A three-judge panel in the Michigan Appeals Court dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Michigan workers falsely accused of civil fraud in the notorious Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) “robo-fraud” scandal. In the July 18 decision the court did not directly address the now undisputed fact that most of the millions of dollars the state collected in restitution, fines and fees was not even owed by those accused of fraud.
The court based its ruling on a technicality, asserting that a six-month legal time limit to dispute claims against the state government was not met. They asserted the clock started when the UIA determined it had fulfilled its duty to notify claimants that they had been accused of fraud.
All three lead plaintiffs in the class action suit argued they were actually within the parameters of the legal time limit to file a claim because they filed within six months after actual damages occurred, that is after their income was taken when aggressive actions by the state garnished their wages or seized their tax returns on behalf of the UIA.
Royal Oak Attorney Jennifer Lord, who first filed the suit in September, 2015, blasted the decision and vowed to appeal. She told the Detroit Free Press that the ruling was “incredible,” and “based on circular logic” and pointed to the Flint water crisis as another case where related issues involving government agencies are at play.