Civil Litigation Clinic Successful in Furloughed Unemployment Claim

Posted 2021-02-18 10:02am

Working with clients remotely this fall due to pandemic protocols, CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Civil Litigation Clinic students have faced a set unforeseen obstacles.  Undeterred, the students have worked diligently to still provide successful representation in Unemployment Compensation disputes at a time of great need. 

“We have faced the same challenges attorneys have faced in their practices and have had to adapt in a similar fashion,” explained Clinical Professor Ken Kowalski.  “Our students have adapted pretty well. It would be much nicer for the student to be able to meet with me, their clients and each other in person, but they are doing what needs to be done in order to provide representation to our clients.”

In one clinic representation, CSU C|M|LAW students Dennis DeCamillo and Lynn Kernya represented a client in front of the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. Their client had been furloughed from her full-time employment due to the coronavirus. However, due to a misunderstanding at the agency about the client’s part-time employment, she was determined to be ineligible for unemployment benefits, despite her employer not disputing the application and wanting the furloughed employee to get benefits

Dennis and Lynn conducted virtual interviews with the client and remote strategy planning meetings. The students investigated the facts in the agency’s record, conducted research on the law – including recent changes to the law related to the pandemic – and developed a multi-pronged argument as to why the client deserved benefits.

The hard work of the CSU C|M|LAW clinic students paid off as the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission Hearing Officer found the client had done the training required to resume her substitute position post-lockdown, but was offered no classes to teach. Therefore, she was determined eligible for benefits.

Going a step further during the hearing, Dennis brought to light that his client had dependents she had not claimed when applying and could be entitled to a higher weekly benefit.  As a result, when the case was remanded, not only did the client receive benefits for her furlough, but at a higher rate than originally determined. The client was thrilled and profusely thanked everyone involved.

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