New Jersey Federal Judge Dismisses Health Care Reimbursement Suit

    NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 5 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants in a health care insurance reimbursement dispute, saying the plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit (Montvale Surgical Center LLC a/s/o Justin Gutschmidt v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, et al., No. 12-3685, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15327).

    ERISA Doesn't Preempt State Law Mandating Attorney Fees, Split 8th Circuit Holds

    ST. LOUIS - A former employee who prevailed on a wage claim under the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law (IWPCL) was entitled to attorney fees under that statute, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Feb. 1, concluding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the claim for fees (American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Richard N. Hollander, No. 11-2719, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2261).

    Company Seeks Stay In Union Dispute From 2nd Supreme Court Justice

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Just hours after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Feb. 4 denied a Connecticut nursing home company's application for partial stay of injunction in a suit over a union strike in light of questions over the legitimacy of 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, the nursing home renewed its plea, this time asking it be referred to Justice Antonin Scalia (HealthBridge Management, LLC, et al. v. Jonathan B. Kreisberg, Regional Director of Region 34 of the National Labor Relations Board, for and on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board, No. 12A769, U.S. Sup.).

    Pennsylvania Federal Magistrate: Employer Accommodated Worker's Condition

    ERIE, Pa. - A medical technician's disability discrimination claims against her employer fail because the employer made every effort to reasonably accommodate her condition, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge held Feb. 1 (Aleda A. Bass v. UPMC Horizon, et al., No. 11-308, W.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13683).

    11th Circuit Affirms Rejection Of Race Bias, Failure-To-Hire Claims

    ATLANTA - A former Florida school district employee's racial bias claims were untimely, and her failure-to-hire claims were unsupported, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 1, upholding a trial court ruling (Sheryl R. Bourne v. School Board of Broward County, No. 12-11402, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2266).

    5th Circuit Reinstates University Executive Chef's Age Discrimination Claim

    NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 1 ruled that a university executive chef may proceed with his age bias claim against his former employer; however, it upheld the rejection of the chef's claim seeking unpaid overtime (Victor Chambers v. Sodexo, Incorporated, et al., No. 12-60232, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2308).

    Missouri Federal Judge: ADA Claims Fail, But State Law Claims Can Proceed

    CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - A former truck stop worker cannot bring Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims against individual employers, but he can proceed with his state law disability discrimination claims against the individuals, even though he failed to name them in administrative claims, a Missouri federal judge held Jan. 31 (Dale Dakota Wilson v. Duckett Truck Center, et al., No. 1:12-cv-85, E.D. Mo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13096).

    11th Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment For Burger King In Bias Suit

    ATLANTA - A former fast food general manager failed to prove that race discrimination or retaliation led to denied promotions, a transfer and ultimately his termination, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 29, affirming a trial court ruling (Steve Jefferson v. Burger King Corporation, No. 12-12540, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1947).

    5th Circuit Upholds Rejection Of La. State Employee's Bias, Retaliation Claims

    NEW ORLEANS - A former Louisiana state employee's race discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment claims all failed due to lack of a sufficient comparator or sufficient evidence, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 30, upholding a trial court's ruling (Shelton L. Frazier v. Sabine River Authority State of Louisiana, No. 12-30750, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2119).

    2nd Circuit Vacates Dismissal Of Title II Claim Against N.Y. Retirement System

    NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Jan. 29 opinion partially vacated the dismissal of a former New York state employee's Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit that was filed against the library where the plaintiff worked and the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) (Mary Jo C. v. New York State and Local Retirement System, et al., No. 11-2215, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2013).

    Labor Board Quorum Challenged In 5th Circuit Following D.C. Circuit Decision

    NEW ORLEANS - Less than a week after the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the National Labor Relations Board lacked a quorum at the beginning of 2012, an attorney representing D.R. Horton Inc. in a labor dispute submitted a letter dated Jan. 29 to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the NLRB lacked a quorum when it issued D.R. Horton's decision (D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 12-60031, 5th Cir.).

    2nd Circuit: Police Department, Officials Immune From Sergeant's Retaliation Claim

    NEW YORK - A former Connecticut city police sergeant failed to show that he was denied a promotion due to employment discrimination or that the city, police department and officials were not immune from his claim of retaliation under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Edwin Garcia v. Hartford Police Department, et al., No. 11-4618, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1920).

