News

Lord Discusses UIA Fraud with Traverse City Record Eagle

From the Traverse City Record Eagle - TRAVERSE CITY --- Software once used by Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency erroneously accused tens of thousands of people who filed for benefits of intentional misrepresentation, and one attorney fears there could be many more. The Michigan Integrated Data Automated System had a 93 percent error rate in 22,427 supposed fraud cases it auto-adjudicated between October 2013 and Aug. 4, 2015, and 20,965 of those were later overturned. That's according to UIA data reported to U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. Levin has asked the state to review the remaining 30,000 fraud determinations made during the same time period, once in a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder and again in December. In a statement he said the review needs to go beyond a small subset of the cases, and while a few thousand have been repaid after being incorrectly fined, only a full audit will determine if the problem has been solved.   Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers Attorney Jennifer Lord said she represents claimants who are suing in state court after being financially harmed by MiDAS' "golden touch." There's a separate class-action suit over the same issue in federal court. The software, once left in charge of rooting out fraud cases, pinpointed people with discrepancies in their files and notified them they were suspected of fraud, Lord said. Those notifications went into online system portals with little or no other notice, and gave claimants 10 days to respond. Those who responded were given fact-finding questionnaires with vague questions and predetermined responses, Lord said. "For the question, 'Why did you apply for unemployment,' one of the preselected answers is, 'Because I needed the money,'" she said. "If they answered 'I needed the money,' it was an automatic final determination of fraud."       Read the entire story here.

Detroit News Covers Pitt Led Flint Suit Against EPA

More than 1,700 Flint-area residents and property owners have filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the “mishandling” of the city’s water crisis in a legal action seeking more than $722.4 million in damages. The...

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...