Town of Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment Sec. Bd., No. 19156

Docket NºNo. 2
Citation171 N.E.2d 262, 131 Ind.App. 400
Case DateJanuary 09, 1961
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 262

171 N.E.2d 262
131 Ind.App. 400
TOWN OF KEWANNA WATER WORKS, Town of English Municipal Water
Works, Appellants,
v.
INDIANA EMPLOYMENT SECURITY BOARD and Douglas J. Morris,
Liability Referee, Appellees.
No. 19156.
Appellate Court of Indiana, Division No. 2.
Jan. 9, 1961.

[131 Ind.App. 402]

Page 263

Donald E. Bowen, Bowen, Kivett, Northam & Clancy, Indianapolis, Howard T. Batman, Marshall, Batman & Day, Terre Haute, Kenneth J. Luckett, English, for appellants.

Edwin K. Steers, Atty. Gen., C. B. McCuiston, Asst. Atty. Gen., Keith Campbell, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellees.

BIERLY, Judge.

The Town of Kewanna Water Works of Kewanna and the Town of English Municipal Water Works of English, both in Indiana, appellants herein perfected this appeal from an adverse decision rendered by one Honorable Douglas J. Morris, Liability Referee, as representing the Indiana Employment Security Board. The holding of the Referee, as objected to by he appellants, was to the effect that the employees of appellants were subject to the Indiana Employment Security Act, and that services performed by the employees during second quarter of 1959 came within the purview of said Act requiring contributions to Employment Security Fund.

[131 Ind.App. 403] The Director of the Employment Security Division notified appellant, Town of Kewanna Water Works, on July 30, 1959, that an assessment had been levied upon its payroll of $405 for said second quarter in the sum of $12.08 representing contributions, interest and penalty alleged due and unpaid. Furthermore, the said Director notified the Town of English Municipal Water Works on September 11, 1959, that an assessment had been levied upon its payroll of $874 for said second quarter in the sum of $26.20 representing contribution, interest and penalty alleged due and unpaid. Both appellants filed protests against said assessments.

As grounds for said protests, appellant, Town of Kewanna Water Works, alleged that it has employed only one half time employee, while in its protest, Town of English Municipal Water Works alleged it has employed only two employees. Both appellants asserted they were not within the purview of the Act.

The appellants--protestants--maintained that the Employment Security Act as amended by Section 803, subsection (t) does not include a municipally owned public utility liable to come under the provisions of said Act, unless said utility has in its employ four or more employees. Each of said appellants requested a hearing. The

Page 264

protest of each appellant challenges the construction of the statutes as applied and invoked by the Director in rendering the assessments in question as heretofore set out. Section 701 of the Act (Burns 1959 Suppl. 52-1531); Acts 1947, Ch. 208, Sec. 701, p. 673; 1955, Ch. 317, Sec. 2, p. 971; also Sec. 801 of the Act (Burns 1951, Repl. 52-1532); Acts 1947, Ch. 208, Sec. 801, p. 673; also Sec. 803 and 803(t) of the Act (Burns 1959 Suppl. 52-1532b); Acts 1947, Ch. 208, Sec. 803, p. 673; 1951, Ch. 295, Sec. 4, p. 955; 1957, Ch. 299, Sec. 13, p. 795; 1959, Ch. 305, Sec. 1, p. 769.

The decision of the Liability Referee was to the effect that the amending Act of 1959 embraced municipal utilities employing fewer than four employees, and [131 Ind.App. 404] thus the appellants--protestants--are subject to the provisions of the Act and thereby requiring contributions by the appellants into the fund.

The paramount issue involved in this appeal is the interpretation of Sec. 801(a) and Sec. 803(t) of the Indiana Employment Security Act. The controversial question arose over the meaning of Chapter 305 of the Acts of 1959 more particularly as to whether the amendment thereto required contributions from municipally owned public utilities employing less than four persons.

A careful search fails to disclose any decision by an appellate tribunal in reference to the interpretation of this amendment.

In the construction of statutes, this court is bound by those definitions which are set out in the act and in this particular amendment, unless it appears that they are inconsistent or are repugnant to the manifest intention of the Legislature.

