from the District Court of Emmons County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable Sonna M. Anderson, Judge.
Michael J. Geiermann, for petitioner and appellant.
Michael T. Pitcher, Office of the Attorney General, for
respondent and appellee.
VandeWalle, Chief Justice.
1] JB Construction, Inc. appealed the district court's
judgment affirming Job Service's "Notice of
Determination" stating Jesse Jahner's and Vance
Jahner's services constituted employment under N.D.C.C.
§ 52-01-01(17). On appeal, JB Construction, Inc. argues
the plain language of § 52-01-01(17)(a)(1) shows new
corporate officers do not need to file for an exemption if an
exemption was granted to prior officers and the current
officers meet all of the requirements under the statute.
Because N.D.C.C. § 52-01-01(17)(a)(1) unambiguously
requires corporate officers to file their own application for
an exemption, we affirm.
2] JB Construction, Inc. ("JB") is an incorporated
power-line construction company. In 2000, its corporate
officers, Wesley Jahner, Harvey Jahner, and Wayne Jahner, the
president, vice-president, and secretary/treasurer,
respectively, applied to exempt their wages from job
insurance coverage under N.D.C.C. § 52-01-01(17)(a)(1).
Job Service approved JB's application. In 2009, Wesley
Jahner sold his one-third share of the company to his son,
Vance Jahner, who became the secretary/treasurer, and Wayne
Jahner sold his one-third share to his son, Jesse Jahner, who
became the vice-president; Harvey Jahner retained his
one-third share and became president of JB. When the
corporate officers of JB changed, JB did not file a new
application to exempt Jesse Jahner's and Vance
Jahner's wages from job insurance coverage.
3] During an audit in 2015, Job Service North Dakota
discovered JB was excluding the wages for job insurance
coverage for its current corporate officers, yet no
application was on file for exempting Vance Jahner's and
Jesse Jahner's wages. Job Services determined the
services provided by Vance Jahner and Jesse Jahner were
employment under N.D.C.C. § 52-01-01(17) and they had
not filed the necessary application to exempt their wages. An
appeals referee affirmed Job Service's decision. JB
appealed to the district court, which again affirmed Job
4] On appeal, JB argues N.D.C.C. § 52-01-01(17)(a)(1)
does not require Jesse Jahner and Vance Jahner to file a new
application for an exemption. Rather, the exemption filed in
2000 applies to the corporate officers of JB in general, not
as individuals; thus, Jesse Jahner and Vance Jahner are
covered by the 2000 exemption.
5] The issue raised by JB is one of purely statutory
interpretation and is fully reviewable by this Court on
appeal. Teigen v. State, 2008 ND 88, ¶ 19, 749
N.W.2d 505. However, this Court "will give deference to
an administrative agency's construction of a statute in
administering the law when that interpretation does not
contradict clear and unambiguous statutory language."
Indus. Contractors, Inc. v. Workforce Safety &
Ins., 2009 ND 157, ¶ 6, 772 N.W.2d 582. This
Court's review of statutes is well established:
Words in a statute are given their plain, ordinary, and
commonly understood meaning unless defined by statute or
unless a contrary intention plainly appears. N.D.C.C. §
1-02-02. Statutes are construed as a whole and are harmonized
to give meaning to related provisions. N.D.C.C. §
1-02-07. If the language of a statute is clear and
unambiguous, the letter of the statute must not be
disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit.
N.D.C.C. § 1-02-05. If the language of a statute is
ambiguous, however, a court may resort to extrinsic aids to
determine the intention of the legislation, including the
object sought to be attained, the circumstances under which
the legislation was enacted, and the legislative history.
N.D.C.C. § 1-02-39. A statute is ambiguous if it is
susceptible to different, rational meanings. State v.
Meador, 2010 ND 139, ¶ 11, 785 N.W.2d 886.
Rasnic v. ConocoPhillips Co., 2014 ND 181,
14, 854 N.W.2d 659. Additionally, we construe statutes to
give effect to all of the provisions, so that no part of the
statute is rendered inoperative or ...