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There was only one decision this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The decision stands for the proposition that an applicant commits unemployment misconduct by punching another employee in the head and causing that employee to have a concussion. Still, the decision was remanded in part for specific findings on whether the conduct in question constituted aggravated misconduct. Without further ado, here is the summary:

A16-0050: Debra Barrett, Relator, vs. Jourdain/Perpich Extended Care Facility, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

In this unemployment-compensation appeal, relator challenges a determination by an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) on reconsideration that relator is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was discharged from her employment for employment misconduct. The misconduct in question was punching another employee in the head and causing that employee to have a concussion.

The Court of Appeals upheld the determination by the unemployment law judge that the conduct in question was employment misconduct, but rain remanded the case  back to the Department of Employment and Economic Development for a determination by the unemployment law judge whether the  misconduct was aggravated and could be a crime under Minnesota law.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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I am often asked if a person can get Social Security disability benefits if that person is under the age of 50 years old. If you are over 50 but not yet retirement age, Social Security basically considers you un-trainable, and you have a better chance of receiving disability benefits. You might be able to get disability benefits if you are close to 50, because Social Security considers that you are rapidly approaching age 50 (where you are supposedly untrainable).

The short answer is yes, it is possible for a person to get Social Security disability if that person is under the age of 50, but it is very difficult. There are two primary ways that a person who is under the age of 50 can get disability benefits.

First, if the applicant meets a listing for Social Security disability, Social Security will consider the applicant to be disabled, regardless of age, and will award benefits. Social Security has certain listings or criteria for considering someone to be disabled. If you meet the requirements of a listing, Social Security will consider you disabled, even if you are under the age of 50.  However, you must meet the requirements and criteria of a listing exactly, and the listings are very stringent. As a result, very few people who are under the age of 50 will meet the requirements of a listing.

Second, a person who is under the age of 50 may "grid." Social security uses a grid or table to decide if an applicant is disabled. Social Security will consider the applicant's age, skill level of past work, and something called residual functional capacity (basically meaning the skill level and type of work that an applicant is now capable of performing). However, most of the time, the grid will direct a finding that an applicant who is under the age of 50 is not disabled.

For all of these reasons, it is very difficult – although not impossible – for an applicant under the age of 50 to be awarded disability benefits. Such an applicant should expect that the initial application and request for reconsideration will be denied, and that the applicant will have to appeal and have the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, or ALJ for short.

If the ALJ denies the application for disability benefits, the applicant should be prepared to appeal to the Appeals Council if necessary, and recommended by the applicant's attorney. The next step in the appeals process beyond the Appeals Council is suing the Social Security administration in Federal District Court.

I would recommend that an applicant for Social Security disability benefits hire an attorney for the initial application and ensuing appeals process. The applicant should be patient, because the appeals process may very well take one, two, three, or more years to complete.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents applicants for social security benefits at all stages of the application and appeals process.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an initial consultation to discuss your case and options.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota.  Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.






 
 
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Applicants for social security benefits frequently ask if they should have an attorney represent them in the application and appeals process.  From my perspective, the short answer is yes, for two reasons.

First, you typically hire the attorney on a contingent-fee basis of 25% of past-due benefits, or $6,000.00, whichever is less.  That means that you don’t pay any money out-of-pocket, except for expenses, and that the attorney does not get paid unless you prevail.

Second, the law related to social security benefits is mind-numbingly complex, and you need an attorney to navigate the maze of laws, regulations, and cases that govern social security, apply the law to the facts of your case, put the facts most favorable to you forward, and zealously represent you in your application and at all stages of appeal.

Some people want to file the application for disability benefits on their own, and then hire an attorney for the appeal. However, I do not think this is a wise course of action. You probably have a better chance of getting disability benefits with an attorney on your side than on your ownIt is to your benefit to hire an attorney before you submit a disability application. Your application will probably be better because you have an attorney, and although there is no guarantee that you will receive disability benefits, your application stands a better chance with an attorney than without.

