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Judges: early retirement ends unemployment benefits

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of unemployment benefits for an auto worker who accepted an early retirement package after she was laid off.

S.A. worked at Daimler Chrysler from 1999 until February 2008 when she was laid off. Chrysler still paid her some wages and she also received unemployment benefits. S.A. eventually accepted an early retirement package and no longer was an employee in May 2009.

Shortly thereafter, her unemployment benefits were suspended because a claims deputy determined she voluntarily left Chrysler without good cause in connection with the work. An administrative law judge and the Board of Review of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development also concluded that S.A. was ineligible to continue receiving benefits.

In S.A. v. Review Board, No. 93A02-1004-EX-568, S.A. argued that the board erred in determining she left her job without good cause in connection to the work. She claimed she felt pressure to retire because her benefits were running out and she was told there was no chance of her getting back to work and she needed the insurance the retirement would offer.

She also argued that she had been receiving unemployment benefits for 15 months before she took the retirement package and she was already unemployed at the time and accepting the package didn’t change her status.

The appellate court affirmed the board’s decision, finding it properly cited Indiana Code Section 22-4-14-1(c). That section says it does not apply “to a person who elects to retire in connection with a layoff or plant closure and receive pension, retirement, or annuity payments.”

The judges found her case to be similar to York v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division, 425 N.E.2d 707, 711 (Ind. Ct. App. 1981), in which the appellate court held an employee who accepted an early retirement package left his job without good cause in connection with the work. York argued he was forced to retire and by taking the retirement agreement, he had merely mitigated his economic losses.

“Although York predates the addition of subsection (c), we agree with its reasoning; therefore, we affirm the Board’s decision,” wrote Judge Terry Crone.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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