Thursday, September 11, 2008

UC- willful misconduct - mental illness - evidence

Seneca Valley School District v. UCBR - Commonwealth Court - September 9, 2008 - UNREPORTED MEMORANDUM OPINION

Teacher established good cause for her conduct. There was substantial evidence--the required expert medical evidence, Dept. of Navy v. UCBR, 632 A.2d 622 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993), from the employer's own witness--to support its finding that claimant's behavior was excused because it was caused by mental illness.

That evidence showed that claimant's conduct was caused by a brief psychotic episode from which she had recovered, and that she was presently able to work.

The employer's claim that its own witness's testimony about its own psychiatrist's findings was hearsay was rejected. The court held that it came under the "admission against interest" exception, a voluntary acknowledgment by a party of the truth of facts which are inconsistent with the party's claim in an action. Such evidence has a "high evidentiary value" and is accepted on the assumption that a witness would not say anything against his interest unless it were true.