In construing an Act of the Legislature, its intention from a consideration of the Act as a whole will prevail over the literal meaning of the terms used therein. Stated differently it appears that the spirit or intention of the law prevails over the letter thereof. Brown v. Grzeskowiak, 1951, 230 Ind. 110, 101 N.E.2d 639, 102 N.E.2d 372; Combs, et al. v. Cook, 1958, 238 Ind. 392, 151 N.E.2d 144. (Numerous other cases may be cited.) It likewise has been held that in a construction of a statute, the important object is to seek, determine and carry out the purpose and intent of the Legislature, and in order to determine that aim, the language used should first be considered in its literal and ordinary signification, and, if by giving the words used such a signification, the meaning of the whole instrument is rendered doubtful, or is made to [131 Ind.App. 405] lead to contradictions or absured results, the intent, as collected from the whole instrument, must prevail over the literal import of the terms and control the strict letter of the law. Decatur Twp. v. Board of Com'rs. of Marion Co., 1942, 111 Ind.App. 198, 39 N.E.2d 479. Northern Indiana R. Co. v. Lincoln Nat. Bank, 1910, 47 Ind.App. 98, 92 N.E. 384. (Other cases may be cited.)

It has likewise been held that the rule of construction according to the spirit of the law is especially applicable where adherence to the letter of the law would lead to injustice, absurdity, or contradictory provisions. City of Indianapolis v. Evans, 1940, 216 Ind. 555, 24 N.E.2d 776; Peoples Trust & Savings Bank v. Hennessey, 1926, 106 Ind.App. 257, 153 N.E. 507.

Furthermore, we conclude that in the interpretation of statutes and their...

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14 practice notes
  • Economy Oil Corp. v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 1--574A80
    • United States
    • December 30, 1974
    ...will prevail over the letter of the law. Town of Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment [162 Ind.App. 664] Security Board (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262. Another fundamental rule of statutory construction is that if a statute is susceptible to more than one interpretation, then......
  • Kaplan v. Tilles, Inc., No. 19321
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 9, 1961
    ...objections made prior to their giving. See New York, Chicago & St. L. R. R. Co. v. Laudenslager, 1957, 127 Ind.App. 301, 310, 141 [131 Ind.App. 400] N.E.2d 355; Flanagan, Wiltrout & Hamilton's Indiana Trial and Appellate Practice, and authorities We have made a very thorough, painstaking an......
  • Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission v. Osco Drug, Inc., No. 1-1180-A-318
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 18, 1982
    ...spirit of an enactment will prevail over the letter of the law. Town of Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment Security Board (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262. Another fundamental rule of statutory construction is that if a statute is susceptible to more than one interpretation, ......
  • Tilton v. Southwest School Corp., No. 871A152
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 17, 1972
    ...A more recent Indiana case involving statutory construction is Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment Security Board et al (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262, where it was 'In the construction of statutes, this court is bound by those definitions which are set out in the act and in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Economy Oil Corp. v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 1--574A80
    • United States
    • December 30, 1974
    ...will prevail over the letter of the law. Town of Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment [162 Ind.App. 664] Security Board (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262. Another fundamental rule of statutory construction is that if a statute is susceptible to more than one interpretation, then......
  • Kaplan v. Tilles, Inc., No. 19321
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 9, 1961
    ...objections made prior to their giving. See New York, Chicago & St. L. R. R. Co. v. Laudenslager, 1957, 127 Ind.App. 301, 310, 141 [131 Ind.App. 400] N.E.2d 355; Flanagan, Wiltrout & Hamilton's Indiana Trial and Appellate Practice, and authorities We have made a very thorough, painstaking an......
  • Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission v. Osco Drug, Inc., No. 1-1180-A-318
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 18, 1982
    ...spirit of an enactment will prevail over the letter of the law. Town of Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment Security Board (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262. Another fundamental rule of statutory construction is that if a statute is susceptible to more than one interpretation, ......
  • Tilton v. Southwest School Corp., No. 871A152
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 17, 1972
    ...A more recent Indiana case involving statutory construction is Kewanna Water Works v. Indiana Employment Security Board et al (1961), 131 Ind.App. 400, 171 N.E.2d 262, where it was 'In the construction of statutes, this court is bound by those definitions which are set out in the act and in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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