ILNews

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. 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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