Court: Attorneys allege unlawful garnishments by unemployment agency

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DETROIT, Mich. — A hearing took place in a class action lawsuit against the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency at the state Court of Appeals today. Attorneys from Pitt Mcgehee in Royal Oak represent Jason Doss, who is the class representative in Doss v. Snyder, et el.

The agency and its computer system, MiDAS, are accused of falsely accusing thousands of people of fraud. In fact, the state eventually admitted fault and is continuing to review tens of thousands of cases. In January 2017, in another court case the UIA agreed to freeze collections until the issues were sorted out. But attorneys in this current case told Judge Cynthia Stephens that wage garnishments and tax refund interceptions are still happening.

They’re also upset that the some of the money is being transferred from the dedicated contingent fund to balance the state budget. Judge Stephens was asked to stop both alleged actions.

Jennifer Lord told FOX 17, “I think the transfer of funds is absolutely critical, and I think that the judge was listening attentively. I think she’s aware that this is a dedicated fund. This contingent fund. That’s where all the money that was seized from the claimants and you can’t just wipe that money away. You can trace that money.”

The state’s attorneys argued that Doss isn’t exempt from collection activity because his initial determination occurred pre-MiDAS. However, his attorneys said the garnishments didn’t begin until March 2015 and believe MiDAS retroactively flagged his case.

FOX 17 reached out to the Unemployment Insurance Agency for comment. Department spokesperson Dave Murray said, “It would be inappropriate for the agency to comment on pending lawsuits. The UIA is following all previous court orders and the penalty and interest fund is spent at the discretion of the legislature.”

The judge said she’ll issue her decision in writing but hasn’t set a date yet.

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