RICHMOND, Va. - A former government employee who is deaf failed to show that he was improperly terminated for complaining about the interpreters he was provided with on the job, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 3, upholding a trial court's ruling (Michael J. Pearlman v. Penny Pritzker, No. 13-1563, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6165).
TRENTON, N.J. - A pension plan sponsored by a nonprofit health care corporation that is controlled by or associated with a church does not qualify for exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act as a church plan, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled March 31 in an unpublished opinion (Laurence Kaplan v. Saint Peter's Healthcare System, et al., No. 13-2941, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44963).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 28 denied a renewed motion seeking to remand a wage-and-hour complaint that had been removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) despite the lead plaintiff's amendment of his complaint that removed all class claims (Richard Stafford v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., et al., No. 13-1187, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42564).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fifth Third Bank and its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees in oral arguments on April 2 urged the U.S. Supreme Court to find that the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred by holding that participants in the ESOP were not required to allege that the ESOP fiduciaries abused their discretion by remaining invested in employer stock to overcome the presumption that the trustees' decision to invest in employer stock was reasonable under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Fifth Third Bancorp, et al. v. John Dudenhoeffer, et al., No. 12-751, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal court erred when it determined that a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. worker's employment discrimination claims, brought after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (131 S. Ct. 2541 $(2011$); 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4567), were time-barred, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 31 (Stephanie Odle v. Wal-Mart Stores, Incorporated, No. 13-10037, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5958).
ATLANTA - The provider of medical devices to health plan participants lacks standing to bring a reimbursement action against the plan insurer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the provider did not demonstrate that it possessed valid written assignments of benefits from the participants or beneficiaries, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 1 in an unpublished opinion (Medicomp, Inc. v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-13849, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 6041).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on March 28 conditionally certified a class complaint accusing a cellular telephone company of various wage violations, including failure to pay employees for the time they spent making bank deposits at the end of their paid shifts (Shelonda Petty v. Russell Cellular, Inc., No. 13-1110, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42185).
SAN FRANCISCO - A family restaurant and fun center chain removed a wage-and-hour class complaint to California federal court on March 27 based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Franchesca Ford, et al. v. CEC Entertainment, Inc., et al., No. 14-1420, N.D. Calif.).
WORCESTER, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 28 sent a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a retail store manager back to state court, finding that the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) local controversy exception applied (David Premo, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores of Massachusetts, Inc., et al., No. 13-11279, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42069).
NEW YORK - A pension plan did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying death benefits because the plan's interpretation of the plan as providing death benefits only if the decedent had surviving dependents or a spouse was reasonable, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 27 in an unpublished order (Richard Varney v. Verizon Communications, Inc., et al., No. 13-1635, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5593).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Baltimore County's employee retirement benefit plan violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) because the employee contribution rates were determined by age, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 31 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Baltimore County, et al., No. 13-1106, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5902).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 28 held that a chiropractic association was entitled to injunctive relief in its suit against a Blue Cross Blue Shield entity for failing to provide adequate notice and appeal notices prior to recouping money from previously paid claims (Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, et al., No. 09-5619, N.D. Ill; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41749).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 27 denied a motion to strike or dismiss a certified nurse assistant's class complaint alleging that she and other employees of a Pennsylvania hospital spent time working before and after their shifts and during unpaid meal breaks for which they were not compensated (Kelly Vargas, et al. v. St. Luke's Hospital & Health Network, et al., No. 12-5378, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42379).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 26 denied the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in a health care reimbursement suit and partially granted the defendant's motion, leaving only one count involving 11 disputed claims to continue (Spinal Imaging Inc. v. Aetna Health Management, et al.; Radiology Diagnostics v. Aetna Health Management, et al., Nos. 09-11873, 12-11521, D. Mass.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40099).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Marcy 27 partially dismissed a health care reimbursement dispute brought by the provider of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction medical services against an insurance company, leaving claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and state law claims for detrimental reliance, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract (Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, et al. v. Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana, et al., No. 10-4346, E. D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41134).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 27 dismissed a suit challenging the coverage and reimbursement of chiropractor claims, saying that one plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies and that two other plaintiffs lacked standing (American Chiropractic Association, et al. v. American Specialty Health Inc., et al., No. 12-7243, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41769).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 31 declined the hear the appeal of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found that a worker's carpal tunnel syndrome is not a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and upheld the decision to impose sanctions on the worker's attorney (Cathie Kempter v. Michigan Bell Telephone Company, dba AT&T Michigan, et al., No. 13-890, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 2354).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 31 denied a petition for writ of certiorari in a lawsuit challenging the validity of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in Grochowski v. Phoenix Construction (318 F.3d 80 $(2003$)) where the appellate panel concluded that the Davis-Bacon Act bars third-party private contract actions brought under state law and aimed at enforcing the act's prevailing wage schedules (Jose E. Carrion v. Agfa Construction, Inc., No. 13-689, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 2262).
CINCINNATI - Participants in an employee stock ownership plan challenging the plan's fiduciaries' decision to continue investing in company stock failed to sufficiently plead causation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 26 in an unpublished opinion (Thomas J. Metyk, et al. v. KeyCorp, et al., No. 13-3588, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5836).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 31 declined to review a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that held that a disability insurer did not act arbitrarily and capriciously by relying on emails furnished by a plan participant's acquaintance in determining that the participant was no longer disabled (Terri Truitt v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 13-861, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A lawsuit filed by two mortgage underwriters seeking unpaid wages under Connecticut state law belongs in state court, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27, finding that the federal trial court erred in determining that the plaintiffs' state common law claims were preempted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Tracy Fracasse, et al. v. People's United Bank, No. 13-266, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5611).
LOS ANGELES - The five California statutes regarding the employment and retention of teachers being challenged by California students violate the state's Constitution, the attorney representing the students argued March 27 during closing arguments in the two-month trial (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
CHICAGO - Northwestern University's football players who receive scholarships to play football at the university are employees under the National Labor Relations Act and are entitled to vote on whether to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) for collective bargaining purposes, the Chicago regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said March 26 (Northwestern University v. College Athletes Players Association [CAPA], No. 13-RC-121359, U.S. Govt. NLRB, Region 13).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge, in an order filed March 21, approved a $115,000 settlement in a wage dispute filed by Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth employees (Dawn Till, et al. v. Saks Incorporated, et al., No. 11-504, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37797).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 21 upheld an order compelling arbitration and dismissing a wage-and-hour complaint filed by auto windshield repairers (Ashley Walthour, et al. v. Chipio Windshield Repair, LLC, et al., No. 13-11309, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5315).