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Linn v. Cook County Hospital District

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

October 21, 2013

Matthew Linn, Relator,
v.
Cook County Hospital District, Respondent,

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 29390933-5.

Cyrenthia D. Shaw, Shaw Law Office, LLC, St. Louis Park, Minnesota (for relator) Cook County Hospital District, Grand Marais, Minnesota (respondent).

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

Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Johnson, Chief Judge; and Toussaint, Judge.[*]

JOHNSON, Chief Judge.

Matthew Linn challenges the dismissal of his administrative appeal of an initial determination of ineligibility for unemployment benefits. We conclude that the administrative appeal was properly dismissed because it was not filed within the applicable 20-day period. Therefore, we affirm.

FACTS

Linn was employed as a medical lab technician for the Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center until February 17, 2012, when he quit. Two days later, he applied for unemployment benefits with the department of employment and economic development.

On March 2, 2012, the department issued an initial determination of ineligibility under issue identification number 29390934 (hereinafter the '34 matter). The determination states that Linn is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he failed to show that he then was able to work by having his physician provide a statement. The notice states that the determination would "become final unless an appeal is filed by Thursday, March 22, 2012."

On March 8, 2012, the department issued another initial determination of ineligibility under issue identification number 29390933 (hereinafter the '33 matter). This determination states that Linn is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he failed to show that it was medically necessary for him to quit his employment with the hospital. The notice states that the determination would "become final unless an appeal is filed by Wednesday, March 28, 2012." The ineligibility determination in the '33 matter is the determination at issue in the appeal to this court.

Also on March 8, 2012, Linn's physician sent a statement to the department, indicating that Linn was "[t]otally unable to perform any type of work" beginning February 9, 2012, pending a further evaluation from the Mayo Clinic. On March 12, 2012, the department issued an amended determination of ineligibility in the '34 matter in which it acknowledged receipt of the physician's statement and notified Linn that he was ineligible for unemployment benefits until he was able to work. On March 13, 2012, Linn's physician sent another statement to the department, indicating this time that Linn had a limited ability to work from March 13, 2012, through March 23, 2012. On March 16, 2012, the department issued a second amended determination of ineligibility in the '34 matter, stating that Linn was ineligible for benefits from February 19, 2012, through March 12, 2012. On March 23, 2012, Linn's physician completed a third statement, which said that Linn was able to work with restrictions from that date until June 30, 2012. The following day, Linn sent the March 23, 2012 statement to the department by U.S. mail.

On April 24, 2012, Linn submitted an administrative appeal of the initial determination of ineligibility in the '33 matter via the department's web site. Linn submitted the administrative appeal 33 days after the deadline stated in the March 2, 2012 notice in the '34 matter and 27 days after the deadline stated in the March 8, 2012 notice in the '33 matter. An unemployment law judge (ULJ) dismissed the appeal as untimely. Linn requested reconsideration. On September 20, 2012, the ULJ conducted an evidentiary hearing. The ULJ determined that the March 23, 2012 physician's statement that Linn mailed to the department on March 24, 2012, was related to the '34 matter. The ULJ also determined that the March 8 and 13, 2012 physician's statements did not relate to the '33 matter because they were sent by Linn's physician and, therefore, "cannot be interpreted to be a communication that Linn disagrees with the determination" of the '33 matter. The ULJ further noted that the March 23, 2012 physician's statement indicated that Linn was able to work and that there was "no indication Linn disagreed with the conclusion he quit" or "with the conclusion it was not medically necessary for the employment to end." The ULJ also explained that the March 23, 2012 physician's statement was not relevant to the time period during which Linn quit.

Accordingly, the ULJ concluded that Linn did not submit an administrative appeal in the '33 matter until April 24, 2012, after the deadline for an administrative appeal. The ULJ denied Linn's request for ...


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