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UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD REVIEW v. DONALD E. JOLLIFFE (10/28/77)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: October 28, 1977.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
DONALD E. JOLLIFFE, APPELLANT

COUNSEL

Daniel P. McDyer, Neighborhood Legal Services, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Asst. Atty. Gen., Charles G. Hasson, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 474 Pa. Page 585]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The issue before us is whether an appeal from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review is perfected as of the date of mailing of a notice of appeal or on the date the notice is received and docketed in the office

[ 474 Pa. Page 586]

    of the Prothonotary of the proper appellate court, now the Commonwealth Court. The appellant in the case at bar mailed his appeal, properly addressed, five days before the appeal deadline*fn1 but because of a delay in the mails, the missive was not received until a day after the deadline had passed. The Commonwealth Court dismissed the appeal as untimely; this Court granted allocatur, and we now reverse.

Section 510 of the Unemployment Compensation Act provides:

"An appeal to the Superior Court*fn2 may be taken by the department or by any party claiming to be aggrieved . . . . Every appeal to the Superior Court must be taken within thirty days after the decision of the referee or board becomes final." Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex.Sess. P.L. 2897 (1937), 43 P.S. ยง 830.

It is clear that this Act is remedial in nature and "its benefits and objectives shall not be frittered away by slavish adherence to technical and artificial rules." Baigis Unemployment Compensation Case, 160 Pa. Super. 379, 51 A.2d 518 (1947). See also Lattanzio v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 461 Pa. 392, 336 A.2d 595 (1975); Wedner v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 449 Pa. 460, 296 A.2d 792 (1972); Klima Unemployment Compensation Case, 205 Pa. Super. 489, 211 A.2d 23 (1965); Harman Unemployment Compensation Case, 204 Pa. Super. 196, 203 A.2d 378 (1964).*fn3 To interpret the statutory word "taken" in

[ 474 Pa. Page 587]

Section 830, supra, as precluding mailing of the appropriate forms within the appeal period of the Unemployment Compensation Act would needlessly penalize the appellant for the tardiness of the mail service as well as frustrate the objective of the Act to ensure against "unemployment and the spread of indigency."*fn4 Accordingly, we should permit the present appeal to proceed as though timely filed.*fn5

[ 474 Pa. Page 588]

The Order of the Commonwealth Court is vacated and the case remanded to that court for further proceedings.


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