Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission (MCAC), created in Executive Reorganization Order No. 2011-6, MCL 445.2023, has full authority to entertain and decide appeals filed under section 33(2). An appeal to the MCAC from the findings of fact and the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) or from a denial by the ALJ of a motion for a rehearing or reopening shall be a matter of right by an interested party.
The MCAC entertains and decides appeals and cross appeals from orders of the Director of the Workers’ Compensation Agency and from final orders and opinions of the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates. At its discretion, the MCAC may also entertain and decide interlocutory appeals from matters pending before the Board of Magistrates.
The majority of cases before the MCAC in both unemployment and workers’ compensation are decided without resort to a hearing.
Parties to unemployment appeals may request permission to submit written and/or oral argument, which requests the MCAC may or may not grant at its option. The MCAC may also require one or more parties to participate in a hearing or to submit written or oral information to it.
Workers’ compensation appeals commence with the filing of a Claim for Review. Parties to workers’ compensation appeals are expected to submit briefing with respect to their positions on appeal. Parties may request oral argument, which request may or may not be granted. The MCAC may order oral argument on its own motion.
With respect to unemployment appeals, the MCAC conducts its review of both factual findings and legal conclusions under a “de novo” standard. In effect, it is not bound by the findings of fact or conclusions of law reached by the ALJ, deciding those matters anew.
With respect to workers’ compensation appeals from magistrate’s decisions or orders, magistrate findings of fact will be sustained if supported by competent, material and substantial evidence (CMS) on the whole record. Questions of law are reviewed under a “de novo” standard. Factual review of a Director’s order is under a CMS standard as to whether he/she has exercised discretion to reach an order which is “just and proper”. MCL 418.837(3). Conclusions of law reached by the Director are reviewed “de novo”. Pursuant to MCL 418.861(b), the MCAC is authorized to impose sanctions upon a party it deems to have engaged in “vexatious” actions with respect to a workers’ compensation appeal.