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.
Channing Robinson-Holmes was featured in a biographical profile published by the Legal News. Read the full profile of Channing here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in coverage by television outlet WJRT/ABC/Flint regarding the process for filing claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action, in which the State of Michigan announced a proposed $600 million settlement....
MIchael Pitt was cited in an article published by the Traverse City Record-Eagle regarding the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the full report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in The Hill (daily newsletter covering the federal govt. and national issues) as part of its coverage of the State of Michigan's proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action....
Detroit Free Press -- "Flint Water Crisis Legal Settlement Totals $600M, Creates Victim Compensation Fund"
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in a Detroit Free Press report on the proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action and how the funds will be distributed. Read the entire article here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a Detroit News article reporting on the process to be used for making claims in the Flint Water Crisis class action in which a $600 million settlement has been proposed. Read the entire article...
Michael Pitt and Trachelle Young were quoted in NBC News coverage of the State of Michigan's announcement of a proposed $600 million settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were cited in WNEM/CBS/Saginaw coverage of the announcement by the State of Michigan on a proposed $600M settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a Law360 "Access to Justice" feature examining problems experienced by thousands of Americans trying to collect unemployment benefits due to COVID-19-related layoffs and ongoing issues with automated...
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Bridge Michigan report on reaction to the announcement of a $600M Settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Washington Post report on the announcement of a $600 millon settlement in the Flint Water Crisis class action. Read the entire report here.
Legal News -- "Michigan Court of Appeals Affirms $388K Verdict for Jackson Educator in Whistleblower Lawsuit"
Megan Bonanni was quoted in a Legal News report on the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmation of a $388K verdict in the Pennie Davis whistleblower case against Jackson Schools. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in MLive Report on Midland Area Couple's Claim Filed Against the Federal Energy Resource Commission in Edenville Dam Collapse
Michael Pitt was quoted in MLive coverage of the claim filed against the Federal Energy Commission by a Midland Couple for property and personal damages caused by flooding after the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020. The firm is representing Dan and Cathy Miller and filed a $1.25 million claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Read entire article here.
M. Pitt Cited in Bridge Magazine Report on Lawsuit Firm Filed Against Federal Energy Resource Commission
Michael Pitt was cited in Bridge Magazine coverage of the lawsuit filed by the firm against the Federal Energy Resouce Commission. The plaintiffs are Sanford, Mich. couple Cathy and Dan Allen whose home was severely damaged in mass flooding following the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020.
Mike Pitt, Ted Leopold and Paul Stephen were referenced as plaintiffs' attorneys in a Midland Daily News report on the lawsuit filed June 25 in the Michigan Court of Claims. The coverage notes that the suit's 15 plaintiffs owned property and homes which were damaged or destroyed in the May 19 Midland area flooding caused by the collapse of the Edenville Dam. Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was cited in Detroit News coverage examining the lack of maintenance and repairs at the Edenville Dam and related issues regarding regulation of the dam prior to its collapse and subsequent flooding in the Midland area. Read full article here.
Micheal Pitt was cited in a Bridge Magazine report on the appointment of an independent team of investigators to look into the Edenville Dam failure which resulted in massive flooding and property damage in the Midland, Mich....
Jennifer Lord was cited in an article published by GOVERNING magazine regarding the breakdown in customer service at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. Read full article here.
Crain's Detroit Business -- "Nonprofit Sues Canton Apartment Complex, Alleging Discrimination of Recovering Substance Abusers"
Robin Wagner and firm client Joseph Paliwoda were quoted in Crain's Detroit Business coverage of the Personalized Nursing LIGHT House vs. Crossings of Canton housing discrimination suit: Read full article here.