Iowa’s Decision to End Federal Unemployment Benefit Leads to Class Action Lawsuit
According to a new class action lawsuit, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ decision to terminate enhanced unemployment benefits covering tens of thousands of unemployed citizens was a violation of state law.
Crystal Marciniak et al v. Iowa
On June 12, lead plaintiffs Crystal Marciniak, Holly Bladel, Karla Smith, and Brian Wisch filed a lawsuit in federal court. They are seeking to be considered eligible for what might amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits that had been denied to them since Reynolds withdrew from government programs that provided further jobless assistance.
A class of 55,000 Iowa people who have been refused federal assistance is being represented by Marciniak, Bladel, Smith, and Wisch. The plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order ordering the state to continue participation in federal programs and back-pay with interest from the federal government.
Residents obtaining unemployment benefits in Iowa were being paid $33 million per week until Beth Townsend, the state’s director of workforce development, recommended that the programs be taken down in May.
Due to a severe workforce shortage, Reynolds agreed to end participation in federal programs that provided unemployed residents with an additional $300 per week. The programs also broadened the criteria for receiving unemployment benefits.
Iowa’s Alleged Violation of Employment Security Law
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that Reynolds’ decision violated the Iowa Employment Security Law, which states that Iowa’s workforce agency shall cooperate with the United States Department of labor to the fullest extent consistent.
In addition, it also asserts that the agency shall take such action through the adoption of appropriate rules and regulations, administrative methods, and standards, as may be necessary to secure to this state and its citizens all of the benefits under provisions set out by the Social Security Act related to unemployment compensation.
In the meantime, the state of Iowa’s statute on unemployment security and compensation states that unemployment in the state is a significant threat to the health, morals, and welfare of its residents.
Additionally, plaintiffs detail how the pandemic has affected their career opportunities and financial security, which the delta variant has worsened.
Since Reynolds announced that she would be eliminating the additional benefits, according to Reynolds spokesperson Pat Garrett, the number of Iowa residents looking for employment at unemployment offices and joining the state’s labor force has climbed significantly.
The Associated Press reported that Garrett said the decision was “not only the right one, but it was also in accordance with the law and that the lawsuit had no merit.”
Following their governors’ decisions to discontinue participation in federal programs, residents of numerous states, including Ohio, Florida, Texas, and Maryland, have already launched class action lawsuits. A total of 26 governors took identical actions to discontinue federal assistance.
Editor’s Note on Iowa Unemployment Benefits Class Action Lawsuit:
This article is written to inform you of the class action lawsuit against the state of Iowa over the decision to terminate unemployment benefits. A lawsuit was also filed against New York City by Medallion Cab Drivers. https://considertheconsumer.com/consumer-class-actions/new-york-city-medallion-class-action-lawsuit-ny-sued-for-25-billion-by-taxi-drivers
Case Name & No.: Crystal Marciniak et al v. Iowa, Case No. n/a
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
Products/Services: Unemployment Benefits
Allegations: Gov. Kim Reynolds’ termination of unemployment benefits was allegedly a violation of state law
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