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Court orders more proceedings on laborer’s pay

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The Boone Superior Court will need to take another look at a man’s lawsuit against R.L. Turner Corporation that claimed he was underpaid by the company for labor he provided on two public works projects, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

In William Wressell v. R.L. Turner Corporation, 06A01-1301-PL-5, William Wressell claimed that while he was paid properly for work he performed as a classified skilled cement mason under the Common Construction Wage Act, he actually performed other tasks as a skilled carpenter or skilled laborer and should have received a higher wage and higher fringe benefits for that work.

Wressell worked for RLTC for nearly a year on two projects – one at Purdue University and one at Indiana University. He filed his lawsuit alleging underpayment after receiving authorization from the Office of the Indiana Attorney General to pursue his claims in court.
 
RLTC and Wressell both moved for summary judgment. The Boone Superior Court ruled in favor of RLTC.

At issue in the appeal is the trial court’s striking of certain portions of an affidavit from Monte Moorhead, a field auditor with the Indiana Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. The affidavit included statements about how fringe benefits are classified and that employer expenses that are part of its regular overhead costs of doing business or are for the primary benefit of the employer are not treated by the IDOL as employee fringe benefits. The trial court concluded that paragraphs 12-18 on the fringe benefits were irrelevant and legal conclusions.

But the Court of Appeals disagreed, finding the paragraphs in question to be “unquestionably relevant,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote. “Whether IDOL considers a certain type of payment to be a fringe benefit strikes us as evidence that would be quite helpful to the factfinder in characterizing that payment, and therefore relevant.”

The judges also held that Moorhead’s averments regarding IDOL policy and whether it treats certain types of payments as fringe benefits do not constitute legal conclusions.

There are genuine issues of material fact regarding Wressell’s job classification on the jobs and whether Wressell was sufficiently paid for fringe benefits, the judges held, so they remanded for further proceedings. The COA judges also denied RLTC’s request for appellate attorney fees.

 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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