Cruz v. Express Employment Prof’ls

Cruz v. Express Employment Prof’ls, WCCA No. WC16-6011 (March 24, 2017)

The W.C.C.A. affirms the Compensation Judge’s finding that the Employee failed to prove that he paid the $25.00 filing fee during his attempt to appeal and therefore the W.C.C.A. has no jurisdiction to hear the Employee’s appeal.

The Employee, who was not represented by a lawyer, claimed to have sustained an allergic reaction to his work environment.  The Employee’s claim was denied by the Compensation Judge and the Employee intended to appeal.

The Employee did file an informal letter indicating that he was appealing the Findings and Order and Notice of Appeal with the Office of Administrative Hearings.  OAH sent an acknowledgement letter to the Employee, however, indicating that the Employee had not filed a $25.00 filing fee.  The W.C.C.A. dismissed the appeal as it lacked filing fee.

The Employee challenged the determination that he failed to pay the $25.00 filing fee and requested a reconsideration of the Dismissal Order.  The W.C.C.A. then referred the matter to OAH for an evidentiary hearing on the issue.  At that hearing, the Employee asserted that he had paid cash when he filed his Notice of Appeal.  Notably, the Employee had already successfully appealed one case.  However, an employee from OAH testified that no such fee was received.  The Compensation Judge found that the Employee had not shown that the fee was paid. The W.C.C.A. found that the Compensation Judge’s finding was supported by substantial evidence and denied the appeal.