Pitt McGehee UIA Class Action Site



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Latest Case Updates – 2017

August 29, 2017

From “The Bridge” Magazine

For well over a year, state officials knew Michigan’s computer-driven unemployment insurance system had wrongly accused thousands of workers of benefit fraud.

That didn’t stop lawyers for the state from working to derail a class action against the Unemployment Insurance Agency. They’ve succeeded – for now – after the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case in July on a technicality, ruling that workers had waited too long to file their claims.

State lawyers have taken the same hard-line approach against individual workers. In one case, the state spent two years and deployed a team of attorneys to pry back $158 in benefits from a seasonal worker at Bloomfield Hills Country Club named Suzanne Lawrence – only to lose when an appeals court ruled in July there was not “even a scintilla of evidence” she had committed fraud.

August 15, 2017

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency said it’s working to locate citizens impacted by the fraud fiasco who are owed refunds. Of the $20.8 million in refunds, the state said $2 million have yet to be returned to citizens.  Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers attorney Jennifer Lord told Michigan Public Radio that the amount is a “drop in the bucket.”  Listen to the interview here. 

July 18, 2017

The Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed our class-action brought on behalf of unemployment insurance claimants falsely accused of fraud by a state computer system, saying the lawsuit was filed too late.  We will appeal this unjust decision and continue to fight for victims of false fraud as long as it takes. 

July 9, 2017

The Michigan Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Friday, July 7 before a packed and overflowing courtroom represented by victims of the false fraud UIA scandal. The Court of Appeals Judge (Michael Godola) indicated they would be issuing a written order soon, which would either affirm the Court of Claims denial of the State’s motion to dismiss (a win for us) or overrule. As part of any order whether the court affirms or overrules, they will then do a legal analysis as promptly as possible.

We are now awaiting this opinion and are cautiously optimistic that we’ll be back before the trial court and moving forward soon.

July 9, 2017

Free Press, News, MLive, Michigan Radio Cover July 7 Hearing

June 17, 2017

Free Press’ Kaffer: “Why Can’t the State Admit it was Wrong?”

May 5, 2017 

Attorney Jennifer Lord tells WJR’s Guy Gordon about the Unemployment Insurance Agency being under fire

May 4, 2017

Pitt McGehee Attorney Jennifer Lord Shared Her Insight in Detroit News UIA Fraud Coverage

April 19, 2017

Ex-Aide Says Macomb County Clerk Saw Employees as Enemies

Sept. 14, 2015

Class-action lawsuit filed in Michigan Court of Claims against UIA alleging its MiDAS software erroneously flagged thousands of unemployment claims fraudulent or improper, failed to provide notice of allegations and illegally seized tax refunds, garnished wages and imposed huge penalties.

Oct. 2015

UIA files motion to dismiss lawsuit.

U.S. Dept. of Labor issues memo to state unemployment agencies to protect individual rights of claimants, not make computerized fraud/overpayment determinations without involvement of agency staff.

Former Michigan Compensation Appellate Commissioner Neal Young joins UIA legal team. As commissioner, Young had objected to UIA’s determination of claims by computers.

Michigan HB #4982 introduced requiring UIA employees to review/approve automated fraud findings and notify claimants via e-mail, USPS or other means besides user account.

Dec. 2015

Plaintiffs file motion for class certification.

Feb. 2016

Office of Auditor General issues report noting failures of $47 million MiDAS system and UIA’s inability to substantiate over

90 percent of fraud allegations.

March 2016

Court of Claims hearing set on UIA motion to dismiss class-action lawsuit.

“Despite the state’s many efforts to derail our lawsuit, we continue to seek economic damages and justice for thousands affected by the UIA’s lawless, computerized fraud determinations,” said class counsel Jennifer Lord of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers.

Lord is available to discuss the lawsuit, the state’s response and the experiences of those wrongly accused of fraud by the State of Michigan.

Contact: Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers at 248-398-9800

Auditor General’s Report  

On December 9, 2015, Class Counsel filed a motion with the court to certify this action as a class action.  The Motion, Brief and supporting papers have been posted to this site for your review.  On December 23, 2015, the attorneys for UIA filed with the court papers opposing our request for class certification. The court has not scheduled a hearing on this motion.

On December 16, 2015, the attorneys on both sides of this case had a telephone conference with Judge Cynthia Stephens who is charge of this case.  She ordered the UIA to provide to  class counsel by January 15, 2016  limited discovery in the nature of handbooks, guidelines and other readily available written material designed to inform the reader as to the proper steps to be followed by the UIA in its fraud determination activities and collections. Class counsel will be permitted use this material to file a supplemental brief opposing the UIAs motion to dismiss.  Our supplemental brief must be filed by February 16, 2016.

The court has scheduled a hearing in open court on the UIAs motion to dismiss.  The hearing will be held in either Lansing or Detroit on March 8, 2016 at 10am.  You are welcome to attend.  Check this website for the exact location.

Some of this material will be for “attorney eyes” only.  Material which can be posted will appear on this website.

Our staff continue to receive information from Michigan citizens who have been harmed by the unconstitutional activities which are the centerpiece of this case.  Please call or email us with updates on your situation.

Recent Documents

Click on the links below to read the full documents.

Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

Defendant’s Supplemental Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification

Defendant’s Response to Motion for Class Certification


UIA Fraud Case – UPDATE

October 6, 2015 Meeting.  The October 6th Meeting at the Baronette Renaissance Hotel in Novi was well attended. Individuals who have experienced unjustified overpayment and penalty assessments by the UIA or who have experienced garnishments and tax refunds intercepts described their situations to those in attendance and were able to secure advise from the team of attorneys assembled to assist those who requested help.  This meeting was helpful and additional meetings will be scheduled as the case progresses.  Watch this website for Notice of Meetings.

Neal A. Young Joins Legal Team – Former Michigan Compensation Appellate Commissioner Neal A. Young has joined the legal team suing the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).  Young, who served on the Commission for over 20 years, will be working with attorneys from Royal Oak law firm Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers which brought the lawsuit against the state on behalf of Michigan workers.

The complaint, filed last month in Michigan Court of Claims, alleges the UIA’s automated processing system erroneously flagged large numbers of worker claims as fraudulent or improper and then illegally seized millions of dollars in tax refunds owed to them.

“As a commissioner, I fought the type of UIA abuse detailed in this lawsuit on a case- by-case basis. Now that I’m in a better position to help, I look forward to working with the lawyers from Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers to end the agency’s unconstitutional practices and illegal tax refund seizures once and for all,” said Young.

In his work as a compensation appellate commissioner, Young reviewed thousands of unemployment benefits appeals filed by Michigan workers and employers. During his tenure as a commissioner, Young had often objected to determinations of worker claims being made entirely by UIA computers.

UIA Files Motion to Dismiss Case:  On October 5, 2015, UIA filed a motion to dismiss the case with the Court of Claims.  We have posted the UIA motion to dsmiss for your review.

The motion seeks dismissal for 4 reasons:  The UIA argues that Bauserman failed to file his claim within 6 months of the interception of his tax refund.  Bauserman did, in fact, file his claim with the Court of Claims within 6 months of the UIA seizing his tax refunds.  The UIA is unlikely to win this argument.

Next the UIA argues that it has refunded all of Bauserman’ s money to him.  On September 30, 2015 the UIA issued a decision on its own REVERSING the fraud finding.  This reversal was clearly strategic:  the UIA never should have made a fraud finding in the first place, When the UIA was sued by Bauserman, they admitted they were wrong and reversed itself just in time for it file this motion to dismiss where it falsely told the court that Bauserman had received all his money back.  It is untrue that Bauserman has been refunded all his seized money.  We do not expect that the UIA will win this argument.

Next the UIA claims it has immunity from suits for damages.  This is a complicated argument and one that we anticipated.  There are legal precedents which if applied correctly by the Court of Claims judge will result in a rejection of this argument.  We are likely to prevail on this issue.

Finally, the UIA argues that the case should be dismissed because a claim for a constitutional violation cannot occur if the claimant can still appeal the adverse determination administratively.  In this case, Bauserman attacks the entire overpayment, penalty, garnishment tax intercept SYSTEM as constitutionally defective.  There is no way for an individual to challenge the constitutionality of the SYSTEM through the administrative appeal process.  It for this reason as well as other legal arguments that we believe the UIA will fail in this argument.

