The most perplexing part about any of the lawsuits seeking redress against the State of Michigan for really screwing up the lives of hardworking, taxpaying residents, is why they’re necessary in the first place.

An automated system put in place by Gov. Rick Snyder falsely accused nearly 50,000 Michiganders who’d applied for unemployment benefits between 2013 and 2015 of fraud, using a flawed system that, fundamentally, presumed applicants were liars.The system also worked retroactively, reviewing cases in which benefits had already been paid dating to 2007, when the great recession caused unemployment claims to soar.

And in 93% of the cases in which it determined fraud had occurred, a review of roughly half the cases has found thus far, it was wrong.

Some have struggled to pay back tremendous debt; others have declared bankruptcy, only to find that the fraud debt owed to the state unemployment agency can’t be discharged by a bankruptcy filing. Having a record of fraud or bankruptcy has meant problems obtaining housing, or finding work, says attorney Jennifer Lord of Royal Oak-based Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, who is representing some victims of false fraud. 

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