MN Unemployment Applicant Didn't Have Good Cause for Missing Hearing

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: Unemployment appeal, good cause standard.

Cristina Eley v. Southshore Investments, Inc.. MN unemployment, good cause for missing hearing

Christina Eley of Maple Lake, Minnesota, had her unemployment case opened in February 2012. On May 1, 2013, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development made a determination of ineligibility. She appealed this determination to an Unemployment Law Judge, and a hearing was set for June 3. On May 21, the Department mailed a notice to her address of record, stating that the case was set for a telephone hearing at 2:15 PM on June 3. At that time, the Unemployment Judge tried to call, but was unable to reach Eley. The Judge called three times and left two voicemail messages before dismissing the appeal.

Eley asked for reconsideration on the grounds that she thought the hearing was for the next day and had a work-related conflict on June 3. The Unemployment Judge denied this motion, since Eley had been informed of the correct time, and could have also looked it up online. Undaunted, Eley took her case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

In her appeal, Eley cited numerous reasons for her error. She pointed to problems with receiving mail, difficulties with using the internet, and even that the whole appellate process is "so saturated with legal jargon."

But the Court of Appeals affirmed the Unemployment Judge's ruling. The Court held that the applicant must show a reason that would have prevented someone from appearing if they had been using "due dilligence." And in this case, the Court held that Eley had not used the due dilligence required.

The court was sympathetic to the fact that Eley didn't have a lawyer and that she found the process difficult and time consuming. But the court noted that the statutes apply to everyone. For these reasons, the Court of Appeals affirmed.

No. A13-1525 (Minn. Ct. App. April 7, 2014).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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