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Han v. Apple American Group

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

January 27, 2014

STEVE HAN, Appellant,
v.
APPLE AMERICAN GROUP and UNEMLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD Appellees.

Submitted: October 22, 2013

On Appeal from the Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.

Steve Han Pro Se Appellant.

James T. Wakley, Esquire, Delaware Department of Justice, Attorney for Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.

ORDER

Calvin L. Scott, Jr. Judge

Introduction

Before the Court is Appellant Steve Han's ("Appellant") appeal from the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (the "Board"). The Court has reviewed the record below and submissions by Appellant and the Board. For the following reasons, the decision of the Board is AFFIRMED.

Background

On March 8, 2013, a Claims Deputy determined that Appellant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he was terminated for just cause. The determination provided: "This determination becomes final on 3/18/2013 unless a written appeal is filed. Your appeal must be received or postmarked on or before the date indicated..."[1] On March 20, 2013, twelve days after the date of the decision, Appellant filed an appeal.

On March 25, 2013, the Appeals Referee determined that, according to §3318(b), the Claims Deputy's decision became final and binding on March 18, 2013, ten calendar days after the date of the decision, due to Appellant's failure to timely appeal. Nevertheless, the Appeals Referee scheduled a hearing to address the timeliness of the appeal.

The hearing was held on April 12, 2013 and was attended via telephone by Appellant and Marge Perry ("Ms. Perry"), a representative of the Department of Labor ("the Department"). Appellant verified his address when prompted by the hearing officer. Thereafter, Ms. Perry testified that the March 8th determination was mailed to the address verified by Appellant and that she was not aware of any return by the postal service showing that the mail was undeliverable. Appellant testified that he spoke to an employee at the Department on February 25th who informed him that he would not receive notice for two or three weeks. Appellant stated that he went to the office on March 20th after three weeks passed and he had not received any notice. That day, Appellant filed his appeal after he was informed that the letter had been mailed and that he missed the deadline.

The Appeals Referee issued a decision affirming the decision of the Claims Deputy.[2] The Appeals Referee quoted § 3318(b) and explained that the ten-day filing period began to run on the date of mailing unless a mistake by employees of the Department of Labor is shown. The Appeals Referee found that the determination was mailed on March 8, 2013 to Appellant's address of record and that "[t]here was no evidence to suggest that [Appellant's] late filing of his appeal was the result of any mistakes or errors made by the Department of Labor in the mailing of the determination."[3] Consequently, the Appeals Referee determined that it lacked jurisdiction to determine the merits of the appeal.[4]

On April 18, 2013, Appellant timely appealed the decision of the Appeals Referee to the Board. Appellant explained that he was never informed about the time period and that he did not receive the determination in time to appeal. Applying ยง 3318(b), the Board found that the determination was mailed to Appellant's address of record and that there was no evidence of departmental error which prevented Appellant from timely ...


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