LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    NFL Prepared To Settle Concussion Claims For $765 Million

    PHILADELPHIA - In an Aug. 29 order, a Pennsylvania federal judge announced that the National Football League and players have reached a $765 million settlement in the concussion injury multidistrict litigation (In re: National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).

    Merrill Lynch Prepared To Pay $160 Million To Settle Race Bias Class Suit

    CHICAGO - A class of black brokers on Aug. 28 filed an unopposed motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for provisional certification of their settlement class and preliminary approval of a $160 million settlement to be paid by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. (George McReynolds, et al. v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated, No. 05-6583, N.D. Ill.).

    2nd Circuit: Age Discrimination Suit Settlement Qualifies As Wages

    NEW YORK - A lump-sum payment by a plaintiff's former employer in exchange for the plaintiff agreeing to withdraw his complaint qualifies as wages under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and is subject to FICA taxes, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 27 (Chester Gerstenbluth v. Credit Suisse Securities $(USA$) LLC, et al., No. 12-4125, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17841).

    ERISA Preempts Claims Under State Insurance Statute, Wash. Federal Judge Rules

    SEATTLE - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act completely preempts a claim that an insurer violated the Washington Insurance Fair Conduct Act by denying a claim for benefits under an employer-sponsored life insurance plan, a federal judge in Washington ruled Aug. 23 (Alan Chan, et al. v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 12-524, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120428).

    Kmart Settles Cashier Seating Class Suit For $280,000

    SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 23 granted preliminary approval of a $280,000 settlement to be paid by Kmart Corp. to end a class complaint by cashiers alleging that they were denied seats at the checkout stands (Colette Delbridge, et al. v. Kmart Corporation, No. 11-2575, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120377).

    9th Circuit Rules On Standard For Determining Jurisdiction Under CAFA

    PASADENA, Calif. - A California federal judge erred in applying the legal certainty standard to a wage-and-hour class complaint when trying to determine if the $5 million amount in controversy threshold under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was met, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 27, vacating an order to remand the suit to state court and ordering that the preponderance of the evidence standard be used (Robert Rodriguez, et al. v. AT&T Mobility Services LLC, No. 13-56149, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17851).

    Judge Dismisses Retaliatory Discharge Claim, Orders Restitution By Fiduciaries

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A federal judge in Michigan on Aug. 23 ruled that an executive who claimed that he was terminated because he threatened to report that the company's 401(k) plan was paying excessive fees failed to establish retaliatory discharge in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but the judge ordered the plan fiduciaries to pay restitution to remedy their breach of fiduciary duties in allowing such fees to be paid (Charles Huizinga v. Genzink Steel Supply & Welding Co., et al., No. 1:10-CV-223, W.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119942).

    5th Circuit: Terminated Police Officer Failed To Prove Claims Of Retaliation

    NEW ORLEANS - A police officer failed to show that his termination, following a failed run for the elected police chief position, was the result of retaliation, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 22 (S. J. Beaulieu, Jr., Chapter 13 Trustee v. James Lavigne, et al., No. 12-31061, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17615).

    Mississippi Federal Judge Declines To Remand Denial Of Benefits Suit

    JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a motion to remand a wrongful denial of health care benefits suit, saying a later-added defendant timely and properly removed the case to federal court (Silas Anderson v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, et al., No. 13-402, S.D. Miss.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121014).

    11th Circuit Affirms Reversal Of Denial Of Health Care Benefits

    ATLANTA - In an unpublished, per curiam opinion, a panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 affirmed judgment in favor of a plaintiff in a wrongful denial of benefits suit, agreeing that the plan excluded coverage for injuries received committing felonies and not misdemeanors (Cornelius B. Faison v. Donalsonville Hospital Inc., No. 12-15400, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17578).

    No Monetary Relief For Breach Related To Alternative Investments, Judge Rules

    SEATTLE - Participants in a defined benefit plan sponsored by Weyerhaeuser Co. have standing to pursue claims for injunctive relief but do not have standing to bring legal claims for monetary relief related to their allegations that the company and its investment managers violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by investing in a large number of alternative investments that allegedly contributed to the plan's losing approximately $2.4 billion in 2008, a federal judge in Washington ruled Aug. 23 (Michael Palmason v. Weyerhaeuser Company, et al., No. 2:11-cv-00695-RSL, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120424).

    7th Circuit Remands Defective Washer Actions For Review Of Subclasses

    CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 reinstated its decision to overturn a ruling by an Illinois federal court that denied certification of a class of claimants who allege that certain front-loading automatic washers cause mold growth (Larry Butler, et al. v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., No. 12-8030, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17748).

