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.

M. Pitt Cited in MLive Report on Midland Area Couple's Claim Filed Against the Federal Energy Resource Commission in Edenville Dam Collapse

Michael Pitt was quoted in MLive coverage of the claim filed against the Federal Energy Commission by a Midland Couple for property and personal damages caused by flooding after the collapse of the Edenville Dam in May 2020. The firm is representing Dan and Cathy Miller and filed a $1.25 million claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Read entire article here.

Midland Daily News -- "Lawsuit Blames State Agencies for Dam Failures"

Mike Pitt, Ted Leopold and Paul Stephen were referenced as plaintiffs' attorneys in a Midland Daily News report on the lawsuit filed June 25 in the Michigan Court of Claims. The coverage notes that the suit's 15 plaintiffs owned property and homes which were damaged or destroyed in the May 19 Midland area flooding caused by the collapse of the Edenville Dam. Read full article here.