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Appeals court hears back-pay arguments

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

Attorneys argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals on an appeal of a Marion Superior judge’s award of more than $42 million to a class of thousands of current and former state employees wanting to recover back pay for unequal wages earned between 1973 and 1993.

Technical difficulties at the appellate court initially prevented the Aug. 23 arguments from being broadcast live or by webcast, but typically those arguments can be viewed online at http://mycourts.in.gov/arguments/. The case is Paula Brattain, et al. v. Richmond State Hospital, et al., No. 49A02-0908-CV-718.

The Indiana Attorney General is appealing the July 2009 ruling in which Marion Superior Judge John Hanley awarded the judgment to as many as 12,000 or more past and present state employees who’d fought to recover back pay for unequal wages earned during those two decades. Judge Hanley found in favor of four subclasses of plaintiffs who’d sued about 16 years ago and nearly reached a settlement last year. The judge found that by requiring plaintiffs and others to work 40 hours a week in “split classes” during those years, the state violated the “equal pay for comparable work” regulation and breached its employment contracts with plaintiffs.

Analyzing the four types of “split classes” the plaintiffs fall into depending on where they worked, Judge Hanley awarded $20.9 million to overtime-eligible employees within state “merit agencies;” $16.7 million to overtime-eligible workers not in merit agencies; $2.7 million to overtime-exempt employees in merit agencies; and $1.9 million to overtime-exempt employees not at merit agencies.

In his ruling, Judge Hanley noted a recent legislative special session estimate showing Indiana spends approximately $38 million per day every day to operate.

Judge Hanley stayed his judgment while the state appeals the outcome of the 17-year-old class action.
 

Rehearing to "Judge awards $42.4 million in back pay suit" IL Aug. 5-18, 2009

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  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  4. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

  5. Once again Indiana has not only shown what little respect it has for animals, but how little respect it has for the welfare of the citizens of the state. Dumping manure in a pond will most certainly pollute the environment and ground water. Who thought of this spiffy plan? No doubt the livestock industry. So all the citizens of Indiana have to suffer pollution for the gain of a few livestock producers who are only concerned about their own profits at the expense of everyone else who lives in this State. Shame on the Environmental Rules Board!

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