Submitted on Briefs: September 20, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, In and
For the County of Madison, Cause No. DV-29-2016-21 Honorable
Luke Berger, Presiding Judge.
Appellant: Brian K. Gallik, Gallik, Bremer & Molloy,
P.C., Bozeman, Montana.
Appellee Madison County: Maureen H. Lennon, Mitchell A.
Young, MACo Defense Services, Helena, Montana.
This is an appeal from a decision by the Unemployment
Insurance Appeals Board (Board), and affirmed by the Fifth
Judicial District Court, denying Joyce Crouse's (Crouse)
claim for unemployment compensation benefits. We affirm.
We restate the issue on appeal as follows:
the District Court erred when it affirmed the Board's
conclusion that Crouse was disqualified for unemployment
benefits because her voluntary termination did not constitute
"good cause" pursuant to § 39-51-2302,
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Crouse was hired as Madison County Sanitarian in December
2013. Her job duties included inspecting
establishments for compliance with sanitation requirements
and issuing septic permits to contractors. During her
employment Crouse experienced a number of issues, including
problems with contractors and co-workers.
On numerous occasions, contractors complained about how
Crouse performed her job. Crouse attributes the contractor
complaints to her being less flexible in approving septic
permits and being more strict than her predecessor. Crouse
also found an email from her secretary to Crouse's
mentor, calling Crouse "clueless" and claiming
other co-workers "dislike[d] her very much and would
love to see her gone." This caused Crouse to frequently
close herself off in her office.
Crouse expressed her concerns about her working environment
to the Madison County Commissioners (Commissioners). One
Commissioner told her to "hang in there."
Crouse's secretary was suspended and later let go by the
On August 6, 2014, the Commissioners sent Crouse her first
written warning, which stated that she could expect
disciplinary action if she failed to change her behavior
regarding missed appointments, scheduling problems, and lack
of communication. Many of the complaints received from
contractors and customers concerned Crouse's timeliness
in making it to appointments as well as the amount of time it
took for Crouse to process applications. The Commissioners
also expressed concern with Crouse double-booking
appointments due to lack of communication with her secretary.
In April 2015, the Commissioners issued a second written
warning to Crouse for being late to two more appointments.
The Commissioners informed Crouse that she must call
contractors when she was running late.
Crouse performed many inspections during the summer of 2015.
Crouse denied three permits because the soil did not support
the septic systems the contractors installed. A soil
scientist agreed with Crouse's evaluations. One
contractor went to Crouse's office and expressed his
frustration with her denial of his permit. Other contractors
contacted Commissioner James ...