result of a Civil Rights Commission settlement agreement more than one year after benefits are paid, is remuneration under Section 48 of the Act and is good cause for redetermination of the claimant’s eligibility.

FACTS: The claimant filed a complaint with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in July, 1967, following his discharge by the employer. “On September 29, 1972, claimant and employer settled the Civil Rights claim by a stipulation which provided that the employer pay to the claimant back pay totaling $9,897.75.” “On October 30, 1972, employer notified the MESC of the stipulated settlement and requested a redetermination of claimant’s eligibility for benefits.”

DECISION: The back pay is remuneration under the Act.

RATIONALE: “The Commission held that inasmuch as more than one year has elapsed since the time the benefit payments were paid, the Commission lacked jurisdiction to redetermine claimant’s eligibility.

“The Referee reversed the Commission.”

“The transcript of the proceedings before the Referee on February 28, 1973, makes it clear that the settlement of $28,609.31 specifically included $9,897.75 as back pay for the time which claimant had drawn unemployment.”

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

04. Total or Partial Unemployment

Brown v LTV Aerospace Corp – 4.01

Brown v LTV Aerospace Corp
Digest no. 4.01

Section 48

Cite as: Brown v LTV Aerospace Corp, 394 Mich 702 (1975).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Russell W. Brown, et al.
Employer: LTV Aerospace Corporation
Docket no.: B70 773 38400
Date of decision: September 8, 1975

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: (1) A pro-rata vacation allowance at the time of layoff is not a termination allowance and may be considered as vacation pay. (2) Where claimants are not numerous enough to require a class action, and their consolidated appeal is filed in a circuit other than Ingham, the appeal must be dismissed as to any claimant not residing in the circuit of filing.

FACTS: At the time of layoff, the claimants were paid a pro-rata share of their annual vacation pay. These payments were held to be remuneration under Section 48 of the Act. The claimants appealed to Macomb Circuit Court, where the appeal was dismissed as to claimant Boyer because he resided in Oakland County.

DECISION: (1) The pro-rata vacation pay was remuneration. (2) Boyer’s appeal was properly dismissed.

RATIONALE: (1) Analysis of the union contract ” … indicates that the agreement speaks of vacation pay to an employee regularly employed, of one ‘at the time of termination’ and one ‘terminated for lack of work and subsequently recalled’ in exactly the same way. The emphasis is all on guaranteeing vacation pay in accord with credit earned because of time worked. The system is integral and it is no different ‘at time of separation’ from either regular annual anniversary payments or payments of allowances for those terminated and then recalled.”

“The language of the statute is unambiguous, and it is clear that under [Section] 38 Boyer should have filed his appeal in either Oakland Circuit Court, the circuit court of the county in which he resided, or the Ingham Circuit Court.

Section 38 is a statutory grant of jurisdiction to certain circuit courts; if an appeal is improperly filed in the wrong court, that court has no option but to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction.”

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