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Lawsuit over delayed Maryland unemployment benefits dismissed

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed by a coalition seeking unemployment benefits for Marylanders whose claims are on hold, finding that they can’t bypass the claims and appeal process through the courts.

The suit filed by the Unemployed Workers’ Union contends that scores of applicants falsely flagged for fraud or other issues are being denied benefits they’re entitled to, news outlets reported. The plaintiffs asked Circuit Court Judge John Nugent to find that Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson and the state “failed to establish and execute policies required by statute to ensure timely processing of claims.”

But in a ruling Tuesday, Nugent said that the General Assembly detailed procedures for applicants to seek reviews, but there’s no evidence that it wanted to provide “private remedies to unemployed workers.” He noted that it would only delay the timely processing of claims.

Individuals can appeal when they’re denied, but they can go to court only after that process is complete, Nugent said.

The decision allows the department to continue focusing helping Marylanders while “protecting the taxpayer from an onslaught of fraudulent claims,” Joseph Farren, the department’s chief strategy officer, said in the statement.

The coalition issued a statement vowing to continue its fight.