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Jaskowiak v. CM Construction Co.

July 18, 2006

JOHN E. JASKOWIAK, RELATOR,
v.
CM CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., RESPONDENT,
DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, RESPONDENT.



Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 1141605.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Under Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(d) (Supp. 2005), a party who fails to participate in an evidentiary hearing before an unemployment-law judge must be informed in the notice of the request for reconsideration of the opportunity to show good cause for failing to participate and thereby obtain an additional evidentiary hearing.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Willis, Judge

Reversed and remanded

Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Randall, Judge; and Willis, Judge.

OPINION

Relator brings this certiorari appeal from the determination of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that relator did not show good cause for not participating in the evidentiary hearing and that he is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Because the record shows that relator did not receive the notice required by statute regarding a failure to participate in the initial evidentiary hearing and the showing necessary to obtain an additional evidentiary hearing, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

Pro se relator John Jaskowiak worked for respondent CM Construction as a construction laborer before he quit his employment and applied for unemployment benefits. The department initially determined that Jaskowiak was qualified to receive benefits because the employment was unsuitable, as that term is used in unemployment law. The employer appealed, and the matter was heard by a ULJ.

When Jaskowiak did not answer the telephone for the evidentiary hearing with the ULJ, the hearing proceeded without him. The ULJ determined that the work was suitable and that Jaskowiak's quit disqualified him from receiving benefits.

The ULJ's written decision was mailed to the parties. At the foot of that decision is a paragraph captioned "REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION." The paragraph describes the parties' rights to request reconsideration by appealing the ULJ's decision (online, by fax, or by mail within 30 calendar days). The paragraph also informs the parties that under Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2, the decision will be final if no request for reconsideration is filed.

Jaskowiak timely requested reconsideration of the ULJ's decision. It appears that he filed the request online, providing basic personal information and the following "explanation":

I missed the first hearing by an honest mistake, the reason I quit cm was because my house had burned down last march and I did not have insurance and the only way I could afford to rebuild is if I did all the labor myself which I would not have been able to do this summer, working all the way down in the cities, other wise I would have gladly continued to work for cm construction. I have much to add to this but it says keep it brief thank you john jaskowiak.

The ULJ affirmed his decision, determining that Jaskowiak had not shown good cause to not participate in the hearing and that an additional ...


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