Picture
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.








 
 
Picture
If you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you're probably wondering if you can keep your house, car, or any other item that you are making payments on, such as a boat, ATV, computer, etc.  The short answer is yes, but you have to get caught up (if you are behind) and keep making your regular payments on time and when due.  If you are leasing (renting) property, you have to get caught up and keep making your payments.

What I just said -- that you have to get caught up if you are behind and keep making regular payments -- applies to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  This article applies mainly to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and not Chapter 13.  To learn more about your options for bankruptcy, please read my previous blog posts on the subject.  Here is a link:    
http://www.balandlaw.com/3/category/bankruptcy/1.html.

When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee (the person who is in charge of administering your bankruptcy) will take all of your property and sell it to pay your creditors, or the people you owe money to.  There are three basic ways to keep your property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee:

(1.) EXEMPT: Property that is exempt does not go to the bankruptcy trustee and does not become part of what is called your bankruptcy estate.  Your bankruptcy estate is all of the property that is not exempt and available to the bankruptcy trustee to pay your creditors.  The law provides that some property is automatically exempt,and does not become part of your bankruptcy estate.  You can decide whether to use the exemptions provided by federal law or state law.  For most people. federal exemptions are more appropriate, although there are good reasons to choose state exemptions.

Regardless of whether you choose the state or federal exemptions, you get to keep the clothes on your back, your "household goods and furnishings" (like your furniture, radio, television, etc.) up to a certain value, and a car (again up to a certain value).  These are only examples, and there are many more exemptions available.  For a full list, see 11 U.S.C. 522 and Minn. Stat. 550.37.

(2.) REAFFIRM: If you owe money and are making payments on a loan that is secured by an item of property, such as a car or house that the creditor (the person to whom you owe money), you can generally keep that property if it is exempt and you reaffirm the debt and agree to keep making your payments when they come due.  This happens most often when you are making payments on a car loan or mortgage, and want to keep the car or house.  So you reaffirm the debt, and promise to keep making payments on it in order to keep the property.

To reaffirm a debt, you sign a document called a Reaffirmation Agreement that is usually prepared by the creditor.  Every Reaffirmation Agreement must be approved by a judge, unless it involves real property.  Approval is not automatic, and a judge does not have to sign off on a Reaffirmation Agreement.

Sometimes, a judge does not approve a Reaffirmation Agreement, especially if you are trying to reaffirm a debt on something that is not practical, such as a boat, recreational vehicle, ATV (all-terrain vehicle).  Usually, if a Reaffirmation Agreement is not approved, the judge thinks it makes more sense for you to give up the property than keep it and keep making payments.  In such a case, I generally recommend contacting the creditor to see if the creditor will let you keep the property if you continue to make your payments.

(3.) BUY BACK: As a bankruptcy attorney, I try to find as many exemptions as possible to keep your property out of the hands of the bankruptcy trustee.  If, for whatever reason, a certain item of your property goes to the bankruptcy trustee, you can buy that property from the trustee and get the property back by paying the value of the property to the trustee.  For example, if you have a nonexempt item of personal property that goes to the trustee, you can pay the value of that property to the trustee to get the property back.

Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. represents consumer debtors and small businesses in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings.  Please call (763) 450-9494 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation today and find out whether declaring bankruptcy is the right option for you!

DISCLAIMER: Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C. is a debt-relief agency, and Timothy H. Baland, Esq. is a debt-relief agent.  We help people like you to obtain bankruptcy relief.

WARNING: The information contained in this article 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.  This blog post may constitute attorney advertising.  Further, Tim is licensed only in Minnesota state and federal courts, and the information that is provided here is applicable only to those jurisdictions.  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.


 
 
Picture
The short answer is no, probably not, but the explanation of why you do not have to give up your property is fairly complex.  When you file for bankruptcy, all of your property goes to the bankruptcy trustee, who will sell your property and use it to pay your debts.  There are three ways to keep property out of the trustee’s hands.  First, the trustee does not get your property if the property is exempt.  As a bankruptcy attorney, I look for as many exemptions as possible.  Second, if you want to keep secured property such as a car or house, you can promise to keep on making your regular payments, or reaffirm the debt.  Third, if you want to keep property that goes to the trustee, you can buy it back from the trustee.  You will have to give up property that does not fall into one or more of these categories.  For more information, please call me at (763) 450-9494 to discuss your case.  Thanks!

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.  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.