So, you really have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney to represent you.  Some people apparently believe that you should apply for social security benefits by yourself the first time, when you do the initial application, but then hire an attorney if your application is denied.  I have to disagree with this notion, because you’re better off with an attorney representing you from the beginning.  The ultimate attorney fee might be less, but I’d rather see you qualify for benefits sooner  After all, the focus is on you, not the attorney.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents applicants for social security benefits at all stages of the application and appeals process.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an initial consultation to discuss your case and options.

 
 
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There were no decisions issued this week on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Usually, this means there are several cases that will be issued in the near future.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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There were no decisions on unemployment benefits issued today by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  This usually means that a whole slew of cases will be forthcoming.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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There were three decisions on unemployment benefits this week issued by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The second case is unique because the Relator is represented by an attorney, which is always a good idea when appealing to the Court of Appeals.  The third case is unique because the Department of Employment and Economic Development requested reversal, admitting that the hearing was not fair.

1. A15-0433, Leola Banks, Relator, vs. Regions Hospital, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Leola Banks’s supervisor discharged Banks from her employment at Regions Hospital after Banks signed prescription-drug order forms as a licensed pharmacist even though she was not a licensed pharmacist. Banks appeals from an unemployment-law judge’s determination that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct. Because Banks’s misrepresenting herself as a pharmacist to order drugs constitutes employment misconduct, we affirm. 

2. A15-0305, Paul Hecimovich, Relator, vs. Always There Staffing, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Paul Hecimovich quit his job as a scrap-iron laborer after one week because his boss yelled at him. An unemployment-law judge (ULJ) determined that Hecimovich is ineligible for unemployment benefits because he quit his employment and the statutory 30-day unsuitability exception does not apply. Hecimovich appeals, arguing that because his employment was unsuitable under Minnesota Statutes section 268.035, subdivision 23a (2014), he need not show that the reason he quit his job was its unsuitability

Hecimovich did not quit his job because it was unsuitable. He quit because it was intolerable to his personal sensibilities. In Wiley v. Robert Half Int’l, Inc., we recognized that the word “because” in the 30-day unsuitability exception establishes that the statute requires an applicant to show a causal relationship between the job’s unsuitability and the applicant’s reason for quitting. 834 N.W.2d 567, 570–71 (Minn. App. 2013). Although the employment’s unsuitability need not be the sole or even the primary reason why the employee quit, it must be one reason. Id. at 571.

Hecimovich’s only reason for quitting was his boss’s yelling at him. The yelling is unrelated to the job’s unsuitability under the statute, and Hecimovich therefore does not establish the required causal relationship. Hecimovich’s counsel conceded at oral argument that reversing the ULJ’s eligibility determination would require us to overturn our decision in Wiley. We decline the invitation to do so.  Accordingly, we affirm the ULJ’s determination.

3.  A15-0703, Patrick H. Horan, Relator, v. Centerline Charter Corp., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator Patrick H. Horan challenges a decision by an unemployment-law judge, affirmed on reconsideration, determining him ineligible for unemployment benefits. Respondent Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department) has filed a letter requesting reversal of the unemployment-law judge’s decision. Horan’s employer, respondent Centerline Charter Corp., has not filed an appellate brief or a response to the department’s letter. Because we agree with the department that the unemployment-law judge did not provide a fair hearing to Horan and that the unemployment-law judge’s decision is not supported by the evidence in the record, we reverse.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



 
 
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There was only one decision from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, but the case is somewhat unique because the issue is whether the applicant was actively seeking suitable employment and the Appeals Court affirmed but modified -- at DEED's urging -- the decision of the ULJ.  I think the case should have been remanded -- or sent back -- for further proceedings.  That would have had the same result, but affirming as modified may have been more efficient.

A14-1974 Tanya Jacobs, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the determination of an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that she is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits for the period of April 27 through June because she was not actively seeking employment. Respondent department argues that the ULJ’s determination should be modified to reflect relator’s employment efforts in the first week of June. We affirm as modified.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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The Minnesota Court of Appeals did not release any decisions on employment benefits today, Monday 6/1/15.  Instead, I am summarizing the decisions issued in the past two weeks.

May 18, 2015: A14-1811 Anita P. Doering, Relator, vs. Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the determinations of the unemployment-law judge (ULJ), arguing that the ULJ’s findings that she had fraudulently received unemployment benefits were not supported by substantial evidence and that relator did not fraudulently fail to report her hours and earnings.   We affirm.

