This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C2-96-2525

Lawrence Holloman,

Relator,

vs.

AT&T Communications, Inc.,

Respondent,

Commissioner of Economic Security,

Respondent.

Filed July 1, 1997

Affirmed

Klaphake, Judge

Department of Economic Security

File No. 7531 UC 96

Peter B. Knapp, William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 (for Relator)

Thomas H.W. Sawyer, AT&T Law Division, Suite 1300, 227 W. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60606; Lauren M. Rowinski, AT&T Law Division, 2995 Daybraker Drive, Park City, UT 84060 (for Respondent AT&T)

R. Scott Davies, Kerry L. Bundy, Briggs and Morgan, 2400 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent AT&T)

Kent E. Todd, Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Respondent Commissioner)

Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Klaphake, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N

KLAPHAKE, Judge

Relator Lawrence Holloman worked for respondent AT&T Communications, Inc., until January 17, 1996, when he was discharged for threatening co-employees. Because the Commissioner's decision that Holloman is disqualified from receiving reemployment insurance benefits is supported by the record, we affirm.

FACTS

On January 2, 1996, Holloman and co-employee Alan Cloud had a confrontation in the office they shared with several other employees, including Cloud's wife and son-in-law. After the confrontation, Holloman approached his supervisor, Monica Milbrandt, and explained that he and Cloud had a conversation and he asked Cloud to "step out * * * to continue that conversation." Cloud also reported the incident to his supervisor.

The following day, co-employee Lorinda Phillips had lunch with Holloman. After lunch, she reported to the Clouds that during lunch Holloman had threatened to hurt Cloud and his family. They reported the incident to Milbrandt, and Phillips also documented the incident in a letter submitted to Milbrandt the following day. In addition to describing Holloman's threats, she stated in the letter that Holloman had been "intentionally trying to start something" and that his threats "did affect me because he openly told me that he was going to intentionally hurt people that I knew." She also wrote that she feared "for not only [the Clouds] and myself, but for the entire center's welfare." Thereafter, AT&T conducted an investigation, concluded that Holloman had violated the office code of conduct by threatening a co-employee, and discharged him.

At the benefits hearing, the reemployment insurance judge heard testimony from Milbrandt, Holloman, and Alan Cloud. Phillips's letter, Milbrandt's office records, and Holloman's job separation statement were all made part of the record.

D E C I S I O N

Holloman contends that the only evidence of the January 3 incident was Phillips's hearsay letter. He concedes that hearsay is admissible and may be sufficient to support the Commissioner's decision. See Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 1 (1996) (reemployment insurance appellate hearings "need not conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence and other technical rules of procedure"); Wilson v. Comfort Bus Co., Inc., 491 N.W.2d 908 (Minn. App. 1992) (hearsay and documentary evidence sufficient to find employee threw snowball at co-employee). Nevertheless, he contends that the statement was unreliable and uncorroborated and therefore should have been excluded. See Minn. R. 3310.2922 (hearsay allowed, but only "if it is the type of evidence on which reasonable, prudent persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of their serious affairs.")

We are satisfied that Phillips's letter was reliable and its contents corroborated sufficiently to support the Commissioner's decision. First, there is no evidence suggesting that Phillips herself was unreliable or untrustworthy. The Commissioner specifically found that Phillips had no motive to fabricate. Second, Phillips's version of the lunch conversation was consistent with the version in Milbrandt's office records. Third, Holloman himself corroborated much of the subject matter of the letter. He agreed with Phillips's observations about his attitude and behavior and about his interactions with co-employees. Holloman did not deny the January 2 confrontation, but interpreted his actions differently from other witnesses. In light of the reliability and corroboration of Phillips's statement and the other evidence supporting the Commissioner's decision, we affirm.

Affirmed.