Hi, if you have gone through the agonizing process of being denied benefits and think that there is nothing that you can do to get them reinstated please read. I won both the first ALJ hearing and the second CUIAB hearing, just received my letter of award last week. I ended up retaining an attorney however, he took my case on Contingency and he was worth every penny and more.
At first I was just so upset and frustrated but then self preservation kicked in and I started researching what would be the best approach to going through an Administrative hearing. I was fired from my job last June for Misconduct, which was not true.
My employer misrepresented my actions in the original EDD interview(they retain a company, TALX that represents their interests in these matters). Their misrepresentation allowed EDD to deny me benefits and I ended up having to appeal.
I was referred to an Unemployment Attorney, Matthew Zelasko-Barrett. Matthew took my case on Contingency and he worked tirelessly on my behalf. We spent a lot of time preparing a Declaration, which turned out to be almost 75 pages with testimony and exhibits. Because my case involved charges of misconduct he also took declarations from other people connected to this as well.
He made me requisition my employment file from my former employer, he researched every aspect of the EDD law regarding Misconduct and he was meticulous in crafting my cover letter and actual presentation when we went for the hearing.
We won the first hearing (hurray!) and were then notified that the employer filed an Appeal on it (Boo-Hiss).
This kicked it up from an Administrative hearing to the California Unemployment Insurance Board of Appeals.
Matthew immediately filed a letter with the Board (he did this even though the Notice said that nothing was required of me) and let them know that we would like to request the opportunity of a hearing for consideration.
So, while there was no 2nd hearing and waiting almost 2 months for their ruling, we received notice last week that the original ruling was upheld and that I won the 2nd Appeal. Hallelujah!
If the employer appeals this decision again then the next step is taking it into Civil Court and it will cost them a lot of money. Matthew assured me that if this happens (so hoping this is not the case), that he will represent me and we will seek attorneys fees and court costs. He will stick by me to the bitter end, I honestly don’t think I could have done any of this without him!
I estimate that Matthew spent about 50 hours on my case over a 3 month period and he was paid $1,200 out of my original claim. That amount is a pittance given all of the time and energy he put in on helping me win.
Matthew and I became friends through this process and I asked him if it would be ok to post this on EDD Sucks. He is a young, smart and relentlessly honest attorney who genuinely believes in helping people who really need representation in matters like this. I think he also takes Disability cases and perhaps other types of cases as well.
If you are facing something like this Matthew would be great guy to talk to, his office is in San Francisco and he can reached at 415-234-8301 office, 586-871-9040 Cell and firstname.lastname@example.org.