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Lord Shares Disgust with Free Press over State Tapping UIA Funds

LANSING --- A bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk transfers $10 million in "surplus" unemployment insurance funds to help balance the state budget at the same time thousands of Michigan residents are claiming millions of dollars in benefits and penalties were unlawfully taken from them after the state wrongly accused them of unemployment insurance fraud. During their lame duck session, lawmakers gave final passage Tuesday to Senate Bill 1008, shifting $10 million to the state's general fund from the unemployment insurance contingent fund. "I am beyond disgusted that the Legislature would even consider this," Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers attorney Jennifer Lord, who is pursuing a class action on behalf of UI claimants falsely accused of fraud, told the Free Press on Wednesday. Lord noted that Michigan's 2015 audited financial statements show that more than $15 million was seized from claimants that year alone, and the automated fraud determinations began in October 2013, when the agency started using the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS) to make determinations about eligibility, fraud and other issues. "Given these facts, It is critical that this fund be held in the strictest trust until each and every claimant whose tax refunds were seized and whose wages were wrongfully garnished have been made whole," said Lord, whose case is before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Read the entire story at the Free Press Here

NewsChannel 3 Discusses UIA Fraud with Lord

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Michigan lawmakers are working to figure out how tens of thousands of people on unemployment across Michigan were wrongly accused of fraud. On Monday the House Oversight Committee announced it had created a work group...

Pitt Awarded Distinguished Service Award by State Bar

From Detroit Legal News Michael Pitt has been selected for the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the State Bar of Michigan's Labor & Employment Section. Pitt is co-founding partner of Royal Oak-based Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, one of...

The Bridge Looks at UIA Fraud and Cites Lord

From the Bridge - the Center for Michigan February 7, 2917 A few days after a federal judge issued a Jan. 11 order commanding the state to “suspend all collection activity” against thousands of Michigan workers tagged with unemployment fraud,...

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...