Missouri high court weighs $114M payout to prison guards

News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A lawyer for the state of Missouri argued to state Supreme Court judges on Wednesday that the state shouldn’t have to pay nearly $114 million to prison guards for alleged overtime work.

Judges heard arguments in the case virtually because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

At issue is $113.7 million a jury awarded to corrections officers in 2018 for work they perform before and after their shifts, such as going through security screenings.

An attorney for the guards told Supreme Court judges that the Department of Corrections requires officers to perform entrance and exit procedures before and after their shifts, which can take up to 30 minutes a day. Lawyer Gary Burger said during those times guards are in uniform and on call in case of emergencies.

“If they require these officers to be supervising and guarding, they’re on duty,” Burger said.

Missouri Solicitor General John Sauer told judges those procedures are not part of officers’ principal work, so that time doesn’t count for pay.

He said other courts have ruled that just because guards must be alert and prepared to respond to emergencies when they’re on prison grounds doesn’t mean they deserve to be compensated for time when they’re not doing their primary jobs.

Sauer also argued that federal labor laws don’t give the guards a private cause of action, or a right to sue, against the Department of Corrections as a state agency.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News