Bryan Cavanaugh, Esquire

The claimant was ineligible for unemployment benefits until she paid the full penalty assessed against her for overpayment of benefits due to fraud. Dana Martin v. Division of Employment Security, No. 97877 (Mo. App. E.D., October 23, 2012), Odenwald, J.

Martin had received unemployment benefits in June and July 2006. In November 2006, the division of employment security determined she had committed fraud in keeping those benefits and assessed a monetary penalty for overpayment of benefits. A few months later, the division intercepted her Missouri tax refund and applied it to a portion of the penalty, leaving a balance on the penalty of $11.02. Martin did not pay that balance of $11.02.

On April 13, 2011, § 288.040.9, RSMo, was amended to make ineligible for unemployment benefits anyone with an outstanding penalty for overpayment of benefits. One week later, Martin filed a claim for unemployment benefits. On July 1, 2011, the division determined Martin was ineligible because she owed a penalty to the division for overpayment of benefits from 2006. Martin paid the $11.02 balance on July 5, 2011 and then became eligible for benefits. Martin appealed to the appeals tribunal and then to the commission, who both affirmed the denial of benefits from April 17, 2011 through July 2, 2011. Martin appealed further to the court of appeals.

Held: Affirmed.
Martin argued that the amended § 288.040.9, RSMo, had been unlawfully applied retroactively, but the court observed it had not. Although it took effect only a week before she applied for benefits in 2011, its denial of benefits to someone with an outstanding penalty was applied prospectively only. It did not take away any vested right, so was not applied retroactively. Martin also maintained that she did not receive due process because she was never actually notified of the outstanding balance of $11.02. The commission, however, found that she had been notified in writing, and the court of appeals defers to that factual finding. The court of appeals also concluded that Martin failed to develop her due process argument on appeal, so this argument was not preserved for appeal.

The court dismissed Hauenstein’s appeal because she did not address any issues from the Commission’s opinion. Emily Hauenstein v. Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc. and Division of Employment Security, No. 97807 (Mo. App. E.D., October 9, 2012), Clayton, J.

The court of appeals dismissed Hauenstein’s appeal because she failed to present any issue for the court of appeals to review. The commission below had not discussed the merits of her case but had dismissed her appeal because she did not file it timely. Hauenstein then appealed to the court of appeals and argued the merits of her case.

Held: Appeal dismissed.
The court of appeals reviews only the opinion of the commission. The commission discussed only the timeliness of Hauenstein’s appeal. At the court of appeals, Hauenstein discussed only the merits of her case. Therefore, the court of appeals concluded Hauenstein abandoned her appeal.