The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, January 25, 2019

Jobless fraud victims can join class action

By The Building Tradesman

Building trades workers who were affected by the mass, false accusation of fraud by the Michigan  Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) have an option to get some restitution. 

If you or someone you know feel you were wronged by the state's Unemployment Agency, a legal class action has been formed by the  Pitt McGehee Palmer and Rivers law firm of Royal Oak. 

For more information or to learn how to join the class action, go to Scroll down on the opening page to click on the "Class Action Lawsuit Against the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency" link. Potential claimants are invited to click on the "Learn More" tab and then "Fill Out Questionnaire” button at the top of the next page, which can be submitted online.

The case stems from the state UIA's use of MiDAS, the Michigan Data Automated System - which spit out fraud accusations in 62,784 cases during a period from October 2013 to August 2015. Without any human oversight, the system falsely accused jobless workers of fraud in claiming benefits. 

The state finally conducted what it said was a "top to bottom" review of its own computer program, and the UIA reversed 85 percent of the fraud accusations.  In August 2017 the UIA announced that it was refunding $20.8 million to people who were falsely determined to have committed fraud in receiving jobless benefits, but that came after many claimants were unable to make rent or car payments, had their homes foreclosed or were forced into bankruptcy because of the false fraud accusations. State Democratic lawmakers have insisted that the refunds that were announced were wholly inadequate and will fail to make those families whole.

Individual, wronged claimants can take their own legal action, but the law firm of Pitt, McGehee, Palmer & Rivers took the lead in the class action lawsuit.