New High Impact Project Case Seeks to Challenge the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Failure to Provide Unemployment Assistance During COVID-19

Plaisance v. Dejoie was filed in February 2021, challenging the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s failure to determine eligibility for unemployment benefits, hear appeals, and issue vital unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The State allegedly arbitrarily terminates benefits without adequate notice, leaving claimants with no financial support during an appeal process that can last well over a year. Many of these claimants are arguably entitled to benefits, yet they go without assistance because of the State’s systemic due process violations. The National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ) subsequently joined the litigation representing the plaintiffs. 

The goal of the litigation is to transform Louisiana’s Unemployment Insurance process so that claimants – primarily low-income people of color – receive clear notice, timely benefits, and a prompt hearing prior to the termination of benefits. 

The Barbara McDowell Foundation’s High Impact Litigation Project was responsible for securing pro bono co-counsel for the case from the law firm of Winston & Strawn, which will help manage e-discovery, additional depositions, discovered-related motion practice, and secure any expert witnesses needed.

 To read more about the case and the Foundation’s High Impact Litigation Project, click here.

(December 2021)