Esplin v. DWS

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Esplin v. DWS, Case No. 20000897-CA, Filed March 29, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


Tyler Esplin,
Petitioner and Appellant,


Department of Workforce Services,
Workforce Appeals Board; and Employ Ease,
Respondents and Appellees.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000897-CA

March 29, 2001 2001 UT App 103  -----

Original Proceeding in this Court

Tyler Esplin, Cedar City, Appellant Pro Se
Suzan Pixton, Salt Lake City, for Appellees


Before Judges Greenwood, Jackson, and Davis.


Esplin appeals the Board's affirmation of Department decisions requiring him to repay unemployment benefits and to pay a penalty. We affirm.

It is undisputed that Esplin sought and received unemployment benefits while working for Employ Ease. Thus, he is responsible for the overpayment as well as penalties for that time period. See Utah Code Ann. § 35A-4-405(5) (Supp. 2000) (requiring penalty be imposed in an amount equal to benefits improperly received).

Esplin is also liable for unemployment benefits he received after quitting his job with Employ Ease. Pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 35A-4-405(1) (2000), if a claimant voluntarily leaves work without good cause, he is not entitled to unemployment benefits.

Esplin's employer testified that Esplin left his job after his son and a co-worker were laid off. Esplin contends that he was also laid off, but the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found Esplin's employer to be more credible and we must defer to that determination. It is not the role of this court to judge the relative credibility of witnesses. In undertaking such a review, this court will not substitute its judgment as between two reasonably conflicting views, even though we may have come to a different conclusion had the case come before us for de novo review. . . . It is the province of the Board, not appellate courts, to resolve conflicting evidence, and where inconsistent inferences can be drawn from the same evidence, it is for the Board to draw the inferences. Grace Drilling Co. v. Bd. of Review, 776 P.2d 63, 68 (Utah Ct. App. 1989). Because the ALJ was in the best position to assess witness credibility and his conclusions are supported by the evidence, we defer to his determination. For having provided misinformation, Esplin is also liable for penalties. See Utah Code Ann. § 35A-4-405(5).

Esplin argues that the Board erred in not allowing him to reopen the evidence. He asked to call his son and a co-worker to testify in support of his claim that he had not quit, but had been laid off. However, Esplin failed to show that these witnesses were "unavailable" during the ALJ hearing. Esplin was aware that the circumstances surrounding his leaving Employ Ease would be important to his case, was given information about how to call witnesses, and yet did not seek to introduce witnesses until after he received an adverse ruling. Because Esplin failed to prove why he could not have presented witnesses at the ALJ hearing (there is no evidence to suggest that the ALJ limited the number of witnesses Esplin could call), we conclude that the Board acted appropriately in denying his request to reopen the evidence. See Grace Drilling, 776 P.2d at 70 (concluding Board's refusal to reopen record was not an abuse of discretion where employer had ample opportunity to present its case and failed to meet its burden).

Accordingly, the Board's decision is affirmed.

Pamela T. Greenwood,
Presiding Judge

Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge