Filing an Unemployment Appeal

For persons who do not have an attorney and wish to appeal an administrative decision involving unemployment benefits, the Court of Appeals has prepared an Unemployment Benefits Packet of instructions and forms.

The Law Library’s free Unemployment Appeal Legal Advice Clinic brochure is also available.

The purpose of this information is to help unemployment-benefits applicants file an appeal without an attorney. Staff from the Clerk of the Appellate Courts office can answer basic questions, but they cannot fill out the forms or give legal advice.
 

Court of Appeals Opinions are Available to the Public

Once your appeal is decided, this court’s opinion will be available to the public on the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website. After an opinion is filed, it cannot be removed from the Internet.  This means that anyone who searches for your name on the Internet may be able to find and read the opinion.
 

Explanation of the Appeal Process

These materials are important if you wish to appeal a final decision of the unemployment law judge (ULJ) regarding a claim for unemployment benefits.  The ULJ’s order ruling on a request for reconsideration is the final decision.  You cannot appeal the ULJ’s initial decision unless a timely request for reconsideration was made and the ULJ issued a final decision on reconsideration.
 
If you are or will be represented by an attorney, please give this material to the attorney.

If you will be handling the appeal yourself, please read this material carefully.  It includes copies of the forms you need.
 

The Parties

You, as the appealing party, are called the “relator.”  The other parties are called the “respondents.” The respondents are:
  1. the employer (if any), and
  2. the Department of Employment and Economic Development (the department)
 

Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure

The Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure apply to all appeals.  While we have given you a simplified version of what you need to do, you should read the rules yourself for more information.  You also can find these rules at the Minnesota State Law Library or at public libraries.
 

Filing

“Filing” means giving documents to the office of the clerk of appellate courts.  You may file documents by hand-delivering them to the clerk’s office or by placing the documents in the United States mail, first-class postage prepaid, within the time required to file the document.  Filing by facsimile (fax) or other electronic means currently is not allowed unless authorized by an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The appellate courts are in the process of changing to an electronic filing system, but presently you must still file by mail or in person.
 
If you do not file the petition for the writ of certiorari within 33 days after the ULJ’s decision on reconsideration was mailed, or within 30 days after the decision was sent to you by electronic transmission, your appeal will be dismissed. This time cannot be extended.
 

Service

You must give a copy of all appeal papers to all respondents (usually the employer and the department) either personally or by mail.  This is called “service.” Service by mail is made by depositing the papers in the United States mail, first-class postage prepaid, within the appeal period.  If you decide to have the papers served personally, this may be done by the sheriff or another person 18 years or older who is not a party to the appeal.   Because you are a party to the appeal, you may not personally serve the papers on a respondent who does not have an attorney.  If a respondent has an attorney, you may personally serve the attorney.
 
The petition for the writ of certiorari must be served on the department (either the ULJ or the Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development), and on the employer.  If you do not serve the petition for the writ of certiorari on all of the respondents within 33 days after the ULJ’s decision was mailed, or within 30 days after the decision was sent to you by electronic transmission, your appeal will be dismissed.  This time cannot be extended.
 
At this time, service by facsimile (fax) or other electronic means is allowed only with the consent of the party to be served and it is effective upon receipt.
 

Time Periods

You have 30 days to appeal from the time the ULJ’s decision on reconsideration was sent to you.  If the ULJ’s decision was mailed to you, you have an extra three days to appeal.  If the ULJ’s decision was sent to you by electronic transmission, then you do not get the extra three days for mailing. To figure out when the period of time to file and serve a document ends, apply the following rules
 
When you start counting the days, do not count the day that the event occurred that started the time period, but start counting the next day.  For example, if the decision was mailed to you, the day after the ULJ’s decision was mailed to you is the first day of your 33-day appeal period.  If the decision was sent by electronic transmission, the day after the decision was transmitted is the first day of the 30-day appeal period.  Continue counting calendar days.  Do not skip weekends or legal holidays.  If the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, then the deadline is the next business day.
 
Legal holidays for the appellate courts are New Year’s Day (January 1); Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (the third Monday in January); Presidents’ Day (the third Monday in February); Memorial Day (the last Monday in May); Independence Day (July 4); Labor Day (the first Monday in September); Veterans’ Day (November 11); Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November); the Friday after Thanksgiving; and Christmas Day (December 25).
 
The appellate courts are open on Christopher Columbus Day, which falls on the second Monday in October.   However, Christopher Columbus Day is a legal holiday for the purpose of determining a time period.  If the last day of the period falls on Christopher Columbus Day, then the period is extended until the next day.
 

Proof of Service

Every document submitted to the clerk of the appellate courts for filing must be accompanied by proof that the document was served on the other parties to the appeal.  Usually, proof of service is (1) a notarized affidavit of service or (2) a certificate of service.  Proof of service can also be a written admission by the person who was served that the document was received.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 125.04.
 
