Law and Justice
News and Notes - Spring 2016
Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers

117 West 4th Street, Suite 200
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Our Featured Stories
PMP&R and Flint Water Class Action Legal Team Lead Fight for City Residents in Contaminated Water Crisis 
PMP&R Partner Michael Pitt addresses the crowd amidst the media in Flint 
As the saga of the Flint water crisis continues to unfold, state, city and federal officials still seek answers and solutions for one of the worst -- and most-publicized --  man-made  disasters of our time.

At the same time, firm attorneys and the Flint Class Action Legal Team continue their legal battle on behalf of thousands of Flint residents.
A battle that began in November 2015 when the Flint Water Class Action Legal Team filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The complaint alleges that Gov. Snyder and numerous other city and state officials acted recklessly and with deliberate indifference leading to serious physical injuries and property damages.
That lawsuit also charged the defendants with depriving Flint residents of their constitutionally-guaranteed due process when they "...took from Plaintiffs safe drinking and replaced it with a highly toxic alternative solely for fiscal purposes."
Since last November, the Flint Water Class Action Legal Team has filed additional class actions on behalf of Flint residents in Michigan Court of Claims and Genesee County Circuit Court. An administrative complaint has also been filed with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Flint Water Class Action Legal Team Opens Flint Office and Resource Center
The Flint Water Class Action Team
The Flint Water Class Action Legal Team has opened a law office and resource center for clients and Flint residents. The office is located at 1176 Robert T. Longway Boulevard in downtown Flint. 
Jointly operated by the Flint Water Class Action Legal Team and the American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan, the law office will provide a convenient location for clients and residents to meet with attorneys regarding their legal options and participation in the class actions.
Class-Action Against Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Gains Support from
Rep. Sander Levin, Detroit Free Press & News  

Attorney Jennifer Lord
In September 2015 firm attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). The complaint, which was filed in the Michigan Court of Claims, alleges that the automated system used for detecting and adjudicating unemployment insurance fraud, falsely accuses thousands of innocent claimants.
According to the lawsuit, the state's reliance on the automated system "deprives UIA claimants of due process and fair treatment because it determines guilt without providing notice, without proving guilt and without affording claimants an opportunity to be heard before penalties are imposed."
"We've interviewed over 500 people who UIA falsely accused of fraud, were not provided proper notice of the fraud accusations, and then subjected to unlawful wage garnishments and income refund seizures," said firm attorney Jennifer Lord.

Michigan Department of Corrections Class-Action Update: Cases Alleging Sexual Abuse of Juveniles in Adult Jails Move Forward in Courts

Firm attorneys continue their efforts to obtain justice and monetary and injunctive relief in a class action brought in 2013 against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).
PMP&R Partner Beth Rivers
Doe vs. MDOC, filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, involves a class of juveniles who have suffered sexual harassment by adult prisoners and guards while incarcerated in adult facilities by the MDOC.
"Despite the state's efforts to delay and ultimately deny any consideration of the merits of the claims through dozens of dispositive motions and interlocutory appeals, the case is moving forward on several fronts," said attorney Beth Rivers.
Wrongly Terminated WSU Professor Awarded $300K in Age Discrimination Action

Dr. Karen Hrapkiewicz
Wayne State University is appealing a jury verdict received by veterinary professor Dr. Karen Hrapkiewicz in an age discrimination action handled by firm co-founder Michael Pitt. Earlier this year, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury awarded Dr. Hrapkiewicz $300,000 plus attorney fees and costs.
Dr. Hrapkiewicz had been employed as a clinical veterinarian at Wayne State University's Division of Animal Resource. She was also director of Wayne County Community College District Veterinary Technology Program. She was terminated February 28, 2011. 

2016 Freedom Tour: PMP&R Backs 10-Day Civil Rights History Trip for Area H.S. Students 

This summer from June 19-29, 25 area high school students will be travelling via bus though the Deep South. As part of the 2016 Freedom Tour, these students will experience and learn the history of the U.S. civil rights movement through visits to its landmarks and institutions and multiple interactions with many who led, participated in or now study the centuries-long struggle.
The 2016 Freedom Tour and is sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR). MCHR is a non-profit group dedicated to universal human rights through education, advocacy, community organization and action. 
PMP&R is providing financial support for 2016 Freedom Tour by covering the cost of the
PMP&R Partner Cary McGehee

trip for several students. The firm has also been a supporter of previous Freedom Tours.
"The Freedom Tour provides an extraordinary opportunity for area high school students to walk in the footsteps of famous civil rights activists and leaders, see the landmarks of the movement, talk with contemporary civil rights activists and learn about the philosophy of non-violence," said firm co-founder Cary McGehee, who is the long-time chair of the MCHR Board of Directors.

About Pitt McGehee    

Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers is one of the largest law firms in Michigan specializing in employment-related matters. It represents individuals and groups in matters relating to sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, whistleblower rights, Family Medical Leave Act and workplace discrimination relating to age, sex, race, disability, religion and national origin. Founded in 1992, the firm's attorneys are widely acknowledged as leading civil and employment rights experts and advocates.