Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29120890-5
Ryan Mackedanz, Sartell, Minnesota (pro se relator) Chas A Bernick, Inc., St. Cloud, Minnesota (respondent employer)
Lee B. Nelson, Department of Employment and Economic Development, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent department)
Considered and decided by Hooten, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Willis, Judge. [*]
Relator challenges the decision of an unemployment law judge (ULJ) dismissing his appeal from a determination of ineligibility as untimely, arguing that he never received the determination. Because the statute limiting the time to appeal an ineligibility determination is predicated on the sending of the determination rather than its receipt, we affirm.
Relator Ryan Mackedanz worked for respondent Chas A. Bernick, Inc. until he was terminated on December 16, 2011. Relator initiated a benefits account on January 1, 2012. Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) determined that relator was ineligible, and sent him a determination of ineligibility dated January 19, 2012. This determination was mailed to relator at his residence, but relator indicated that he never received it. On June 18, 2012, relator faxed a letter "appealing this determination [of January 19, 2012] because it was just recently brought to [his] attention."
A telephonic hearing was held, during which relator testified that he resided at the address listed on the determination of ineligibility throughout the relevant time period and that he could receive mail at that address. However, relator testified that he did not receive the determination of ineligibility, and had "no idea" why he would not have received it. Relator further testified that he did not have internet access at that time and thus used DEED's telephone system to request benefits.
Relator testified that he first became aware of the determination of ineligibility around June 18, when he called DEED and talked to someone who "was going through all the files with [him] and she said that there's a letter here that's been returned." During the hearing, the ULJ noted that the record contained a copy of an envelope, postmarked May 9, 2012, which was addressed to relator but returned to DEED. Relator indicated that he had not received the determination of ineligibility and could not think of any reason why he did not receive it. Relator testified that he first received a copy of the determination when it was mailed to him, at the same address, after his conversation with the DEED representative in June.
In addition to relator's testimony, the ULJ also considered an affidavit from an office-services supervisor at DEED. The affidavit stated that there are procedures in place to ensure that mail to applicants is sent on the date listed on the documents, and that documents that are damaged or destroyed during the mailing process are regenerated the same day. The supervisor stated that, "[t]o the best of [her] knowledge, " procedures for ensuring mail is sent on the date of the documents "were used to serve the Determination of Ineligibility on January 19, 2012, in [this] matter upon the parties, and there is no indication that the equipment malfunctioned on this date."
The ULJ found that DEED "mailed a determination of ineligibility to [relator] on January 19, 2012" at relator's address. Because relator did not appeal the determination of ineligibility within the designated timeframe, the ULJ decided that relator did not make a timely appeal, that the determination of ineligibility became final, and that the ULJ was therefore without "jurisdiction to hold a hearing on the merits." Relator requested reconsideration, and the ULJ affirmed the determination that DEED mailed the determination and that relator's appeal was ...