This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
MOAC Mall Holdings, LLC,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed August 14, 2007
Reversed and remanded
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Department of Employment and Economic Development
File No. 10012 06
Mall Holdings LLC, 60 East Broadway,
Lee B. Nelson, Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, E-200 First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent Department)
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Willis, Judge.
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Relator Kevin Edwards challenges a
decision by an unemployment law judge (ULJ), who determined that relator is
disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he quit his job
without good reason caused by his employer, respondent MOAC Mall Holdings, LLC. Relator quit his employment as a facility
custodian in order to care for his two children, who were living on the streets
Because the ULJ failed to consider whether relator could meet the statutory exception provided to an employee whose decision to quit is “necessitated” by “domestic abuse of the [employee] or the [employee’s] minor child,” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(8) (Supp. 2005), we reverse and remand.
This court may reverse or modify a
ULJ’s decision if the employee’s substantial rights have been prejudiced
because the ULJ’s findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are affected by
error of law or unsupported by substantial evidence. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d)
(2006). We review the ULJ’s findings to
determine whether they are supported by substantial evidence, and we defer to
the ULJ’s credibility determinations.
Here, the parties agree that relator
quit his job in December 2005, after receiving information that his two sons,
who were 10 and 14 years old, were living on the streets of
An applicant who quits his
employment is disqualified from receiving benefits unless one of eight
enumerated exceptions applies. Minn.
Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1 (Supp. 2005).
One of those exceptions is shown when an employee quits because of a
good reason caused by the employer.
As the ULJ concluded, while relator
“had very good personal reasons for quitting the employment, these reasons were
unrelated to his employment . . . and therefore, it cannot be said that he quit
with good reason caused by this employer.”
See Kehoe v.
But the unemployment statute
provides another exception that was not considered by the ULJ and that may
apply here. That exception provides that
an employee who quits is not disqualified if the quit is “necessitated” by
“domestic abuse of the [employee] or the [employee’s] minor child.” Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(8) (Supp.
2005). The department concedes, and we
assume for purposes of this case, that “minor children living on the streets of
In particular, the exception requires that domestic abuse to be documented by one or more of the following:
(i) a district court order for protection or other documentation of equitable relief issued by a court;
(ii) a police record documenting the domestic abuse;
(iii) documentation that the perpetrator of the domestic abuse has been convicted of the offense of domestic abuse;
(iv) medical documentation of domestic abuse; or
(v) written statement that the [employee] or the [employee’s] minor child is a victim of domestic abuse, provided by a social worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, attorney at law, or other professional who has assisted the [employee] in dealing with the domestic abuse.
Stat. § 268.095, subd. 1(8) (Supp. 2005).
Unfortunately, the ULJ here did not inquire whether relator, who
appeared pro se at the hearing and continues to appear pro se in this
certiorari appeal, could produce any documentation to satisfy this
exception. The ULJ has a duty to assist
unrepresented parties and to “ensure that all relevant facts are clearly and
fully developed.” Minn. Stat. § 268.105,
subd. 1(b) (Supp. 2005);
Reversed and remanded.
 This court has determined that domestic abuse
is not proven merely by evidence that a mother has neglected a child’s hygiene
and medical care, has left the child unattended, and was chemically dependent
while caring for the child. Chosa ex rel. Chosa v. Tagliente, 693
N.W.2d 487, 490 (