This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Pepsi Bottling Group,
Department of Employment and
Filed February 7, 2006
Reversed and remanded
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 17925 04
Charles H. Thomas, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 3000, P.O. Box 3304, Mankato, MN 56002-3304 (for relator)
Group LLC, Burnsville Location, Attn:
Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, E200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Department)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
In this certiorari appeal, relator
Because the testimony of these witnesses was necessary to clearly and fully develop the facts and weigh the credibility of the witnesses who did testify, we reverse and remand.
unemployment compensation hearing, the unemployment law judge (ULJ) must
“exercise control over the hearing procedure in a manner that protects the
parties’ rights to a fair hearing” and must “ensure that relevant facts are
clearly and fully developed.”
subpoenas are crucial to the ability of a party to fully present his or her
case, particularly when the witnesses are hostile or controlled by the
Subpoenas are available to a party to compel the attendance of witnesses . . . upon a showing of necessity by the party applying for subpoenas. . . . The requesting party must identify the person or documents to be subpoenaed, the subject matter of the evidence requested, and their necessity. A request for a subpoena may be denied if the testimony . . . sought would be irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly cumulative or repetitious.
Minn. R. 3310.2914, subpt. 1 (2005). Failure to comply with an issued subpoena is considered a “significant procedural defect” that so prejudices a party’s ability to present his or her case that a remand is required for a new hearing or the taking of additional testimony. See, e.g., Ntamere v. DecisionOne Corp., 673 N.W.2d 179, 182 (Minn. App. 2003); Thompson v. County of Hennepin, 660 N.W.2d 157, 161 (Minn. App. 2003).
the telephone hearing before the ULJ, relator requested that the department
issue subpoenas for three witnesses:
Relator argues that each of the witnesses could have offered relevant, material, and probative testimony to support his claim that he merely raised his arm to block a blow from the security guard and was acting in self defense. The department counters that “[a]n employee cannot insist on producing everyone who could agree with any part of the narrative he offers in order to ‘bolster his credibility,’ or employees could bring in an unending string of witnesses to agree with every part of their testimony, relevant or not[.]” However, relator was not seeking to subpoena every employee who might have been present that morning. Rather, he sought to subpoena three witnesses whose testimony was crucial to add context to the incident and to corroborate his testimony, particularly when the security guard did not testify at the hearing. The testimony of one of relator’s requested witnesses was particularly relevant because it would have contradicted the testimony of the employer’s only witness to challenge relator’s version of the events. Because relator established that the testimony of his requested witnesses was necessary and relevant to his case, we reverse.
On appeal to the review judge, relator also argued that he did not receive a fair hearing before the ULJ because he was not given prior notice of the identity of the employer’s witnesses and because he was not given an opportunity to present closing argument after his call was disconnected. While relator did not specifically raise these issues on appeal, these procedural defects further add to the unfairness of the hearing that relator received. We therefore remand for a new hearing.
Reversed and remanded.