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Justices dissent on denying transfer in wage payment case

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Two Indiana Supreme Court justices disagreed with their colleagues about not taking a case on the state’s wage payment statute, issuing a dissent that described how they believe the justices should clear up perceived uncertainty about whether the law can be applied to certain claims before the Indiana Department of Labor.

Justice Frank Sullivan wrote a four-page dissent in the case of Anna Quimby v. Becovic Management Group Inc., No. 49A05-0912-CV-747, which the Court of Appeals decided March 8, 2011. Justice Robert Rucker joined Sullivan in wanting to accept the case, but Chief Justice Randall Shepard and Justices Brent Dickson and Steven David concurred in denying transfer.

Anna Quimby appealed the dismissal of her wage claim against Becovic Management Group in May 2008. She wrote in her application for the wage claim that the company owed her $787.31 for vacation and hours worked, and that she was assigning all her rights to the labor commissioner pursuant to Indiana Code 22-2-9-5. The DOL investigated and determined she should receive $590.39, and Quimby in 2009 brought an action in Marion Superior Court under the state’s wage payment statute, Indiana Code 22-2-2. Superior Judge Theodore Sosin dismissed her action.

In its ruling last year, the Court of Appeals held that because Quimby had assigned her wage claim to the Department of Labor where it was eventually resolved, she could not bring the action in court, and the trial judge was correct in dismissing her claim. The appellate panel refused to hold an employee is able to bring a claim before the DOL and then later bring the same claim in court if the employee is dissatisfied with the administrative result.

Arguing for transfer, Quimby said that she could not have assigned her claim to the DOL because the state agency is only authorized by state statute to take assignment claims under the Wage Claims Statute, not the Wage Payment Statute that her claim involved.

Sullivan said the statutes and administrative procedures aren’t clear about assigning these types of claims. He wrote that the plain language of I.C. 22-2-9-5 suggests the DOL may take by assignment claims like Quimby’s, or that it’s not prohibited from doing so, but that the Wage Claims Statute suggests that assignment may be limited to only those claims.

“There are likely many other claimants in Quimby’s position – claimants that do not have to but nevertheless seek the DOL’s assistance with their wage disputes,” Sullivan wrote. “Because the Court has decided not to grant transfer, I urge the DOL to examine this question and if it agrees with the Court of Appeals that in such circumstances it takes these claims by assignment, to revise its documents to make that clear to both the employee and employer, or if it concludes contrary to the decision of the Court of Appeals that it does not take these claims by assignment, to revise its form to remove this language.”

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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