Schaeffer Industries v. DWS

Annotate this Case
Schaeffer Industries, Inc. v. Department of Workforce Services. Filed May 6, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

Schaeffer Industries, Inc.,
a California corporation,


Utah Department of Workforce Services,
Workforce Appeals Board; and James A. Mann,

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981348-CA

May 6, 1999 1999 UT App 148 -----

Original Proceeding in this Court

Clark K. Taylor and Scott T. Temby, Lindon, for Petitioner
Lorin R. Blauer, Salt Lake City, for Respondent DWS
James A. Mann, Midvale, Respondent Pro Se


Before Judges Billings, Davis, and Jackson.

DAVIS, Judge:

Petitioner Schaeffer Industries Inc. (Schaeffer) appeals the Workforce Appeals Board's (Board) decision affirming the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) ruling requiring Schaeffer to pay its share of unemployment benefits to James A. Mann (Claimant). In affirming the ALJ's decision, the Board adopted the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Schaeffer asserts that Claimant has failed to establish that he quit for good cause and, in addition, contends that "the Board erred in affirming [the ALJ's] decision because [the ALJ] misunderstood, misstated and misapplied the applicable law to the attendant facts."

To successfully challenge whether Claimant showed good cause to voluntarily terminate his employment, Schaeffer "must demonstrate that the findings are not supported by substantial evidence when viewed in light of the whole record before the court." Heinecke v. Department of Commerce, 810 P.2d 459, 464 (Utah Ct. App. 1991) (citation and quotation marks omitted). "[T]he 'whole record test' necessarily requires that a party challenging the Board's findings of fact must marshall all of the evidence supporting the findings and show that despite the . . . contradictory evidence, the findings are not supported by substantial evidence." Grace Drilling Co. v. Board of Review, 776 P.2d 63, 68 (Utah Ct. App. 1989) (citation omitted).

Schaeffer has not marshaled the evidence in support of the Board's findings nor demonstrated that the evidence supporting the findings is legally insufficient to support the Board's conclusion that Claimant quit with good cause. "Because [Schaeffer] has failed to marshal the evidence, we conclude that the [Board's] ruling was supported by substantial evidence." South Cent. Utah Tel. Ass'n, Inc. v. Auditing Div. of the Utah State Tax Comm'n, 951 P.2d 218, 226 (Utah 1997). In addition, even if Schaeffer had properly marshaled the evidence and presented evidence that Claimant did not have good cause for quitting, "[o]n review . . . we defer to the Board's assessment of conflicting evidence and 'this court will not substitute its judgment as between two reasonable conflicting views, even though we may have come to a different conclusion had the case come before us for de novo review.'" V-1 Oil Co. v. Division of Envtl. Response & Remediation, 962 P.2d 93, 94 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (quoting Grace Drilling, 776 P.2d at 68).

Schaeffer also argues that it is entitled to relief based on the Board's erroneous interpretation or application of law.(1) "The appellate court shall grant relief only if, on the basis of the agency's record, it determines that a person seeking judicial review has been substantially prejudiced by" an erroneous interpretation or application of law. See Utah Code Ann. § 63-46b-16(4)(d) (1997).

"We defer to the Board's interpretation and application of the operative provisions . . . so long as the Board's decision is reasonable and rational, i.e., the findings of fact support the Board's conclusion." Adele's Housekeeping Inc. v. Department of Employment Sec., 757 P.2d 480, 482 (Utah Ct. App. 1988). Utah law provides that "[g]ood cause is established if continuance of the employment would have had an adverse effect on the claimant which could not be controlled or prevented and necessitated immediate severance of the employment relationship." Utah Admin. Code R994-405-102 (Supp. 1997). Here, the Board adopted the ALJ's application of the law to the facts, which stated, in pertinent part: "[Schaeffer's] business practices put the claimant's professional reputation at risk. The claimant did establish he would have suffered personal or professional harm by remaining," thus satisfying the "adverse effect" requirement of Unemployment Insurance Rule R994-405-102. In addition, it is undisputed that the issues that precipitated Claimant's leaving Schaeffer were beyond his control.

Based on the trial court's factual findings and the record before this court, we hold that the Board properly applied the governing "good cause" rule to the attendant facts and the Board's determination that Claimant quit for good cause is within the "broad bounds of reasonableness." See Caporoz v. Labor Comm'n, 945 P.2d 141, 144 (Utah Ct. App. 1997).


James Z. Davis, Judge



Judith M. Billings, Judge

Norman H. Jackson, Judge

1. On appeal, Schaeffer asserts that the ALJ's application of the law to the facts was erroneous. However, the Board is authorized to direct the taking of new information, to draw different conclusions of law, and to reverse the decision of the ALJ; therefore, it is this court's proper procedural role to review the determination of the Board, not that of the ALJ. SeeChrysler Dodge Country, U.S.A. v. Department of Employment Sec., 751 P.2d 278, 280-81 (Utah Ct. App. 1988).