Monday, April 09, 2007

UC - hearing - continuance

Skowronek v. UCBR - Commonwealth Court - April 9, 2007

The referee's denial of counsel's request for a continuance of the UC hearing was affirmed and no abuse of discretion was found, under the following circumstances:

last-minute request - The request was made just one day prior to the hearing on July 20th. The hearing notice had been sent out on July 7th. The court noted that the request was less the 24 hours prior to the hearing and was faxed when the referee office was closed, at 6:30 p.m. on the last business day before the hearing. It also cited case law saying that "last-minute requests for continuances will not be viewed favorably....."

no contact information supplied - The request did not contain contact information for claimant's counsel. The contact information was at the bottom of the attorney's stationery and did not appear on the fax, having apparently been cut off.

no good cause established - The request was vague and did not establish "good cause" on it face. The attorney said only that "I will be unavailable due to a previously scheduled appointment." The court said that this request was "vague" and similar to another case, where a continuance was requested for "unspecified personal reasons." In this case, the court said that the request did "not provide sufficient information from which the referee could determine proper cause existed to continue the hearing. Given the timing of the requests and its vague nature, no abuse of discretion is apparent."

wages - WPCL - attorney fees

Zdrok v. Main Line Mortgage Co. - Superior Court - April 5, 2007

This case was remanded for a calculation and award of attorney fees to the prevailing party below. A fee award is mandatory in an action brought under the Wage Payment and Collection Law, 43 P.S. sec. 260.9a(f), citing Oberneder v. Link Computer Corp, 696 A.2d 148, 151 (Pa. 1997). "This conclusion promotes the statute's purpose to protect employees when employers breach a contractual obligation to pay wages."