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COA upholds dismissal of proposed class

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Potential plaintiffs who want to join a class action suit seeking redress under the state's Wage Claims Statute must first submit a claim to the Indiana Department of Labor, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld today.

The ruling comes seven months after another appellate panel ruled in Lemon v. Wishard Health Services, 902 N.E.2d, 297 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), that anyone who wants to file a lawsuit in court or join a class action suit under the Wage Claims Statute has to first submit their claim to the DOL. In upholding that decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the proposed class of plaintiffs who haven't sought review and referral from the DOL in Maureen Reel, Thomas Dullen, and Ned Milby, on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated v. Clarian Health Partners Inc., No. 49A02-0901-CV-112.

Maureen Reel, Thomas Dullen, and Ned Milby filed their complaints under the Wage Claims Statute against Clarian Health Partners on behalf of themselves and all others who were paid their paid time off (PTO) wages on or after July 11, 2003. Their suit claimed Clarian paid out the PTO after the pay date for the pay period in which they were involuntarily separated, which would violate the Wage Claims Statute.

Clarian was initially granted summary judgment on the claims, but the appellate court reversed with respect to Reel, Dullen, and Milby. Those three had initially submitted their claim to the DOL.

The trial court did grant summary judgment to Clarian in a separate ruling in regards to the class claims. The named plaintiffs argued on appeal that despite the ruling in Lemon, in which transfer was pending at the time they filed their brief, but was denied by the time Clarian filed its brief, the members of the proposed class action weren't required to file their wage claims with the DOL in order to join the suit.

Under the Wage Claims Statute, the wage claims must first be submitted to the DOL, which may then refer the claims to the attorney general, who may initiate civil actions or refer the claim to an attorney. To become the "designee" of the attorney general, the claimant must first obtain a letter of referral before filing suit, wrote Judge Nancy Vaidik.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in sequencing the discovery to avoid extensive and costly discovery until it ruled on the motion to dismiss.

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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