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ROBERT E. COWFER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/07/87)

decided: December 7, 1987.

ROBERT E. COWFER, JR., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Robert E. Cowfer, Jr., No. B-243605.

COUNSEL

Lorraine M. Bittner, for petitioner.

James K. Bradley, Assistant Counsel, with him, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 510]

This is an appeal by Robert C. Cowfer Jr., (Claimant) from a decision of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) affirming and modifying a referee's decision denying unemployment compensation benefits to Claimant under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law) (willful misconduct).*fn1

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 511]

Claimant's tenure with employer ended on March 12, 1985. Claimant filed a timely appeal of the subsequent decision by the Office of Employment Security (OES) disapproving benefits. On Wednesday, May 1, 1985, notice was sent to Claimant informing him of the referee's hearing scheduled to take place seven days later on Wednesday, May 8. Claimant did not receive this notice until Friday, May 3, only three business days before the hearing. Claimant tried to enlist the aid of a legal services attorney prior to the hearing; however, the earliest date on which an appointment could be scheduled for Claimant to confer with an attorney was Thursday, May 16 (N.T. 1). Claimant testified that he could not afford to hire private counsel (N.T. 2) and so appeared at the hearing pro se.

That Claimant desired to be represented by counsel at the hearing is clear from the following colloquy between Claimant and the referee:

AC: I was wondering if I could get one thing clear?

QR: Yes sir.

AC: When I received this notice . . . you didn't even give me the time [needed to procure counsel] because I received it ...


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