    9th Circuit: Wrong Test Was Applied To Determine Class Jurisdiction

    SAN FRANCISCO - A federal district court erred in applying the legal certainty test outlined in Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n (479 F.3d 994, 1000 $(9th Cir. 2007$)) to determine whether the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) jurisdiction amount was met when the amount in controversy was not unambiguous, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 26, reversing an order to remand the wage-and-hour case to state court (Tuong Hoang, et al. v. Supervalu Inc., et al., No. 13-56183, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17798).

    Arizona Court Finds Employee's Mold-Related Claims Are Time-Barred

    TUCSON, Ariz. - An Arizona appeals court on Aug. 23 affirmed a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of a health alliance, finding that a former employee's claim that she suffered injuries as a result of mold exposure at work were time-barred (Susan Wyckoff v. Mogollon Health Alliance, No. 2 CA-CV 2012-0152, Ariz. App.; 2013 Ariz. App. LEXIS 167).

    Calif. Federal Judge Partially Certifies Class Of Drivers Alleging Wage Violations

    SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Aug. 21 partially granted a motion for class certification sought by delivery drivers alleging wage violations including the denial of reimbursement for reasonable business expenses and the failure to issue itemized wage statements (Josue Soto, et al. v. Diakon Logistics $(Delaware$), Inc., No. 08-33, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119028).

    Kan. Federal Judge: Freight Broker Must Send Corrective Notice To Potential Class

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal magistrate judge on Aug. 22 agreed to order an employer to send a corrective notice to its employees informing them that a terminated employee was not fired for his participation in a wage-and-hour class suit, but the judge denied the other forms of relief sought by the lead plaintiffs in their motion for sanctions (Nancy Koehler, et al. v. Freightquote.com, Inc., No. 12-2505, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119262).

    Claims For Repayment Under ERISA Plan Seek Legal Relief, Federal Judge Rules

    NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge in New Jersey on Aug. 22 dismissed claims by a multiemployer health fund seeking to recover from insurers amounts the fund allegedly overpaid to its beneficiaries under the fund's coordination of benefits (COB) provision, finding that the claims did not seek equitable relief under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. Bollinger, Inc., et al., No. 13-2760, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119295).

    Health Plan Administrator Granted Summary Judgment In Payment Dispute

    NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished decision, a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 21 granted summary judgment in favor of a health plan administrator in a reimbursement suit, saying the claims at issue were properly processed (Montvale Surgical Center v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, et al., No. 12-2378, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119630).

    Illinois Federal Judge Certifies 1 of 2 Classes In Electrician Pool Dispute

    CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Aug. 22 certified one of two classes requested by union electricians who allege that their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was breached and that they were denied fair representation when they claim they were effectively excluded from employment at the Chicago convention center (Joseph Healy, et al. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, et al., No. 11-8892, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119102).

    California Appellate Panel: No Arbitration Ruling Before Class Certification

    LOS ANGELES - A California appellate panel on Aug. 21 upheld the denial of a motion to compel arbitration, finding that the filing of the order prior to a ruling on class certification was premature (Anthony Nguyen v. Inter-Coast International Training, Inc., No. B241938, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5803).

    9th Circuit Reverses Order Denying Right To Arbitration Due To Delay

    SAN FRANCISCO - An employer did not waive its right to arbitration by waiting to file such a request until a second class complaint was filed against it and consolidated with the first, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 21, reversing a trial court's order (Michelle Richards, et al. v. Ernst & Young, LLP, No. 11-17530, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17488).

    5th Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Lieutenant's Bias, Retaliation Claims

    NEW ORLEANS - A former police lieutenant who ultimately resigned after several transfers failed to show that he was subjected to discrimination or retaliation, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 19, upholding the dismissal of his lawsuit (Marlon Waters v. City of Dallas, Texas, No. 12-11127, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17176).

    3rd Circuit Vacates Dismissal Of Bus, Trolley Operators' Wage Claims

    PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 vacated the dismissal of a class complaint filed by public transportation drivers seeking wages for work performed each morning prior to driving (David Bell, et al. v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 12-4031, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17166).

    Magistrate Judge Finds No Wrongdoing In Plaintiff Copying Company's Documents

    TULSA, Okla. - A federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma on Aug. 21 ruled that a former employee did not engage in conduct worthy of sanctions by making copies of company documents before filing her lawsuit but ordered her to return any original documents she may have and stressed that the information can be used only for the subject litigation (Amanda Long v. Stand By Personnel Inc., No. 12-CV-297-GKF-PJC, N.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118528).

    Split 8th Circuit Panel: No Authority To Rule On NLRB Quorum Challenge

    ST. PAUL, Minn. - A split Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 20 declined to rule on a challenge to the U.S. president's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, opining that it lacked the authority to do so (National Labor Relations Board v. RELCO Locomotives, Inc., Nos. 12-2111 and 12-2447, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17272).