Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission --
Summary of Wisconsin Court Decision relating to Unemployment Insurance

Subject:   County of Clark v. LIRC and Arthur Edwards  (No. 97-CV-39, Wis. Cir. Ct., Clark County, January 7, 1998, John V. Finn, Portage County Circuit Judge, presiding)  No. 98-0427, Wis. Ct. App., District 4, November 19, 1998 (unpublished).

Please note that Wis. Stat. 809.23(3) provides that an unpublished decision of the Court of Appeals is of no precedential value and for that reason may not be cited in any court in this state as precedent or authority. Summaries of unpublished Court of Appeals decisions are included in this collection as an informational service only, and their use contrary to 809.23(3) is not encouraged.

Digest Codes: MC 617  MC 630.07  MC 687  General,  PC 733 PC 752

The employe worked for the employer for about 19 years as a deputy sheriff. While on duty in November 1993 he received a message to contact his daughter. He was unable to contact her by telephone and proceeded to her residence. Before going to the residence he met a local police officer and had him wait while he went to the residence. The employe spent about twenty minutes at the residence. During that time he noticed a bruise on his daughter's face that she explained as being caused by an accidental hit with a briefcase by her boyfriend. The employe then summoned the local police officer to the residence and introduced him to his daughter as someone she could talk to. The employe told the officer that there was no domestic abuse, that the bruise was the result of an accident and that any beating complained of was a financial beating.

The local officer reported the incident to his superiors who reported it to the sheriff. After an investigation a complaint was filed against the employe for obstructing a police officer. The employe was found guilty after a jury trial. The commission concluded that the conviction alone was not necessarily sufficient to establish misconduct and that the evidence in the record as to the conduct underlying the conviction was insufficient to establish misconduct.

The circuit court held that the employe was terminated after his conviction because the employer's rules prohibit unlawful conduct. The record established that the jury verdict found that the employe obstructed the local police officer by providing misleading information. The employer has a right to expect that its officers will not engage in such conduct. The behavior of the employe which resulted in the conviction is a violation of the employer's rules. The circuit court concluded that the commission's findings did not support its order of no misconduct and therefore set aside the commission's decision.

Held:  The commission's findings of fact are upheld if there is credible and substantial evidence in the record upon which reasonable persons could rely to make the same findings. The commission's findings will not be disregarded simply because there is evidence that runs contrary to the findings. Here the evidence relied on by the commission - Edwards' involvement of the other officer in the case - is credible and substantial. It supports the finding that Edwards' behavior did not amount to misconduct.

The commission was not required to confer with the appeal tribunal when it reversed the decision because the reversal was not based on credibility determinations. The appeal tribunal's decision was based solely on the existence of the conviction. The commission's decision is entitled to great weight. Therefore the circuit court is reversed and benefits are allowed.

Please note that this is a summary prepared by staff of the commission, not a verbatim reproduction of the court decision.

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