Appeal from the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in the case of In Re: Claim of Ronald J. Ryan, No. B-251911.
Thomas F. Putinsky, for petitioner.
Jonathan Zorach, Associate Counsel, with him, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Doyle and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge McGinley.
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 81]
Ronald J. Ryan (claimant) appeals an Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed a referee's decision affirming and modifying the determination of the Office of Employment Security (OES) to deny claimant benefits for claim weeks ending March 15, 1986 through May 17, 1986 and ordering recoupment of overpayment of $1,312.00 under Section 804(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1
Claimant was terminated from his employment with Cameron & Leach, Ltd., on February 28, 1986. He applied for and received unemployment benefits, effective March 2, 1986. On March 5, 1986, the claimant's father and mother entered into a partnership agreement creating the enterprise of Ryan & Ryan, Ltd. and claimant allegedly made contacts and solicited business on Ryan & Ryan, Ltd.'s behalf. Business cards were admittedly distributed bearing claimant's name and the name of the new business venture (Notes of Testimony, June 17, 1986, (N.T.) at 5). In early May the OES received reports that claimant was employed. On May 8, 1986, an
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 82]
OES investigator telephoned and spoke with claimant by telephoning the number listed on the business cards. Claimant denied any association with Ryan & Ryan, Ltd. then, but on May 19, 1986, he contradictorily reported to the OES that he had "become" an employee of Ryan & Ryan, Ltd. on May 5, 1986 (N.T. at 7). OES issued a determination that claimant was self-employed and ineligible for benefits under Section 402(h) of the Law.*fn2 On appeal the referee determined there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the claim that claimant was self-employed, but he found that claimant was not partially or totally unemployed and that claimant was ineligible for benefits under Sections 401 of the Law*fn3 and 4(u) of the Law.*fn4 Claimant further appealed to the Board which affirmed the decision of the referee. Claimant has timely appealed to this Court.
[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 83]
Our scope of review is limited to determining whether there has been a constitutional violation or an error of law and whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law. 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, Kirkwood v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 106 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 92, 525 A.2d 841 (1987). Claimant argues that the referee's findings of fact were not supported by substantial evidence.
Claimant argues that he was not an employee of Ryan & Ryan, Ltd., nor self-employed, during the benefits period. Claimant contends that after his parents created the partnership, the father, James Ryan, printed business cards with Ronald Ryan listed as an employee under various titles to attract prospective clients. Claimant alleges these cards were printed and distributed without his knowledge or consent, and there is no ...