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Perry County only preferred venue for wage suit

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In an issue with no clear precedent regarding statutory interpretation with respect to the Wage Claims Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court didn’t err in concluding Perry County was the proper venue for a suit filed by the Commissioner of Labor under the act.

In Commissioner of Labor on the Relation of Vincent and Antimo Scialdone v. An Island, LLC, No. 49A05-1011-PL-777, the Commissioner of Labor, on relation of Vincent and Antimo Scialdone, filed a suit under the Wage Claims Act in Marion County for unpaid wages allegedly due to the Scialdones from their previous employer, An Island LLC. The trial court granted Island’s motion to dismiss for improver venue and ordered the case transferred to Perry County, where Island is located.

On interlocutory appeal, the Scialdones argued that Marion County is also a preferred venue under Indiana Code Section 22-2-9-4. The statue applies Section 22-2-5-2, part of the Wage Payments Act, to the initiation of civil wage claims action by the attorney general or a designee thereof. I.C. Section 22-2-5-2 allows damages for unpaid wages to "be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of a suit to recover the amount due to such  employee."

The Scialdones claimed this section creates preferred venue in any Indiana court with jurisdiction over actions for unpaid wage claims, whether those actions are brought by the Indiana Attorney General or by a designated private attorney. They also argued that I.C. sections 22-2-9-4 and 22-2-5-2 make any trial court a preferred venue because Trial Rule 75(A)(8) designates as a preferred venue any county in which a statutory cause of action may proceed.

“While we recognize the problematic relationship between the language of section 22-2-5-2 when taken together with Trial Rule 75(A)(8), we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Island’s motion to dismiss and ordered venue transferred to Perry County,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey. “Section 22-2-5-2 allows recovery of wage claims in any county with jurisdiction over the suit, but this is not the same as a statute designating venue in a particular county. It instead reflects the principle of Indiana Trial Rule 75 where preferred venue does not exist, which allows a plaintiff to pursue a claim in any venue in those situations where there is no preferred venue for the action.”

The Scialdones don’t live in Marion County and Island is located in Perry County. Without any facts establishing Marion County as a preferred venue for this case, Perry County is the only preferred venue under Trial Rule 75(A)(1), wrote the judge.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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