Last week I filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Employment Commission.
They seem to have developed an illegal administrative procedure called “Vacate” and have used it twice on my claims for unemployment benefits. This goes back to the summer of 2020. I fought them in federal court in 2022 and had them in state court earlier this year (2023). I had a lot of trouble finding a lawyer to take the case and have been representing myself pro se.
I won the Judicial Review in state court in August, but that was only to determine if they had processed my claim properly. There is no possibility of punitive damages being accessed in a Judicial Review.
Now, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to file a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages both for myself and for everyone else whose claims have been “vacated”. I’ve been in court enough to know that I’m at a serious disadvantage representing myself without a lawyer, but I’ve also learned that in the American legal system, litigants are generally not liable for opposing legal fees, even if they lose. This means that all I really have to lose is my own time and effort.
Of course, if it goes up on appeal, then I may become liable for opposing legal fees.
I fully expect that it will go up on appeal, because what I’m trying, a class action lawsuit against the government on behalf of everyone harmed by an illegal administrative procedure, has basically never been tried before in Virginia state court.
Here’s a copy of the complaint, with personally identifying information redacted: