Colene P. Lafferty-Eaton
T.D. Bank NA & The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board
Submitted: November 22, 2013
Upon the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment.
GRANTED. Dear Ms. Lafferty-Eaton, Mr. Wakley, and T.D. Bank NA:
Ms. Colene Lafferty-Eaton Appellant
T.D. Bank NA c/o TALX Appellee
Mr. James T. Wakley, Esquire Deputy Attorney General Delaware Department of Justice Attorney for Appellee Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board
RICHARD R. COOCH RESIDENT JUDGE
The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ("the Board") has moved to alter or amend this Court's decision on November 1, 2013 that reversed this case and remanded it to the Board. The Board's decision of March 4, 2013 had held that Appellant Colene Lafferty-Eaton ("Employee") had been discharged by her employer for just cause, and was thereby disqualified to receive unemployment benefits. Employee had been terminated in August 2012 for violation of company policy, after working as a teller for two years. She was initially granted unemployment benefits by a Department Claims Deputy; T.D. Bank NA ("Employer") appealed that decision to an Appeals Referee. Employer was represented by TALX, an Equifax subsidiary that handles unemployment cases on behalf of various employers. Following the decision of the Appeals Referee that Employee had been discharged for just cause, thus reversing the decision of the Department Claims Deputy, Employer failed to participate in any meaningful way in Employee's further appeals before the Board and before this Court. Employee appealed the decision of the Appeals Referee to the Board. The Board upheld the decision of the Appeals Referee, finding that Employee was disqualified from receipt of unemployment benefits.
Employee then timely appealed the Board's decision to this Court. Although Employer presumably received a copy of the Court's briefing schedule by letter of June 19, 2013, Employer failed to file an Answering Brief. On August 8, 2013, this Court issued a "Final Delinquent Brief Notice" but received no response from Employer. The Court then issued a decision on November 1, 2013, reversing the Board solely on the basis that Employer had failed to file an Answering Brief in accordance with Superior Court Civil Rule 107. The Court did not reach the merits of the Employee's original claims. The Board then filed the pending "Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment." Employee filed a Response in opposition to the Board's motion.
THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS
1. The Board's Contentions
The Board maintains this Court's decision needs to be corrected to prevent "manifest injustice." Its arguments in toto are the following:
This Court subsequently reversed the judgment of the Board not on the merits of that determination, but rather upon a finding that T.D. Bank's inexplicable nonparticipation warranted a finding of default. The Court did not address the merits of the case itself. The Board believes that this Court's decision unfairly burdens the Delaware Unemployment Compensation Fund (hereinafter the "Fund") with paying benefits to a woman twice deemed ineligible pursuant to 19 Del. C. § ...