« Ind. Decisions - Transfer list for week ending April 8, 2016 | Main | Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, upholding Indianapolis' non-smoking ordinance that exempts satellite gambling facilities but not bars and restaurants »

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 3 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Dorothea Bragg, on Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated v. Kittle's Home Furnishings, Inc. , a 36-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:

Appellant-Plaintiff Dorothea Bragg was employed as a retail sales consultant by Appellee-Defendant Kittle’s Home Furnishings, Inc. (“Kittle’s”) from November of 2011 until September of 2013. Pursuant to the terms of Bragg’s employment, Bragg earned a regular bi-weekly salary. She also had the potential to earn additional compensation, in the form of commission, if she completed a certain level of delivered sales. Bragg voluntarily terminated her employment at Kittle’s in September of 2013.

On June 4, 2014, Bragg, both on behalf of herself and on behalf of a proposed class of unknown current and former Kittle’s employees (the “unknown purported class members”), filed a lawsuit against Kittle’s. In this lawsuit, Bragg alleged that Kittle’s had failed to pay its employees earned commissions within the ten-day limit set forth in the Indiana Wage Payment Statute (the “Wage Payment Statute”). Of note, Bragg did not allege that Kittle’s had failed to pay her or any of the other unknown purported class members any commissions actually earned by the employees, only that Kittle’s failed to do so within the ten-day limit set forth in the Wage Payment Statute.

Kittle’s subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. With respect to the claims relating to any of the unknown purported class members whose employment had been involuntarily terminated by Kittle’s, the trial court granted Kittle’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. With respect to the claims relating to Bragg, and seemingly any potential remaining unknown purported class members, the trial court converted Kittle’s motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. After the parties submitted designated evidence and legal argument in support on their position on Kittle’s motion for summary judgment, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Kittle’s.

Upon review, we conclude that (1) the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims raised on behalf of any unknown purported class members whose employment with Kittle’s was involuntarily terminated because said unknown purported class members failed to first submit their claims to the Indiana Department of Labor (“DOL”) as required by the Indiana Wage Claims Statute (“Wage Claims Statute”); (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying certain discovery requests made by Bragg. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court; and (3) the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Kittle’s on the claims raised by Bragg and any remaining unknown purported class members because the ten-day time limit set forth in the Wage Payment Statute did not apply to the commissions at issue as said commissions did not qualify as wages under the Wage Payment Statute.

NFP civil decisions today (2):

In the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: H.W. (Minor Child) and S.L. (Mother) v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)

Lora (McIlwain) Marshall v. Gregory McIlwain (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

Emerson Wade Bixler v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 11, 2016 11:33 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions