October 9, 2007
BRETT LIEBERMAN, APPELLANT,
BOARD OF REVIEW AND LEIB RECOVERY SOLUTIONS, LLC, RESPONDENTS.
On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor, 117,577.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted September 26, 2007
Before Judges Parker and R. B. Coleman.
Claimant Brett Lieberman appeals from a Board of Review decision rendered on September 1, 2006 disqualifying him from receiving unemployment compensation because he left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a); N.J.A.C. 12:17-9.1.
Claimant was employed by Leib Recovery Solutions, LLC, from June 28, 2004 until June 2, 2006. He left his employment because he "had to relocate to Florida." The relocation was "due to . . . family health issues" of his parents.
Our scope of review of administrative decisions is narrowly circumscribed. In re Taylor, 158 N.J. 644, 656 (1999). Our role is to determine "'whether the findings made could reasonably have been reached on sufficient credible evidence present in the record' considering 'the proofs as a whole'" and "with due regard to the opportunity of the one who heard the witnesses to judge of their credibility." Ibid. (quoting Close v. Kordulak Bros., 44 N.J. 589, 599 (1965)). We "may not 'engage in an independent assessment of the evidence.'" In re Taylor, supra, 158 N.J. at 656 (quoting State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 471 (1999)), and must accord a strong presumption of reasonableness to the decision of an administrative agency. Smith v. Ricci, 89 N.J. 514, 525 (1982). We do not, however, simply rubber stamp the agency's decision. Henry v. Rahway State Prison, 81 N.J. 571, 579-80 (1980). An administrative decision will be reversed only when it is found to be "arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable or it is not supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole." Ibid.
In this appeal, claimant argues that he should not be disqualified from benefits for leaving his job to care for his parents who were unable to attend to their needs. Unfortunately, that is not a ground for receiving unemployment benefits and is considered voluntarily leaving employment under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a). There was no abuse of discretion in the decision to disqualify claimant from benefits.
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