ORDER ON RESPONDENTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
William R. Stokes, Justice
matter is before the court on the Respondents' Motion to
Dismiss dated February 14, 2019.
Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission ("MUIC")
issued the Petitioner an adverse decision on August 8, 2018.
On August 30, 2018, Petitioner's counsel hand delivered
the Notice of Appeal to the Office of the Attorney General
and mailed a copy of said notice to the Department of Labor
("DOL"). Although the exact date is unknown,
Petitioner's counsel hand delivered the Notice of Appeal
to the Capital Judicial Center sometime
"thereafter" but within thirty days of August 8,
2018 when the MUIC mailed the adverse decision to the
attempted filing was returned to her by the clerk's
office for failure to provide a Summary Sheet. Petitioner
refiled her Notice of Appeal with the court on October 12,
2018. On January 18, 2019, the court entered an Order that it
would dismiss the case if no motion to remain on the docket
was filed within fourteen days because no return of service
had been filed with the court when Petitioner refiled on
October 12. Petitioner responded on January 25, 2019, with
certified mail return receipts showing that the Respondents
were served on August 30, 2018. On January 28, 2019, the
court ordered that the case remain on the docket and vacated
its prior January 18 Order.
moved to dismiss the case with prejudice on February 14,
2019, for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to Maine Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) as Petitioner did not file her
petition for review within thirty days of her receipt of
decision from the MUIC pursuant to 5 M.R.S. § 11002(3).
On March 4, 2019, Petitioner objected to the Motion to
Dismiss arguing that her failure to provide a summary sheet
should be considered a "minor procedural
irregularity" and her filing with the court should be
of the MUIC may be appealed pursuant to the Maine
Administrative Procedures Act ("MAPA"). 26 M.R.S.
§ 1194(8). The MAPA entitles a person aggrieved by final
agency action to judicial review in the Superior Court under
the rules set forth by the statute. 5 M.R.S. § 11001(1).
When a party to an administrative proceeding appeals that
agency's final action, "[t]he petition for review
shall be filed within 30 days after receipt of notice
...."§ 11002(3). The Law Court has made clear that
"[t]he time limit for filing a petition for review of a
final agency action pursuant to the [MAPA] is
jurisdictional." Fournier v. Dep't of
Corr., 2009 ME 112, ¶ 2, 983 A.2d 403. If the
petition is not timely filed the court lacks jurisdiction and
must dismiss the petition. Mutty v. Dep't of
Corr., 2017 ME 7, ¶ 8, 153 A.3d 775; M.R. Civ. P.
12(h)(3). The thirty-day time limit "must be applied
uniformly and consistently" regardless of whether
parties are represented by counsel or not. Fournier,
2009 ME 112, ¶ 2, 983 A.2d 403. Therefore, a party
seeking review of final agency action must, within thirty
days after receiving notice of an adverse decision,
"properly complete and file" with the Superior
Court: (1) the petition for review; (2) a complete summary
sheet; and (3) the filing fee. Id. ¶ 6.
Petitioner's first filing was incomplete because she did
not include a Summary Sheet as required by Maine Rule of
Civil Procedure 5(h)(1). A Summary Sheet was not provided to
the court until October 12, 2018, when the Petitioner
refiled. As the MUIC issued its adverse decision to the
Petitioner on August 8, 2018, this is well beyond the thirty
day time limit mandated by statute and reinforced by case
Petitioner argues that no party is harmed by the late filing
as they were noticed, and the refiling should be considered a
"minor procedural irregularity." The court is
unconvinced by Petitioner's argument. Regardless of harm
to any party, a complete lack of jurisdiction is not a
"minor procedural irregularity.
the Petitioner did not completely and correctly file her
petition with the court within thirty days of receiving the
adverse agency decision, it was not timely filed and this
court lacks jurisdiction.
Motion to Dismiss with ...