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Ramelli v. Unemployment Ins. Comm'n

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

January 12, 2016

SAMANTHA RAMELLI
v.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COMMISSION

          Submitted on Briefs December 17, 2015

         As Corrected April 28, 2016

          On the briefs: Samantha Ramelli, appellant, Pro se.

         Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, and Nancy Macirowski, Asst. Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for the Unemployment Insurance Commission.

         Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

          OPINION

          HJELM, J.

          [¶1] Samantha Ramelli appeals from a judgment entered in the Superior Court

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(Aroostook County, Hunter, J. ) on her petition for review of final agency action, see M.R. Civ. P. 80C, affirming a decision issued by the Unemployment Insurance Commission. In that decision, the Commission concluded that Ramelli had not filed a timely appeal from an earlier administrative order determining that she had been overpaid $13,157 in unemployment insurance benefits. We affirm the judgment.

          [¶2] Because the Superior Court reviewed the Commission's decision as an intermediate appellate court, we review the Commission's decision directly. Sinclair Builders, Inc. v. Unemployment Ins. Comm'n, 2013 ME 76, ¶ 9, 73 A.3d 1061. Our review is limited " to determin[ing] whether the Commission correctly applied the law and whether its [factual] findings are supported by any competent evidence." Id. (quotation marks omitted).

          [¶3] In a decision dated and mailed on March 30, 2011, a Deputy of the Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation determined that Ramelli was required to reimburse the Bureau for unemployment insurance benefits she had received between April 2010 and March 2011 totaling $13,157. See 26 M.R.S. § 1194(2), (10), (11)(C) (2015). The Deputy found that during this period the Bureau had mailed Ramelli multiple requests for work search logs, that Ramelli had failed to respond to those requests, and that she was therefore not eligible for the benefits she had received.[1] See 26 M.R.S. § 1192(3) (2015) (providing that to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits a claimant must be " actively seeking work in accordance with the regulations of the commission" ); see also 5 C.M.R. 12 172 003-2 § 1(D) (2004) (stating that benefits will be denied if a claimant fails to respond to the Bureau's requests for " information which is necessary to determine his eligibility" ). The Deputy's decision contained an admonition that the specific deadline for any appeal from that overpayment determination was April 14, 2011, subject to a fifteen-day enlargement for good cause shown. See 26 M.R.S. § 1194(2).[2]

          [¶4] On April 11, 2012--nearly one year after the expiration of the appeal period--Ramelli filed an appeal from the Deputy's March 2011 decision with the Department of Labor, Division of Administrative Hearings. In May 2012, the Division dismissed the appeal as untimely. Ramelli then appealed the order of dismissal to the Commission. Although notice of an appeal hearing was sent to Ramelli, she did not appear, and the Commission accordingly dismissed her appeal by order issued in September 2012,

Page 965

 and subsequently denied Ramelli's request for ...


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