Wednesday, May 24, 2017

UC - fault - overpayment - wrongful state of mind - finding on

Holmes v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – May 23, 2017 – unreported* memorandum decision

The Court reaffirmed its recent decision in Fugh v. UCBR, 153 A.3d 1169, 1176 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), holding that in order for an overpayment to be a fault OP, the claimant must have had a wrongful state of mind, about which the UCBR must make a specific finding.

The Fugh court held that finding that a “blameworthy act requires a showing of the actor’s state of mind, or mens rea” and “embodies … knowing recklessness or gross negligence.” We reasoned that a finding of fault “requires conduct ‘of such a degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent, or evil design, or show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interest or of the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer.’” Id. (citing Reading Area Water Authority v. UCBR, 137 A.3d 658, 662 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016)). Further, “[a] negligent act alone does not constitute willful misconduct; rather, the conduct must be of ‘an intentional and deliberate nature.’” Id. (citing Grieb v. UCBR, 827 A.2d 422, 426 (Pa. 2003)).

*An unreported Commonwealth Court case may not be cited binding precedent but can be cited for its persuasive value.  See 210 Pa. Code § 69.414(b) and Pa. R.A.P.  3716

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