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Edmond Seaman v. Board of Review

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


March 1, 2011

EDMOND SEAMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF REVIEW, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND GOLD MEDAL PLUMBING HEATING COOLING ELECTRIC, RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor, Docket No. 233,676.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 15, 2011 - Decided Before Judges Messano and Waugh.

Petitioner Edmond Seaman appeals from the final agency action of respondent Department of Labor, Division of Unemployment and Disability Insurance denying his application for unemployment insurance benefits. We affirm.

The basis of Seaman's appeal is that his failure to appeal the Deputy Director's initial denial of his claim for unemployment benefits to the Appeal Tribunal within the required time was subject to the "good cause" exception articulated by the Supreme Court in Rivera v. Board of Review, 127 N.J. 578, 590 (1992). We disagree.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 43:21-6(b)(1), Seaman was required to file his appeal within seven days of delivery, or ten days of mailing, of the Deputy Director's decision. See also N.J.A.C. 12:20-3.1(h). Seaman admitted that he received the notice on March 24, 2009. Although Seaman's appeal should have been filed no later than March 31, 2009, he did not file it until May 29, 2009. At the Appeal Tribunal hearing, Seaman maintained that he had understood the Division's website to provide that he could not file his appeal until he had lined up his witnesses. The Appeal Tribunal rejected his argument and dismissed the appeal. The Board of Review affirmed.

"The judicial capacity to review administrative agency decisions is limited." Brady v. Bd. of Review, 152 N.J. 197, 210 (1997). Generally speaking, we will "intervene only in those rare circumstances in which an agency action is clearly inconsistent with its statutory mission or with other State policy." George Harms Constr. Co. v. N.J. Tpk. Auth., 137 N.J. 8, 27 (1994). Only if the agency's action was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable should it be disturbed. Brady, supra, 152 N.J. at 210.

The reviewing court "should not disturb an administrative agency's determinations or findings unless there is a clear showing that (1) the agency did not follow the law; (2) the decision was arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable; or (3) the decision was not supported by substantial evidence." In re Virtua-West Jersey Hosp. Voorhees for a Certificate of Need, 194 N.J. 413, 422 (2008); see also Circus Liquors, Inc. v. Governing Body of Middletown Twp., 199 N.J. 1, 9-10 (2009).

Having reviewed the issues raised on appeal, we find them to be without merit and not warranting extended discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). Our review of the record reveals no reasonable basis for Seaman's belief that he could not file his appeal from the Deputy Director until he had lined up his witnesses. In addition, Seaman's argument that he was not advised that he could raise the "good cause" exception in an appeal to the Board of Review also lacks a factual basis, inasmuch as the notice attached to the decision of the Appeal Tribunal specifically provided that information. Consequently, we see no basis to overturn the Board of Review's decision affirming the Appeal Tribunal's dismissal.

Affirmed.

20110301

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