Submitted: July 30, 2014
Upon an Appeal from the Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
Olivia Spencer, pro se
Catherine Damavandi, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware; attorney for the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
WILLIAM L. WITHAM, JR. RESIDENT JUDGE
Before the Court is the pro se appeal of Appellant Olivia Spencer (hereinafter "Appellant") from the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (hereinafter "the Board" or "the UIAB") denying Appellant's appeal as untimely pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 3318(b). The Court has reviewed the record in this matter and the parties' submissions. For the following reasons, the Board's decision is affirmed.
This matter stems from a decision by the Delaware Department of Labor (hereinafter "the Department") to Appellant finding her disqualified for benefits per 19 Del. C. § 3314(6) and 3325. On September 6, 2012, the Department mailed the Notice of Determination informing Appellant she had been disqualified from receiving benefits due to fraudulent actions. The notice stated that the decision would become final on September 16, 2012, unless an appeal was filed. Appellant received the notice on September 7, 2012, and claims she faxed a request for an appeal on the same date. However, no such fax was received nor does a record of one exist. Appellant did not file an appeal until January 31, 2013.
In November 2012, Appellant contacted the Benefit Payment Control Unit and was told she would be receiving the date of a hearing shortly, however, this was in regards to an overpayment claim, and not the fraudulent claim against Appellant from September 2012. In January 2013, Appellant attended the hearing regarding overpayment of benefits, believing its purpose was to address the September claim. On January 31, 2013, Appellant subsequently filed an appeal of the September 6, 2012 decision.
On February 28, 2013 the Appeals Referee issued a decision affirming the determination by the Claims Deputy that the appeal was untimely. The Referee noted at the hearing that the address to which Appellant's notice was sent was her address of record at the time of the mailing. The Appeals Referee also noted that nothing was returned by the Post Office to indicate service of process had not been successful. The Appeals Referee concluded that the appeal was untimely pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 3318(b).
Appellant timely appealed the Appeals Referee's decision to the Board. The Board found no error in the Appeals Referee's findings or conclusions, and on March 18, 2013, issued its decision affirming the Referee, finding the appeal was untimely according to 19 Del. C. § 3318(b).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When this Court reviews a procedural decision of the UIAB–which is a discretionary decision, as opposed to a factual decision that would trigger substantial evidence review–the Court must determine whether the UIAB abused its discretion in rendering its decision. There is no abuse of discretion unless the Board based its procedural decision "on clearly unreasonable or capricious grounds" or the Board "exceeds the bounds of reason in view of the circumstances and had ignored recognized rules of law or practices so as to produce injustice." If there ...