In September 2015 firm attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). The complaint, which was filed in the Michigan Court of Claims, alleges that the automated system used for detecting and adjudicating unemployment insurance fraud, falsely accuses thousands of innocent claimants. According to the lawsuit, the state's reliance on the automated system "deprives UIA claimants of due process and fair treatment because it determines guilt without providing notice, without proving guilt and without affording claimants an opportunity to be heard before penalties are imposed." [caption id="attachment_1383" align="alignleft" width="237"] PMP&R Attorney Jennifer Lord[/caption] "We've interviewed over 500 people who UIA falsely accused of fraud, were not provided proper notice of the fraud accusations, and then subjected to unlawful wage garnishments and income refund seizures," said firm attorney Jennifer Lord. Lord says, despite recent claims made by UIA that problems with its automated system have been addressed, the firm is interviewing people who are still reporting unlawful seizures of tax refunds and assessments of huge fines and penalties -- some in excess of $80,000. According to Lord, progress of the lawsuit has been slow but steady, as the state continues efforts to derail or further delay the class action. But, Lord said, the allegations made by hundreds of former claimants and detailed in the lawsuit were recently cited and supported in a number of public pronouncements, including: *Michigan's Auditor General issued a report in February 2016 saying that UIA was wrong 92 percent of the time it made fraud and misrepresentation determinations. *In another April 2016 report, the state's Office of the Auditor General was critical of the agency's claimant services and communication efforts. The report noted that in some weeks UIA did not answer 90 percent of hundreds of thousands of claimants calls. It also said that correspondence to claimants was repeatedly sent to incorrect addresses, even after being returned as undeliverable. *On April 25, 2013, U.S. House Rep. Sander Levin wrote an open letter to Gov. Snyder urging him to review the UIA's claims of fraud and fully reimburse those citizens harmed by inaccurate determinations and collection. Rep. Levin is the ranking member of the House Committee on Ways & Means, which has jurisdiction over the federal-state system of unemployment compensation. *The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News published editorials on consecutive days which were critical of the same UIA fraud determination methods, inadequate notification of claimants and other agency shortcomings. Both newspapers called for swift action to fix the problems. "It's a gratifying to have such great support from credible sources. The increased visibility will help us to continue building our case and reach more potential class members," said Lord. Additional information at UIAFraudClassAction.com.
*T. Leopold was cited by MLive in its coverage of the amended complaint announcement regarding reinstatement of Gov Snyder as a defendant
WWTV/CBS/Traverse City -- "Gov. Snyder May be Reinstated as Defendant in Flint Water Case"
WJRT/ABC 12/Flint -- "Flint Water Victims Seek to Reinstate Gov. Snyder, Senior State Officials as Defendants"
T. Leopold and M. Pitt were quoted in WJRT/ABC 12 coverage of amended complaint filing announcement
*WOOD/NBC/Grand Rapids -- "Victims Ask Judge to Reinstate Gov. Snyder in Lawsuit"
M. Pitt was cited in MLive coverage of Genessee County court proceedings involving firm clients severely injured as bystanders in auto accidents related to dangerous, high-speed vehicle pursuits initiated by Michigan State Police officers
The Oakland Press reported on Mike Pitt's selection to Wayne Law's Alumni Wall of Fame
Jennifer Lord was quoted in Detroit News coverage of upcoming oral arguments in UIA class action
FOX 2 Detroit -- Sept. 9 broadcast of FOX 2's "Let it Rip" program with Jennifer Lord as guest panel member/22:33
September 9 broadcast of FOX 2 Detroit's "Let it Rip" program featured Jennifer Lord on the panel, which discussed the aftermath of the Mario Impemba-Rod Allen broadcast booth brawl and public and business repercussions of Nike's...
Megan Bonanni was quoted in State News (MSU campus/community newspaper) coverage of PMP&R's representation of new Nassar survivors
Megan Bonanni was quoted by Michigan Radio/NPR in its coverage of Nassar survivors and the Sept. 10 filing deadline for claims
Bustle.com -- "The Deadline for These Nassar Victimsto File Lawsuits is Approaching -- Here's What That Means"
Megan Bonanni was quoted by Bustle* in a story on the new Nassar victims and September 10 filing deadline
Megan Bonanni was cited by the Detroit Free Press in coverage of new Nassar victims and September 10 deadline for filing civil suits
Megan Bonanni was cited by MLive in its coverage of legal representation for new Nassar victims and pending deadline for filing civil suits
Michael Pitt discusses his social justice background and motivation in an announcement posted by Public Justice on his selection as its president for a one-year term
M. Pitt was cited by MLive in its coverage of August 1 U.S. District Court ruling on Flint class action
Michigan Radio/NPR -- "Flint Water Class Action Lawsuit Moves Forward, but Gov. Snyder Dropped as Defendant"
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited by Michigan Radio/NPR in its story on Judge Levy's ruling in the Flint class action:
Mike Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in WLUC/NBC/Upper Michigan's coverage of the federal court ruling in the Flint Class Action:
Mike Pitt was cited in a Detroit News story on the Flint Class Action ruling
Ted Leopold and Mike Pitt were cited in the National Law Journal's coverage of federal court decision in Flint class action: