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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. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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