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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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