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COA: Dealership not denied due process

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The Indiana Court of Appeals directly addressed for the first time today the due process implications of an administrative law judge conducting a hearing without the participation of a party who received notice but couldn't be contacted by telephone at the time of the hearing. The appellate court found a car dealership's due process hadn't been violated when it failed to participate in a telephone hearing with the administrative law judge and a former employee.

In Art Hill, Inc. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and Terrence Horan, No. 93A02-0801-EX-34, Art Hill appealed the decision by the Unemployment Insurance Review Board to affirm the findings and conclusions of an administrative law judge who granted Terrence Horan's application for unemployment benefits.

Art Hill argued the review board erred in affirming the decision because it didn't participate in the hearing.

The Department of Workforce Development denied Horan's claim for unemployment benefits. After Horan filed a notice of appeal, the administrative law judge in Lafayette sent notice to Horan and Art Hill, who were in Gary, that the hearing would be held by telephone and both parties had to submit a number where they could be reached for the hearing. Art Hill called the administrative law judge's office two days before the hearing and gave a phone number with the extension 5353.

On the day of the hearing, the judge reached Horan but no one answered at the Art Hill number provided. The administrative law judge found the dealership failed to participate in the hearing and granted Horan's application. The review board affirmed the decision.

On appeal, Art Hill explained the 5353 extension didn't have a speakerphone so the dealership moved to a different number. It tried calling the administrative law judge's phone number but only got voicemail.

But the company failed to give reasonable notice that it could be reached at a different phone number and didn't leave someone at the original number who could transfer the call to the new number, wrote Judge Margret Robb. In addition, the company waited until 15 minutes after the hearing began to attempt to reach the judge.

Art Hill wasn't denied due process by not participating in the hearing, the Court of Appeals concluded. The appellate court turned to due process implications of the right to be present at a hearing in other contexts because it hadn't previously tackled the issue regarding a telephone hearing, and it saw no justification for treating the right to be present at an unemployment hearing any differently than the right to be present in any other context.

"Therefore, we hold that a party to an unemployment hearing may voluntarily waive the opportunity for a fair hearing where the party received actual notice of the hearing and failed to appear at or participate in the hearing," wrote Judge Robb.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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