On January 6, 2016, Alex Limontes, a Personal Injury Lawyer from the Law Office of William W. Hurst argued and important Undocumented Immigrant Wage Issue on behalf the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
and in front of the Indiana Court of Appeals. The Issue was whether an Undocumented Person can collect future Lost Wages based on American Wage Rates. The case before the Court was Noe Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton out of Montgomery County Superior Court in Crawfordsville, IN.
Shiel Sexton is a massive Indiana General Contracting Company who has made millions of dollars building everything from commercial office spaces to residential apartment complexes. They are General Contractors and in the State of Indiana a General Contractor that assumes a responsibility for safety on a worksite can be liable for the negligent acts of its sub-contractors. Therefore, since Shiel Sexton assumed a responsibility for safety on this worksite they are liable for the injuries suffered by the employees of their subcontractors.
Noe Escamilla was an undocumented immigrant at the time (he recently became documented) who worked for Masonry by Mohler (a subcontractor on the job site) when the accident occurred. Noe is a father of three U.S. born Citizens and is also married to a United States Citizen. He was brought to this country by his parents when he was a teenager and has only ever worked in the United States. He has never worked in Mexico. He never planned on returning to Mexico and was going to remain in the United States where he had lived for over ten years.
In 2010, while working on new Brownsburg High School Gymnasium, Noe Escamilla was moving some heavy equipment when he slipped on ice and was seriously injured. Shiel Sexton was overseeing the project as the General Contractor and had a responsibility to its EVERYONE on the worksite to maintain it free and clear from any major hazards. They were put on notice that it was very cold outside and knew that it could cause a fall hazard for the workers, but failed to do anything to prevent this type of injury from happening. They didn’t even salt the area!
A lawsuit was filed naming Shiel Sexton as the primary defendant in the case because they were responsible for maintaining the workplace in a safe condition. Before trial, the parties filed various motions and eventually the Trial Court Judge ruled that not only is Noe Escamilla’s Immigration Status Admissible before the Jury but he could only collect future lost wages based on Mexican Wage Rates. The Court ruled that because he was an “illegal” his evidence about his future lost wages could only be based on Mexican Wage Rates even though Noe Escamilla NEVER WORKED IN MEXICO!
Noe Escamilla Appealed the order and Alex Limontes along with Attorney Tim Devereux presented oral argument in front of the Indiana Court of Appeals on January 6, 2016. The Court should issue a written opinion soon.