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160843-4 - Dep't of Licensing & Reg Affairs v Frank Lucente/ Michael Herzog

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs/Unemployment Insurance Agency,

 

Jason Hawkins

 

Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Macomb – Druzinski, D.)

 

Frank Lucente,

 

Rachael Kohl

 

Claimant-Appellant,

 

and

 

 

Dart Properties II, LLC,

 

 

_____________________________

Employer-Appellee

 

160844

Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs/Unemployment Insurance Agency,

 

Jason Hawkins

 

Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

Michael Herzog,

(Wayne – Murphy, J.)

Rachael Kohl

 

Claimant-Appellant,

 

and

 

 

Custom Form, Inc.,

 

 

 

Employer-Appellee.

 

Summary

Claimant Frank Lucente received a “redetermination” in November 2010, finding that he obtained unemployment benefits fraudulently from February to June 2010, but he did not realize that he had been assessed penalties until late 2015, and his appeal at that point was denied as untimely.  An administrative law judge (ALJ) found good cause for Lucente’s delay, but rejected his appeal on the merits.  The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC) reversed, finding that the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s 2010 “redetermination” was untimely under MCL 421.32a.  The circuit court affirmed.  Claimant Michael Herzog received a “redetermination” in October 2017, that he received unemployment benefits fraudulently from October 2016 to March 2017.  The ALJ found that the “redetermination” was void because Herzog never received a determination.  The MCAC and circuit court affirmed.  The Court of Appeals, in a published opinion, reversed the circuit court decisions.  The Court of Appeals held that because the Unemployment Insurance Agency did not proceed under MCL 421.32a, but rather recouped wrongfully-paid benefits under MCL 421.62, the agency was not subject to the time restrictions under MCL 421.32a.  The Court of Appeals further held that the captioning of the determination as a “redetermination” was not fatal to the agency’s ability to recoup fraudulently-obtained benefits under MCL 421.62.  The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal to address whether the Court of Appeals erred in its analysis of §§ 32, 32a, and 62 of the Michigan Employment Security Act of 1936 (MESA), MCL 421.1 et seq., when it held that:  (1) the Unemployment Insurance Agency is not required to comply with the time requirements set forth in § 32a when seeking to recoup payment of fraudulently obtained benefits under § 62 of the Act; and (2) the label that the agency used on its decisions was not determinative of its ability to seek to recoup improperly obtained benefits.​