BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A reasonable juror could find that a Hispanic man who worked for a moving company was taunted and harassed for years because of his race by coworkers who called him "monkey," a New York federal judge held Aug. 16 in denying the company's bid for summary judgment on the worker's hostile work environment claim (Fernando Marrero v. R-Way Moving & Storage, Ltd., No. 10-5838, E.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115872).
PHILADELPHIA - A trial court abused its discretion in finding that a Virgin Islands resident established "excusable neglect" under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5) when the plaintiff failed to timely appeal a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 15 (Glenford Ragguette v. Premier Wines & Spirits, Nos. 11-2553 and 11-2669, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17046).
NEW YORK - A seaman is entitled to maintenance and cure for an illness that indisputably occurred during his service even if his symptoms did not present until after his employment was completed, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 15, reversing a trial court ruling (Richard Messier v. Bouchard Transportation, No. 10-5181, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14945).
RICHMOND, Va. - A whistle-blower whose False Claims Act (FCA) 31 U.S.C.S. § 3729-3733 complaint resulted in a $42.5 million settlement by Alpharma Inc. failed to prove that she was fired in retaliation for telling the company about possible FCA violations in connection with the promotion of a controlled-release morphine drug, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Aug. 14 (United States of America, ex rel. Debra Parks v. Alpharma, Incorporated, et al., No. 11-1498, 4th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17155).
PHILADELPHIA - The director of operations for a furniture company's Pennsylvania manufacturing facility is not an employer under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (MWA) or the Pennsylvania Wage Payment Collection Law (WPCL), a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 14 (Jesus Hernandez, et al. v. Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., et al., No. 10-5459, E.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114382).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 10 dismissed a suit in which a student loan debtor alleges that her employer wrongly withheld portions of her salary pursuant to a wage garnishment order (Margaret Jallali v. USA Funds, et al., No.11-62510, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113578).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 10 sent a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a restaurant server back to state court after determining that the defendants failed to prove federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Melissa Vigil, et al. v. HMS Host USA, Inc., et al., No. 12-2982, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112928).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Aug. 10 granted certification to a class of former employees suing the owners of the nightclubs where they worked for unpaid wages and defamation but cut two years off the end of the date range provided by the plaintiffs for the class definition (William Whitlock, et al. v. FSL Management, LLC, et al., No. 10-562, W.D. Ky.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112859).
BANGOR, Maine - A Maine federal judge on Aug. 13 certified a class action and declined to decertify a collective action in a complaint alleging that FedEx Ground Package System Inc. misclassified delivery drivers as independent contractors when they are actually employees (Wayne Scovil, et al., v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., d/b/a FedEx Home Delivery, No. 1:10-cv-515, D. Maine; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113558).
SAN DIEGO - California state courts are still bound by a state ruling permitting class arbitration because the U.S. Supreme Court, in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (131 S.Ct. 1740 $(2011$)), did not directly rule on the class arbitration issue in the context of unwaivable statutory rights, a state appeals court panel ruled Aug. 9 (Truly Nolen of America v. The Superior Court of San Diego County, No. D060519, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5850).
MIAMI - After determining that no signed arbitration agreement existed, as required by the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, a federal judge on Aug. 10 refused to compel arbitration and remanded claims asserted by two cruise line employees to a Florida state court (Andrea Cappello, et al. v. Carnival Corp., No. 12-22181, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112748).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on Aug. 10 conditionally certified two classes of home mortgage consultants who worked for Wells Fargo Bank NA or Wachovia Corp. in a multidistrict litigation case alleging that the companies misclassified mortgage workers to avoid paying them overtime wages (In re: Wells Fargo Wage and Hour Employment Practices Litigation (No. III), No. 11-2266, S.D. Texas; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112769).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9 upheld the rejection of final certification of a class of janitors employed by the world's largest retailer who were seeking overtime and also affirmed the rejection of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1961 et seq., and false imprisonment claims (Victor Zavala, et al. v. Wal Mart Stores Inc., No. 11-2381, 3rd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16610).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A county sheriff's department employee working as a courthouse security guard failed to show that she was fired due to her race or that the department's reason for firing her was merely pretext for discrimination, an Alabama federal judge held Aug. 9 in granting the department summary judgment on the worker's claims (Kawana Zinn v. Limestone County, Alabama, No. 5:11-cv-01800, N.D. Ala.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112083).
