Attorneys for people falsely accused of fraud by state computer system mistake move forward with lawsuit

About 40,000 people in Michigan were falsely accused of benefits fraud by the state of Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Attorneys say a flawed artificial-intelligence based computer system is to blame.  On Wednesday attorneys from three law firms announced they were joining forces and officially moving forward together on this case.

"Our team has been representing 40,000 citizens for the past six years since an algorithm MiDAS melted down and falsely accused those citizens of fraud," said attorney Jennifer Lord.

Carmelita Colvin is one of the people falsely accused.

"She still has not received falsely seized from her, she still has not received any other damages or apologies," said her attorney, Tony Paris.

But after years of legal wrangling back and forth, it is a small victory for the victims falsely accused.

"On Dec. 6, 2019, almost 2 months ago, the Court of Appeals found for the plaintiffs, and held that the plaintiffs' allegations - if established to be true -  certainly demonstrates plaintiffs' rights to due process as guarded by the Michigan Constitution were violated," said attorney Kevin Carlson.

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The attorneys are asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to establish a task force to ensure artificial-intelligence based systems are transparent, unbiased and accurate.

"It's not realistic to think that if researchers find over and over again ... that these systems don't work and sometimes makes problems worse," said Christian Sandig, University of Michigan Ethics, Society and Computing. "That Michigan is (not) going to be immune from these problems."