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Nevada unemployment office given more time to pay PUA claims in lawsuit

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 22:49:15-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation is getting more time to pay out claimants, after Judge Barry Breslow's ruling in the class-action lawsuit that has been filed on behalf of those still waiting for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in Nevada.

"Somewhat encouraged but still slow progress," is how the court feels about the updates and changes that DETR has made since the last hearing of this case days ago.

"The court continues to be concerned about the progress under the circumstances that people find themselves in here in Nevada," said Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow.

PUA class-action lawsuit going before judge

At the virtual hearing, DETR representatives said that around 3,000 claims were found not fraudulent.

"As administrator Kimberly Gaa just said, the earliest possible time is as fast as they can get the vendor to release the payment to this large sub bucket of claims. So, it is moving forward, and hopefully, some would be paid as early as Monday, but some could take as much as 10 to 14 days," expressed Judge Breslow.

He also asked for more progress addressing an issue that has several applicants on hold, while DETR is figuring out if a person qualifies for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.

Jason Guinasso, appointed by the court as a special hearing master, will act as an intermediary and work with both parties involved in the lawsuit, with hopes of resolving this faster.

All parties involved are aware that thousands more are still waiting while the lawsuit continues.

Mark Thierman, the plaintiffs' lawyer, is aware of the struggles many PUA applicants have been going through. For weeks, not only has he been dedicating all of his time to this case, but he also has been reading hundreds of emails from other PUA applicants who feel helpless.

And Thursday's court ruling was not unexpected for him.

"The judge added pressure on DETR to do more things, but he didn't give us the thing we needed the most - which is a quicker resolution. And by granting people who have gotten eligibility letters of one form or another, and for DETR to honor that commitment and start paying. I get it, justice moves slowly, but sometimes justice delayed is justice denied, and this is one of those times," said Thierman.

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And about the 3000 claims that were first believed to be fraudulent, that now has been resolved, and Thierman said that is something, but its not enough.

"Some have been told they have eligibility on another program, but then DETR has says not really because we don't really know if they're eligible for the other program, but considering DETR manages both programs, we don't care what pod they get the pay, just pay them," Thierman said.

While waiting for the next hearing, he also says he is planning on filing an appeal about Thursday's determination.

The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20 at 9:30 a.m.