    Government Pension Agency Sues Bankrupt RG Steel Parent Renco Group, Alleges Fraud

    NEW YORK - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) sued The Renco Group Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Jan. 28, alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation regarding a deal it consummated just before the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of its subsidiary RG Steel LLC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation v. The Renco Group Inc., No. 13-621, Chapter 11, S.D. N.Y.).

    Kentucky Federal Judge Enforces Plan's Forum-Selection Clause, Dismisses Complaint

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky dismissed without prejudice a pension plan participant's claim that the plan improperly reduced his benefits because the plan's forum-selection clause was enforceable, even though it was added to the plan after the participant's benefits accrued (Smith v. AEGON Companies Pension Plan, No. 3-12-CV-697, W.D. Ky.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10746).

    D.C. Federal Judge Tosses Postal Inspector's Gender Bias, Retaliation Claims

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A former U.S. postal inspector failed to prove that the denial of her repeated requests for part-time hours was the result of gender bias or that her termination after she was deemed absent without leave (AWOL) was the result of retaliation, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Jan. 28 (Lee T. Staropoli v. Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General of the United States, No. 09-1766, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10813).

    4th Circuit: Vehicle-Use Policy Change Violated National Labor Relations Act

    RICHMOND, Va. - A Maryland highway construction company violated the National Labor Relations Act when it unilaterally changed its vehicle-use policy and then terminated a driver, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 25 enforcing a National Labor Relations Board order (Pessoa Construction Company v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 11-1688, National Labor Relations Board v. Pessoa Construction Company, No. 11-1776, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1805).

    Former Employee Not Entitled To Penalties Under COBRA, Divided 8th Circuit Rules

    ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 affirmed 2-1 that a terminated employee was not entitled to civil penalties or attorney fees based on his former employer's failure to give notices required under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) (In re: Interstate Bakeries Corporation $(Sean Deckard v. Interstate Bakeries Corporation, et al.$), No. 11-1595, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1663).

    3rd Circuit: School District May Base Salary On Location Of Experience

    PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania public school districts are within constitutional guidelines when they set teacher salaries based, in part, on prior in-state teaching experience, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 24 (Patrick S. Connelly v. The Steel Valley School District, No. 11-4206, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 121339).

    Store Managers' Overtime Suit Granted Conditional Class Certification

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Jan. 23 granted conditional certification in an overtime suit filed by store managers and granted in part a motion by the plaintiffs for court-supervised notice (Mary Billingsley, et al. v. Citi Trends, Inc., No. 12-627, N.D. Ala.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8910).

    D.C. Circuit: Labor Board Lacked Quorum In February 2012

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 25 declined to enforce a National Labor Relations Board ruling that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by refusing to reduce an oral agreement to writing and signing off on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), after finding that the NLRB could not lawfully issue its February 2012 ruling because it lacked a quorum (Noel Canning, A Division of the Noel Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1115, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1659).

    10th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Police Detective's Bias, Retaliation Claims

    DENVER - A police detective failed to show that he was the victim of disability bias or retaliation when he was forced to resign in light of his employer's swift response to his complaints about his co-workers and the detective's indictment on gambling charges, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 23 (Roland Benavides v. City of Oklahoma City, No. 12-6107, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1474).

    Court: Card Dealer Tip Pooling Passes Labor Code Muster

    SAN JOSE, Calif. - A casino's tip-pooling arrangement never resulted in it keeping an employee's tips, a state appeals court held Jan. 23 in affirming judgment on California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Haim Avidor v. Sutter's Place Inc., No. H037142, Calif. App., 6th Dist.).

    California Federal Judge Grants Partial Certification In Wage-And-Hour Suit

    LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Jan. 22 partially granted a motion for class certification in a restaurant worker's wage-and-hour claim, finding that certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was appropriate but that class certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 was not (Chris McDonald v. Ricardo's on the Beach, Inc., et al., No. 11-9366, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8536).

    Ohio Federal Judge Partially Certifies Wage-And-Hour Class

    CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on Jan. 18 granted in part a motion for class certification in a suit accusing an Ohio company of misclassifying a group of employees as exempt from overtime wages (Robert Hendricks, et al. v. Total Quality Logistics, LLC, et al., No. 10-649, S.D. Ohio; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7986).

    Insurance Agents Denied Class Certification In Suit Seeking Overtime

    NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 18 denied class certification in a wage-and-hour complaint filed by insurance agents in 11 different states, finding numerous obstacles including the need for individualized inquiry (Jeffrey Bouder, et al. v. Prudential Financial, Inc., et al., No. 06-4359, D. N.J.).