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Bayhealth Medical Center v. Brenneman

Superior Court of Delaware

November 27, 2013

BAYHEALTH MEDICAL CENTER, Appellant,
v.
PATRICIA BRENNEMAN, AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD, Appellees.

Submitted: August 20, 2013.

Upon Consideration of Appellant's Appeal of Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, AFFIRMED.

David H. Williams, Esquire, James H. McMackin, III, Esquire, Morris James LLP, Attorneys for Appellant.

Patricia A. Brenneman, Pro Se Appellee.

OPINION

RAPPOSELLI, J.

INTRODUCTION

This is an appeal by Bayhealth Medical Center ("Employer") from a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ("the Board") in which the Board affirmed a determination that Patricia Brenneman, Appellee ("Claimant") was entitled to unemployment benefits because Employer failed to meet its burden that Claimant engaged in willful or wanton misconduct. This Court finds that there was substantial evidence to support this finding and the decision of the Board is, therefore, AFFIRMED.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[1]

Claimant was employed as a nurse by Employer from March 23, 1973 through her termination on August 10, 2012. On August 10, 2012, Claimant was the "charge nurse" in a unit of Employer's Women's Services Department. At approximately 8:45 a.m., Claimant received a phone call notifying her that there was a warrant for her arrest for nonpayment of a loan and that she would be served at her place of employment by local police in two hours if the situation was not corrected. She was extremely upset about the call and believed that she had 45 minutes to correct the situation or face an arrest. Before leaving her employment, Claimant asked one nurse to cover her patients, assigned another nurse to take over as charge nurse, and left a message for an on-call nurse to come in to work. Claimant checked her patients before leaving but did not document their charts. A replacement nurse arrived fifteen to thirty minutes after Claimant left. At some point after leaving, Claimant found out that the phone call was a scam. Claimant returned to work at approximately 12:45 p.m. As a result of the above incident, Claimant was discharged.

Claimant filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits on September 2, 2012. On September 27, 2012, the Claims Deputy found that Claimant had been discharged by Employer without just cause and was not disqualified from receiving employment insurance benefits pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 3314(2). This decision was appealed by Employer on October 4, 2012. On October 25, 2012, Claimant and an Employer representative participated in an Administrative Hearing before an Appeals Referee. The Appeals Referee affirmed the decision of the Claims Deputy that Claimant had been discharged without just cause in connection with her work.

On November 8, 2012 Employer appealed the decision of the Appeals Referee to the Board. Following a February 5, 2013 hearing, the Board affirmed the decision of the Referee and found that, under the circumstances, Employer failed to demonstrate that Claimant engaged in willful or wanton misconduct.

On March 7, 2013, Employer filed a Notice of Appeal with this Court and submitted its Opening Brief on July 9, 2013. Claimant filed an Answering Brief on July 22, 2013. Employer filed a Reply Brief on August 12, 2013.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of ...


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