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State of Nevada accused of Contempt of Court

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 8:54 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The State of Nevada is accused of disobeying a court order to pay unemployment benefits in a timely manner.

The Honorable Barry L. Breslow of the Second Judicial District Court in Nevada set a hearing December 3 at 9:00 a.m. to determine if the state is in contempt.

On June 25, he found that Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) had for the most part exercised its discretion reasonably, but said there were two ways DETR was in error in how it approached the problems of paying Nevadans in a timely manner:

  • DETR erred in not paying gig workers who are still collecting some income, but had their income substantially affected by the shutdown.
  • DETR is not to stop benefits that have already started, and then delayed due to further investigation.

Attorney Mark Thierman is accusing the State of Nevada of failing to do this. He entered into talks with the State’s Attorneys in the hopes of finding a resolution.

“Mediation unfortunately was not successful at all or at lest it resolved none of the issues. Yes, we wish to continue with the contempt,” Thierman said.

His associate attorney, Leah Jones, says the State needs to face consequences for its actions.

“Defendants have argued that they have made substantial compliance. There’s still the issue of substantial compliance that did not happen on the date that the Court ordered. So Plaintiffs would like to go forward on a contempt motion, would like to set that for a hearing,” Jones said.

Judge Breslow made his expectations clear for the attorney’s representing the State of Nevada.

“I’m trying to think of an scenario where you pull out three to seven or twelve examples of why these people were not paid when otherwise it would appear they would have been captured by the order of mandate. I’m looking more for a 30,000 foot view of compliance as opposed to why certain individuals who otherwise might have been entitled to be paid were not. I would like a level of detail sufficient to, if the state has the evidence, to justify the failure to pay them in accordance to the court’s order,” said Judge Breslow.

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