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Richard J. Dickhaus v. Board of Review

January 13, 2011

RICHARD J. DICKHAUS, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AND STEVENS INDUSTRIES, RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from a Final Decision of the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 244,436.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 14, 2010

Before Judges Yannotti and Skillman.

Richard J. Dickhaus (Dickhaus) appeals from a final determination of the Board of Review (Board), which found that he was not qualified to receive extended unemployment compensation benefits under a state program established pursuant to the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-252, Title IV, 122 Stat. 2323, 2353-57 (2008) (note to and amending 26 U.S.C.A. § 3304) (EUCA). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

The relevant facts are undisputed. Dickhaus was employed by Stevens Industries, Inc. (Stevens) from September 23, 2008, to March 23, 2009, when he was laid off. Dickhaus filed a claim for regular unemployment compensation benefits, dated March 22, 2009. Dickhaus did not have sufficient earnings in his "regular base year," but nevertheless qualified for benefits because he had sufficient earnings in his "alternative base year," which ran from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008. Dickhaus was paid regular unemployment benefits until June 27, 2009, when his claim was exhausted.

Dickhaus then sought extended unemployment compensation benefits under the State's program established pursuant to the federal EUCA. To qualify for extended benefits, Dickhaus had to establish that he worked twenty weeks in his "base year" or earned in that timeframe forty times his weekly benefit rate. Ibid.

A deputy director of the Division of Unemployment and Disability Insurance in the Department of Labor issued a decision on Dickhaus's claim, which was mailed to him on July 1, 2009. The deputy director informed Dickhaus that he did not qualify for extended benefits because he had only worked thirteen weeks rather than the required twenty weeks in his "alternative base year," and he had earned only $19,692.34 which was less than $23,360.00, which was forty times his weekly benefit rate of $584.

Dickhaus filed an appeal from the deputy's determination to the Appeal Tribunal, which issued a decision mailed on August 31, 2009. The Appeal Tribunal affirmed the deputy's determination. Dickhaus then appealed to the Board, which rendered a final decision on the matter, which was mailed on January 27, 2010. The Board upheld the Appeal Tribunal's finding that Dickhaus was not entitled to extended benefits. This appeal followed.

Dickhaus argues before us that the date of the filing of his claim is "subjective" and should not be the "determining" factor in whether he qualifies for extended benefits. Dickhaus further argues that if he had filed his claim for regular unemployment benefits one week later, he would have qualified for extended benefits.

The final decision of an administrative agency may not be disturbed on appeal unless it has been shown to be arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997). We can only intervene "'in those rare circumstances in which an agency action is clearly inconsistent with its statutory mission or with other State policy.'" Id. at 210 (quoting George Harms Constr. v. N.J. Tpk. Auth., 137 N.J. 8, 27 (1994)). Therefore, our review of a decision of an administrative agency is limited to the following inquiries:

(1) whether the agency's decision offends the State or Federal Constitution;

(2) whether the agency's action violates express or implied legislative policies;

(3) whether the record contains substantial evidence to support the findings on which the ...


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