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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ind. Decisions - One Indiana decision today from 7th Circuit

In Estate of Suskovick v. Anthem (SD Ind., Judge Barker), a 28-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:

Until his sudden death in 2006, Anthony J. Suskovich worked as a computer programmer for WellPoint, a health insurance company, and Trasys, an information technology (IT) company. In exactly what capacity he worked for those two companies is the subject of this present case. Suskovich’s estate claims that he was a regular employee, and worse, one that was not paid overtime or enrolled in benefits programs for which he was eligible, and who owes state and federal tax agencies various taxes that WellPoint and Trasys should have withheld. WellPoint and Trasys claim that Suskovich was an independent contractor, and thus ineligible for benefits or overtime, and that he owes back taxes because of his own failure to file proper tax returns or pay his withholding taxes. After the district court granted sum- mary judgment to WellPoint and Trasys, the estate brought this appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment. * * *

The estate’s appeal raises three issues. First, the estate claims that the district court mistakenly found that the deciding factor with respect to Suskovich’s employment status was the contractual relationship between the parties; second, that the district court wrongly found that the factors in the control test overwhelmingly favored the appellees; third, that the district court con- sidered hearsay testimony that should have been barred by the Dead Man’s Statute. WellPoint and Trasys raise an additional issue, arguing that they can prevail on alternative grounds for the ERISA, FLSA and indemnification claims even if this court decides the employment question against them.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 22, 2009 12:18 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions