This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Michelle M. LaBeau,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 843105
Karl F. von Reuter,
Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Minge, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Relator challenges the ULJ’s decision requiring her to repay unemployment benefits. Because the ULJ properly exercised jurisdiction and because relator entered into a stipulation without permitting the intervenor to participate, we affirm.
1994, relator Michelle LaBeau sustained a work-related injury during her employment
as a dentist with the City of
Relator filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in March 2003, and in September 2003 relator sent a notice of potential intervention rights to respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department). The notice stated that relator had filed a workers’ compensation claim for “temporary partial disability from December 28, 2000 to the present and continuing.” The department then filed a motion to intervene, including with its motion a proposed stipulation that the department be added as an intervenor and be reimbursed for unemployment benefits paid during time periods for which relator was also awarded loss-of-wage workers’ compensation benefits. Neither relator nor her employer responded to the proposed stipulation. The parties were notified that on September 11, 2003, the department’s motion to intervene was granted.
On February 23, 2005, relator entered into a stipulation for settlement of her workers’ compensation claim with her employer and its insurer. The department was not notified of the settlement. The stipulation states that it is the intention of the parties “to fully, finally and completely settle . . . any and all claims, past, present and future which the Employee has or may have, both known and unknown, against the City of St. Paul, Self-Insured, arising out of the alleged injury of August 30, 1994.” The stipulation did not acknowledge or provide for the intervention interest of the department.
Relator sent the department a copy of the stipulation on March 10, 2005. The next day, relator’s attorney sent an e-mail to the department, stating, “I notice you were circumvented out of settlement. For my part, this was an honest error. I apologize. We settled this case in mediation in February 2004. . . . It is the employee’s position that the City should reimburse your intervention claim.”
On May 2, 2005, the department issued relator a notice of overpayment of $1,456. Relator appealed this determination. An unemployment law judge (ULJ) concluded that relator had been overpaid benefits and was obligated to repay the full amount based on the department’s exclusion from the settlement negotiations. The ULJ affirmed this decision upon relator’s request for reconsideration. Relator filed a petition in the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals to set aside the award on the stipulation. The petition was denied. This certiorari appeal of the ULJ’s decision follows.
first issue is whether the ULJ properly exercised jurisdiction over the
department’s claim for reimbursement. Although
relator did not raise this argument in her brief, relator asserted at oral
argument that the workers’ compensation system has exclusive jurisdiction over this
matter, including the department’s claim that relator was overpaid unemployment
benefits. In support of her claim, relator cited several
cases where an intervenor’s claim, after being excluded from the employee’s
stipulation, was heard by a workers’ compensation judge. See,
e.g., Parker/Lindberg v. Friendship Vill., 395 N.W.2d 713, 715-16 (
second issue is whether the ULJ erred in concluding that, because relator did
not include the department in her stipulation with her employer regarding her
workers’ compensation claim, relator was obligated to fully reimburse the
department on its intervention claim.
This court may reverse the decision of the ULJ if an applicant’s rights
may have been prejudiced because the decision was not supported by substantial
evidence or was affected by an error of law.
an applicant receives unemployment benefits to which the applicant is not
entitled, whether due to the applicant’s own mistake or to an error by the
department, the applicant must repay the benefits to the department.
An applicant is not eligible to receive unemployment benefits for any week in which the applicant is receiving or has received compensation for loss of wages equal to or in excess of the applicant’s weekly unemployment benefit amount under:
(1) the workers’ compensation law of this state; . . .
Minn. Stat. § 268.085, subd.
3a(a) (2004). But the workers’
compensation benefits received must be identifiable as compensation for loss of
wages. See In re Claim of Gjerdahl, 411 N.W.2d 283, 286-87 (
Relator argues that any workers’ compensation benefits she received for the period from January to August 2001, when she also received unemployment benefits, were not loss-of-wages benefits. Relator notes that her physician did not impose any work restrictions until May 2003 and prior to that time, her physician had only recommended an ergonomic dental chair. Moreover, the stipulation between relator and her employer does not specify how it addresses specific types of benefits. Relator’s workers’ compensation claim requested medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits, and temporary partial disability benefits from December 28, 2000, to the present and continuing. And the stipulation states that the parties intended to settle “any and all claims” based on her alleged injuries, including permanent partial or total disability, temporary partial or total disability, retraining benefits, rehabilitation benefits, attorney fees, and medical benefits. Thus, it is unclear whether the stipulation awarded relator loss-of-wage benefits for the period of time from January to August 2001 when she also received unemployment benefits. See Gjerdahl, 411 N.W.2d at 286.
department argues that it is not required to show that the benefits overlapped
because the department was excluded from the settlement conference where
relator and her employer agreed to the stipulation.
Here the Office of Administrative Hearings sent a notice on February 17, 2004, to all parties, including the department, of a workers’ compensation hearing on April 29, 2004. Relator and her employer conducted a private settlement conference on February 19, 2004 and a year later, on February 23, 2005, relator signed the stipulation. The stipulation states that relator is not aware of any intervention interests other than those specifically described in the stipulation. The only intervenor identified in the stipulation is a dental supply company; the department is not mentioned. Notice of the award on the stipulation was served on the department in March 2005, and the overpayment determination followed. The department-intervenor was excluded from the settlement and is thus entitled to full reimbursement regardless of whether it can show that relator was overpaid.
Relator argues that Brooks is distinguishable because relator did not file a workers’ compensation claim until after her unemployment benefits ceased, whereas the intervenors in Brooks paid benefits after the employee filed a workers’ compensation claim. 278 N.W.2d at 311. This distinction is not relevant.
Relator also argues that Brooks does not apply because the department did not follow the statutory requirements for an intervenor’s participation in the proceedings. Intervenors must participate in conferences and hearings, unless certain exceptions apply:
Unless a stipulation has been signed and filed or the intervenor’s right to reimbursement has otherwise been established, the intervenor shall attend all settlement or pretrial conferences, administrative conferences, and the hearing. Failure to appear shall result in the denial of the claim for reimbursement.
Minn. Stat. § 176.361, subd. 4
(2004). But an intervenor’s right to
reimbursement is deemed established, as long as the petitioner’s workers’
compensation is compensable, if “the person submitting the application or
motion for intervention has included a proposed stipulation” and “a party has
not returned the signed stipulation or filed objections within 30 days of
service of the application or motion.”
Here, although the department failed to attend a stipulation status conference, it submitted a proposed stipulation along with its motion to intervene. The stipulation was not signed and no objections were filed. Therefore, the department was not required to attend conferences and hearings in order to protect its right to reimbursement. See id., subds. 3, 4.
 We note that generally arguments not briefed on appeal
are waived and may not be raised for the first time at oral arguments. See
Peterson v. BASF Corp., 711 N.W.2d 470, 482 (
 The department also contends that the statutory scheme of section 176.361 provides an alternate basis for affirming the ULJ’s decision: because the parties did not respond to the department’s proposed stipulation, the department argues that its right to reimbursement was deemed established, without application of Brooks. There do not appear to be any cases interpreting these provisions, but the plain language of the statute supports the department’s argument.