LOS ANGELES - A labor economist and professor on March 6 presented expert testimony in support of current California teacher employer laws in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by California students challenging the constitutionality of those laws (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CINCINNATI - Employers that are challenging the amount of reallocation liability assessed by a multiemployer pension plan must arbitrate their claims prior to bringing their dispute in federal court, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 4 (Knall Beverage, Inc., et al. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 293 Pension Plan, et al., No. 13-3698, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3981).
BOSTON - A disability plan participant's claim challenging the calculation of his benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is untimely, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held March 4, rejecting the participant's theory that, similar to an installment contract, a new accrual period began with each benefits check (Robert Riley v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 13-2166, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3990).
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu on March 4 denied motions for judgment filed by the defendants and intervenors in the lawsuit filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
NEW ORLEANS - An investment adviser to employee benefit plans was not a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because he did not exercise discretionary authority or control over the challenged investment, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 28 (Eric Tiblier, et al. v. Paul Dlabal, et al., No. 13-50344, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3897).
ATLANTA - A federal district court did not err in upholding a disability plan's denial of benefits to a participant who sought benefits based on her asthma symptoms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the participant failed to demonstrate that she was unable to work in her occupation for other employers and because the participant did not seek medical treatment for five months, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Feb. 28 in an unpublished opinion (Tazenna Kennedy v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, No. 12-15057, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3811).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 28 partially dismissed as time-barred a class complaint filed by former employees of two now-defunct companies alleging they were denied pay and benefits owed under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988 (Gregory Cleary, et al. v. American Capital, Ltd., No. 13-12652, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25990).
ATLANTA - A man who was fired from his job after working for the same company for more than 35 years may proceed with his retaliatory hostile work environment claim because that issue was never specifically addressed by the magistrate judge whose recommendation to dismiss the employee's claims was adopted by the trial court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 27 (Richard V. Kelly v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., No. 13-11060, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3709).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 3 denied review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a district court abused its discretion when it remanded a claim for denial of health benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to the plan administrator (The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows Employee Benefit Trust Employee Welfare Plan v. Ana Martinez, No. 13-818, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The whistle-blower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) protects "employees of private contractors and subcontractors, just as it shelters employees of the public company served by the contractors and subcontractors," a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 4 (Jackie Hosang Lawson, et al. v. FMR LLC, et al., No. 12-3, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 1783).
MIAMI - A man's successful settlement of an age discrimination lawsuit against his employer was nullified when his daughter's social network posting revealed that the man had violated the settlement's nondisclosure agreement, a Florida appeals panel ruled Feb. 26, declining to enforce the agreement (Gulliver Schools Inc., et al. v. Patrick Snay, No. 3D13-1952, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 2595).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Feb. 27 rejected a motion to reconsider certifying a class of employees suing Jenny Craig Inc. for federal and state wage violations after opining that the lead named plaintiff failed to successfully argue that there was new controlling law (Nashonna Coleman v. Jenny Craig, Inc., No. 11-1301, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26260).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Feb. 28 approved a $170,000 settlement of the overtime claims filed by firefighters against their employer (Kenneth Camp, et al. v. The City of Pelham, No. 10-1270, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25864).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 27 remanded a health care reimbursement suit between a health care provider and insurer to state court, saying the claims were not preempted (Texas Center for Obesity Surgery v. UnitedHealthCare of Texas Inc., et al., No. 13-922, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24996).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 27 granted partial summary judgment in favor of an insurer in a health care benefits reimbursement dispute, dismissing the claims asserted by the plaintiff but denying the defendant's motion for recovery for its counterclaim and request for attorney fees (New Jersey Back Institute ASO Juan Rodriguez v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Co., No. 12-4985, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25639).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 3 denied review of a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that private equity funds that invested in a company that later went bankrupt were liable for the company's withdrawal liability under the "trades or businesses" aspect of the two-part "control group" test under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA) (Sun Capital Partners III, LP, et al. v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Industry Pension Fund, et al., No. 13-648, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 26 that a 401(k) plan participant's breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of the inclusion of proprietary mutual funds in the defined-contribution plan are barred by the six-year limitations period in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 413 (Barbara J. Fuller, et al. v. SunTrust Banks, Inc., et al., No. 12-16217, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3610).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 3 granted a petition for writ of certiorari in a lawsuit filed by warehouse employees seeking compensation for the time they spend at the end of each shift passing through a security check (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Jesse Busk, et al., No. 13-433, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 25 vacated the dismissal of a security guard's bias lawsuit against her former employer, opining that even though the plaintiff's original service of process in state court was defective, she had the right to cure the defect once the lawsuit was removed to federal court (Jacqueline Rice v. Alpha Security, Incorporated, et al., No. 13-1644, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3483).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 25 reinstated a chemist's harassment and retaliation suit against her former employer, finding that the trial court applied the incorrect pleading standard (Marissia Estabrook v. Safety and Ecology Corporation, No. 13-1096, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3475).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 upheld the rejection of a former State of Indiana employee's discrimination and retaliation claims, finding that the employee's reprimand was caused by her own actions, not the actions of others (Nora Chaib v. State of Indiana, No. 13-1680, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3417).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Federal law preempts a district attorney's California unfair competition law (UCL) action seeking civil penalties for violation of state workplace safety regulations because the state's federally approved workplace safety plan lacks such a remedy, an appeals court held Feb. 24 (Solus Industrial Innovations LLC, et al. v. The Superior Court of Orange Co., The People, real party in interest, No. G047661, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 4).
NEW YORK - Bankrupt law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf on Feb. 24 filed a brief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York contending that the Bankruptcy Court should deny a motion by a class of former employees that claims that the firm violated federal law when it terminated their employment (Vittoria Conn v. Dewey & LeBoeuf [In Re: Dewey & LeBoeuf], No. 12-12321, Adv. No. 12-01672, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 21 sent an overtime and minimum wages class complaint back to state court, finding that the amount in controversy was less than $75,000 (Peter Huston, et al. v. FLS Language Centres d/b/a FLS International, et al., No. 13-13158, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21960).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 24 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration, finding that an employee's injury-related negligence and other claims fell within the scope of an arbitration clause in his employment contract (Melvin Gualberto Medina Martinez v. Carnival Corp., a.k.a. Carnival Cruise Lines Inc., No. 12-15164, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 3382).