Lawsuit Challenges Long Delays In Unemployment Rulings

ACLU: State Takes Too Long To Decide On Appeals

A new lawsuit accuses the state of unreasonable, illegal delays in deciding on unemployment benefits.

John Gorman, who is bringing the suit, said he spent 31 years working for the Cargill Dry Corn Ingredients plant on the White River, but was fired in December for what the company described as a rules violation.

Interactive: State-By-State Unemployment Figures

In January, he filed for unemployment, but was turned down by the Department of Workforce Development on March 3.

Despite appealing the ruling the same day, Gorman said it's been more than 100 days and there's been no progress.

His attorney, Gavin Rose with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, has filed suit to force the state to decide the appeals sooner, and is seeking to have it declared a class-action suit, 6News' Norman Cox reported.

He said the state is violating federal rules that require 60 percent of appeals to be decided within 30 days and 80 percent within 45 days.

According to the lawsuit, in the most recent period for which figures were available, the state decided only 29.2 percent of its appeals within 30 days and 40.3 percent within 45 days.

"Your guess is as good as mine" as to why they're falling short, Rose said. "They're certainly the experts here. I do not know whether it's a shortage of staffing or whether they are just not searching for creative solutions to this problem."

6News spent several hours on Tuesday trying to get a response from Workforce Development spokesman Marc Lotter.

He referred back to a previous statement that read, "We are improving but we're not there yet. When you go through a recession like this and double the claims volume, it's hard."