from Industrial Commission of the State of Idaho.
decision of the Commission is affirmed. Costs on appeal are
awarded to IDOL.
Sparks, Buhl, appellant pro se.
Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for
Respondent. M. Scott Keim argued.
Nature of the Case
Sparks appeals an Idaho Industrial Commission (the
"Commission") decision, which affirmed an Idaho
Department of Labor ("IDOL") finding that she was
not entitled to unemployment benefits after being discharged
by her employer, Laura Drake Insurance and Financial
Services, Inc. ("Drake Insurance"). The appeals
examiner held a telephonic hearing to determine Sparks'
unemployment benefit eligibility, but Sparks failed to
appear. As a result, Laura Drake's sworn testimony about
the details of Sparks' termination was undisputed. The
appeals examiner found that Sparks was terminated for cause
and thus was not entitled to unemployment benefits. The
Commission affirmed, and Sparks appealed to this Court. We
affirm the Commission's decision because Sparks was
properly found ineligible for unemployment benefits and the
hearing officer/Commission's denial of her request to
provide additional evidence after the initial hearing was not
an abuse of discretion.
Factual and Procedural Background
March 31, 2017, IDOL issued a personal eligibility
determination that found Sparks was eligible to receive
unemployment insurance benefits and that Drake Insurance was
the chargeable employer. On April 3, 2017, Drake Insurance
appealed IDOL's determination, asserting that Sparks was
terminated for cause. On April 14, 2017, IDOL mailed the
notice for a hearing on Drake Insurance's appeal to
Sparks' address on record. The hearing was scheduled for
April 26, 2017. The administrative appeal was heard by the
appeals examiner by telephone; however, Sparks failed to
appear. Laura Drake was present and her testimony was
uncontradicted due to Sparks' absence. The appeals
examiner reversed the initial personal eligibility
determination the next day, finding that Sparks was
discharged for cause. On April 28, 2017, Sparks filed a
request to reopen the hearing, stating she was unable to
attend the hearing because she did not receive notice. Sparks
alleged that because the envelope was too large for her mail
box, she had to pick it up at the post office window, which
was closed because it was after hours. On May 1, 2017, the
appeals examiner denied Sparks' request to reopen the
5, 2017, Sparks filed an appeal with the Commission to reopen
the evidentiary proceedings. On June 5, 2017, the Commission
issued its decision and found that Sparks had not provided a
compelling reason to allow an additional hearing. The
Commission found that Sparks' negligence in failing to
retrieve the notice of hearing, which had been properly
served on her, was insufficient to justify her failure to
appear. The Commission also conducted a de novo
review of the appeals examiner's decision and found that
Sparks was terminated by Drake Insurance for cause;
therefore, Sparks was not eligible for unemployment benefits.
On June 15, 2017, Sparks wrote to the Commission again,
requesting to reopen the evidentiary proceedings. On August
29, 2017, the Commission affirmed the decision of the appeals
examiner. On September 26, 2017, Sparks filed an appeal to
the Idaho Supreme Court.
Issues on Appeal
the Commission abuse its discretion in denying Sparks'
request to reopen the evidentiary proceedings?
the Commission's holding that Sparks was not eligible for
unemployment benefits supported by substantial and competent