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Deem v. Specialty Turf & AG, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

May 28, 2013

David J. Deem, Relator,
v.
Specialty Turf & AG, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29925066-3

David J. Deem, Buffalo, Minnesota (pro se relator)

Specialty Turf & AG, Inc., Jefferson, Oregon (employer)

Lee B. Nelson, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Department of Employment and Economic Development)

Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Crippen, Judge. [*]

HALBROOKS, Judge

Relator challenges the decision of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that he is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he quit his employment without a good reason caused by the employer. We affirm.

FACTS

Relator David J. Deem worked as a golf-course superintendent for 22 years until he was laid off in October 2011. After Deem was unable to obtain employment at another golf course, he accepted a sales position with respondent Specialty Turf & AG, Inc., a wholesaler of lawn and turf supplies. Deem's position with Specialty Turf required him to drive to golf courses throughout seven metro-area counties and set up new sales accounts with those businesses. Deem found that driving was the most difficult part of his job because, as he described it, "driving in the Twin Cities was stressful" for him.

On June 14, 2012, Deem was almost "sandwiched" by two semi-trucks while driving in a rain storm. After this incident, Deem realized that he did not want to be driving for Specialty Turf and decided to "put all [of his] efforts back into trying to find employment on a golf course." Deem notified his supervisor of his decision to quit, explaining that "driving has been the hardest part [of the job], " he could not get motivated to continue driving, and he was not comfortable as a salesperson. Deem worked for Specialty Turf for almost three months.

Deem applied for unemployment benefits with respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) but was determined to be ineligible. Deem appealed and had a hearing before a ULJ. At the hearing, Deem reiterated his two-fold reason for quitting: (1) he did not want to drive in dangerous situations and (2) he did not feel that he was a competent salesperson. He attributed the difficulty of driving to "the nature of driving in a metropolitan area" and admitted that his employer was not responsible for those conditions. He testified to having no other reasons for quitting.

The ULJ determined that Deem is ineligible for benefits because he quit without a good reason caused by his employer, the only statutory exception to ineligibility that might apply to his case. The ULJ ...


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