This week, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that a lawsuit filed against the State of Michigan can proceed. The lawsuit was filed by a group of residents who received unemployment benefits, only to have the state claim they fraudulently obtained said benefits and then imposed fines on the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of an Auditor General audit that found several major problems within the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. In the case of one of the plaintiffs, he was assessed over $15,000 in penalties and had his 2015 federal and state tax refunds seized to pay the fine. Despite the claim by the UIA that they had refunded the plaintiffs money, the Judge found there was only a partial refund and allowed the suit to move forward. Judge Stephens also rejected the state’s claims of governmental immunity, that the case failed to meet the deadline, that the agency had refunded the money, that there was a lack of standing, and that the plaintiffs hadn’t yet utilized all remedies.
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