Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
Appeal from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.
FOR APPELLANT: John D. Lynn, SEDEY HARPER, P.C., St. Louis, Missouri.
FOR DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, RESPONDENT: Larry Ruhmann, Jefferson City, Missouri.
FOR BEYOND HOUSING, INC., RESPONDENT: Beyond Housing, Respondent Acting Pro se, St. Louis, Missouri.
Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge. Robert G. Dowd, Jr., J., Concurs. Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., J., Concurs.
Kurt S. Odenwald, Presiding Judge
Gloria Trice (" Claimant" ) appeals from the ruling of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (" Commission" ) dismissing her appeal as untimely. Claimant alleges that the Commission erred in applying an erroneous definition of " good cause" when determining whether good cause existed to extend the thirty-day period for filing an appeal. Claimant also contends that the Commission erred in concluding that good cause did not exist for extending the filing period because she presented undisputed evidence that she acted in good faith and reasonably under the circumstances. Because the Commission acted beyond its powers in applying an invalid definition of " good cause," we set aside the judgment and remand to the Commission for a determination of whether Claimant demonstrated good cause to file an untimely appeal under the proper definition of " good cause" as found in 8 C.S.R. 10-5.010(2)(C).
Factual and Procedural Background
Claimant worked as the chief development officer for Beyond Housing, Inc. until her resignation on October 23, 2013. On December 12, 2013, Claimant filed a claim for unemployment security benefits. On January 17, 2014, a deputy determined that Claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she left her job with Beyond Housing, Inc. voluntarily and without good cause attributable to her work or employer. The deputy's determination informed Claimant that she had the right to file an appeal with the Appeals Tribunal no later than February 18, 2014.
After receiving the deputy's adverse determination, Claimant retained an attorney to represent her in an appeal to the Appeals Tribunal. Claimant's attorney, (" Attorney" ), filed the appeal on February 21, 2014, three days after the deadline. In a letter accompanying the appeal, Attorney requested that the time for filing the appeal be extended for good cause pursuant to 8 C.S.R. 10-5.010(2)(C).
An Appeals Tribunal referee held a telephone hearing on March 12, 2014, to determine, inter alia , if Claimant had good cause for failing to file a timely appeal. At the hearing, Attorney explained that after Claimant retained her, she inserted the February 18 deadline into her law firm's internal docketing system as well as a reminder prompt seven days before the deadline. While the seven-day reminder prompt was posted on the law firm's weekly docket sheet, the last date for filing was not posted because of an error by a clerical employee who inadvertently omitted it from the weekly docket sheet. Attorney further testified that she was not in her office on February 17, which was President's Day, and on February 18 she participated in a court hearing in the morning and took two depositions in the ...