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Walker v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


July 20, 2010

WILLIAM M. WALKER, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW AND U.S. SECURITY ASSOCIATES, INC. RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor, No. 215,419.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 18, 2010

Before Judges Wefing and Messano.

William Walker appeals from the final decision of the Board of Review (the Board) that denied his application for unemployment compensation benefits. We have considered the arguments raised on appeal in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.

Walker was employed by U.S. Security Associates, Inc. as a security guard. The testimony before the hearing officer revealed that he failed to report to work after November 5, 2008 because he was arrested and incarcerated until December 4. He admitted that during that time, he did not contact his employer and did not arrange for anyone to contact it on his behalf. His application for benefits was denied and the Appeal Tribunal affirmed that denial, finding Walker was ineligible pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-5(a), in that he had "left work voluntarily without good cause attributable to such work." The Board issued its final decision on July 8, 2009, affirming the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, and this appeal followed.

Walker contends that he "was separated from [his] [e]mployment due to forces beyond [his] control." In particular, he notes that he was arrested in his apartment "for a disturbance . . . for celebrating the victory of President Obama." We gather from his brief that he contends his subsequent incarceration was unjustified and that his separation from his employment was not voluntary. Our review of final agency action is quite limited. Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997) (citation omitted). "[I]f in reviewing an agency decision an appellate court finds sufficient credible evidence in the record to support the agency's conclusions, that court must uphold those findings even if the court believes that it would have reached a different result." In re Taylor, 158 N.J. 644, 657 (1999) (citations omitted). Furthermore, the Board's "'interpretation of statutes and regulations within its implementing and enforcing responsibility is ordinarily entitled to our deference.'" Wnuck v. N.J. Div. of Motor Vehicles, 337 N.J. Super. 52, 56 (App. Div. 2001) (quoting In re Appeal by Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 307 N.J. Super. 93, 102 (App. Div. 1997)). Only if the Board's "action was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable" should it be disturbed. Brady, supra, 152 N.J. at 210.

We faced nearly identical facts in Fennell v. Bd. of Review, 297 N.J. Super. 319, 325 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 151 N.J. 464 (1997), where we said the following:

Appellant lost his job because of incarceration in default of bail. No matter how sympathetic the facts, this bore no relationship to his work. The agency's decision to disqualify appellant from benefits because he voluntarily left his job without good cause attributable to work is supported by substantial credible evidence and is neither arbitrary nor capricious.

A-5844-08T3 Our review of the record convinces us that the Board's decision in this case is consistent with our precedent, and "is supported by sufficient credible evidence on the record as a whole . . . ." R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(D).

Affirmed.

20100720

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