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Court clarifies, reaffirms its prior back pay ruling

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The Indiana Court of Appeals denied an Attorney General’s request to clarify a previous ruling that slashed a $42.4 million damages award, and clarified the two-month period from which state employees can recover back pay.

In a rehearing opinion issued today in Richmond State Hospital, et al. v. Paula Brattain, Francis Ernst, et al., No. 49A02-0908-CV-718, the appellate court briefly clarified but mostly affirmed its Oct. 8 ruling in the case that impacts thousands of past and present state workers trying to recover money they should have earned on the job. The state appellate judges had previously reversed one part of a Marion Superior judge’s decision from last year that some of those employees could recover back pay for a period from 1973 to 1993, holding that the period should only extend from 10 days before the filing on July 29, 1993, to mid-September 1993.

The trial court on remand must determine whether the state terminated the split class system on either Sept. 12 or Sept. 19, 1993, according to that prior decision and today’s rehearing ruling. Estimated damages for merit-based employees have gone from $23.5 million to an estimated couple million dollars, while the remaining $18.6 million awarded to non-merit employees would not be affected by the appellate rulings.

In a footnote, Judge Terry Crone wrote that “The Employees argue that the State had the burden to prove that each individual employee did not file an administrative grievance as part of its statute of limitations defense, which is an affirmative defense. We disagree. Access to the courts and the amount of back pay to which a successful litigant is entitled are two separate issues.”

Now, parties have the chance to seek transfer before the Indiana Supreme Court to possibly come out with a different result on part or all of the intermediate appellate rulings.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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