The person who served the document in person or by mail must complete the affidavit or certificate of service, which must include a description of the documents that were served, the date of service, the method of service (by mail or in person), the name of the person who was served, and the address to which the papers served by mail were sent. The affidavit or certificate of service must be signed by the person who served the papers.
 
Affidavit of Service.  An affidavit of service must be signed in front of a notary by the person who served the document. The notary must also sign and date the document. Notary services are available at many financial institutions for a small fee. The Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts will notarize an affidavit of service at no charge.
 
Certificate of Service.   A certificate of service does not need to be notarized. A certificate of service must contain a statement by the person who signs the certificate that the person declares under the penalty of perjury that everything stated in the document is true and correct. The certificate must show the date of signing and the county and state where the certificate was signed.
 
The forms for the affidavit of service and certificate of service are included at the back of this packet.  We have given you copies of the forms, but you may still need to make extra copies.
 

Filing Fees

An applicant appealing the denial of unemployment benefits does not have to pay a filing fee.  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subds. 6(b), 7(c).
 
Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Writ of Certiorari, and Statement of the Case
A copy of each form you need to fill out for this appeal is at the back of the packet.  You must file these with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts and serve them on all of the respondents (the department and, usually, the employer) within the time to appeal.  The petition for a writ of certiorari tells the court and the respondents that you want to appeal the ULJ’s decision.
 
The writ of certiorari is a form that the clerk’s office will sign and give back to you; once signed, it is called an “issued writ.”   You will serve the issued writ on all of the respondents.   The writ tells the department to send your records to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts so that the court of appeals can review them for the appeal.
 
The statement of the case is a form in which you give us information about your case and you briefly explain why you think the decision by the ULJ is wrong.
 

The Record

The record that the court of appeals will look at is the evidence used in the hearing before the ULJ and any new evidence on reconsideration, if you asked for a new hearing.  The department will send the record to the court of appeals.  You may not give new evidence on appeal without first getting permission from the court of appeals. The court of appeals generally does not accept new evidence.
 
If testimony was given at the hearing, the department will prepare a transcript of the audiotape of the hearing free of charge.  A transcript is a typed copy of what all of the parties and the ULJ said at your hearing.  If you request it, the department will also send you a copy of all exhibits introduced into evidence without charge.
 

Briefs

The brief is your written argument on appeal.  You must file five copies of the brief with the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, and serve two copies on each of the respondents.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 131.03. You must also file proof of service for the brief.  (See “Service” above.)
 
The department will prepare an itemized list of the contents of the record, which may include a transcript of the hearing before the ULJ.  The department is required to serve on all parties the itemized list of the contents of the record within 30 days after service of the petition for certiorari (the appeal papers) or 14 days after delivery of the transcript, whichever is later.  Your brief is due within 30 days after the department serves the itemized list of the contents of the record on you.  If the department serves the itemized list by mail, then you have 33 days after the date that the list was mailed to serve and file your brief.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 115.04, subd. 4.
 
As the relator (appealing party), you must file a brief, or your appeal will be dismissed.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 142.02.  You may file either a formal or an informal brief, or you may use a memorandum of law that you gave to the ULJ with a short letter argument.  Most applicants for benefits file informal briefs.
 
A formal brief includes a table of contents, a statement of the legal issues, a statement of the case and the facts, an argument, a conclusion, and an addendum.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.02.  A formal brief must be bound.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 132.01 (includes the supreme court’s order regarding acceptable types of binding).
 
An informal brief may be stapled and must include a written argument and addendum.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 1.
 
If you gave a written memorandum of law to the ULJ, you may file as your brief that memorandum to the ULJ and a short letter argument that addresses the ULJ’s decision.  This may be stapled and must include an addendum.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 128.01, subd. 2.
 
Regardless of the type of brief you file, you must include an addendum to your brief that contains a copy of the ULJ’s decision that you are appealing. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 130.02.
 

Time Extensions or Other Requests (Motions)

If you cannot serve and file your brief within 30 days and you need more time, or if you want any other relief from the court, you must serve and file a signed, written motion asking the court for the relief you need.  Your motion should be made before the deadline you wish to extend.  The requirements for a motion are found in Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 127.  The motion must state the relief requested and your reasons for the request.  You must serve the written motion on the department and the employer and file proof of service for the motion.  Caution:  As previously stated, the court of appeals cannot extend the time to serve and file the petition for writ of certiorari.
 

How Your Case Will be Decided

After the parties have filed their briefs, your appeal will be submitted to a panel of the court of appeals consisting of three judges.  If you are not represented by an attorney, the court of appeals will not allow oral argument by any party.  See Minn. App. Spec. R. Pract. 2.  You will receive notice of the date of oral argument or nonoral consideration by the panel, and the names of the judges assigned to decide your case.
The court of appeals will issue a written decision within 90 days after the appeal is considered by the judges.  You then have 30 days to file a petition requesting review by the Minnesota Supreme Court. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 117.
 
The mailing addressand phone number for the Clerk of the Appellate Courts:
Clerk of the Appellate Courts
305 Minnesota Judicial Center
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155 (651) 296-2581