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Free Press Discusses UIA Fraud with PMP&R's Lord

From the Detroit Free Press LANSING, MI Months after Grand Rapids resident Jonna Ferguson stopped collecting unemployment in the mail, she got a letter saying she owned the state $20,000. "Opening a letter that says that I had defrauded the state of Michigan, it was shocking. It was like 'what did I do, I must have done something wrong,'" Ferguson said. She was laid off when Corinthian Colleges shut down the Everest Institute in Grand Rapids. She spent a few months collecting unemployment and looking for a job, and when she found one promptly notified the state and stopped collecting unemployment. But a state computer system flagged her case as possibly fraudulent. It sent messages to her online account through the state's unemployment system, but with no notification via phone or email. When she didn't respond, the computer system decided she was defrauding the state and mailed her fines. Ferguson's case isn't unique. According to a report from the Office of the Auditor General, that same computer system issued 60,324 determinations finding intentional misrepresentation by unemployment recipients. The computer system doing that flagging is the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, or MiDAS. Implemented in 2013, it was supposed to help the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency be more efficient in a number of areas, including determining fraud. But MiDAS was only sending notifications to online accounts that in many cases people were no longer using. Jennifer Lord, a partner with Royal Oakbased Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers law firm, specializes in employment law. She became aware of the change because people contacted her law firm. "Prior to 2012, 2013 we would get maybe one client a year that was having some sort of an issue with their unemployment. And then all of a sudden we started seeing this influx of clients," Lord said. Read the Entire Story Here

Crain's Interviews Lord in UIA Review Story

From Crain's Detroit Weekly January 6, 2017 LANSING — The state's embattled unemployment agency said Friday it will review all computer-identified claims of benefits fraud — more than 30,000 — that until now have not been re-examined after...

Jennifer Lord Speaks to WNYC About What's Next for UIA

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Partner Jennifer Lord spoke to John Hockenberry at WNYC in NY. A summary is below. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency reviewed over 20,000 instances where the state accused citizens of fraudulently seeking...

ABA: Who's To Blame for Poisoning of Flint Water?

For LeeAnne Walters, the first sign of trouble came in the summer of 2014, when her 4-year-old son Gavin developed rashes after coming into contact with the water. In July, Gavin and his twin, Garrett, both suffered scaly patches of skin that...

Pitt Takes on Whistleblower Case for Judicial Watchdog

From Courthouse News DETROIT (CN) – The former head of Michigan’s judicial disciplinary board claims he was fired for recommending a formal complaint be filed against a child-jailing judge (Lisa Gorcyca), disagreeing with the view that she is...

McGehee Featured on WXYZ 7 Spotlight on the News

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Partner Cary McGehee was a featured guest Sunday, September 4 on Chuck Stokes' WXYZ TV 7 "Spotlight on the News" program to discuss her mentorship and involvement in the 2016 Freedom Tour. You can see the entire...

Pitt Named VP of Washington Based Public Justice

Royal Oak, Mich., August 23, 2016 – Royal Oak attorney Michael Pitt was recently selected Vice President of Public Justice. Public Justice is a Washington, D.C.-based national public interest firm of 14 lawyers which fights injustices through...

Detroit News Covers Warren Whistleblower Lawsuit

From the Detroit News: Warren — A former city planner who resigned nearly two years ago is awaiting a federal judge’s decision on a whistleblower lawsuit that alleges Warren officials forced him out of the job. Kenneth Bouchard, who served as...

Lord Whistleblower Client's Case Aired on Fox 2

WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) - He blew the whistle on his boss while working for the city of Warren, but claims he paid the price when he questioned what he believed was illegal activity. Meet Ken Bouchard. He worked for the city of Warren coordinating tax...

Jennifer Lord Named to 2016 Women in the Law

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Partner Jennifer Lord has been selected as one of 2016 Women in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Lord was honored September 16 at the legal newpaper's seventh annual luncheon and awards celebrating those who...