ILNews

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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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