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Decision on gig worker unemployment benefit lawsuit pushed back

The judge who will decide whether the state’s employment bureau must immediately pay Nevada’s independent contractors and self-employed workers unemployment benefits will have the weekend to think it over.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Barry Breslow ordered a hearing in the class-action lawsuit against the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to be moved from 9 a.m. Thursday to 9 a.m. Monday, according to a court document filed Tuesday.

Last week, Breslow appointed a special master, attorney Jason Guinasso, to gather additional information and submit a report that could further inform the judge’s decision whether to force DETR to pay out pending Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims or otherwise address processing delays.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Nevada workers in May, seeks judicial intervention in the state’s unemployment crisis via immediate payouts of pending benefits claims under the PUA program for independent contractors, self-employed people and gig workers.

A DETR spokeswoman said the department doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Guinasso’s previous Wednesday deadline to submit his court report was moved to Friday, the court document states. Guinasso, of Hutchison and Steffen Attorneys, is working with DETR officials and Thierman Buck to discuss the claims process and identify potential issues that could be addressed through a court order in the form of a writ of mandamus.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Mark Thierman, of Thierman Buck, said Tuesday that the special master asked for more time to put together his report.

A request for comment from Guinasso was not immediately answered.

Gig workers are short-term or temporary workers who usually connect with customers using an online platform, like somebody who works for Uber, Lyft or Instacart.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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