Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal Expands Definition of “Salaries or Wages” to Include Commissions

Feb 15, 2011   

On January 26, 2011, Floridas Fourth DCA entered its opinion in Baker v. Storfer, and ruled that the definition of “salary or wages” as used in Florida Statute section 77.035 includes “commissions.” The matter was a case of first impression in the State of Florida. A copy of the Courts decision may be read here.

Baker v. Storfer involved a lawsuit filed by a creditor against a debtor stemming from an unpaid personal judgment. When the creditor sought to collect the judgment by garnishing the debtors wages via a motion for a continuing writ of garnishment, the debtors employer objected and argued that the debtors wages were not “salary or wages” under section 77.035 and therefore not subject to garnishment. The trial court agreed with the debtors employer and ruled that the debtor did not have income that was subject to garnishment.

The Fourth DCA reversed the trial courts ruling by employing a “plain meaning” interpretation of the term “wages.” According to the Fourth DCA, relying on parallel decisions and the Blacks Law Dictionary, the term “wage” is very broad, and includes “”[p]ayment for labor or services, usu. based on time worked or quantity produced; specif., compensation of an employee based on time worked or output of production. Wages include every form of remuneration . . .including . . . commissions.”

Fuerst Ittlemans attorneys are experienced litigators and regularly represent clients in complex cases in State and Federal courts.