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Justices take state employee back-pay case

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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear the case in which past and present state workers were initially granted more than $42 million in damages in their suit to recover back pay. That amount was later reduced by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

On June 3, the justices accepted Richmond State Hospital, et al. v. Paula Brattain, et al., No. 49S02-1106-CV-327, in which Marion Superior Judge John Hanley found in favor of four subclasses of plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit to recover back pay for unequal wages earned between 1973 and 1993. As many as 15,000 past and present state employees were a part of the suit, in which the employees who worked 40 hours a week sued to get back pay because they were paid the same amount as those who only worked 37 and 1/2 hours a week. The judge awarded the plaintiffs $42.4 million in 2009.

The Court of Appeals significantly reduced that award in October 2010, holding that certain employees shouldn’t be able to recover for the time between 1973 and 1993, but are limited to the 10 days before the class-action suit was filed in July 1993 to when the state courts abolished the split class system weeks later in September. The appellate ruling cut the damages for the merit-based employees from nearly $24 million to an estimated couple million dollars. The $18.6 million awarded to non-merit employees was affirmed by the COA.

The intermediate appellate court affirmed its holding in December 2010 on rehearing and clarified the two-month period from which state employees could recover back pay.

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  • Whats going on?
    Just curious what is the status of this lawsuit? Anybody know?
  • waited so long
    We have waited so long, will we see any pay off by the state in my life time? and if so when could we expect it?

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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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