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.

Martinez v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

January 24, 2017

ORLANDO MARTINEZ
v.
ADMINISTRATOR, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ACT, ET AL.

          Argued October 18, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Waterbury, Hon. Joseph H. Pellegrino, judge trial referee.

          Thomas P. Clifford III, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, were George Jepsen, attorney general, and Philip M. Schultz, assistant attorney general, for the appellant (named defendant).

          Orlando Martinez, self-represented, the appellee (plaintiff).

          Alvord, Prescott and Mihalakos, Js.

          OPINION

          MIHALAKOS, J.

         The defendant Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act[1] appeals from the judgment of the trial court sustaining the appeal by the plaintiff, Orlando Martinez, and reversing the decision of the Employment Security Board of Review (board) denying benefits to the plaintiff. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) disregarded the factual findings of the board although no motion to correct was filed as required by Practice Book § 22-4, and (2) determined that the board abused its discretion in concluding that the plaintiff engaged in wilful misconduct. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts, as found by the appeals referee (referee) and adopted by the board, [2] are relevant to this appeal. The plaintiff worked as a full-time machine operator for Polar Industries, Inc. (employer), for approximately twenty years. The employer does not grant sick pay for its employees, but it does pays its employees for days spent attending jury duty. On October 21, 2013, the plaintiff was scheduled to attend jury duty at the Superior Court in Waterbury and reported to the courthouse that morning. Jury duty, however, was cancelled as of 9 a.m. on October 21. Instead of reporting to work, the plaintiff went home from the courthouse because he was not feeling well. He fell asleep and did not awake until 5:40 p.m., after his shift had ended.

         When the plaintiff arrived at work at 8 a.m. on October 22, 2013, he did not inform anyone in management, including the employer's manager of administration, Michael Accuosti, that jury duty had been cancelled and that he had gone home from the courthouse because he did not feel well. At approximately 10 a.m., Accuosti approached the plaintiff regarding his October 21 absence, and the plaintiff told Accuosti that he had attended jury duty. The plaintiff did not inform Accuosti at that time, either, that jury duty had been cancelled. Accuosti knew, however, that jury duty had been cancelled for all people scheduled on October 21, 2013, [3]and, by approaching him, gave the plaintiff an opportunity to voluntarily admit the cancellation. Thereafter, Accuosti told the plaintiff that he was discharged from the employer for dishonesty related to his failure to inform the management team that jury duty had been cancelled.

         Following his termination, the plaintiff filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits. On November 21, 2013, the defendant ruled that the plaintiff was disqualified from receiving benefits pursuant to General Statutes § 31-236 (a) (2) (B)[4] and Section 31-236-26a of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies.[5] Specifically, the defendant determined that the employer had discharged the plaintiff for ‘‘deliberate misconduct in wilful disregard of the employer's interests as he deliberately lied to his employer about his attendance at jury duty until he was pressed into giving a correct answer.'' The plaintiff filed a timely appeal on December 2, 2013, and a hearing was held before a referee. On January 13, 2014, the referee affirmed the defendant's decision. The plaintiff filed a timely appeal to the board on January 29, 2014. On March 14, 2014, the board adopted the referee's findings of facts, with limited modifications and additions, and affirmed the referee's decision.

         The plaintiff then appealed to the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes § 31-249b. The defendant filed a motion for judgment asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff's appeal. The defendant argued that the facts found reasonably supported the board's decision, that the law was correctly applied to the facts, and that no motion to correct the findings of the board was filed. The court denied the defendant's motion and determined that the board's ‘‘conclusion that the [plaintiff] was guilty of wilful misconduct was an abuse of discretion.'' Accordingly, the court sustained the plaintiff's appeal and reversed the decision of the board. This appeal followed.

         I

         The defendant first claims that the court improperly disregarded the factual findings of the board, notwithstanding the plaintiff having failed to file a motion to correct in accordance with Practice Book § 22-4. Specifically, the defendant argues that ‘‘[i]t is the board's finding of facts, in the absence of a motion to correct, to which the court was bound in determining whether or not the board's conclusions from those facts were reasonable, '' and that ‘‘the court improperly adjudicated questions of fact, and substituted its own conclusions for those of the board.'' We agree.

         Pursuant to § 31-249b, ‘‘any finding of the referee or the board shall be subject to correction only to the extent provided by section 22-9 of the Connecticut Practice Book.'' Practice Book § 22-9 (a) specifies that ‘‘[t]he court does not retry the facts or hear evidence. It considers no evidence other than that certified to it by the board, and then for the limited purpose of determining whether the finding should be corrected, or whether there was any evidence to support in the law the ...


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.