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Judge grants delay in DETR investigation

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:12 PM PDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2020 at 2:52 PM PDT
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WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - UPDATE JULY 14, 2020 - Judge Barry Breslow has granted a delay in a “Order to Show Cause” hearing over a lawsuit filed against Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Attorney Jason Guinasso has been tasked with investigating DETR’s handling of Unemployment Insurance claims amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and economic collapse.

With the delay, the hearing will now take place on Monday, July 20, 2020.

ORIGINAL STORY JULY 7, 2020 - The court ordered investigation into Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) has prompted thousands of people to share their stories.

They’re hoping that their collective experience will help Nevada Government leaders take action and speed up the process of providing unemployment aid.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow asked Attorney Jason Guinasso to investigate DETR during a court hearing Tuesday, July 7.

Less than 24 hours later on Wednesday, July 8 Guinasso revealed this in a zoom court hearing.

“I’ve received hundreds of emails of people telling their stories very similar to what we’ve seen in the declarations provided by the plaintiffs. The lawyers representing them have received over 5,000 emails that they’re going to share with me about their experience with the system, so I’m going to try to match up those human experiences for you your honor with the data and explanation of the system where it all fits,” Guinasso

Judge Breslow is giving Guinasso specific direction in this investigation.

“Assist the court in identifying possible bottlenecks, possible inconsistencies, any in the system that might be subject and reviewed by DETR,” Judge Breslow said.

One of the biggest issues is a conflict of direction DETR has received.

One direction is to pay out-of-work Nevadans as quickly as possible.

The second direction it’s getting is to ensure it doesn’t give both unemployment insurance (State funds) and pandemic unemployment assistance (Federal funds provided by the CARES Act) to the same person. This is causing longer than usual delays as adjudicators cross check to follow this Department of Labor Directive.

This one issue is estimated to be delaying payment to about 43,000 Nevadans in needs of unemployment assistance.

"I want to know from Mr. Guinasso after collaborating with both sides how best that might be addressed," Judge Breslow said.

Another major part of this investigation.

“There were subcategories in there that had to do with people determined eligible, but they aren’t getting paid even though they have an accepted claim. They’re getting a debit card, but no money on that card. I’m looking into this issue as well,” Guinsasso.

”We’ll look at a few states here in the Mountain West California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and then we’ll look at some other states that have appeared to get benefits out to people and what they’re doing that may be different than what our State is doing,” he continued.

The State of Nevada is accepting judge Breslow’s decision and has agreed to share its records, answer Guinasso’s questions, and grant him access to their facilities.

“We’re supportive of the appointment of Mr. Guinasso. We look forward to working with him,” said Nevada Attorney General Office Deputy Attorney General, Robert Whitney.

Judge Breslow asked Guinasso to hand in a report Wednesday, July 15 at 2:00 p.m.

A second hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 9:00 a.m. where Judge Breslow says he will make a judgement.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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