So, sometimes you take a "little" case on principle, and the outcome turns out to be better than you expect! In April 2009, we filed suit in Baltimore County Circuit Court to obtain about seven thousand dollars in overtime wages under the Maryland Wage Collection Law that a small construction company failed to pay to our client. In a nutshell, the company required our client to come to the corporate office, pick up his assignments and supplies and tools, and then travel from worksite to worksite, but only paid him for the time he spent working at each worksite. After much delay and several attempts to have the case thrown out of court, we went to trial before Judge Bollinger in September 2010, and in October 2010 he issued an opinion ruling in our favor. Well, it took awhile, but yesterday we received his decision awarding nearly $8,000 in overtime wages to our client, and awarding us more than $18,000 in attorneys' fees and costs! Now, of course, we have to try to collect the monies, but it still feels like a sweet victory!
We frequently get questions about how to file an appeal of a denial of unemployment benefits, and questions about what we charge to handle such appeals hearings. As for filing an appeal, the most important thing is to file your appeal in a timely manner, and to have proof that you have done so. If you file your appeal by fax, make certain that you have a confirmation page showing that the fax was successfully transmitted. If you file your appeal by mail, make certain you do so by certified mail. We usually advise people to simply write, "I disagree with the decision denying my unemployment benefits, and I would like to file an appeal and have an in-person hearing." We don't suggest explaining why you think the initial decision was wrong, because you might say something that can be held against you later in the appeals hearing. Once you get your hearing notice, with the date and time and location of your hearing, call us so we can see if we can assist you.
As for fees, we got a telephone call today from a claimant who read one of our previous blogs and thought that we only charged one and one-half times the weekly benefit to handle an unemployment appeals hearing. That is now incorrect, so we need to clarify that the Maryland legislature changed the fee schedule earlier this year, so our fee is now two times the weekly benefit. Thus, if your weekly unemployment benefit payment is $340, then our fee for handling your unemployment appeals hearing will be $680. We never charge more than 2x your weekly benefit payment.
If you have any questions about the unemployment appeals process, give us a call and we will try to assist you.