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Sekyere v. Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

May 20, 2014

GODFRED SEKYERE, Appellant,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD, Appellee.

Submitted: February 6, 2014

On Appeal from the Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board –REVERSED and REMANDED.

Godfred Sekyere, Pro Se Appellant, Lawrenceville, GA.

Catherine Damavandi, Esquire, Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Appellee the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.

OPINION

Diane Clarke Streett Judge

Introduction

Appellant Godfred Sekyere ("Appellant") appeals the July 9, 2013 decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (the "Board"). The Board found that Appellant's appeal to the Board was untimely under 19 Del. C. § 3318(c)[1]because Appellant had filed an appeal more than 10 days after the Appeals Referee's decision was mailed. The Board denied further review on that basis.

The record, however, reflects that the Delaware Department of Labor (the "DOL") initially mailed the Appeals Referee's decision to an incorrect address (some other unit number at Appellant's apartment complex), discovered the error two days later, and mailed the decision to Appellant's correct address of record the following day without adjusting the deadline for Appellant to file an appeal. Additionally, the record also shows that the DOL had mailed other notices (i.e., two disqualification determinations, one determination of an untimely appeal, and notice of a hearing on the issue of untimeliness) to an incorrect unit number.

Accordingly, the Board's decision is reversed and the matter is remanded for further proceedings.

Factual and Procedural Background

On November 30, 2011, Appellant completed and signed an "Initial Interstate Claim" form, in which he sought unemployment benefits effective November 27, 2011.[2] Appellant indicated on the form that his mailing address was: "158 Paper Mill Rd Apt 1102 Lawrenceville, GA 30046."[3]

There is no indication from the record what, if anything, transpired after Appellant submitted the Initial Interstate Claim form in November 2011 until more than two months later, when he submitted an enrollment verification to the DOL in February 2012.

On February 13, 2012, Appellant faxed a document to "Miss Austin" at the DOL which verified that Appellant was enrolled as a full-time student at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston, Georgia from January 9, 2012 through May 7, 2012.[4]

On February 15, 2012, the Claims Deputy issued a "Notice of Determination" that Appellant was ineligible to receive benefits under 19 Del. C. § 3315(3)[5], effective with or for the week ending January 14, 2012.[6] However, the record does not include a copy of the Claims Deputy's certification that the Notice of Determination was mailed to Appellant and, in any event, the unit number on the Notice of Determination differed from the unit number supplied by Appellant.[7]

On March 16, 2012, the Claims Deputy issued a Notice of Determination that Appellant was ineligible for the receipt of benefits under 19 Del. C. § 3315(2), effective with or for the week ending February 18, 2012.[8] The Claims Deputy certified that a copy of the Notice of Determination was mailed by first class mail to Appellant on March 16, 2012.[9]

The March 16, 2012 Notice of Determination was in response to an "Initial Interstate Claim" form for benefits effective March 4, 2012 which Appellant had completed on March 5, 2012.[10] Appellant again indicated on the form that his mailing address was: "158 Paper Mill Rd Apt 1102 Lawrenceville, GA 30046."[11]However, the address in the certification was, again, to an incorrect unit number.[12]

There is no indication from the record that Appellant or the DOL took any further action after the DOL issued the March 16, 2012 ineligibility determination and ...


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