Lawsuit: State takes too long on jobless appeals

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An out-of-work Indianapolis man has sued the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, saying the agency is taking too
long to process unemployment appeals.

John Gorman, who worked for the same company for 31 years before he was fired in December, has been waiting for a decision
on his appeal for at least 100 days, and he still hasn't received his unemployment check, according to the American Civil
Liberties Union of Indiana.

Federal law requires that 60 percent of all first-level unemployment appeals be decided by an administrative law judge within
30 days, and 80 percent of them must be decided within 45 days.

"Indiana falls far, far short of that," ACLU legal director Ken Falk told The Journal Gazette of Fort
Wayne for a Saturday story. "It's just outrageous."

The ACLU says Gorman isn't an isolated case. The suit claims about 25 percent of all first-level appeals are decided
after more than 120 days.

The ACLU is seeking class-action status for the suit filed last month in Marion County Superior Court so it can cover other
jobless Hoosiers who have had trouble with their appeals.

"As a result of the defendants' practices or policies, the plaintiff and the class are suffering irreparable harm
for which there is no adequate remedy at law," the lawsuit said.

A spokesman for the unemployment agency said Indiana ranks 20th in the nation in timeliness but didn't dispute the data.
Marc Lotter declined to comment specifically on the suit.

"We are improving but we're not there yet," Lotter said. "When you go through a recession like this and
double the claims volume, it's hard."

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