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

Subject: Mary Buchholz  v. LIRC and Georgia Anderson, Kidz Cab LLC, Case 13-CV-551 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Outagamie Co., January 10, 2014)

Digest Codes: PC 731 LIRC review, late petition

After the claimant failed to appear at a hearing on her appeal of determinations that she was ineligible for benefits, appeal tribunal decisions were issued dismissing the appeal and affirming the determinations. A month and a half later, the claimant filed a petition for LIRC review. The claimant explained her reasons for missing the original hearing, and described the reasons she thought she should be eligible for benefits. With respect to the lateness of her petition for LIRC review, the claimant surmised that perhaps an earlier appeal had been filed by e-mail.

LIRC issued a decision concluding that the petition for review was not timely and that the claimant had failed to show good cause that the reason the petition was untimely was beyond her control. Claimant appealed.

Held: LIRC's decision is affirmed. Given the strong level of deference to be afforded to LIRC, the court cannot conclude that LIRC erred in finding the claimant's excuse insufficient, considering that the appeal rights form provided to the claimant stated,

You may mail, fax or deliver your petition to this hearing office or the commission, or you may file your petition over the internet by following the directions at [LIRC's website]. Petitions filed on other on line forms will not be accepted,

and considering that while LIRC's website sets forth email addresses for itself, those addresses are followed by a note stating,

Appeals to LIRC (petitions for review) may NOT be filed by e-mail. Wis. Admins. Code ยง 1.025(2)

Petitioner was given notice in clear language as to the acceptable means of appeal, and she did not follow those mandates. Her claim that she "may" have filed an appeal via email is also not unequivocal, and she did not specify that the alleged email was sent within the required time period.

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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