LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Finds Plaintiffs, Companies Should Share Costs Of Production

SAN FRANCISCO - Companies accused of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and plaintiffs should share the costs associated with retrieving, reviewing and copying timesheets and payroll documents from 2002 until 2009 that were requested by the plaintiffs, a federal magistrate judge in California ruled Feb. 14 (Jemar Thompson, et al. v. C&H Sugar Company Inc., No. 12-cv-00391 NC, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19125).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Pennsylvania PUC Chairman Dismissed By Stipulation From Natural Gas Gag Order Suit

SCRANTON, Pa. - The Pennsylvania physician who alleges statutory restrictions on his ability to discover the chemicals in proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluids used in natural gas extraction violates his civil rights under the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and exposes him to professional disciplinary action by the American Medical Association and the Pennsylvania officials he accuses of the violations stipulated to the dismissal of claims against the chairman of the Public Utility Commission; the stipulation was endorsed by the presiding judge on Feb. 7 (Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D., v. Michael L. Krancer, et al., No. 12-1458, M.D. Pa.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 2nd Circuit: State Mandate Is Not Defense In Title VII Suit

NEW YORK - Following the mandates of a state law is not a defense when it comes to liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (Elsa Gulino, et al. v. Board of Education of the New York City School District of the City of New York, No. 13-1001, 2nd Cir.).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Detroit: Claimants Asserting Civil Rights Violations Not Entitled To Committee

DETROIT - The bankrupt City of Detroit on Feb. 4 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan opposing the motion by a group of prepetition claimants who contend that the city violated their civil rights when it filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy (In Re: City of Detroit, No 13-53846, Chapter 9, E.D. Mich. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 2nd Circuit: State Mandate Is Not Defense In Title VII Suit

NEW YORK - Following the mandates of a state law is not a defense when it comes to liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (Elsa Gulino, et al. v. Board of Education of the New York City School District of the City of New York, No. 13-1001, 2nd Cir.).

10th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of Bias Claim Over Indian Job Preference

DENVER - An office within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) did not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it gave preference to "qualified Indians," the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 21 (Donald Norman Hester v. S.M.R. Jewell, et al., No. 13-4142, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1081).

Psychology Expert Nixed In Florida False Imprisonment, Civil Rights Lawsuit

ORLANDO, Fla. - Expert testimony about the psychological injury suffered by a man handcuffed and detained by police for 30 minutes without arrest lacks a discernible methodology, a federal magistrate judge in Florida held Jan. 13 in excluding the opinion (John Olin v. Jerry Demings, et al., No. 6:12-cv-1455-Orl-28TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3892).

Police Conduct Expert Limited In Beaten Inmate's Civil Rights Case In Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A plaintiff's police practices expert can opine regarding standards and training at a jail in a civil rights action stemming from the beating of a mentally ill prison inmate by a jailer, a federal judge in Kansas held Dec. 16 (Ronell Richard v. Robert Hinshaw, et al., No. 09-1278-MLB, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176391).

School Board's Solicitor Ordered To Submit Responses To Deposition Questions

ERIE, Pa. - A federal judge in Pennsylvania presiding over a civil rights lawsuit on Dec. 9 ordered the solicitor of a defendant school board to submit written responses to three categories of questions that were objected to during his deposition, finding that the requested information was not privileged (Matthew Tighe v. Mona Bushcak, et al., No. 11-cv-224, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172527).

Split 9th Circuit Establishes Cap For Sexual Harassment Punitive Damages Award

SAN FRANCISCO - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 24 ruled that $125,000 is the maximum punitive damages award in a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sexual harassment suit where no compensatory damages were awarded and only $1 in nominal damages was awarded (State of Arizona, et al. v. ASARCO LLC, No. 11-17484, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21613).

Federal Judge Finds Doctor Lacks Standing To Contest Pennsylvania Fracking Law

SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania physician who alleges that statutory restrictions on his ability to discover the chemicals in proprietary hydraulic fracturing fluids used in natural gas extraction violates his civil rights under the First and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution and exposes him to professional disciplinary action by the American Medical Association lacks standing to challenge the statute, a U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania judge ruled Oct. 23 (Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez, M.D., v. Michael L. Krancer, et al., No. 12-1458, M.D. PA.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152207).

10th Circuit Reverses Ruling For EEOC In Abercrombie Head Scarf Dispute

DENVER - A split 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 1 reversed a trial court's decision finding that a clothing retailer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it refused to hire a female due to her head scarf (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., et al., No. 11-5110, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20028).

