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Indiana justices asked to answer question under Common Construction Wage Act

September 26, 2012

U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to answer a certified question that arose in a pay dispute between a Fort Wayne electrician and Indianapolis-based Gaylor Inc.

Joshua Lewis claims that Gaylor failed to pay him the appropriate wage rate set for work he performed on the Purdue University Grounds Maintenance Facility, the Logansport Library, and other jobs. His suit alleges Gaylor intentionally exerted unauthorized control over his the wages and benefits he earned under the Common Construction Wage Act and the Davis-Bacon Act.

On Sept. 21, Barker adopted the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on Lewis’ federal statutory claim, but stayed a ruling on the state claim until the Supreme Court gave guidance as to whether Lewis has a private cause of action under the CCWA. The magistrate judge recommended dismissing the state claim.
 
Barker sent the following question to the justices on Sept. 21:

“Given the holdings by the United States Supreme Court in Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677 (1979) and Universities Research Association, Inc. v. Coutu, 450 U.S. 754 (1981), and the subsequent decisions interpreting those decisions, all of which superseded the Seventh Circuit’s decision in McDaniel v. University of Chicago, 548 F.2d 689 (7th Cir. 1977); as well as the Indiana Court of Appeals decision in Stampco Construction Co., Inc. v. Guffey, 572 N.E.2d 510 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), which in a divided opinion relied on McDaniel; and given the absence of any ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court on issues raised therein: Does Indiana’s Common Construction Wage Act, IND. CODE § 5-16-7 et seq., permit or in some other fashion give rise to a private cause of action?”

The case is Joshua S. Lewis v. Gaylor Inc., 1:11-CV-01421, the Indianapolis Division of the Southern District of Indiana.

 

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