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Judges order hearing on unemployment benefits

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A man, whose request for a continuance in a hearing regarding his unemployment benefits was denied by an administrative law judge, is entitled to a hearing on the matter, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

An administrative law judge determined that J.W.B. hadn’t shown good cause to grant his request for a continuance of a hearing regarding his receiving of unemployment benefits. His former company challenged the grant of benefits and the ALJ set the matter for a telephonic hearing on Nov. 10, 2010. On Nov. 3, J.W.B.’s counsel filed a motion for continuance because J.W.B.’s mother had just died and he would need to be out of state for six weeks and would not be available for the hearing. The ALJ denied the motion, finding he didn’t demonstrate good cause for the continuance.

On the day the hearing was set, J.W.B.’s attorney filed another motion for a continuance because J.W.B. was out of town and because she had another hearing with a different ALJ at the same time as J.W.B.’s hearing. The judge tried calling the attorney and got a busy signal. The ALJ issued her opinion that J.W.B. failed to participate and reversed the determination that J.W.B. was eligible for unemployment benefits. The Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development affirmed the ALJ’s decision.

In J.W.B. v. Review Board, No. 93A02-1101-EX-5, the Court of Appeals noted that except for the ALJ noting that J.W.B. didn’t participate in the hearing and that he didn’t sustain his burden of proof that he had voluntarily left his employment for good cause, her decision is silent about the conclusion that the grounds stated in support of the motions for continuance didn’t constitute sufficient cause for granting them. The review board’s wholesale adoption of the ALJ’s findings and conclusions is also silent about its conclusion that the denial of the motions for continuance should be affirmed, or whether that issue was even considered by it, wrote Judge James Kirsch.

The ALJ stated she denied J.W.B.’s motions because he hadn’t shown good cause. “Good cause” hasn’t been defined for purposes of a motion to continue an unemployment-benefits appeal hearing, wrote the judge, but it has been defined in other contexts relating to unemployment benefits.

“We believe the following passage ... is worth reproducing here: ‘While we agree no such definition appears in Indiana statutes, regulations, or the Review Board’s materials submitted in this case, the absence of definition would be a substantive issue as to lack of clarity in the law, not a procedural deficiency. While the lack of legal definition could, in some cases, impede this court’s review of a Review Board decision to the extent we must have some legal standard to apply to the facts found by the Review Board, it does not do so here, in part because we are not faced with a pure question of law,’" wrote Judge Kirsch, citing S.S. v. Review Bd. Of Ind. Dep’t of Workforce Dev., 941 N.E.2d 550 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011).

Disagreeing with the ALJ’s and review board’s conclusion that good cause was not shown, the judges ordered the review board to grant J.W.B. a hearing upon due notice.

Either of the reasons he gave for a continuance on their face constituted good cause, and he was prejudiced by the denial of his motions, the court concluded.

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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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