After an eight-hour evidentiary hearing in the case of Payne v. Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow held the State of Nevada in contempt of court for failing to follow the Court’s July 22, 2020 order to continue paying unemployment benefits to about 9,000 people who had begun receiving benefits, but whom DETR discontinued paying without notice. In addition to a $1,000 fine to be paid to the Court, DETR was ordered to pay approximately 90 to 120 Million dollars to the claimants within three weeks, unless the Judge is later convinced to stay his own order or an emergency stay is issued by the Nevada Supreme Court. Judge Breslow noted that the due date for DETR to pay the 9,000 claimants was the day before Christmas. Today’s entire hearing is available below.
In addition to the contempt hearing, the main case involving well over 100,000 unpaid claims for unemployment benefits, with a value estimated between 1 and 4 Billion dollars, is now pending before the Nevada Supreme Court on an expedited emergency briefing schedule. Leah Jones and Mark Thierman of Reno-based Thierman Buck are the lawyers for the claimants, while the State of Nevada is represented by the Attorney General’s office.