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Appeal of Colonial Poplin Nursing Home, Inc.

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

June 21, 2011

Appeal of Colonial Poplin Nursing Home, Inc.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

The employer, Colonial Poplin Nursing Home, Inc. (Colonial), appeals an order of the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security Appeal Tribunal (tribunal) finding that because its employee, Pamela Sharrio, was discharged for a reason other than misconduct connected with her employment, she was eligible for unemployment compensation. The employer argues that: (1) the tribunal's decision constituted an error of law or was clearly erroneous based on the evidence in the record; and (2) the tribunal's decision should be reopened due to fraud. We affirm.

Our review of the tribunal's decision is confined to the record; we will not substitute our judgment for that of the tribunal as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. RSA 282-A:67, IV, V (2010). We will uphold the decision of the tribunal unless its findings or conclusions are unauthorized by statute, affected by an error of law, or clearly erroneous in view of all the evidence presented. RSA 282-A:67, V. Under New Hampshire's unemployment compensation system, benefits are paid to employees who become unemployed through no fault of their own. Appeal of Motuzas, 158 N.H. 655, 659 (2009).

Colonial argues that the tribunal erred "when it concluded that [Sharrio's] separation was a discharge and not a voluntary quit." In support of this argument, Colonial cites a lengthy July 31, 2009 email sent by Sharrio in which she stated, "I don't think Colonial is the right place for me . . . . I can only feel right by giving you plenty of notice that you/we should look to replace me." While this email may provide some evidence of Sharrio's intent, one of Colonial's owner/operators admitted at the hearing that when Sharrio returned to work the next week, he informed her that he did not want her to resign and that he was willing to work with her. Sharrio also testified that she had "no intentions of resigning. No intentions of quitting." In essence, Colonial asks that we substitute our judgment for that of the tribunal as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact, an assessment that we are statutorily prohibited from undertaking. Because there is evidence in the record to support the tribunal's conclusion that Sharrio was discharged for a reason other than misconduct connected with her work, we affirm this ruling.

Nor are we persuaded by Colonial's argument that the appellate board and the commissioner erred in declining to reopen the tribunal's decision based on allegations of fraud. The hearing held before the tribunal was to determine Sharrio's eligibility for unemployment compensation. To the extent that Colonial wished to oppose her request for benefits, it was required to produce all witnesses and evidence at the scheduled hearing. See N.H. Admin. Rules, Emp 202.01.

Affirmed.

DUGGAN, HICKS and LYNN, JJ., ...


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