Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chapman v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

June 13, 2017

Frederick W. Chapman, Petitioner
v.
Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Respondent

          Submitted: March 31, 2017

          BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE JULIA K. HEARTHWAY, Judge, HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, Senior Judge.

          OPINION

          DAN PELLEGRINI, Senior Judge.

         Frederick W. Chapman (Claimant) petitions this Court for review of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review's (Board) dismissal of his appeal due to it being untimely filed under Section 502 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).[1] We affirm.

         I.

         Pursuant to a consulting agreement, Claimant performed work for Khan Academy, Inc. as a mathematics copy editor. When he was informed that his services were no longer needed, he filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits. Claimant's application was denied by the Service Center and he appealed.

         On April 7, 2016, for reasons that are not necessary to set forth, the Referee affirmed the Service Center's denial of benefits. The Referee's decision also contained a notice that Claimant had 15 days to appeal the decision to the Board[2] and the various ways an appeal could be taken - i.e., in person, mail, fax, internet or email. The information regarding electronic transmission warned:

A party filing an appeal via the Internet or electronic mail is responsible for using the proper format and for delay, disruption or interruption of electronic signals and readability of the document and accepts the risk that the appeal may not be properly or timely filed.

(Record (R.) Item No. 10, Referee's Decision/Order dated 4/7/16.)[3]

         To file within the required 15 days, Claimant had until April 22, 2016, to appeal the Referee's decision to the Board. His petition for appeal was transmitted via email on April 22, 2016, purportedly at 11:59:46 p.m., but was not received by the Board's server until April 23, 2016, at 12:00 a.m. The Department of Labor and Industry's (Department) regulation set forth at 34 Pa. Code § 101.82(b)(4) provides that for appeals submitted by electronic transmission:

The date of filing is the receipt date recorded by the Department appeal office or the Board's electronic transmission system, if the electronic record is in a form capable of being processed by that system.

Id. (emphasis added). Because Claimant's appeal was not received by the Board's electronic transmission system within 15 days, the Board dismissed his appeal as untimely.[4] Claimant requested a hearing on the timeliness issue and the Board granted his request.

         At the hearing, Claimant presented evidence that he appealed via email and that his Gmail timestamp indicated that the date of mailing was 11:59:46 p.m. on April 22, 2016. When asked why he waited until the last possible moment to file his appeal, he answered:

I went through a number of steps; tried to prepare my appeal conscientiously. But that's not the only thing on my plate. I have to-not only do I need to fulfill the requirements for eligibility for benefits by applying for at least two jobs a week and having at least one job search a week, I am doing more than the minimum in order to find work sooner. . . . So, it's simply that my resources have been stretched very thin between the intricacies of the appeal process and the demands of looking for work in a difficult job market.

(R. Item No. 18, Transcript of Testimony-Board's Remand Hearing held 6/3/16.) The Board again dismissed Claimant's appeal because under the regulation, the date that an email appeal is received by the Board's electronic transmission system is the date it is filed which makes a filing on April 23, 2016, at 12:00 a.m. untimely. This petition for review followed.[5]

         II.

         A.

         Claimant contends that because Section 502 of the Law does not define when an appeal is "filed, " 34 Pa. Code § 101.82(b)(4) stating that an appeal is filed when received by the Board is invalid because "the prevailing criterion is the date sent rather than the date received. For example, the Court and the Board both use this criterion for filings submitted by postal mail."[6] (Claimant's Brief at 9) (emphasis in original). Claimant then argues that his Google Gmail timestamp, which shows that his appeal was sent at 11:59:46 p.m. on April 22, 2016, should have been sufficient to establish that his appeal was filed on time because an appeal sent by mail is deemed filed when sent as evidenced by the U.S. postmark.

         While Claimant is correct that Section 502 of the Law does not state whether an appeal is "filed" when it is sent or received, Section 203 of the Law gives the Board the power to adopt regulations relating to rules of procedure providing, in relevant part, that:

It shall be the duty of the board to hear appeals arising from claims for compensation, adopt, amend or rescind such rules of procedure . . . as it deems necessary and consistent with this act. Such rules of procedure shall be effective in such a manner as the board shall prescribe and shall not be inconsistent with this act.

43 P.S. § 763(d). Pursuant to this power, the Board adopted regulations that provide that the date an appeal is filed is determined by what method a claimant decides to utilize to take the appeal. Other than filing by mail, this regulation provides that the filing date is determined to be when the item is received. Regarding electronic filing, 34 Pa. Code § 101.82(b)(4) provides that "[t]he date of filing is the receipt date recorded by the Department appeal office or the Board's electronic transmission system . . ."[7]

         Because "[t]he Board is bound to follow its own regulations in determining the perfection date of an appeal, " Edwards v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 639 A.2d 1279, 1281 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994) (citing Costello v. State Employee's Retirement Board, 596 A.2d 260 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1991), and the appeal here was untimely, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.