Civil Law

February 6, 2015 | Category: Civil

The Senate Labor and Pensions Committee heard Sen. Randolph’s SB 133, on protective orders and employment, providing that an employer cannot deny unemployment benefits based on the filing of a protection order. Section 1 was deleted by a voice vote of the committee. The second section of the bill passed, prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an employee, including termination of employment, based on the filing of a protection order. The legislation permits an employee who was discriminated against in violation of this statute to bring a civil action against the employer. A representative of the AFL-CIO supported the bill as amended as did the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  The Indiana Manufacturer’s Association objected to the new private cause of action created in the legislation, as did the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The bill passed as amended, 7-4.

The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Messmer’s SB 361, on defense to liability concerning propane suppliers. This bill provides that the seller, supplier, handler, or transporter of liquefied petroleum gas that was used in liquefied petroleum gas equipment or a liquefied petroleum gas appliance, involved in causing bodily injury or property damage has an assumed risk affirmative defense. The bill passed 5-1.

The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Zakas’ SB 524 on tax deeds and conveyance documents. A representative of the Indiana Land Title Association explained that this bill provides that when a county auditor sends out certain notices for a tax sale by certified mail, the notices must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. It also requires that a verified petition for a tax deed to real property acquired in a tax sale must include copies of various notices sent by the petitioner, copies of certified mail receipts, copies of certified mail return receipts, and evidence used by the petitioner to ascertain the owner of property and any other persons with a substantial property interest of public record in the property. This bill provides that a tax deed is not prima facie evidence of the validity of a tax sale, if the petitioner for the tax deed fails to include with the petition the copies of notices, copies of mailing receipts, and copies or descriptions of the evidence used to ascertain the owner and other persons having a substantial property interest of public record in the property. Provides that a mortgage that does not comply with certain filing requirements is validly recorded, regardless of when the mortgage is recorded. Representatives from the Probate, Trust, Real Property Division of the Indiana State Bar Association and from Indiana Land Title Association testified in favor of the bill. A technical amendment was adopted by consent. The amended bill passed 8-0.

The House Judiciary heard HB 1358, concerning garnishment of tax refunds, authored by Reps. Cox, Steurwald, DeLaney, and Dermody. This legislation provides that if a debt has been reduced to a judgment in Indiana and the judgment has not been satisfied, set aside, or discharged in bankruptcy, the judgment creditor may garnish a state tax refund otherwise due to the debtor. Further, it specifies the procedures that the judgment creditor must follow in obtaining the garnishment from the Department of State Revenue, and allows a writ of garnishment to be electronically filed with the Department of State Revenue. A representative from the United Way wanted to ensure the bill follows the Fair Debt Collection Act provisions, and a representative from the creditors bar testified in support of the bill.  Rep. Cox introduced an amendment requiring the writ of notice to be electronically sent to the Department of State Revenue. The amendment was adopted by consent, and the bill passed 7-0.

The House Judiciary heard HB 1469 concerning wage payment and wage assignment, authored by Rep. Ober. This bill provides that an employer who fails to make timely payment of wages or withholds wages in bad faith, may, in addition to the wages due, pay liquidated damages, court costs, and a reasonable fee for the employee’s attorney. It provides that an employee may assign wages for: (1) the purchase, rental, or use of uniforms or equipment necessary to fulfill the duties of employment; (2) reimbursement for education or employee skills training; (3) an advance for payroll or vacation pay; and (4) meals eaten by the employee at a location provided by the employer. Rep. Ober introduced an amendment addressing when an employer fails to make payment of wages in bad faith, the employer is liable for triple damages, and a establishing wage assignment cap of $2,500 for uniform purchases. The amendment passed by consent and the bill passed 6-1.