Friday, March 11, 2016

UC - appeal - elec. transmission - timeliness - Board recorded receipt w/in appeal period

Chartiers Community Mental Health & Retardation Center v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – March 10, 2016


Court affirmed UCBR decision that claimant’s appeal was timely under 34 Pa. Code 101.82(b) where the UCBR recorded receipt of the email appeal within required period, even though the Board was unable to open the secure message box in the email.    On the date it received the appeal, the Board emailed claimant’s counsel that:  a) it couldn’t open the secure message box; b) claimant should provide the information as an attachment or in the body of an email.  “The Board did not provide a deadline” foe doing any of this.

Citing  Mountain Home Beagle Media v. UCBR, 955 A.2d 484 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008), Roman-Hutchinson v. UCBR, 972 A.2d 1286 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2009), and McClean v. UCBR, 908 A.2d 956 (Pa. Cwmlth. 2006), the Board and Court held that the appeal was timely under 34 Pa. Code 101.82(b), because the Board recorded receipt of the appeal within the required time. 

Even though an appellant who uses electronic transmission accepts the risk of non-receipt, “a risk...is not a certainty.  As long as the electronic transmission is received prior to the expiration of the appeal period, the regulation affords the Board discretion to instruct the employer or claimant on how to proceed if there is an issue with readability. This is not unlike this Court’s own internal operating procedures, which direct the Chief Clerk to time-stamp written communication that evidences an intention to appeal with the date of receipt and to advise the party by letter of  the procedures necessary to perfect an appeal, as well as the time within which the party must file a fully conforming petition for review in order to preserve the date of receipt of the original non-conforming request to appeal. See Commonwealth Court Internal Operating Procedure No. 211, 210 Pa. Code. § 69.211 (Petition for Review; Clarification). The Board acted fully within its discretion in directing Claimant to resend the unreadable segments of her email once it had received her appeal.
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