SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 12 found that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt claims brought in a health insurance payment dispute and remanded the case to state court (Board of Trustees of Alameda County Medical Center v. Costco Employees Benefit Program, No. 12-4609, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176195).
OMAHA, Neb. - A Nebraska federal judge on Dec. 14 denied a summary judgment motion by Tyson Foods Inc. in a class complaint seeking unpaid wages for time spent donning and doffing sanitary and protective gear and partially granted a summary judgment motion by the plaintiffs (Manuel Acosta, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 08-86, D. Neb.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177292).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 14 set aside a determination by the National Labor Relations Board that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it ordered an employer to remove his T-shirt that featured both a union logo and a statement against the company's incentive program (Medco Health Solutions of Las Vegas, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 11-1282, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25548).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 13 affirmed a $1.8 million judgment against Pfizer Inc. for allegedly retaliating against a research scientist who complained about workplace safety (Becky McClain v. Pfizer Inc., No. 11-3002, 2nd Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - A cable service provider inventory specialist failed to show that his termination after he left work midshift without permission was, in fact, caused by age bias, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 12, affirming a trial court's ruling (Peter Abels v. DISH Network Service, LLC, No. 12-1291, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25384).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 10 denied a request by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to certify for interlocutory appeal an order denying Wal-Mart's motion to dismiss a gender discrimination class complaint on tolling and commonality grounds (Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 01-2252, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174720).
NEWARK, N.J. - Parties involved in a multidistrict litigation case in which defendants are accused of manipulating the rates for which they reimburse out-of-network medical providers filed a joint motion on Dec. 7 asking a New Jersey federal judge to preliminarily approve a settlement valued up to $120 million (In re: Aetna UCR Litigation, MDL No. 2020, Master File No. 07-3541, D. N.J.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) properly dismissed a petition for review filed by a former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee as untimely, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 11 (Anthony L. French v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 2012-3151, Fed. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25252).
DALLAS - A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 7 denied retirees' motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin Verizon Communications Inc. from removing them from the company's pension plan and funding their benefits through the purchase of a group annuity contract (William Lee, et al. v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-4834-D, N.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173559).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 11 denied a motion to dismiss the second amended class complaint filed by a group of retail store managers seeking overtime pay (Vanessa Chavez, et al. v. Hat World, Inc., No. 12-5563, N.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175013).
CINCINNATI - A former Ohio county employee failed to prove her claim that she was improperly terminated in retaliation for taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6, affirming a trial court (Evette Fields v. Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, No. 12-3005, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25124).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Dec. 10 vacated a $1.27 million award against Lucasfilm Ltd. for alleged pregnancy discrimination, finding errors in the jury instructions that were prejudicial (Julie Gilman Veronese v. Lucasfilm Ltd., Nos. A129535 & A131660, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1245).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal magistrate judge in Louisiana on Dec. 6 denied a hotel's request for reconsideration of an order requiring it to produce for an in camera review documents from an employee's personnel file because the information could be relevant to the plaintiff's claim that she was treated differently than male managers (Myra deGersdorff v. Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC, No. 11-2301, E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173173).
MINNEAPOLIS - An employee who was terminated as part of a reduction in force less than a year after his third and final military leave of absence failed to show that his dismissal violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 5 (Douglas Milhauser v. Minco Products, Inc., No. 12-1756, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24938).
PITTSBURGH - A math teacher's allegations that the school district she worked for retaliated against her for obtaining a settlement from the district in a previous age and sex discrimination lawsuit raise genuine issues of fact for a jury to decide, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Dec. 5 (Kathleen M. Pitzer v. Ringgold Area School District, et al., No. 10-1564, W.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172315).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Dec. 6 dismissed claims against a claims administrator in a health care reimbursement suit, saying the defendant is not a fiduciary and, therefore, not a proper defendant (Montvale Surgical Center v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, et al., No. 12-2478, D. N.J.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173337).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 affirmed a trial court ruling that a former employee of a Red Cross chapter failed to show that he was the victim of disability discrimination when he was terminated a short time after allegedly getting injured on the job; however, the appellate panel vacated the trial court's ruling that the chapter was an "employer" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Benjamin Reynolds v. American National Red Cross, et al., Nos. 11-2278 and 11-2280, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25091).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Dec. 10 that a federal employee claiming that an agency action appealable to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) violates an antidiscrimination statute in 5 U.S. Code Section 7702(a)(1) should file the appeal in a district court, not the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Carolyn M. Kloeckner v. Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor, No. 11-184, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 7 requested a plan beneficiary to respond to a disability plan insurer's petition for review of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' 2-1 ruling that the insurer may not enforce an equitable lien under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against a beneficiary who agreed to reimburse the plan for any benefit overpayment if the funds are no longer in the beneficiary's possession (First Unum Life Insurance Company v. Leah Bilyeu, et al., No. 12-526, U.S. Sup.).
View related prior history, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 12554.
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 4 affirmed the certification of 10 subclasses of more than 4,000 cash balance pension plan participants on various claims that the plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) (Phyllis Johnson, et al. v. Meriter Health Services Employee Retirement Plan, et al., No. 12-2216, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24854).
CHICAGO - An ERISA-governed disability insurer that terminated benefits to a claimant with breast cancer did not act arbitrarily, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6, finding that the evidence in the record supported the insurer's decision (Mary Poznak v. PNC Bank Corp. And Affiliates Long Term Disability Plan, No. 12-2636, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 25015).
HOUSTON - French multinational food services corporation Sodexo Inc. on Dec. 5 lost its bid to dismiss in a Texas federal court a claim by its former human resources director that the company retaliated against him for taking a medical leave due to work-related stress by firing him (Vince Goodwine v. Sodexo, Inc., et al., No. 12-1910, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172348).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Ohio manufacturing company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it refused to turn over certain requested information to its employees' union and then engaged in a lockout that also resulted in the employees losing their health care benefits, a split District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 4, enforcing an order by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) (KLB Industries, Inc., doing business as National Extrusion and Manufacturing Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 11-1280, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24848).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 5 reinstated a former construction company employee's retaliation claim, ruling that a reasonable fact finder could find that the reason his employer gave for his termination was pretextual (Earnest Hammond, Jr. v. Jacobs Field Services, No. 12-30222, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24919).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act affords a multiemployer welfare plan administrator discretion to determine whether a contribution is made "by a mistake of fact or law," the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 30 in reversing a federal judge's order requiring the plan to refund to the employer allegedly mistaken contributions (U.S. Foodservice, Inc. v. Truck Drivers & Helpers Local Union No. 355 Health & Welfare Fund, et al., No. 12-1108, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24665).