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A Message from the Workers’ Disability Compensation Appeals Commission

The Workers’ Disability Compensation Appeals Commission (“WDCAC”) continues to operate in these difficult times. The three commissioners are working remotely, while keeping in regular communication with each other and the secretary for the WDCAC, Michele Kamp, via Skype, email, and telephone. We have important information for those with pending appeals or who may wish to file an appeal.

  • The WDCAC remains open for the filing of documents necessary for the appellate process, and intends to issue opinions and orders as they are completed. Filings with the WDCAC may be made by mail or facsimile. While we have customarily allowed in-person delivery, that may be problematic at present. Our building is not easily accessible at this time. Overnight deliveries are still accepted, but parties should contact their carriers for updates before relying on their services.
  • Parties and their attorneys should not assume that we are unavailable or closed, or that we will grant a blanket or automatic extension of time to accomplish any appellate duty. Attention must still be paid to filing deadlines. At the same time, we appreciate that even seemingly simple undertakings cannot be accomplished as quickly and efficiently these days as before.
  • With regard to filings (claims for review and transcripts) in the appellate process from magistrate orders, the WDCAC is authorized by the Act to allow further time to file for “sufficient cause.” We will take administrative notice of the fact that these are not normal times, but we must nonetheless require a case-specific showing of sufficient cause and, to make that determination, we will look to the factors set forth in Laudenslager v. Pendell Printing Inc., 215 Mich App 167; 544 NW2d 721 (1996)—the length of the delay, the reason for the delay, and the existence of any resulting prejudice to the parties and to the WDCAC. We encourage the parties and/or their attorneys to communicate with each other in hopes of minimizing prejudice.
  • With regard to the filing of briefs, we have today issued an opinion and order in Bryant v. On Time Medical Transportation, in response to a challenge to our authority to grant further time to file a brief. (That opinion and order should appear on our opinion website shortly.) We have concluded that the WDCAC may grant more time upon a showing of “sufficient cause.” While a party may find comfort in this opinion and order, it may not be the last word on the subject. Parties should follow their own counsel and conscience.
  • With regard to the filing of a cross-appeal, authority exists which suggests that a cross-appellant may not obtain further time beyond the statutory time limits to file either a cross-appeal or a brief in support of the cross-appeal. The WDCAC has not addressed this issue, and parties should proceed accordingly.
  • With regard to filing appeals from our final orders, it is not our place to address the jurisdiction of an appellate court. The following comes from the Court of Appeals website:
MCOA Response to novel coronavirus and COVID-19
In response to concerns about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the Court of Appeals and Court of Claims clerk’s office public counters will be closed to visitors until further notice.
Filings to the Court of Appeals should be made either electronically through MiFILE or in hard copy through the U.S. Mail or private delivery service.
Filings to the Court of Claims should be made in hard copy through the U.S. Mail or private delivery service.
If you have a time-sensitive filing that requires immediate delivery in hard copy, each office will have a designated location at the office entrance where filings may be deposited for filing.
If you have any questions about filing with either Court, please contact the clerk’s office at (517) 373-0786 for assistance.

The Supreme Court has also issued an administrative order regarding filings in the appellate courts. We take no position as to the applicability of this order to appeals from our decisions, but suggest that parties considering an appeal also consult Wszola v. Robert Carter Corp., 187 Mich App 372; 468 NW2d 57; lv den, 439 Mich 868 (1991); rec den, 439 Mich 868 (1992).

We hope that these guidelines will aid parties and their attorneys in handling their appeals before the WDCAC, as we all struggle with the effects of the current crisis.