The Missouri Department of Corrections wants the Western District Court of Appeals to block enforcement of a judgment that corrections officers are owed $118.5 million in back pay.

The motion filed Monday for a stay, the second in the case decided in August in Cole County, comes as Gary Burger, attorney for the corrections officers, is seeking to collect the judgment by garnishing state bank accounts. Burger also wants Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce to find the department in contempt of court because it hasn’t implemented a new time keeping system.

The garnishment, the motion written by John Sauer and other lawyers in the Attorney General’s Office, is “unconstitutional and unauthorized.” A motion to quash the garnishment of funds held by Central Bank and Jefferson Bank is pending before Joyce and will be argued April 1, the same day she hears arguments on the contempt of court motion.

In the case, Joyce found that corrections officers must be paid for time they spend on prison premises before clocking in when they reach their work station. A jury determined the amount owed at $113.7 million. Post-judgment interest has added $4.8 million to the total.

The things officers do during that time – passing through security, receiving assignments, retrieving gear and walking to their posts – are not covered under federal labor laws, the motion filed Monday states. The time required is minimal, Sauer wrote.

The appeals court on Jan. 31 rejected the state’s first motion for a stay of Joyce’s ruling that a new timekeeping system be installed at the prisons. Since then, the department has begun keeping paper records of the time corrections officers are actually in the prison. The new motion again asks for that portion of the judgment to be stayed so the state can avoid the cost of an electronic timekeeping system.

A date for oral arguments before the appeals court has not been set.