This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).







Noel B. Gilles,





Department of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed April 17, 2007


Lansing, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 3266 06


Noel B. Gilles, 3300 West 101st Street, Bloomington, MN 55431-2709 (pro se relator)


Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Worke, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            On certiorari to our court, Noel Gilles appeals an unemployment-law judge’s decision that he is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he failed to maintain an active benefit account.  Because the unemployment-law judge’s decision relies on law that is no longer in effect and was not in effect at the time of the ineligibility decision, we remand for further proceedings.


Noel Gilles established an active unemployment-benefits account in September 2005.  As an unemployment-benefits recipient, Gilles received a notice describing TELECLAIM, the state’s system for accessing and managing unemployment benefits by touch-tone telephone.  The notice instructed him to call TELECLAIM to maintain his eligibility for benefits: 

IMPORTANT: You must call TELECLAIM as instructed to maintain an active account even if wage information, benefit determinations or an appeal are pending.  If you forget or do not call TELECLAIM as scheduled, to answer the questions regarding your ongoing eligibility for the two-week period, you will be denied benefits for that period.


Gilles successfully used the TELECLAIM system to maintain eligibility and received unemployment benefits until January 20, 2006, when the Department of Employment and Economic Development determined that Gilles was no longer eligible for benefits because he missed a mandatory orientation session.  Gilles appealed the ineligibility determination and obtained a favorable decision on February 13, 2006. 

On February 21, 2006, Gilles entered the TELECLAIM system to request benefits for the period covering the appeal, which extended from January 9, 2006, through February 18, 2006.  The department denied Gilles’s request based on its finding that Gilles did not file a continued biweekly request for benefits for January 9, 2006, through February 18, 2006.  Gilles again appealed and participated in a telephone hearing on March 21, 2006.  In that hearing Gilles explained that he did not make a request for benefits between January 11, 2006, and February 21, 2006, because his ineligibility appeal was pending. 

The unemployment-law judge (ULJ) issued a decision the following day, denying Gilles’s request for benefits.  The analysis section of the decision primarily consists of a page and a half of quoted statutory material.  Following the quoted statutes, the decision briefly states that Gilles’s misunderstanding about his obligation to continue requesting benefits during a pending appeal was not “a good reason” for failing to request those benefits.

Gilles filed a request for reconsideration on March 23, 2006, arguing that he did not stop requesting benefits, but that the TELECLAIM system prevented him from requesting benefits.  The ULJ affirmed his earlier decision on April 26, 2006, observing that TELECLAIM call records admitted into evidence at the March 21, 2006 telephone hearing showed that Gilles had not logged into the system for any purpose between January 11, 2006, and February 21, 2006.  Gilles now appeals.


On appeal from an unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) benefits determination, we may affirm, remand, or reverse.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (2006).  Reversal is appropriate if the relator’s substantial rights were prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision is affected by error of law or unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record.  Id. Noel Gilles argues that his rights were prejudiced because the TELECLAIM system prevented him from successfully calling in his benefits-continuation request while his ineligibility appeal was pending.  We are unable to resolve the merits of this claim, however, because the ULJ’s decision to deny Gilles benefits hinges on a statutory obligation that no longer exists in Minnesota law.

            The analysis section of the ULJ’s March 22, 2006 decision begins by quoting the statutory requirement that to be eligible for benefits for a given week an applicant must have an active benefits account and file a “continued biweekly request for unemployment benefits for that week pursuant to section 286.086.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.085, subd. 1(1) (2004).  The decision, again quoting statutory language, states that a benefit account is active “only when an applicant files continued biweekly requests for unemployment benefits in the manner and within the time periods prescribed.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.086, subd. 1(a) (2004).  The decision then quotes subdivision 4, addressing the procedure for filing biweekly requests for benefits by telephone; and subdivisions 8 and 9, providing that delinquent requests will only be accepted if the applicant has “good cause” and defining “good cause.”  The decision concludes by finding that Gilles did not have “good cause” for failing to make continued benefits requests while his appeal was pending because the requests are required by law.

            The ULJ’s decision does not provide a standard citation for the statutes that it quotes, and we, therefore, have no indication of the time period for which the decision asserts that the quoted language was effective.  Significantly, the legislature amended the unemployment statutes in 2005, with the changes effective July, 1, 2005.  2005 Minn. Laws ch. 112, art. 2, § 43, at 714.  As part of these amendments, the legislature repealed subdivision four of section 268.086, which is the statute on which the ULJ hinges his decision.  Id., § 42(b), at 714; see also id., § 23, at 697 (deleting telephone as one method that commissioner may designate for applicant to file biweekly request).  This repealed subdivision provided the procedure for activating and maintaining a benefits account using a touch-tone telephone.  Minn. Stat. § 268.086, subd. 4 (2004).  The repeal of subdivision four is part of the same package of amendments that deleted telephone requests as a means of filing a continued biweekly request for benefits.  Compare Minn. Stat. § 268.086, subd. 3(a) (Supp. 2005) (providing that requests may be filed by electronic transmission, mail, and in-person interviews), with Minn. Stat. § 268.086, subd. 3(a) (2004) (providing telephone, electronic transmission, mail, and in-person interviews as means for filing requests). 

Gilles established his benefits account in September 2005, and the events relevant to his benefits determination occurred in the early part of 2006.  As a result, it appears to us that Gilles was directed by the commissioner to request his benefits in a manner no longer authorized under Minnesota law and was later denied benefits because he failed to comply with a law that is no longer in effect.  The Department of Employment and Economic Development argues that had Gilles “picked up the phone and filed for benefits, the process would have proceeded normally.”  That may be so, but “the process” the department refers to has been removed from the statutes, and the department cites no legal authority to support its argument.

Consequently, the ULJ’s reasons do not provide a legal basis for denying Gilles benefits.  Because neither Gilles nor the department addressed the issue of the repeal of Minn. Stat. § 268.086, subd. 4, we remand to the ULJ for a determination on whether Gilles is ineligible for benefits under the law in effect at the time he requested benefits.