ILNews

Indiana Supreme Court rules on wage statute

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that the term "days" in the Wage Payment Statute refers to business days, not calendar days. The opinion also clarifies several school-related aspects relating to the state statute.

A 13-page decision in Tabatha J. Naugle and Sandra M. Cain v. Beech Grove City Schools (http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/04270701trb.pdf), 49S02-0606-CV-242, affirms a decision by Marion Circuit Judge Ted Sosin.

Aside from the definition of days, justices also unanimously clarify a two-year-old ruling in Brownsburg Community School Corp. v. Natare Corp., 824 N.E.2d 336 (Ind. 2005), in that the language doesn ;t prevent the application of the statute to school corporations, that no school powers statute exists to preclude that application, there is no generic good faith defense to the wage statute, and that there is no requirement within the statute ;s 10-day rule that an employee request or demand wages.

This case stems from a February 2004 suit by Naugle and Cain, who were employed by Beech Grove Schools as custodians during 2003. The school district implemented a new payroll schedule in summer 2003, and the pair filed suit the next year – after both had left their positions – alleging the district had violated the Wage Payment Statute by failing to pay their wages within the time the statute required.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court had wrongly interpreted the word "days," but affirmed under language in the Brownsburg decision that it interpreted to mean school corporations were not employers under the statute.

Now, the Supreme Court has affirmed the trial court ruling in favor of Beech Grove. The Indiana School Boards Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 62 were all amicus curiae parties in this case.
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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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