Subway wage dispute goes to trial Monday

Amelia Flood Mar. 4, 2010, 6:55am


A five year-old wage dispute between a manager of a Pontoon Beach Subway sandwich shop and its owners is set for trial Monday.

Madison County Associate Judge Thomas Chapman will preside in place of Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla, who is assigned to the case.

Plaintiff Ragini Patel is suing her former employer, Hiren Patel and Twinkle Enterprises Inc., for more than $100,000 in wages she claims she was never paid for managing the company's shop in Pontoon Beach.

Hiren Patel filed a countersuit in the case against Ragini Patel seeking to recoup over $250,000 he paid in food, clothing, shelter, trips to India for Ragini Patel's family and mortgage payments on Ragini Patel's Florissant, Mo. home.

The trial has been continued several times since 2006.

In her first amended complaint, Ragini Patel claims that she was never paid for working over five days a week and over eight hours at day at the store.

Although she asked for payment and was promised a wage of $450 a week by Hiren Patel's brother and co-manager, Nitin, she claims to have never been paid for work starting in 1999.

She claims that at one point, Nitin Patel told her that she would either agree to work or she would be "sent back to India."

Both Ragini and Hiren Patel's original attorneys withdrew from the suit.

Ragini Patel was originally represented by Earl Hubbs of Alton. He withdrew in favor of his co-counsel J. Robert Edmonds.

Hiren Patel and the company were originally represented by Stephen Buser of Columbia. He withdrew and was replaced by Lee Barron.

The defendants were sanctioned twice by Hylla for discovery issues related to witness depositions.

Most recently, Hylla denied the Ragini Patel's request for declaratory judgment in February.

The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m.

The case is Madison case number 05-L-410.

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