Bauserman Files an Amended Complaint.  On October 19, 2015, a First Amended Complaint was filed with the Court of Claims.  We have posted the First Amended Complaint for you to review.  Two new Class Representatives have joined the lawsuit:  Karl Williams and Teddy Broe.  In addition to these new Class Representatives, new claims have been added.  The new claims are:

(1)  UIA routinely imposes a higher level of penalties then permitted by the Act,

(2)  UIA aggregates overpayments in order to impose a higher level of penalties upon claimants in violation of the ACT,

(3)    UIA collects interest on penalties in violation of the ACT, and

(4)   UIA utilizes wage garnishments to collect penalties in violation of the ACT.

(5)   UIA improperly pursues the recovery of overpayments beyond the time period permitted by the ACT.

(6)   UIA, seizes tax refunds from joint taxpayers without proper allocation between the responsible and non-responsible taxpayer, and

(7)   UIA routinely fails to repay to claimants or to repay on a timely basis funds which were seized by the UIA or paid over to UIA by the claimant to satisfy overpayments and penalty determinations which were reversed at a later time.

Schedule for Resolving the Motion to Dismiss:  On November 9th, the UIA will file with the Court a Supplemental Motion to dismiss which will address the issues raised in the First Amended Complaint.  We will have until December 4th to file a response to the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss.  The UIA will be able to file a Reply to our arguments by December 28th. Once the briefs of counsel have been submitted to the Court, the Court will either schedule a date for Oral Argument in open court or the court will decide the Motion based on the filed papers.  If we receive notice of an Oral Argument Hearing we will inform of that date, time and place by posting a notice on the Website.  We will also notify you of the Court’s decision in a similar manner.

Collecting Relevant Information From UIA:  We served with the original Complaint requests for the UIA to produce information that we are entitled to describing the nature of the operations under examination. The UIA has filed inadequate responses to our requests for information under the control of UIA. We post these inadequate responses for your review. This data will permit us to advise the court of the numbers of Michigan citizens affected by the illegal UIA practices alleged in this lawsuit.  The UIA has refused to provide this information and filed a motion on October 22nd for an Order) known as a Motion for Protective Order) excusing it from sharing with us (and you) the relevant information about how this system is supposed to work, how it has actually worked and the nature and extent of the injuries caused to thousands of our fellow citizens.  We have posted the UIA’s Motion for Protective Order for your review.  We are in the process of negotiating with the defense attorneys to determine if a compromise on this issue can be reached.  If we receive information about the case from the UIA we will post it on this website if appropriate for public disclosure.

Motion for Class Certification:  We are in the process of preparing a Motion for Class Certification to be filed with the Court by December 9th. Class Certification means that everyone who fits within the Class Definition will be able to participate in the case and will benefit from a successful outcome and will also be bound by an outcome in favor of UIA.  When that Motion is filed we will post it on this website.

United States Department of Labor (USDOL) Intervenes:  Professor Luke Shaefer of the University of Michigan and Steven Gray General Manager, Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project, prepared a detailed complaint to the USDOL pointing out the abusive practices of the UIA.  On October 1, 2015, the USDOL “reminded” the UIA that it was required to provide adequate notice to claimants charged with fraud and to provide them with a meaningful opportunity to protest the fraud determination. The USDOL reminded the UIA that it is required to have a live person review all fraud determinations. Determinations based solely on computer matchings are strictly prohibited.  We have posted the letter of complaint from the University of Michigan and the USDOL Statement for you to review.

New Legislation is proposed:  House Bill (HB) 4982 was introduced in mid-October 2015.  If this proposal becomes law, the UIA will be prohibited from making fraud determinations solely by computer program.  We have posted HB 4982 for you to review.

Next Steps:  The team of lawyers continue to interview individuals to determine if they can assist the case by serving as a Class Representative.  Some interviews are conducted by phone.  Other interviews are done face to face.  Attorney Neal Young is handling interviews on the Westside of the State. Kevin Carlson, Michael Pitt, Jennifer Lord and Rachael Kohl are conducting interviews in Southeastern Michigan.

It is very important that you contact us and let us review the facts of your situation.  At that time, a lawyer can assist you in deciding the best course of action for to take.

If you have experienced an actual loss of money (garnishment, state or federal tax intercept, payments by you directly to UIA or infests of UIA benefits otherwise due you) and overpayment and/or penalty assessment is possibly wrong, please contact us at:

uiafraudclass@pittlawpc.com or

Call Rachael Kohl at 248-398-9800