Dorr v. Idaho Dep't. of Labor, 48810

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtBRODY, JUSTICE
PartiesDEBORAH DORR, Claimant-Appellant, v. IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondent.
Docket Number48810
Decision Date25 November 2022

DEBORAH DORR, Claimant-Appellant,


No. 48810

Supreme Court of Idaho

November 25, 2022

Appeal from the Idaho Industrial Commission.

The Commission's decision to uphold the Appeal Examiner's denial of Dorr's request to reopen her appeal hearing is affirmed.

Deborah Dorr, Coeur d'Alene, Appellant Pro Se. Deborah Dorr argued.

Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for Respondent. Douglas Werth argued.


This appeal arises out of the denial of Deborah Dorr's request to reopen an unemployment appeal hearing. The hearing was to address Dorr's appeal from the Idaho Department of Labor's ("IDOL") decision denying Dorr's request to backdate her Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim. After Dorr failed to appear at the hearing, IDOL dismissed her appeal and subsequently denied her request to reopen the hearing. Dorr appealed IDOL's denial of her request to reopen, and the Idaho Industrial Commission ("the Commission") affirmed. The Commission determined due process was satisfied and agreed with IDOL that Dorr's own negligence was insufficient cause to reopen the hearing. Dorr appeals, pro se, from the Commission's decision upholding IDOL's denial of her request to reopen. Today, we conclude that Dorr's briefing does not meet the standard for an appeal under Idaho Appellate Rule


35(a)(6) and as such, her arguments are forfeited. The Commission's decision upholding the Appeal Examiner's denial of Dorr's request to reopen her appeal hearing is affirmed.


On August 2, 2020, Dorr filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits seeking state benefits and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ("PUA") benefits. Roughly one month later, IDOL determined that Dorr had been self-employed, and was thus ineligible for state benefits. However, because Dorr reported she became unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IDOL determined she could still be eligible for PUA benefits.

Dorr had submitted a prior claim for PUA benefits sometime in March 2020. Dorr had apparently reported that "her babysitting job was stopped due to the pandemic, her age was a reason for self-quarantine," and later realized that certain answers on her prior claim for PUA benefits "were either misunderstanding[s] or mistakes."

IDOL approved Dorr's second claim for PUA benefits in November 2020 and set the "Benefit Year Begin Date" as August 2, 2020 (the date of Dorr's second claim). After receiving that decision, Dorr requested that IDOL backdate her second PUA claim to March 2020 (i.e., the date of her first claim) and accept her untimely weekly claim reports as timely. IDOL denied Dorr's request. In its denial letter, IDOL explained that under Idaho Code section 72-1366 and IDAPA 09.01.550, claimants must report weekly or biweekly for benefits as directed, and failure to file these timely reports "will result in ineligibility for benefits for the week(s) claimed." IDOL concluded that "[Dorr's] provided reason and evidence [was] not sufficient to backdate the claim and/or accept late weekly claim reports as timely."

Dorr appealed IDOL's decision denying her backdate request. She explained that she had been unable to submit weekly claim reports between the time IDOL determined that she was ineligible for PUA benefits (the first claim), and the time IDOL determined that she was eligible for PUA benefits (the second claim).

Roughly three months later, IDOL mailed Dorr a Notice of Telephone Hearing ("Notice") for Dorr's appeal. The Notice set a hearing for February 22, 2021, and provided the time for the hearing in bolded and non-bolded font as follows: "Hearing Time: 11:00 AM Mountain Time (10:00 AM Pacific Time)[.]" The Notice directed Dorr to call a specific phone number at the time of the hearing, and that "[f]ailure to follow the instructions on this Notice may result in the DISMISSAL of this appeal or FORFEITURE of the right to participate in the


hearing." The hearing was to determine "whether [Dorr's] claim should be backdated, in accordance with [Idaho Code section] 72-1308 of the Idaho Employment Security Law AND/OR whether [Dorr] failed to report as directed, according to [Idaho Code section] 72-1366(2) of the Idaho Employment Security Law[.]"

Attached to the Notice was a document titled "Important Information About Your Hearing[.]" The attachment explained, among other things, that the Notice "provides the time for the Appeals Bureau office located in Boise, Idaho, in the Mountain Time Zone" and that "[p]arties must make the necessary adjustments for their own time zone." During these underlying events, Dorr lived in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, in the Pacific Time Zone.

Dorr did not appear at the scheduled telephonic hearing. The hearing officer waited for 13 minutes, concluded the hearing, and dismissed Dorr's appeal. According to IDOL records, Dorr did not call in until "11:43 AM Mountain Time (10:43 AM Pacific Time)"-roughly forty-three minutes after the hearing was set to begin. One day later, on February 23, 2021, the appeals examiner for IDOL ("Appeals Examiner"), mailed Dorr a letter dismissing her appeal because of her failure to appear and participate. The letter informed Dorr that the decision to dismiss would become final within ten days unless Dorr submitted a request to reopen the hearing. The dismissal letter included a form asking Dorr to provide the "reason why [she] did not appear[.]"

In fact, roughly two hours after missing the hearing, Dorr emailed IDOL a request to reopen explaining her "error" related to the time zone differences:

I was calling at the time issued for my hearing but was told it was closed. I then called other [sic] number given and was told to email you do [sic] to the fact my time zone was incorrect for my hearing. Please excuse my error and reschedule me for another hearing. Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter

Two days after the hearing, the Appeals Examiner denied Dorr's request to reopen. The Appeals Examiner explained that under Idaho Code section 72-1368(6), she had the discretion to accept or reject a...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT