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

Subject:  Klund, Craig  v. DWD and LIRC, Case No. 01-CV-269 (Wis. Cir. Ct., Chippewa Co., February 7, 2002)

Digest Codes: PC 711 - Hearing, Late Request for Hearing

Plaintiff was Vice President of a business which failed to pay its unemployment tax contributions. A determination was issued in 1993 finding plaintiff personally liable for the delinquent taxes. No appeal was filed from this determination. In 1999, a Notice of Levy was issued to plaintiff. He then filed, by facsimile transmission, an appeal (which was deemed to cover both determinations), but it was not received until the 22d day after the issuance of the Notice of Levy. After hearing limited to the issue of the lateness of the appeals, the Appeal Tribunal held that the appeals were untimely as to both the 1993 determination and the 1999 notice and that it had not been shown that they were late for a reason beyond plaintiff's control. On appeal, LIRC affirmed the Appeal Tribunal decision.

On appeal to the circuit court, plaintiff argued that he had been late in appealing the 1993 determination because he had been in prison when it was issued and had not received it and thus not known that the department was holding him personally liable.

Held: Affirmed. The court agrees that the commission's interpretation and application of the "beyond control" standard for late appeals should be accorded "great weight" deference, because it has been part of the statute for years, and the department and LIRC have significant experience with it and have decided many late appeal cases under that standard. The court points to the decisions in this area mentioned in the Digest of Wisconsin UC Cases, observing that it has found that Digest to be an invaluable reference in UC cases. On the issue before the Court, it notes that Klund offered no excuse for the lateness of his appeal of the 1999 notice, and that LIRC reasonably concluded that the excuse offered for not timely appealing the 1993 determination was not only inadequate but also inaccurate, as evidence showed Klund had other contacts with the department well before the time of his appeal showing that he had known that the determination had been issued and that the department was attempting to collect the delinquent taxes from him.

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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uploaded 2002/14/02