On November 24, 2021, six Marylanders filed suit in federal court on behalf of themselves and others like them against the state Secretary of Labor, Tiffany Robinson in her official capacity. The complaint alleges that various systemic failures in the state’s administration of its unemployment insurance program violate the federal Social Security Act and U.S. Constitution. Below are answers to several Frequently Asked Questions about the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of claimants who have any of these three main problems:
It was filed as a “class action,” which means that it is designed to help anyone having any of these problems and not just the individuals who sued. The Court will decide whether it will stay a class action.
The case covers claims related to regular Maryland Unemployment Insurance (Regular UI) as well as several federally-funded pandemic-related unemployment benefits that were available until September 4, 2021. Covered federally-funded benefits include Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Other types of unemployment benefits payable to Marylanders are also covered.
You may call us at 410-625-9409 x 246 if you are currently experiencing any of the following problems with unemployment insurance benefits in Maryland in the last three years:
We are not able to file additional suits on behalf of individual callers. However, we may be able to evaluate whether your claims fit within the current suit and/or provide you with referrals to lawyers who might be able to represent you individually. Also, if the court approves our request that this case be treated as a class action, then anyone whose claims fit into one of the classes will be covered without needing to take any action.
The suit does not seek damages. It asks the Court to order Secretary Robinson to follow the law. That means ordering the Secretary to make sure benefits are paid quickly to those eligible, that benefits are not interrupted for long periods without notice or good reason, and that the system for overpayments is fixed. The goal of the lawsuit is to fix the system. If the system gets fixed, people who are owed benefits will receive them, and people who were wrongly charged for an overpayment will not have to pay their benefits back.
A separate lawsuit filed in state court alleged that Maryland’s unemployment insurance policies and practices violated Maryland state law. This lawsuit, Gorres et al v. Robinson, by contrast, has been filed in federal court and alleges violations of federal law and the federal Constitution. The dismissal of the state court lawsuit in the fall of 2021 is unrelated to the Gorres suit.
Please contact Monisha Cherayil (attorney) at 410-625-9409 x 234, or Erin Brock (development manager) at 410-625-9409 x 242.
You can read the Complaint here: http://www.publicjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Gorres-et-al-v.-Robinson-complaint.pdf.