ILNews

Settlement reached in equal pay suit

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A day before a multi-million dollar class action suit was supposed to go to trial, attorneys reached a settlement in the state employees' equal pay case that is expected to give every plaintiff what they asked for.

The class - made up of as many as 15,000 former state employees - wanted compensation for hours they worked between 1973 and 1993 and didn't receive equal pay of fellow workers, who had only worked 37 1/2 hours compared to their 40 hours a week. A state appellate ruling in 1993 corrected the pay disparity and directed all full-time employee salaries be based on the lower work-hour total, but the state didn't offer compensation for those who'd worked longer hours before the court ruling.

As a result, this suit - Paula Brattain, et al. v. Richmond State Hospital, et. al. No. 49D11-0108-CP-1309 - came in February 2002. It was set for trial Tuesday.

But after "marathon settlement discussions" on Sunday, attorneys reached a compromise and the court approved a preliminary settlement today, according to Indianapolis plaintiffs' attorney John Kautzman.

The settlement states that all claimants adversely affected would receive 100 percent of their back pay, Kautzman said. A 60-90 day claim period will now begin, where any state worker who believes he or she might have been affected can file a claim to receive damages. Since the pay disparity happened so long ago, the estimated number of potential claimants is nearly impossible to assess, he said - the number could range from five to 15,000 people.

A part of the settlement includes a way for the state to rescind its offer, if the total amount paid comes out to be more than $8.5 million, Kautzman said. In that case, the state could ask that the case proceed to trial.

"Both sides think that it won't be that high, but this is a way to proceed in the case if it's larger than any of us anticipated," he said. "The state could still pony up and pay it, and be done. Or they could ask to go to trial."

Kautzman describes this as a victory on several fronts, since the workers can get complete compensation and, even if the state rescinds the offer, plaintiffs could still have their day in court. He expects it will likely be late October or November before all the claims are submitted and it can be determined who will be paid.
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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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