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Executive Art Studio v Cromwell 16.63

Section 33

PROCEDURE, Referee bias, Recusal

CITE AS: Executive Art Studio v Cromwell, Ingham Circuit Court, No. 88-62036-AA, (May 17, 1989).

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: James Cromwell

Employer: Executive Art Studio

Docket No. B86-03955 -R01-105973

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Affirmed Board's order denying rehearing.

FACTS: In an unrelated unemployment matter, the employer sued the Referee in federal court. By letter dated April 7, 1986, the Referee informed parties of the pending federal lawsuit, and invited filing a motion for him to recuse himself. The Referee set the deadline for a recusal motion at April 21, 1986. The employer took no action until May 14, 1986. The hearing was scheduled for May 15, 1986. The Referee denied the recusal motion as untimely. The employer failed to appear at the hearing. The decision, based on the claimant's testimony, was adverse to the employer. Instead of requesting rehearing by the Referee or appealing to the Board of Review, the employer filed an action in Circuit Court. The Circuit Court dismissed the employer's petition. The employer then filed a request for reopening by the Referee. The Referee denied the reopening finding the employer had not established good cause. The employer appealed to the Board of Review. The Board affirmed the Referee's denial of reopening, then denied rehearing.

DECISION: The Referee's decision not to recuse himself was upheld.

RATIONALE: The employer's motion for recusal of the Referee was untimely. The procedure adopted by the Referee assured the parties the opportunity to challenge his participation in the matter and protected the parties' right to a full and fair hearing. Therefore, the Referee did not violate the employer's right to a full and fair hearing by denying the request for recusal. The employer's unsuccessful petition to Circuit Court is not good cause for reopening the Referee's decision.


3, 11: N/A

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