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Obriwin v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


May 15, 2008

GERI OBRIWIN, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from a final decision of the Board of Review, Docket No. 121,041.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 5, 2008

Before Judges Stern and C.L. Miniman.

Claimant, Geri Obriwin, appeals from a final administrative determination of the Board of Review mailed on October 10, 2006, which upheld, based on the record created by the Appeal Tribunal, a finding that he left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. The Board held that claimant was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits after July 9, 2006 under N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a).

After a hearing, the Appeal Tribunal found that Obriwin "left work voluntarily because he was arguing with the owner [employer] over a personal matter concerning mortgage payments." He left work and did not return, and thus was disqualified because of his departure for personal reasons. The employer of twenty-five years held the mortgage on claimant's house and the two men had a "heated argument" with respect to the mortgage payments which had not been received. According to claimant, the employer told him to "get the f . . . out," and he believed that he was "terminated." According to the employer, Ray Peters, claimant left because he considered the discussion regarding the mortgage to be "BS," and left to get proof of payment but never returned. A co-worker, Vincent Wernerspach, confirmed that claimant left "to get paper work" regarding mortgage payments and did not return. He never heard claimant quit or Peters fire him. The co-employee was "shocked" that claimant never returned the following week, because he "didn't feel . . . that Geri had been fired."

Claimant testified that on the morning of July 11 he "was cursed and yelled at about mortgage papers that he did not have." When he went outside to cool off he was told to "get the f . . . out." He says he felt threatened and felt that he was fired.

The issue is one of sufficiency of the evidence, which in this case turns on the question of credibility. Our scope of review is narrow and we have to defer to the findings of the trier of fact, in this case the Appeal Tribunal, if there is sufficient evidence in the record to support it. Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997); Shuster v. Bd. of Review, 396 N.J. Super. 240, 246 (App. Div. 2007). According to the appeal examiner, "credibility was awarded to the employer based on the logic of the situation and evidence presented." The Appeal Tribunal added that "claimant's leaving of work because of an argument over a non-work issue was a personal one" and that "claimant left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work."

There is sufficient evidence in the record to sustain the final administrative determination of the Board of Review which is consistent with the basic policy of the unemployment compensation law. See Brady, supra, 152 N.J. at 211-15. Accordingly, it is affirmed.

20080515

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