NEW ORLEANS - A pension plan administrator did not err in concluding that the exclusion of stepchildren from the plan's definition of children aligned with the expectations of the majority of plan participants, the Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 7 in determining that the stepchildren of a deceased plan participant were not entitled to benefits under the plan (Stephen Robert Herring, et al. v. Eileen M. Campbell, No. 11-40953, 5th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16397).
ST. LOUIS - Retirees did not have a vested right to lifetime health benefits under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that did not provide unambiguous language providing such a right, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 7 in ruling that Whirlpool Corp. may unilaterally modify the health benefits it provides to union workers who retired from Maytag Corp., its now-dissolved subsidiary (Maytag Corp., et al. v. International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, et al., No. 11-2931, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16353).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Egyptian-born employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation properly exhausted his administrative remedies before pursuing his claims that the FBI discriminated and retaliated against him when it denied him a promotion, a District of Columbia federal judge held Aug. 7 (Bassem Youssef v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., No. 11-01362, D. D.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109855).
SCRANTON, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) provides for the recovery of unpaid overtime as well as minimum wages, a Pennsylvania federal judge held Aug. 6 in denying judgment on the pleadings to a hospital in a former employee's class action lawsuit alleging that the hospital failed to pay her overtime wages in violation of the PMWA (Michele Sakalas v. Wilkes-Barre Hospital Co., et al., No. 3:11-cv-0546, M.D. Pa.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110013).
CHICAGO - A former manufacturing plant employee failed to prove that she was a qualified individual with a disability when she was terminated from her job, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 3, upholding a trial court decision (Pamela S. Hanson v. Caterpillar, Inc., Inc., No. 11-3292, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16096).
PASADENA, Calif. - A former professional football player failed to establish that he was entitled to benefits under California's workers' compensation regime for the pain and suffering he alleges he experiences as a result of injuries sustained during his career, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 6, upholding a trial court ruling (Bruce Matthews v. National Football League Management Council, et al., No. 11-55186, 9th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16295).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 3 partially reinstated a New York woman's breach of contract, disability discrimination and retaliation claims against Arience Capital Management L.P., her former employer, finding that the plaintiff presented evidence sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to find in her favor (Rebecca Bar-Tur v. Arience Capital Management, L.P., et al., No. 11-864, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16089).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 3 denied conditional certification to a class of city employees in a police dispatcher's lawsuit alleging that the city has a practice of miscalculating certain workers' wages for the purpose of denying them proper overtime compensation (Scott Burns v. City of Holyoke, No. 12-30003, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108856).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 1 certified a class of more than 100 pizzeria workers in a lawsuit alleging that the business failed to pay employees overtime or minimum wages and did not maintain adequate employment records (Marcel Mendez v. Pizza on Stone, LLC (d/b/a Adrianne's Pizza Bar) No. 11-6316, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108605).
TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's Workers' Compensation Act precludes an injured worker from filing common-law claims against his employer's compensation provider, a New Jersey Supreme Court majority ruled Aug. 1, affirming dismissal of the worker's claims (Wade Stancil v. ACE USA, No. 1-112 September Term 2010, 067640, N.J. Sup.; 2012 N.J. LEXIS 823).
ST. LOUIS - A woman who says she was forced to leave her job with the U.S. Air Force due to constant discrimination based on her sex and religion has pleaded a prima facie case for her hostile work environment claims, a Missouri federal judge held Aug. 2 (Susan Sandler v. Michael B. Donley, Secretary, Department of the Air Force, No. 4:11-cv-1119, E.D. Mo.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108000).