TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge in a Jan. 30 unpublished opinion granted a motion to dismiss brought by defendants in a health care reimbursement dispute, saying the patient's health care plan contained a valid anti-assignment of benefits provision that precluded the plaintiff provider from bringing the suit (Dr. Brian M. Torpey v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, at al., No. 12-7618, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11412).
CHICAGO - A former discount store manager failed to show that behavior by her supervisor that was "unprofessional" and "age-based" was severe enough to cause constructive discharge, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 30 (Virginia Fugate v. Dolgencorp, LLC, et al., No. 13-1681, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1856).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 30 partially reinstated a bias suit filed by a former Maryland worker, finding that dismissal of the entire suit based on legislative immunity was an abuse of discretion (Marie M. McCray v. Maryland Department of Transportation, No. 13-1215, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1860).
LOS ANGELES - On Jan. 30 and 31, as the first week concluded in the bench trial of the lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws and alleging that they cause grossly ineffective teachers to remain employed, the court heard additional testimony from a Harvard economist and testimony from a charter school principal and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) director of labor strategy (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt an employer's counterclaim for unjust enrichment under Illinois state law against former employees who did not reimburse the employer for health insurance premium payments the employer made during the former employees' extended medical leave, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Jan. 30 (Daniel A. Madero v. Peters Engineering, Inc., et al., No. 12 C 50157, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11403).
SEATTLE - The State of Washington's discretionary clause ban applies to any final denial of benefits that occurs after the ban's effective date, even if the plan under which the denial was issued took effect before the ban's effective date, a federal judge in Washington ruled Jan. 29 in ruling that de novo review applied to a denial of disability benefits under a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Korri Marie Treves, et al. v. Union Security Insurance Company, LLC, et al., No. 12-1337, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11905).
NEW YORK - A federal court has original jurisdiction over New York state law wage claims filed by a class of adult entertainers based on the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a New York federal judge ruled Jan. 28 (Sabrina Hart, et al. v. Rick's NY Cabaret International, Inc., et al., No. 09-3043, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10346).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 29 conditionally certified a class of window installers suing for unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) but declined to certify an opt-out state wage class action (Fred Adami, et al. v. Cardo Windows, Inc., et al., No. 12-2804, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10805).
LOS ANGELES - Questioning of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent wrapped up on Jan. 29, the third day of the bench trial in the lawsuit filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws, and a Harvard economist began his testimony about his research on the long-term impact teachers have on students (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Jan. 27 declined to remand a health care reimbursement suit to state court, saying that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempted claims against one of the defendants (Enigma Management Corp. v. Multiplan Inc., et al., No. 13-5524, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9738).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 upheld a summary judgment ruling for the defendants in a former fire captain's political discrimination and whistle-blower case, finding that the fire department and board presented legitimate, business-related reasons for their employment decisions and that the former captain failed to show that those reasons were pretextual (David Pierce v. Cotuit Fire District, et al., No. 13-1428, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1746).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 24 affirmed the dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class complaint filed against a railroad and a union following a change in representation and wage and benefits package (Teamsters Local Union No. 705, et al. v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC, et al., No. 11-3705, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1476).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Jan. 24 granted a preliminary injunction and class certification in a case challenging the denial of benefits for the treatment of autism (K.M., et al. v. Regence BlueShield, et al., No. 13-1214, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9156).
LOS ANGELES - The trial in the lawsuit filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws started Jan. 27 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court with opening statements from counsel for the students, the state and the intervening teacher unions as well as testimony from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent who argued that the existing probationary period of 18 months is not sufficient to allow the identification of "grossly ineffective" teachers (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 27 declined to accept the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Amerijet International Inc. challenging the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling upholding the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary investigation of an unfair labor practice charge filed by the union representing the employer's cargo handlers (Amerijet International, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 13-663, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 835).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The time workers at United States Steel Corp. spend donning and doffing protective gear is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Jan. 27 (Clifton Sandifer, et al. v. United States Steel Corporation, No. 12-417, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 799).
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).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 reinstated federal medical leave and disability discrimination claims filed by a maintenance mechanic when he was terminated following intermittent medical leave (Steven Smothers v. Solvay Chemicals, Inc., No. 12-8013, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1092).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 17 largely rejected a motion to dismiss a class complaint filed by a California couple accusing a resident screening company of supplying an inaccurate consumer report to a prospective employer and landlord (Harold Meyer, et al. v. National Tenant Network, Inc., No. 13-3187, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6797).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A federal magistrate judge in Kansas on Jan. 21 denied an employment discrimination plaintiff's motion to compel a defendant company to conduct a more complete search for responsive documents but allowed for a second deposition of a corporate representative because pertinent documents were not produced until after the event occurred (Jeremy Didier v. Abbott Laboratories, No. 13-2046-JWL, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6909).
NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 21 granted a plaintiffs' motion to remand its health care reimbursement suit, saying neither complete preemption nor an embedded federal question of jurisdiction existed (MHA d/b/a Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 13-6130, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7035).
PEORIA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on Jan. 17 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to deny a plaintiff's motion for spoliation sanctions but modified the ruling to address the conduct of defense counsel during a deposition (Dorrene Sokn v. Fieldcrest Community Unit School District No. 6, et al., No. 10-cv-1122, C.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6109).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The State of Illinois is wrongfully forcing thousands of home care providers to pay compulsory fees to unions to represent their interests to the state, the attorney representing the home care providers told the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 21 (Pamela Harris, et al. v. Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, et al., No. 11-681, U.S. Sup.).
SAN DIEGO - A wrongful termination plaintiff's request for the personnel files of nine people who provided witness statements during a sexual harassment investigation was denied Jan. 17 by a federal magistrate judge in California, who ruled that the individuals' right to privacy outweighed the plaintiff's need for the information (Dan Grobee v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 13cv1060-GPC, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6479).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 17 denied a motion for conditional certification in an overtime complaint filed by a former convenience store clerk after determining that the clerk failed to demonstrate that she was similarly situated to any other employee (Mary Meriwether, et al. v. Beverly Hills Liquor & Grocery Inc., et al., No. 13-651, E.D. Mo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6233).