Briefs filed in James Cunningham, Relator, vs. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

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Minnesota Appellate Court Issues in Briefs

Shown here are the statements of the issues presented for review by the appellate courts in the briefs filed for this case. The entire brief set can be found at the State Law Library and other libraries around the state. See Minnesota Appellate Court Briefs Collection for more information.

CASE NAME:  James Cunningham, Relator, vs. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.
        Read the opinion in this case at A11-153
        CITATION: 809 N.W.2d 231 (Minn. Ct. App. 2011)

  • I. Did the Unemployment Law Judge commit an error of law when he found that Mr. Cunningham committed employment misconduct? Decision Below: After an evidentiary hearing, the Unemployment Law Judge determined Mr. Cunningham's decision not to return to work constituted employee misconduct and affirmed this ruling when the issue was raised on reconsideration. Apposite Authorities: Minn. Stat. § 268.095 subd. 4(1); Minn. Stat. § 268.095 subd. 6(a); Minn. Stat. § 268.095 subd. 6(b)(1); Minn. Stat. § 268.095 subd. 6(b)(4).
  • II. Did the ULJ adequately recognize the claims of a pro se party, adequately assist a pro se party to develop the record with relevant facts, or abuse his discretion by denying Mr. Cunningham's request for reconsideration? Decision Below: The Unemployment Law Judge did not address this issue at the hearing, and later denied the request for reconsideration. Apposite Authorities: Loewen v. Lakeland Mental Health Ctr., 532 N.W.2d 270 (Minn.App. 1995); Miller v. Int'l Express Corp., 495 N.W.2d 616 (Minn.App. 1993); Thompson v. County of Hennepin, 660 N.W.2d 157 (Minn.App. 2003).
  • Under the law, an employee who is discharged for committing a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has a right to reasonably expect, or for conduct demonstrating a lack of concern for the job, commits employment misconduct and is ineligible for benefits. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. discharged James Cunningham, a night stocker at a Sam's Club store, after he did not report or call in to work for several days. Cunningham had been told to come to work with ideas for a performance improvement plan, but Cunningham did not believe this was something he could ethically do, as he was already performing as well as his medical conditions allowed him to do. Cunningham had already notified his employer that he was doing everything he could, in light of after effects of several strokes he had suffered. Did Cunningham's conduct amount to employment misconduct under Minnesota law? Unemployment Law Judge Richard Reeves found that Cunningham committed a serious violation of Wal-Mart's reasonable standards, and was therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits.

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