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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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