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Hanratty v. Employment Security Department

March 27, 1997

MIKE HANRATTY, APPELLANT,
v.
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from Superior Court of Yakima County. Docket No: 94-2-00677-0. Date filed: 06/12/95. Judge signing: Hon. Michael Leavitt.

As Amended April 10, 1997. As Amended September 16, 1997.

Authored by Dennis J. Sweeney. Concurring: Frank L. Kurtz, Stephen M. Brown.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sweeney

SWEENEY, C.J. The 30-day time limit to appeal a decision of the Employment Security Department appeal tribunal may be waived for good cause. RCW 50.32.070, 075. Noel Foods filed this appeal nine months after the administrative law Judge's decision was entered.

Noel Foods filed this appeal nine months after the commissioner's decision was entered. The dispositive issue here is whether its delay is excusable for good cause. We hold it is not and reverse.

FACTS

Mike Hanratty was employed by Noel Foods as a full-time night crewman.

He was terminated from his position on January 19, 1993. An administrative law Judge (ALJ) determined that he was entitled to receive unemployment benefits. Employers Unity, Inc., represented Noel Foods at the hearing.

On March 18, 1993, a copy of the ALJ's decision was mailed to Mr. Hanratty and Noel Foods. The ALJ did not mail one to Employers Unity.

During a routine review of its files in November 1993, Employers Unity discovered that no appeal had been filed on Noel Foods' behalf. It filed a notice of appeal on January 4, 1994.

The Employment Security Department's Commissioner's Delegate found that good cause existed for the delay:

((B))ecause the petitioner's representative, who would ordinarily file the petition for review on behalf of the employer, did not receive a copy of the decision of the Office of Administrative Hearings until at least late November 1993, we must measure the delay in the filing of the petition for review from the date of receipt. On this basis the delay was not lengthy. Consequently, we will consider the petition for review as late filed but for reasons constituting good cause pursuant to RCW 50.32.075.

The commissioner's delegate found misconduct and disqualified Mr. Hanratty from receiving benefits. Mr. Hanratty appealed. The superior ...


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