TIMOTHY D. PUMPHREY, Appellant,
ALLEN HARIM FOODS and UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD, Appellee.
Appeal from a Decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal
Timothy D. Pumphrey, Pro Se Appellant.
C. Mulveny, Esq., and Victoria W. Counihan, Esq., Department
of Justice, Carvel, Attorneys for Appellee, Unemployment
Insurance Appeal Board.
Pumphrey ("Appellant") has appealed the decision of
the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ("UIAB" or
"Board") to deny Appellant's untimely appeal of
the decision of the Appeals Referee. Neither the Board nor
the employer has participated in this appeal. For the reasons
stated herein, the decision is AFFIRMED.
Factual and Procedural History
was terminated from his employment with Allen Harim Foods
("Employer"). Employer terminated Appellant for
alleged poor performance of responsibilities such as failure
to respond to emails, complaints, and lack of proficiency in
Employer terminated Appellant on June 22, 2018, while
Appellant was on medical leave.
22, 2018, Appellant applied for unemployment compensation
benefits. A Claims Deputy determined that Appellant was
discharged from his employment, without just cause, and was
entitled to recovery of unemployment compensation benefits.
On September 5, 2018, an Appeals Referee affirmed the
decision of the Claims Deputy.
a second hearing was held on the matter of overpayment of
unemployment compensation benefits to Appellant. The Claims
Deputy at this hearing determined that Appellant received
benefits, to which he was not entitled, and that there was an
overpayment as determined by the Department of Labor.
Appellant appealed the decision of the Claims Deputy and had
a hearing in front of an Appeals Referee on October 18, 2018.
The Appeals Referee affirmed the decision of the Claims
Deputy. In the Appeals Referee's written decision she
reasoned that Appellant was not eligible to receive
unemployment compensation benefits for the dates of June 23,
2018, June 30, 2018, July 7, 2018, and July 14, 2018. The
Appeals Referee reasoned that Appellant was not eligible for
these payments because he did not file his claim until July
22, 2018 and that 19 Del. C. § 3315 holds that
an individual cannot be found eligible to receive benefits
for weeks prior to the time the individual opens a claim for
decision of the Appeals Referee was mailed to Appellant on
October 24, 2018. The decision stated that the last day to
file an appeal with the Board before it became final and
binding was November 3, 2018. On November 8, 2018, Appellant
filed an appeal of the Appeal Referee's decision with the
UIAB. On November 13, 2018, Appellant had a hearing before
the UIAB and on November 28, 2018, the UIAB mailed Appellant
its written decision affirming the determination of the
Appeals Referee. The UIAB determined that Appellant's
appeal was untimely under 19 Del. C. §
3318(c) and declined to exercise its
discretion under 19 Del C. § 3320 to accept the
appeal sua sponte.
UIAB held that pursuant to 19 Del C. § 3318(c),
the Referee's Decision "shall be deemed final unless
within 10 days after the date of notification or mailing of
such decision further appeal [the Board] is initiated
pursuant to § 3220 of this title." Further, the
UIAB reasoned that the statutory time limit is jurisdictional
and noted that it may, in cases of severe circumstances,
exercise its discretion under § 3220 to accept an appeal
sua sponte. However, the UIAB declined to exercise
its discretion under § 3220 because the UIAB found no
evidence of Departmental error that prevented Appellant from
filing a timely appeal of the Referee's Decision. Nor has
Appellant provided any evidence of any severe circumstances
sufficient to justify the exercise of the UIAB's
discretion. Accordingly, the UIAB found that Appellant had
been given notice and opportunity to be heard sufficient to
satisfy the requirements of due process.
Standard of Review
reviewing the decisions of the Board, this Court must
determine whether the Board's findings and conclusions of
law are free from legal error and are supported by
substantial evidence in the record. Substantial evidence is
such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion. The Court's review is
limited: "[i]t is not the appellate court's role to
weigh evidence, determine credibility questions or make its
own factual findings, but merely to decide if the evidence is
legally adequate to support the agency's factual
reviewing the Board's decision, in this situation, the
Court's analysis is twofold. First, it is necessary to
determine whether or not the finding that the appeal was
untimely is supported by the facts in the
record. Second, "the Court must determine
whether the Board abused its discretion by not exercising,
sua sponte, its power to review the record for an
injustice despite the untimely appeal." This
Court will not disturb a discretionary ruling of an
administrative agency unless it is "based on clearly
unreasonable or capricious grounds."
Furthermore, "an abuse of discretion occurs where the
Board exceeds the bounds of reason in view of the
circumstances and has ignored recognized rules of law or
practice so as to produce injustice."