May 26, 2015: A14-2092 Ahmed Ghanim, Relator, vs. FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Services, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges the unemployment-law judge’s (ULJ) determination that he is ineligible to receive unemployment benefits because he quit his employment without a good reason caused by his employer.  In this case, relator quit because "the job became too difficult for him" due to health concerns which he did not report to his employer. We affirm. 

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

 
 
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There were three decisions on unemployment benefits this week from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The first two cases are fairly typical because the affirm the rules (1.) that committing employment misconduct makes an applicant ineligible for unemployment benefits and (2.) quitting a job without good reason caused by the employer makes an applicant ineligible, unless that applicant meets an exception to the ineligibility rules.  The third case is unique because the applicant was represented by an attorney and the decision was reversed, but the reversal resulted in a denial of unemployment benefits.

1. A14-1303: Janvier LeViege, Relator, vs. U.S. Postal Service (FIC 732/Dest 1), Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relator challenges an unemployment-law judge’s decision that relator is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was terminated from employment for misconduct after twice failing to comply with the employer’s policy for reporting unscheduled absences. Relator argues that (1) she did not commit misconduct because the absences were covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and she complied with the FMLA’s reporting requirements; and (2) an additional hearing should have been allowed because she did not receive one of the employer’s exhibits until the hearing date. We affirm.

2. A14-1385: Angela Hofmann, Relator, vs. Minnesota Department of Health, Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Angela Hofmann was a health department employee who quit her job after she could no longer meet the travel obligations of her position and her supervisor offered her 2 an extended medical leave of absence. The department of employment and economic development determined that Hofmann is ineligible for unemployment benefits because she did not fall into any exception to the statutory voluntary-quit disqualification provision, which provides that an applicant might be eligible for unemployment benefits if that applicant informs the employer of her disability and requests a reasonable accommodation, but the employer denied the request. Because Hofmann’s employer offered a reasonable accommodation based on the information Hofmann provided, we hold that the medical-necessity exception does not apply and we affirm.

3.  A14-1786: Jolene Van Wyhe, Relator, vs. Thermospas Hot Tub Products, Inc., Respondent, Department of Employment and Economic Development, Respondent.

Relater Jolene Van Wyhe brings a certiorari appeal of a determination that she is ineligible for unemployment benefits, arguing that the unemployment-law judge erred by concluding that she performed services 32 hours per week. Van Wyhe also asserts that the unemployment-law judge’s 2012 decision, which found Van Wyhe eligible for benefits under identical circumstances, collaterally estops him from now finding her ineligible. Van Wyhe further urges this court to reverse a fraud determination. Because an employee who is on call away from the worksite for 32 hours per week but not working is not “performing services” under the statute, we reverse, but do not determine the fraud issue because it is not properly before the Appeals Court.

If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.








 
 
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There was one decision on unemployment benefits from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The decision underscores the rule that quitting a job without good reason caused by the employer makes an otherwise eligible applicant for unemployment benefits ineligible for those benefits.  The Court of Appeals will affirm factual findings of the Unemployment Law Judge ("ULJ") if those findings are supported by substantial evidence.

A14-1684, Lorraine Rosenthal, Relator, vs. Cardinal of Minnesota, Ltd., Respondent, Department of Employment & Economic Development, Respondent.


Relator Lorraine Rosenthal challenges the denial of her claim for unemployment benefits on the ground that the unemployment-law judge (ULJ) erred in determining that she quit her employment and was therefore ineligible to receive unemployment benefits, even though she had voluntarily retired. Because the ULJ’s factual findings are substantially sustained by the evidence in the record, we affirm.


If you are denied unemployment benefits, or are an employer who wants to challenge a former employee's eligibility for benefits, your best bet is to meet with an attorney who handles unemployment appeals to discuss your options.  To that end, I represent both applicants and employers in unemployment appeals.  Please call (763) 450-9494 today to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  Also, Tim is licensed only in state and federal courts in Minnesota.  As such, any information provided in this blog post pertains only to those jurisdictions.  Further, you should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.