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Schlear v. James Newspapers
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MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT				Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	1998 ME 215
Docket:	Oxf-97-667	
Argued:	September 9, 1998
Decided:	September 16, 1998

Panel:	WATHEN, C.J., and CLIFFORD, RUDMAN, DANA, ALEXANDER, and CALKINS, JJ.


MARY ANN SCHLEAR et al. v. JAMES NEWSPAPERS, INC.

ALEXANDER, J.

	[¶1]  This matter is before the court on appeal by Mary Ann Schlear
and Ruth Small from a judgment entered in the Superior Court (Oxford
County, Brodrick, A.R.J.) denying their claim for unpaid wages, penalties and
attorney fees.  We affirm.
	[¶2]  On appeal, plaintiffs contend that the Superior Court should
have determined that Small was an employee of the defendant, as defined by
26 M.R.S.A. § 663(3) (1988) and that Small and Schlear are owed unpaid
minimum wages required to be paid by 26 M.R.S.A. § 664 (1988).  
	[¶3]  Plaintiffs had the burden of proof on these issues.  This Court
will not vacate a determination that a party failed to carry that party's
burden of proof unless the evidence compels a contrary finding, Thompson
v. Pendleton, 1997 ME 127, ¶ 11, 697 A.2d 56, 59.
	[¶4]  The record fully supports the trial court's determinations that:
	1.	Schlear was an employee of James Newspapers for purposes of
making certain deliveries and collections,
	2.	Small was not, at any time, an employee of James Newspapers,
	3.	at Schlear's request, payment for her wages was made to Small
so that Schlear could continue to collect AFDC benefits, and 
	4.	the payments to Schlear were sufficient to comply with the
minimum wage law.{1}
	[¶5]  After the trial court rendered its initial decision on these
issues, plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration seeking recovery of
certain minimum wages and attorney fees alleged to be due.  At the
conclusion of the hearing on the motion, the court denied the motion
reasoning that:  "Your two clients were participating knowingly and willfully
in a fraud on the State of Maine, and I am not inclined to give them
anything."  
	[¶6]  Payment of minimum wages is mandatory, 26 M.R.S.A. §§ 664
and 670.  There is no fraud or equitable discretion exception to the
requirement for payment, if entitlement to payment is shown.  Here,
because the record supports the determination that Schlear was adequately
compensated pursuant to the minimum wage laws, the trial court's
reasoning for denying the motion, although not supported by statute, does
not require a remand.  A court order, even if entered for an erroneous
reason, will be affirmed if there is a valid basis for the order.  Bakal v. Weare,
583 A.2d 1028, 1030 (Me. 1990).  
	The entry is:
Judgment affirmed.

Attorney for plainitffs: Alan J. Levenson, Esq., (orally) Levenson, Vickerson & Beneman P O Box 465 Portland, ME 04112-0465 Attorney for defendant: Glen L. Porter, Esq., (orally) Eaton, Peabody, Bradford & Veague P O Box 1210 Bangor, ME 04402-1210
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1} Plaintiffs conceded this point at oral argument.