"We're not going away" Unemployed Workers Union responds to efforts to dismiss lawsuit

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Posted at 3:45 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 23:50:36-04

BALTIMORE — On Wednesday, the Unemployed Workers Union filed a response to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's motion to dismiss their lawsuit.

The group, representing jobless workers who haven't received timely payment of their unemployment insurance benefits, filed a lawsuit in June.

In July, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson from terminating enhanced federal unemployment insurance programs in the state.

The group then filed an amended class action complaint asking the Court to direct Secretary of Labor Tiffany Robinson to process claims put “on-hold," flagged as fraudulent, disqualified without adjudication, or were allegedly overpaid.

Venable attorneys, an outside law firm hired to represent Governor Hogan and Secretary Robinson, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit earlier this month.

The Unemployed Workers Union was given 15 days to respond.

UWU Attorney Alec Summerfield filed a brief today requesting the Court deny the motion to dismiss and is requesting a hearing on this motion before the Court renders a decision.

"They want to keep this out of court, they want to get rid of us. We’re not going anywhere," said Summerfield.

RELATED: “Nothing seems to be working here” MD lawmakers press Labor Secretary on unemployment issues

As of August 7, more then 20,000 or 2.5 percent of the of the 820,000 complete claims filed are still pending.

"The courts are running much too slowly for us at this period because people are literally losing their homes, they're losing their cars, their possessions are being repossessed, they're suffering," said Sharon Black, with the Unemployed Workers Union.

Read the Unemployed Workers Union response below:
UWU memorandum in opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss by Mallory Sofastaii on Scribd

According to the Governor's office, they have paid out more than $13.5 billion in benefits and processed 97.5 percent of claims. They say the vast majority of pending claims are in the complicated adjudication process required by the General Assembly.