This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
COURT OF APPEALS
Lori L. Schuna,
Reynolds and Reynolds Partnership,
Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Filed December 18, 2007
Department of Employment and Economic
File No. 9280 06
Lori L. Schuna, 24834 County Road 19, Merrifield, MN 56465 (pro se relator)
Reynolds & Reynolds Partnership, Mounds
Lee B. Nelson, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, First National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent-department)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.*
Relator argues that the unemployment law judge (ULJ) improperly denied her request for reconsideration, which was postmarked 31 days after the ULJ mailed to relator the decision concluding that she was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because of employment misconduct. Because the relator failed to meet the statutory deadline for her request, the ULJ had no jurisdiction to consider it. We affirm.
Relator Lori L. Schuna was employed by respondent Reynolds and Reynolds Partnership (Reynolds), a board-and-care facility for vulnerable adults, for about 19 months before her discharge on or about June 13, 2006. Relator worked full time in the kitchen and medication room. She knew of the following company policies: employees were allowed one 15-minute break for every four hours worked; former residents were not allowed on the premises except under special circumstances; and employees were required to arrive on time for assigned shifts and to leave at the end of each shift.
Several incidents in June 2006 led to relator’s discharge. On one occasion, relator left the building for a 30-minute smoke break, and a caseworker who came to the facility to speak with her about a resident was unable to find her. The next day, relator worked a shift during which she was responsible for administering nighttime medication to a resident, yet failed to do so. That same day, relator allowed a former resident, who had an outstanding pickup-and-hold warrant, to impermissibly enter the Reynolds’ premises and use a computer. The following day, when relator was not scheduled to work, a coworker found her in the company lounge with the door locked.
Two days later, Reynolds discharged relator for violating multiple company policies. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Devleopment found that relator was disqualified from unemployment benefits because she had been discharged for employment misconduct. Relator appealed, and after a de novo evidentiary hearing via telephone, the ULJ upheld the department’s determination. The ULJ’s decision was mailed to relator on August 22, 2006. Relator mailed a request for reconsideration to the ULJ postmarked September 22, 2006. Along with her request, relator submitted a letter from the patient to whom she allegedly neglected to give medication stating that he “took his pills,” as well as several positive written reviews received during her employment with Reynolds. The ULJ considered relator’s request for reconsideration as filed on the postmark date of September 22, 2006. The request for reconsideration was not filed within 30 calendar days of the mailing of the ULJ’s original decision, and the ULJ dismissed the request as untimely. This certiorari appeal followed.
Upon review, we may affirm, remand for further proceedings, reverse, or modify the decision of a ULJ. Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005). We will affirm a decision by a ULJ unless the relator’s substantial rights are prejudiced because the ULJ’s
findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
(6) arbitrary or capricious.
Id. Dismissing an appeal for lack of jurisdiction is a question of law and is an issue that we review de novo. Stottler v. Meyers Printing Co., 602 N.W.2d 916, 918 (Minn. App. 1999).
decision or order by a ULJ is considered final but a party may request a
reconsideration by the ULJ. Minn. Stat.
§ 268.105, subd. 1(c) (Supp. 2005).
The request must be filed “within 30 calendar days of the sending of the
unemployment law judge’s decision.” Minn.
Stat. § 268.105 subd. 2(a) (Supp. 2005).
A request for reconsideration is deemed filed on the date of the United
States mail postmark appearing on the request.
Minn. Stat. § 268.035, subd. 17 (2004). The statute does not provide any extensions of
or exceptions to the time limitations. Kennedy v. Am. Paper Recycling Corp., 714
N.W.2d 738, 740 (Minn. App. 2006). An
untimely appeal from a disqualification is not within the jurisdiction of the
ULJ and must be dismissed. Id. The administrative regularity of a ULJ’s decision
is assumed, and the party challenging that regularity has the burden of proving
that the decision was erroneous. No Power Line, Inc. v. Minn. Evtl. Quality
Council, 262 N.W.2d 312, 325 (
The ULJ made a determination of relator’s qualification for benefits, and since that decision is considered final, relator’s arguments concerning the nature of her discharge from employment are not at issue in this appeal. Relator offers no sufficient arguments or evidence to support her assertion that the denial of her request for reconsideration was substantively or procedurally erroneous. Therefore, the only issue before this court is that of propriety of the denial because the ULJ found the request to be untimely.
Relator’s sole arguments regarding the timeliness of her request for reconsideration are her insistence that she did submit the request for reconsideration on time, and had she thought otherwise, she would have sent overnight or hand-delivered it. However, the unambiguous postmark date of September 22, 2006 that appears on the relator’s request for reconsideration is controlling. The evidence is uncontroverted that the initial decision was mailed to relator on August 22, 2006, and the postmark date of September 22, 2006 on the request for reconsideration is 31 days later.
This court has repeatedly held that mitigating circumstances have no bearing on the strict determination of statutory time limits for appeals. King v. Univ. of Minn., 387 N.W.2d 675, 677 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Aug. 13, 1986). An appeal that is even one day late must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, as the statutory time limit for appealing is “absolute and unambiguous.” Semanko v. Dep’t of Employment Servs., 309 Minn. 425, 430, 244 N.W.2d 663, 666 (1976). Since the law makes no exceptions for mitigating circumstances regarding statutory time limits, the fact that the relator’s request for reconsideration to the ULJ was only one day late has no effect on the ULJ’s decision; jurisdiction to consider the request had ended.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.