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Kent v. Mississippi Dep't of Empl. Sec.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 25, 2014

DEBRA L. KENT, APPELLANT
v.
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, APPELLEE

Page 231

COURT fro WHICH APPEALED: WARREN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 01/15/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ISADORE W. PATRICK JR. TRIAL COURT AFFIRMED THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY'S DENIAL OF BENEFITS.

FOR APPELLANT: JOHN M. MOONEY JR.

FOR APPELLEE: ALBERT B. WHITE, LEANNE FRANKLIN BRADY.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 232

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

LEE, C.J.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶1. Debra Kent was fired from River Regional Medical Corp., where she was a lab coordinator and section supervisor. Kent filed for unemployment benefits with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). After investigating the matter and interviewing Kent and her supervisor, Darlene White, the MDES claims examiner determined that Kent was disqualified from receiving benefits because she was discharged for misconduct. Kent appealed to the administrative law judge (ALJ). After a hearing, the ALJ found that following warnings that her work was substandard, Kent failed to notify her director that a lab instrument was out of compliance for several months. The ALJ stated that Kent's actions showed " a willful and wanton disregard of the employer's interest and constitute[d] misconduct connected with the work." The MDES Board of Review (the Board) also affirmed, adopting the ALJ's fact findings and conclusions. Kent appealed to the Warren County Circuit Court, which affirmed the Board's decision.

¶2. Kent now appeals, asserting (1) she is entitled to unemployment benefits because she did not commit misconduct, (2) the circuit court's judgment was arbitrary and capricious, and (3) the circuit court erred in denying Kent's request to supplement the record.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶3. Our review of administrative appeals is restrictive. In the absence of fraud and if supported by substantial evidence, the Board's order on the facts is conclusive in the trial court. Miss. Emp't Sec. Comm'n v. PDN Inc., 586 So.2d 838, 840 (Miss. 1991). On appeal, employees have the burden of overcoming a rebuttable presumption in favor of the Board's decision. Miss. Emp't Sec. Comm'n v. Noel, 712 So.2d 728, 730 (¶ 5) (Miss. Ct. App. 1998). The denial of benefits may be disturbed only if (1) unsupported by substantial evidence, (2) arbitrary or capricious, (3) beyond the scope of power granted to the agency, or ...


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