NEW ORLEANS - Former UBS Financial Services Inc. financial advisers and branch managers must arbitrate their claims that the company violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by deeming certain funds in their benefits plan forfeited upon their separation from the company, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 11 in an unpublished opinion (Bill Hendricks, et al. v. UBS Financial Services, Incorporated, Nos. 13-40692, 13-40693, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22779).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 denied review of a divided en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act permits health plan fiduciaries to seek reimbursement for medical benefits the plan paid on behalf of a participant from a special needs trust funded by a third-party tortfeasor settlement (Larry Griffin Special Needs Trust, et al. v. ACS Recovery Services, Inc., et al., No. 13-182, U.S. Sup.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 7 denied conditional certification of a nationwide class of retail store workers seeking to recover overtime pay for "off-the-clock" work, finding no evidence of a scheme to force employees to work off the clock (Elizabeth Chalker v. Burlington Coat Factory of Florida, LLC, et al., No. 12-2755, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159628).
NEW YORK - RadioShack Corp. was permitted, under the New York Labor Law (NYLL), to use the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Fluctuating Workweek (FWW) to calculate overtime, a New York federal judge ruled Nov. 7 dismissing a class action wage-and-hour suit filed against the retailer (Jaime Wills, et al. v. RadioShack Corporation, No. 13-2733, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159727).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 7 declined to grant summary judgment motions brought by both sides in a reimbursement dispute between chiropractors and a group of insurance companies (Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, et al., No. 09-5619, N.D. Ill; 2101 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159331).
CHICAGO - A divided en banc Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 7 ruled that the husband of a health plan participant may proceed with his claims that the plan sponsor and insurer breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to inform him during telephone conversations that the medical providers who were going to perform emergency surgery on his wife were out of network (James E. Killian v. Concert Health Plan, et al., No. 11-1112, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22657).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 5 denied a motion by Coca-Cola Co. to dismiss a wage-and-hour class complaint filed on behalf of more than a dozen California subclasses (Daniel Ambriz v. Coca Cola Company, No. 13-3539, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158513).
NEW YORK - A split Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 6 held that an employer's appeal of attorney fees in a settled wage-and-hour dispute was untimely because it was filed more than 30 days after the settlement was approved (Miguel G. Perez, et al. v. AC Roosevelt Food Corporation, et al., No. 13-497, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22500).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 4 reinstated a worker's wrongful discharge and retaliation claims against her former employer, finding that her termination just six days after she complained about age discrimination was sufficient proof to allow her claims to proceed (Dorothy L. Buchhagen, Ph.D. v. ICF International, Inc., et al., No. 13-1303, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22353).
SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 5 reversed a summary judgment ruling for an employer in a disability bias suit, finding that once a disabled employee has given notification of his disability and requested accommodation, the employer must engage in an interactive process to clarify the employee's needs and identify appropriate accommodation (Danny Snapp v. United Transportation Union, et al., No. 12-35714, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22457).
CINCINNATI - A Michigan federal court erred in refusing to uphold a department store's arbitration agreement that gave employees an opportunity to opt out, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 31 (Cecilia Tillman v. Macy's, Inc., No. 11-2580, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22162).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 1 affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) on claims by USAirways Inc. pilots that the PBGC violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the terminated plan when it made its final benefit determinations (Thomas G. Davis, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, No. 12-5274, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22254).
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 30 refused to enforce a decision by the National Labor Relations Board that an employer retaliated against several unions by filing a lawsuit claiming that the unions improperly interfered with benefits promised to the employer (National Labor Relations Board v. Allied Mechanical Services, Inc., No. 12-1235/1351, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22060).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The time workers spend putting on attire that may look like regular clothes but is worn to protect them is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), despite a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) stating otherwise, Eric Schnapper of the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle told the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 4, arguing on behalf of employees of United States Steel Corp. (Clifton Sandifer, et al. v. United States Steel Corporation, No. 12-417, U.S. Sup.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island federal judge on Oct. 31 granted summary judgment in favor of a health maintenance organization in a wrongful denial of benefits dispute, saying that the plan clearly did not cover the services sought (Jean Ho Rath, et al. v. Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization, No. 12-546, D. Rhode Island; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156469).
CHICAGO - An arbitrator erred in ruling that a tire manufacturing company was responsible for paying the salaries of a union's president and benefit representative, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 1 (Titan Tire Corporation of Freeport, Inc. v. United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, et al., No. 12-1152, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22298).
CINCINNATI - A pension benefits plan and welfare benefits plan administrator did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying disability benefits to a participant for failure of proof of disability and untimeliness because the interpretation of the plans' terms was reasonable, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 30 in an unpublished opinion (Connie Thacker v. Schneider Electric USA, Inc., No. 13-5306, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22297).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 4 declined to review an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unpublished ruling that an action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to recover disability benefits is time-barred because the claimant failed to file a claim within the plan's one-year notification period (Beatriz Martinez-Claib, M.D. v. Business Men's Assurance Company of America, et al., No. 12-1403, U.S. Sup.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A Xerox Corp. pension plan participant's claim that the plan breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by disregarding a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and applying a phantom account offset to his pension benefits was not time-barred, although his claims for benefits were, a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 30 (Testa v. Becker, et al., No. 10-6229, W.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155577).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal district court properly granted summary judgment to an insurer on a participant's denial of disability benefits claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the lawsuit was barred by res judicata, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 29 in an unpublished opinion (Gayl Payton v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, No. 13-30550, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22024).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 30 granted an environmental agency's motion for judgment on claims asserted by a former employee, finding no evidence that the agency discriminated or retaliated against her in relation to her mold allergies (Connie K. Morris v. Lisa P. Jackson, No. 07-491, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155513).
NEW YORK - An insurance broker's former employee did not violate a preliminary injunction prohibiting future violations of an employee agreement with regard to the confidentiality and nonsolicitation provisions, a New York federal judge held Oct. 29, denying the insurance broker's motion for sanctions (Dewitt Stern Group Inc. v. Richard Eisenberg, No. 13-3060, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155134).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 29 reinstated a hostile work environment claim filed by a former college instructor finding that two timely actions along with otherwise untimely events, when considered together, provided sufficient evidence for the claim to survive summary judgment (Julie M. Joki v. Rogue Community College, et al., No. 12-35413, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22049).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Oct. 29 agreed to stay an office worker's class wage-and-hour suit and compel arbitration pursuant to the terms of an arbitration agreement signed by the employee (Carla Brookins, et al. v. Superior Management Group, Inc., No. 13-2051, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154629).
PASADENA, Calif. - A grocery store chain's arbitration policy is unconscionable under California contract law and that state law is not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 28 (Zenia Chavarria, et al. v. Ralphs Grocery Company, No. 11-56673, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21959).