May 18, 2022

State, Deloitte say unemployment case should be tossed

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and Deloitte Consulting LLP are asking a Leon County circuit judge to toss out a revised class-action lawsuit that seeks damages because of problems with the state’s unemployment-compensation system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency and Deloitte filed motions last week to dismiss the case, saying, in part, that the plaintiffs are making largely the same arguments that Judge John Cooper rejected in an earlier version of the lawsuit.

“Simply put, the third amended complaint (the latest version) is substantially indistinguishable from the one the court found to be deficient and provides no basis for the court to revisit its prior conclusions,” Deloitte attorneys wrote in their motion.

The revised lawsuit, filed last month, came after Cooper dismissed the earlier version in September. In the dismissal, Cooper allowed the plaintiffs to file a revised complaint. The revised version makes a series of allegations and contends, in part, that the department and Deloitte were negligent and breached a fiduciary duty to the plaintiffs, who lost their jobs during the pandemic and faced problems getting unemployment benefits.

The department administers the unemployment program, while Deloitte was a contractor that helped put in place the CONNECT online system, which could not handle the crush of unemployment applications this spring. But attorneys for the Department of Economic Opportunity and Deloitte argue that the lawsuit should be dismissed for several reasons, including that it would violate the constitutional separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches of government.

“The nature of plaintiffs’ claims against the department in the third amended complaint are unchanged from their previous complaint; the clear constitutional defects in those claims have not been addressed,” department attorneys wrote in their motion last week.

Tags: News Service of Florida


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