From the Detroit Free Press
LANSING — A judge should block the State of Michigan from taking $10 million from an Unemployment Insurance Agency fund to balance the state budget until refunds are paid to tens of thousands of residents falsely accused of unemployment insurance fraud, a lawyer says in a court filing.
Jennifer Lord, a Royal Oak attorney representing wrongly accused unemployment insurance claimants, also said in the filing with the Michigan Court of Claims that the state is continuing aggressive collection techniques against some of her clients — including wage garnishes and seizure of income tax refunds — despite a federal judge’s cease and desist order. She wants a state order to enforce the federal order.
A hearing on the two requests is set for Thursday in Detroit in front of Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens.
Lord estimates the state could owe more than $500 million to claimants wrongly accused of fraud and said “the fund assets must be preserved because it is likely that the fund will contain less money than will be required to reimburse UIA claimants.”
“The number of wrongful seizure claims is astounding,” and “the experience of lead plaintiff Jason Doss is illustrative of the experience of thousands of … claimants whose property was seized by the state without due process,” Lord said in a court filing.