HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 30 conditionally certified a class of Mexican restaurant workers who allege that they were not paid minimum or overtime wages, finding that requiring the employer to post a notice of the suit does not constitute compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Edgar A. Tapia Barajas, et al. v. Marco Antonio Acosta, et al., No. 11-3862, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74716).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 4 that a Colorado man may not pursue his First Amendment claim against two Secret Service agents because they are entitled to qualified immunity (Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle, Jr., et al. v. Steven Howards, No. 11-262, U.S. Sup.; 2012 U.S. LEXIS 4132).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 1 reversed a district court's denial of a motion to dismiss a former Library of Congress employee's lawsuit claiming that his termination for publishing articles in which he was critical of high-level public officials violated his constitutional rights and entitled him to damages relief under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (403 U.S. 388 (1971) (Morris D. Davis v. James H. Billington, et al., No. 11-5092, D.C. Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11042).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 1 upheld the dismissal of a New York woman's claims that her former employer discriminated against her and ultimately terminated her based on her mental disability (Susan M. MacEntee v. IBM (International Business Machines), No. 11-1456, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11025).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on May 30 granted summary judgment to 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. 1:08-CV-1064, D. D.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74277).
HOUSTON - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failed to allege plausible claims that a leading outdoor gear retailer has hiring practices that discriminate against blacks and Hispanics, a Texas federal judge held May 31 while giving the EEOC a chance to replead the claims (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, et al., No. 4:11-cv-03425, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75597).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on May 31 granted a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration of putative class action claims asserted by employees who allege that they were not paid wages, finding that the jurisdictional requirements for compelling arbitration under the United Nations Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards were met (Kenneth Downer, et al. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 11-21948, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75233).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An insurance broker breached a sale agreement's noncompete clause with its former employee, a Tennessee federal judge held May 30, granting summary judgment to the employee on his breach of contract claim (Gary Carrigan v. Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services Inc., No. 10-1089, M.D. Tenn.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74452).
DENVER - A Kansas man failed to prove that he was terminated as a result of his race, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May affirming a trial court ruling on that claim as well as a claim of retaliation; however, it remanded that later claim with instructions to dismiss without prejudice as it was dismissed for the incorrect reason (Kenneth E. Morris, Jr. v. Cabela's Wholesale, Inc., No. 11-3313, 10th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10774).
LINCOLN, Neb. - A Nebraska federal judge on May 31 granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of a landlord and its agent, finding that claims asserted by employees who alleged that they were exposed to mold at work failed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (Stuart W. Freese, et al. v. USCIS Nebraska Service Center, et al., No. 4:11CV3182, D. Neb.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75211).
CINCINNATI - A Kenya native failed to prove that he was denied a promotion by his employer based on his race rather than his experience, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 29, upholding a trial court ruling (Samuel Kariuki v. Comair, Inc., No. 11-5733, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10959).
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The anti-alienation provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not bar the garnishment of benefits under a top-hat plan, a federal judge in Georgia ruled May 25 (AFLAC Incorporated, et al. v. Salvador Diaz-Verson, Jr., et al., No. 4-11-cv-81, M.D. Ga.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73140).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 29 certified a collective action consisting of servers, waiters and waitresses - excluding "expediters" - employed by a steak restaurant who allege that they were denied overtime, forced to participate in an improperly maintained "tip pool" and required to use tips to pay for broken glass and people who walked out without paying their bills (Sharon Flowers, et al. v. MGTI, LLC a/k/a Mo's Steakhouse, et al., No. 11-1235, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73900).
ROCK HILL, S.C. - A South Carolina federal judge on May 29 agreed with a federal magistrate judge that a former Kmart Corp. employee's race discrimination and retaliation claims fail because they are untimely but declined to follow the magistrate's recommendation that the worker's state law claims should be remanded to state court (Willie H. Hutchinson v. Kmart Corporation, et al., No. 0:12-cv-85, D. S.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73597).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) 5 U.S.C.S. § 500 et. seq. when it instituted a new regulation concerning an employer's obligation to inform tipped employees of the "tip credit" requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 29 U.S.C.S. § 203 a District of Columbia federal judge held May 29 (National Restaurant Association, et al., v. Hilda L. Solis, et al., No. 11-1116, D. D.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73498).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 29 upheld a district court ruling in favor of a CBS Broadcasting Inc. affiliate accused of terminating two news reporters based on their age and gender (William Schechner, et al. v. KPIX-TV, et al., No. 11-15294, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10766).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The language of an insurance agent's noncompete agreement dictates that a surviving insurance brokerage firm cannot enforce the agreement after a merger with another brokerage firm as if it had stepped into the shoes of the original brokerage firm, a majority of the Ohio Supreme Court concluded May 24 (Acordia of Ohio LLC v. Michael Fishel, et al., No. 2012-Ohio-2297, Ohio Sup.; 2012 Ohio LEXIS 1360).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on May 24 declined to reconsider his ruling that registered nurses (RNs) failed to produce evidence of an agreement among eight Detroit-area hospitals to fix the compensation of RNs sufficient to defeat the hospitals' motions for summary judgment on the RNs' conspiracy claims but held that the RNs did produce sufficient evidence to establish anticompetitive effects resulting from the exchange of compensation-related information among the hospitals in violation of federal antitrust law (Pat Cason-Merenda, et al. v. Detroit Medical Center, et al., No. 06-15601, E.D. Mich.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72593).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 25 denied a health plan's motion for attorney fees in a denial of benefits case, saying the defendant showed no bad faith on the part of the plaintiff or the plaintiff's attorneys (Kristy Schwade v. Total Plastics Inc., No. 10-2436, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73203).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on May 25 conditionally certified a class of mental health workers seeking to recover unpaid overtime from their employer (Henry Harris, et al. v. Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., No. 10-789, W.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73038).
CINCINNATI - A 401(k) plan participant who claimed that the plan sponsor and fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C.S. § 1001 et seq., by allowing the participants to invest in company stock when the stock price was artificially inflated did not suffer any out-of-pocket loss and, therefore, did not suffer any injury and did not have standing to sue, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 25 (Ann I. Taylor, et al. v. KeyCorp, et al., Nos. 10-4163, -4198, -4199, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10613).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 29 denied review of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that two real estate leasing companies were jointly and severally liable for the withdrawal liability of an insolvent affiliate under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (SCOFBP, et al. v. Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension, et al., No. 11-1181, U.S. Sup.).
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin federal magistrate judge on May 23 refused to dismiss state wage-and-hour claims filed by janitorial workers after finding that supplemental jurisdiction was justified under the efficiency rationale (Vicente Martinez, et al. v. Regency Janitorial Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-C-259, E.D. Wis.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71635).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A retirement plan did not abuse its discretion under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by excluding a severance payment from a participant's earnings for purposes of calculating the participant's retirement benefits under the plan, even though the employer considered the payment as earnings for tax withholding purposes, a federal judge in Rhode Island ruled May 23 (Gary Chapman v. Supplemental Benefit Retirement Plan of LIN Television Corporation and Subsidiary Companies, et al., No. 09-518, D. R.I.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71484).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 21 upheld a $24,000 jury award for a police trooper who claimed that he was retaliated against by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) (Jolando Hinton v. Pennsylvania State Police, No. 11-2076, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 10160).