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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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