Michigan Supreme Court weighs whether to allow UIA fraud case to go forward

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LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Tens of thousands of people were falsely accused of cheating on their unemployment benefits.  

Jennifer Lord of Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers is an attorney for the plaintiffs in the case.
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

The state took money from their tax refund or ordered them to repay benefits after a problem with the state’s automated system.

Now the Michigan Supreme Court will decide if a lawsuit against the state for the false fraud accusations can go forward. It held a hearing on the issue Wednesday.

At one point during the arguments, Justice Richard Bernstein questioned the logic of the state’s argument – that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit after their property was taken away, not when they first got notice of the fraud accusation.

“My question to you, is that really sensible?” he asked.

David Reinke from Novi hopes to join the lawsuit if it goes forward. He says he was excited to hear Justice Bernstein grilling the state.

“I thought wow, somebody gets it! Somebody actually gets it!”

A lawyer for the plaintiffs says if the case goes forward, anywhere between 20,000 to 40,000 people could join the lawsuit.