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Leon County judge dismisses lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis, DEO over Florida's unemployment system

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 18:13:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A judge dismissed a civil lawsuit against Governor DeSantis and the Department of Economic Opportunity Wednesday, another letdown for those fighting for unemployment benefits.

The goal was to fix the DEO system and force them to give people money.

The judge decided they didn't have enough evidence that DEO wasn't doing enough. This decision came down at the same time as a second wave of backlash against the governor, right outside the courthouse.

"It's like an emotional roller coaster everyday,getting on that website for thousands of people," said Judy Tanzosch.

Tanzosch was a contract administrator for a small business before the coronavirus.

"It was like my dream job," Tanzosch said. "I had just gotten it in January."

Now, she's out of a job and out of options to make money. So, she's determined to help people like herself who are struggling to pay bills.

"I first applied on March 27th for the week of March 29th, and I could never get through on CONNECT," Tanzosch said. "I could never get the application fully entered, so when the PEGA website came on April 9th I applied there. Since then, nothing has happened."

Her story is far from unique. The total unique DEO claims submitted is now past 1.1 million.

Lora Kibler worked at a manufacturing facility before the pandemic.

"We need to have systems in place and keep them running," said Kibler. "To set up a system with unemployment so that it will fail is inappropriate."

The DEO says 769,000 people have been processed so far, and 345,000 people are still waiting to be processed.

Tanzosch and Kibler say that's not enough.

They gathered in front of the courthouse, along with cars passing by, demanding the governor to set apart emergency funds to help people now.

"Why are they sitting around? Why is there no special session? The governor could at least call for a special session so they can at least discuss what they can possibly do to help the people of Florida," said Tanzosch. "Rather than do that, there's just nothing."

ABC 27 reached out to both the Department of Economic Opportunity and the governor's office about the claims, but haven't heard back.