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Perry County only preferred venue for wage suit

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In an issue with no clear precedent regarding statutory interpretation with respect to the Wage Claims Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court didn’t err in concluding Perry County was the proper venue for a suit filed by the Commissioner of Labor under the act.

In Commissioner of Labor on the Relation of Vincent and Antimo Scialdone v. An Island, LLC, No. 49A05-1011-PL-777, the Commissioner of Labor, on relation of Vincent and Antimo Scialdone, filed a suit under the Wage Claims Act in Marion County for unpaid wages allegedly due to the Scialdones from their previous employer, An Island LLC. The trial court granted Island’s motion to dismiss for improver venue and ordered the case transferred to Perry County, where Island is located.

On interlocutory appeal, the Scialdones argued that Marion County is also a preferred venue under Indiana Code Section 22-2-9-4. The statue applies Section 22-2-5-2, part of the Wage Payments Act, to the initiation of civil wage claims action by the attorney general or a designee thereof. I.C. Section 22-2-5-2 allows damages for unpaid wages to "be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of a suit to recover the amount due to such  employee."

The Scialdones claimed this section creates preferred venue in any Indiana court with jurisdiction over actions for unpaid wage claims, whether those actions are brought by the Indiana Attorney General or by a designated private attorney. They also argued that I.C. sections 22-2-9-4 and 22-2-5-2 make any trial court a preferred venue because Trial Rule 75(A)(8) designates as a preferred venue any county in which a statutory cause of action may proceed.

“While we recognize the problematic relationship between the language of section 22-2-5-2 when taken together with Trial Rule 75(A)(8), we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Island’s motion to dismiss and ordered venue transferred to Perry County,” wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey. “Section 22-2-5-2 allows recovery of wage claims in any county with jurisdiction over the suit, but this is not the same as a statute designating venue in a particular county. It instead reflects the principle of Indiana Trial Rule 75 where preferred venue does not exist, which allows a plaintiff to pursue a claim in any venue in those situations where there is no preferred venue for the action.”

The Scialdones don’t live in Marion County and Island is located in Perry County. Without any facts establishing Marion County as a preferred venue for this case, Perry County is the only preferred venue under Trial Rule 75(A)(1), wrote the judge.

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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