Subrogated Insurer Can Assert Negligence Claim Against Developer, Panel Says

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A subrogated insurer can proceed with its negligence and breach of contract claims against a developer because the Right to Repair Act, Civil Code Section 895, et seq., does not eliminate a property owner's common-law rights and remedies, a California appeals panel held Aug. 28, reversing a trial judge's ruling (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC, No. G046731, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 687).

Federal Judge Grants Stay To Subjects Of Ponzi Scheme Action

SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on July 24 stayed for six months a civil suit against individuals also facing criminal charges for their alleged perpetration of a Ponzi scheme, stating that forcing the defendants to make a choice between preserving their privilege against self-incrimination, thereby exposing themselves to a "one-sided discovery process," would impinge on their Fifth Amendment rights (Lynn Bridges, et al. v. John A. Geringer, et al., No. 13-1290, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103852).

Judge Limits Experts On Police Conduct In Student's Fatal Shooting In Texas

SAN ANTONIO - A federal judge on July 12 limited plaintiff and defense police practices experts to discussing nationally recognized excessive force standards in a negligence and civil rights action against a school district police officer who fatally shot a 14-year-old student after a chase (Denys Lopez Moreno v. Northside Independent School District, et al., No. SA-11-CV-746-XR, W.D. Texas; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97401).

Split U.S. High Court Finds Higher Standard For Title VII Retaliation Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Retaliation claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must prove but-for causation, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24, rejecting the lessened causation test outlined in 42 U.S. Code Section 2000e-2(m) (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Naiel Nassar, No. 12-484, U.S. Sup.).

5th Circuit: Firing An Employee Who Is Lactating Violates Title VII

NEW ORLEANS - Discharging a female employee because she is lactating or expressing breast milk constitutes gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 30 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Limited, et al., No. 12-20220, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10933).

Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit For Failure To Comply With Discovery Order

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on May 14 refused to dismiss a plaintiff's civil rights and Fair Housing Act (FHA) lawsuit after finding that his failure to comply with an April 12 order was an honest mistake that did not prejudice the defendants (Cecil Johnson v. Belvedere Gardens Condominium Association Inc., et al., No. 12-2118-SHM, W.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68314).

5th Circuit: National Security Exception Bars FBI Worker's Bias Claim

NEW ORLEANS - An FBI contract employee's claim of discrimination fails under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's national security exception, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 29, affirming a trial court (Bobbi-Anne Toy v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, No. 12-20471, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8673).

U.S. High Court Hears Arguments On Proof Of Title VII Retaliation Claims

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 retaliation claim must prove but-for causation, the attorney representing the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 24 (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Naiel Nassar, No. 12-484, U.S. Sup.).

ACLU Class Complaint: Westboro Baptist Demonstrators May Desecrate Flag

DES MOINES, Iowa - The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed a class complaint on April 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on behalf of members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., alleging that their constitutional rights have been violated by law enforcement officials seeking to enforce an old law barring the desecration of the U.S. flag (Margie J. Phelps, et al. v. Red Oak Police Chief Drew Powers, et al., No. 13-11, S.D. Iowa).

California Panel: Refusal To Operate On Patient With HIV Violated Civil Rights

VENTURA, Calif. - A California appellate panel on April 17 ruled that denying a woman surgery based on her HIV-positive status and was a violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Maureen K. v. Theodore Tuschka, M.D., No. B236150, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 294).

Calif. Federal Judge: Individual Questions Bar Class Cert In Autism Services Suit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 21 denied certification of a class of children on the Autism spectrum and their parents suing various California school districts for allegedly being denied access to intensive applied behavior analysis services in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California's Unruh Civil Rights Act (Z.F., a minor by and through his parents M.A.F. and J.F., et al. v. Ripon Unified School District (RUSD), et al., No. 10-523, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39655).

2nd Circuit Finds No Error In Imposition Of Dismissal Sanctions

NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 15 upheld a federal judge in New York's decision to impose dismissal sanctions against a pro se plaintiff in a suit brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after agreeing that lesser sanctions would not have been effective in remedying the plaintiff's willful noncompliance with the court's discovery orders (Ariel Antonmarchi v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., No. 12-1849, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 5164).

New York Federal Judge: FLSA Suit Can Be Settled Without Court Approval

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A woman can settle her unpaid wages complaint against her former employer brought as a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because the FLSA does not apply to the woman's right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) to dismiss the action without the oversight or approval of the court, a New York federal judge held Feb. 22 (Donna Picerni v. Bilingual SEIT & Preschool Inc., No. 12-4938, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24622).