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Appellate judges rule on court warrant officer's claim

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled an Anderson City Court judge didn’t wrongly reassign a police warrant officer from his courtroom because the two didn’t share an employee-employer relationship that would allow for a suit under the Indiana Wage Claim Statute.

A unanimous ruling came Tuesday in Mark McCann v. The City of Anderson, Indiana and The Hon. Donald Phillippe, No. 48A02-1009-PL-1060, involving an Anderson Police Department officer who became a warrant officer for the city court in 1998, about three years after his police service began. Judge Donald Phillippe presided over that court, and Mark McCann’s duties included receiving all court warrants issued, maintaining computer files of each wanted person and all probationers, and issuing reports to his supervisors in the police department. While serving as warrant officer, McCann discovered that a probation officer with similar duties was receiving a paycheck from both the APD and City Court.

In 2005, Judge Phillippe requested that McCann be reassigned based on reports that he was “rude and inappropriate” with defendants and prisoners in the courtroom. He was reassigned to a different police department division, and complaints he lodged were dismissed for having no merit. In December 2006 he filed a claim against the city and judge. Special Judge Mary Willis for the Madison Superior Court granted summary judgment for the city and court, finding that McCann wasn’t an employee who could bring a claim under the state’s wage statute.

That statute specifically states, “Whenever any employer separates any employee from the pay-roll, the unpaid wages or compensation of such employee shall become due and payable at regular pay day for pay period in which separation occurred.”

Analyzing whether that employer-employee relationship existed in this case, the appellate panel looked at factors such as the right to discharge, mode of payment, supplying tools or equipment, belief of the parties about that relationship, control over the means used in the results reached, the length of employment, and establishment of the work boundaries.

Though some factors indicated McCann was an employee, the court ultimately decided he was not. Most importantly, the court analyzed the right of the employer to exercise control over the employee and determined that McCann remained under the supervision and control of the Anderson Police Department.

“Thus, overall, four of the seven factors, including the most important ‘Control over the Means Used’ indicate that McCann was not an employee of the City Court,” Judge Melissa May wrote. “Because the City Court was not McCann’s employer, he cannot be due any ‘unpaid wages’ from the City Court. Therefore, he cannot assert a claim against the City Court under the Indiana Wage Statute. Accordingly, we affirm.”

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  2. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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