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Imbragulio v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board

Supreme Court of Delaware

December 4, 2019

ELIZABETH IMBRAGULIO, Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEALS BOARD, Cross-Appellant,
v.
CIVIC HEALTH SERVICES, LLC, Appellee/Cross-Appellee.

          Submitted: September 6, 2019

          Court Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware C. A. No. S19A-01-001

         Upon appeal from the Superior Court. REMANDED.

          Elizabeth Imbragulio, pro se, Seaford, Delaware.

          Tasha Marie Stevens, Esquire, Fuqua, Willard, Stevens & Schab, P.A., Georgetown, Delaware, Counsel for Appellee/Cross-Appellee.

          Daniel C. Mulveny, Esquire, Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Cross-Appellant.

          Before SEITZ, Chief Justice; VALIHURA and TRAYNOR, Justices.

          TRAYNOR, JUSTICE:

         Elizabeth Imbragulio appeals the Superior Court's May 1, 2019 decision that reversed the decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board ("the Board") and concluded that she had been terminated for just cause by her employer, Civic Health Services, LLC ("Civic Health"). The Board cross-appeals, arguing that the Superior Court lacked jurisdiction to consider Civic Health's appeal in the first instance because it was not filed in a timely manner. In brief, the issue raised by the cross-appeal is whether Superior Court Civil Rule 6(a)'s method for computing time applies to the requirement in 19 Del. C. § 3323(a) that a party seeking judicial review of a decision by the Board must do so within ten days after the decision becomes final. After careful consideration, we agree with the Board that it does not and therefore conclude that the Superior Court did not have jurisdiction over Civic Health's appeal. Accordingly, we direct the Superior Court to vacate its judgment.

         I

         In 2018, Imbragulio was employed by Civic Health as a part-time delivery driver and cleaner. On July 23, 2018, Civic Health accused Imbragulio of soliciting customers as well as working for a competing pharmacy and warned her that doing so was in violation of company policy. Civic Health fired Imbragulio for violating this policy the following day, on July 24, 2018.

         On September 4, 2018, a claims deputy concluded that Imbragulio was not entitled to unemployment benefits because Civic Health had discharged her with just cause. Imbragulio appealed the claims deputy's decision, and an appeals referee held a hearing on the matter on September 24, 2018.

         In a written decision mailed September 25, 2018, the appeals referee overturned the claims deputy's decision. The appeals referee found that the evidence did not support a finding of willful or wanton misconduct on Imbragulio's part in light of (i) the contested facts concerning the nature and extent of Civic Health's warning and (ii) Civic Health's failure to present evidence of a company policy. After a hearing, the Board affirmed the appeals referee's decision in a written decision mailed on December 12, 2018. The decision noted that it would become final on December 22, 2018.

         On January 7, 2019, sixteen calendar days after the Board's decision became final, Civic Health appealed the Board's decision to the Superior Court. The Superior Court found, as a matter of law, that Imbragulio's conduct justified her immediate termination without notice.[1] Imbragulio's appeal to this Court and the Board's cross-appeal followed.

         II

         In her opening brief on appeal, Imbragulio claims that the evidence presented below was insufficient to support a finding that she solicited for another pharmacy or profited from any customer's move to another pharmacy. Civic Health argues that the Superior Court's judgment should be affirmed. The Board takes no position on the merits of the Superior Court's decision.

         On cross-appeal, the Board argues that Civic Health's appeal was untimely because Civic Health was required to file its appeal within ten days, as provided by 19 Del. C. § 3323(a).[2] The Department of Labor, when computing time under Title 19, chapter 33, uses calendar days, [3] unless the last day of the time frame is a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, in which case the next business day is considered the deadline.[4] Following the Board's logic, a timely appeal of the Board's decision had to be filed on or before January 2, 2019.[5] Imbragulio joins in the Board's argument.

         In response, Civic Health contends that Superior Court Civil Rule 6(a)'s method for computing time applies. Rule 6(a) provides, in relevant part, that "[i]n computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these Rules, by order of court, or by statute, the day of the act, event or default after which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included…. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than 11 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and other legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation." Excluding intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, a timely appeal-if Rule 6(a) applies-needed to be perfected on or before January 8, 2019. ...


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