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COA orders new hearing due to lack of proof notice was mailed

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new evidentiary hearing on the merits of a woman’s application for unemployment benefits after holding that the Department of Workforce Development didn’t prove that it mailed notice of a hearing to the woman.

Melisa Digbie, who worked for Eaglecare LLC for six months, was receiving unemployment benefits when Eaglecare appealed to the DWD. The department scheduled a hearing before an administrative law judge Aug. 6, but Digbie nor her counsel appeared. The ALJ held that she was ineligible for unemployment benefits.

After learning she missed the hearing, Digbie appealed. Both parties appeared before a different ALJ on the issue of whether she could show good cause for not appearing at the meeting. That ALJ said she could not; Digbie appealed to the review board of the DWD, and it affirmed. The review board found that the evidence established a rebuttable presumption that the DWD had properly served Digbie notice of the hearing.

DWD failed to present any evidence to prove it mailed Dibgie notice of the Aug. 6 hearing, the COA pointed out. The DWD suggested that it was entitled to the rebuttable presumption of service because the notice of the Aug. 6 hearing was admitted into evidence by the first ALJ, so it was already part of the record when it was remanded to the second ALJ and did not require readmission.

“But the admission into evidence of the notice is not proof of mailing that notice,” Judge Edward Najam wrote in Melisa R. Digbie v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Eaglecare LLC, 93A02-1312-EX-1054.

“[T]hat the notice itself purports to state the ‘Mailing Date of this Document’ is not proof that it was actually mailed. To hold otherwise would permit countless letters to be deemed delivered simply because the letters themselves are written to say so,” Najam continued. “Moreover, satisfying this evidentiary burden is hardly difficult. For example, the agency need only offer testimony that the notice was mailed or produce evidence of a contemporaneous notation in the claimant’s file, similar to a CCS entry, that the notice was placed in the mail on a specific date.”

Because the DWD didn’t present evidence it mailed the notice, it was not entitled to the rebuttable presumption Digbie received notice of the Aug. 6 hearing, the court held.
 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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