COA tightens deadline in enhanced unemployment benefits dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals is allowing the state to proceed with its attempt to overturn a Marion Superior Court ruling reinstating enhanced unemployment benefits and is moving to expedite when it will issue a ruling in the matter.

In a two-page order issued Thursday in Eric Holcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana, et al. v. T.L., et al., 21A-PL-1268, the appellate court moved the due date from Aug. 9 to July 9 for the transcript of the trial court’s hearing. The order states, “upon receipt of the transcript” the court will rule on the state’s emergency motion to stay the  preliminary injunction.

The workers who filed the lawsuit issued a statement calling on Indiana to begin putting the $300 federal enhancement back into the state’s unemployment payments.

“The Indiana Court of Appeals’ order in no way altered the trial court’s injunction, so the state remains under the legal obligation to continue to pay the benefits available under the federal pandemic unemployment programs,” plaintiffs’ attorneys Jennifer Terry and Jeffrey Macey said in a press release. “The State should take immediate action to make the COVID-related unemployment insurance benefits required under state law available to eligible Hoosiers as ordered by the trial court.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office did not respond to a request for comment by Indiana Lawyer deadline.

Less than a week after Indiana stopped accepting the federal money, the Marion Superior Court granted a preliminary injunction requiring the enhanced benefits to be reinstated. The unemployment supplement was originally instituted by Congress as part of the March 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

When he announced the state would be terminating the federal benefits, Holcomb said the extra money was incentivizing Hoosiers to remain out of the workforce. He told the Court of Appeals reinstating the enhanced payments would do “irreparable harm” to the state’s “economic and social recovery efforts.”

Workers’ attorneys incorporated those words into the statement they provided in response to the Court of Appeals’ order.

“The state’s delay is causing irreparable harm to our clients and to similarly situated individuals throughout the state,” the attorneys said.

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