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Appellate court reverses ALJ in unemployment claim

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a company was not obligated to continue employing a driver who lost consciousness behind the wheel, but because he holds no fault for that incident, he is eligible for unemployment benefits.

In Delbert Conklin v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Carter Express, Inc., No. 93A02-1109-EX-864, Delbert Conklin appealed a finding by an administrative law judge that he was ineligible for unemployment benefits. Conklin was a truck driver for Carter Express when on May 24, 2011, he blacked out while driving, veering off the road and damaging the truck and its contents. He awoke in time to avoid hitting trees by the side of the road, and no evidence was presented to explain why he lost consciousness. He has no prior record of a similar event and no evidence suggests he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Carter terminated Conklin, and initially, a claims deputy held Conklin was entitled to unemployment benefits. But Carter appealed, and an ALJ held that Conklin was an “imminent safety hazard” and therefore not entitled to unemployment benefits.  

The COA reversed that decision, holding that Carter was not obligated to continue Conklin’s employment, and the record contains no evidence that the blackout was his fault. Therefore, Conklin did not breach a duty to Carter in the statutory sense and is eligible for unemployment benefits.




 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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