NEW ORLEANS - Participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) who alleged that the plan's fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by continuing to offer and hold company stock as an investment option failed to overcome the presumption of prudence, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 9 in granting the fiduciaries' motion to dismiss (Randy Kopp v. Scott W. Klein, et al., No. 12-10416, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS).
ATLANTA - A recreational vehicle park does not qualify as a recreational establishment that is exempt from providing employees overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 9, upholding a trial court's award of wages to a former groundskeeper (John Mann, et al. v. Michael Falk, et al., No. 12-16434, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13834).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 2 rejected a Missouri hospital's claims that an arbitrator exceeded his authority by ordering reinstatement and back pay beyond a union's decertification (Midwest Division - LSH, LLC, doing business as Lee's Summit Medical Center v. Nurses United for Improved Patient Care, CAN/NNOC, No. 12-2229, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13482).
URBANA, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 3 granted preliminary approval of a $35 million settlement between participants in Cigna Corp.'s 401(k) plan, Cigna and Prudential Retirement Insurance and Annuity Co. (PRIAC) on the participants' claims that the defendants violated their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by profiting from the investment options and service providers selected for the plan and by offering imprudent funds as investment options (Kim Nolte, et al. v. Cigna Corp., et al., No. 07-2046, C.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 5 affirmed a damages award to be paid by a union to the company running the site where the union was improperly picketing but vacated the award of compensatory damages to several third parties, finding that the award was not necessary to enforce the injunction (Richard L. Ahearn, Regional Director of the Nineteenth Region of the National Labor Relations Board, for and on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board v. International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Locals 21 and 4, No. 11-35848, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13652).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A beneficiary's claim for wrongful denial of disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not accrue for limitations purposes until the plan's internal benefits resolution process has been exhausted, notwithstanding a plan provision providing that the limitations period commences before the plan has resolved the claim for benefits, the United States told the U.S. Supreme Court in a July 2 amicus brief (Julie Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-729, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - The federal judge in Pennsylvania presiding over a multidistrict litigation involving thousands of former National Football League players alleging that the NFL ignored the risks of brain injuries to players from repeated head impacts ruled July 8 that the parties should participate in mediation prior to her making a decision on a motion to dismiss (In Re National Football League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, No. 12-2323, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS - A former press line lead failed to prove that racial bias or retaliation caused him to be demoted during a force reduction or that several incidents at the plant that did not directly involve him resulted in a hostile work environment, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 2, upholding a trial court's rejection of the plaintiff's claims (Crist Brew v. Weyerhaeuser NR Company, No. 12-31096, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13544).
GREENVILLE, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on July 2 denied a pension plan's motion to remand and alternative motion for reconsideration of the judge's earlier ruling that the anti-cutback provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act prevented a pension plan from enforcing an amendment that froze benefit accruals and eliminated a supplemental benefit payment to participants who elected to take early retirement, saying that the plan's plain language gave the participants the right to meet the eligibility requirements of the supplemental benefit (Noorali Sam Savani v. Washington Safety Management Solutions, LLC., et al., No. 1:06-cv-02805, D. S.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92755).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 ordered an Oklahoma federal court to dismiss a police officer's wrongful termination claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction after finding that the officer failed to amend her gender pregnancy bias and retaliation claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission following her termination (Sabrina Marie Freppon v. City of Chandler, et al., No. 12-6176, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13424).
NEW YORK - A multiemployer welfare benefit plan did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by requiring retirees to pay a monthly premium pursuant to an arbitrator's ruling, but it did commit a prohibited transaction by deducting dues from union members' vacation benefits and forwarding them to the union, a federal judge in New York ruled July 1 (Patrick Enright, et al. v. New York City District Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund, et al., No. 12 Civ. 4181, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92209).
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - An Alaska city is not liable for a tribal police officer's alleged negligence that caused two minors to be thrown from a four-wheeler and injured, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 (M.J., a minor, by her mother and next friend Helena Beebe v. United States of America, J.P., a minor v. City of Quinhagak, No. 11-35625, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13416).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a life insurance policy beneficiary's motion for leave to amend her pleading to assert claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 in an unpublished opinion (Susie M. Ward v. CNH America, L.L.C., et al., No. 12-10897, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13500).
DENVER - A pension plan's sponsor's notice, which failed to adequately explain how early retirement benefits were calculated under the old plan, did not constitute an "intentional failure" and, therefore, the participants were not entitled to restoration of their benefits in whole, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 2 (Wade Jensen, et al. v. Solvay Chemicals, Inc., et al., No. 11-8092, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13487).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on July 2 vacated an order by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in which the NLRB found that registered nurses (RNs) employed as charge nurses were not supervisors (GGNSC Springfield LLC, dba Golden Living Center-Springfield v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1529/1628, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13472).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on July 2 denied an emergency application filed a day earlier seeking to halt National Labor Relations Board proceedings pending a decision on the dispute over "recess" appointments to the NLRB (CSC Holdings, LLC, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 13A20, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - A disability plan administrator may maintain a reimbursement action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against a plan participant based on the participant's retroactive receipt of Social Security disability benefits, even though the participant did not possess the funds, and the action was not barred by the doctrine of unclean hands, a federal judge in Illinois ruled July 1 (Kristen O'Brien-Shure v. U.S. Laboratories, Inc. Health & Welfare Benefit Plan, et al., No. 12 C 6101, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91692).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A defined benefit pension plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by providing cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to distributions in the form of monthly annuity payments but not the equivalent value of the COLAs to one-time lump-sum payments, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled June 27 (Shirley Lightfoot, et al. v. Arkema, Inc., et al., No. 12-773, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90415).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - CSC Holdings LLC and its direct subsidiary Cablevision Systems New York City Corp. filed an emergency application with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on July 1 seeking to halt National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings concerning unfair labor practice charges pending a decision on the dispute over "recess" appointments to the NLRB (CSC Holdings, LLC, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. N/A, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A disability plan administrator acted arbitrarily and capriciously by relying on the lack of objective evidence of tinnitus to deny an attorney's claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 26 (Ralph Miles v. Principal Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 12-152, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13065).
RICHMOND, Va. - Sovereign immunity bars a multiemployer pension plan from bringing a federal garnishment proceeding against the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to collect monies stemming from a lawsuit seeking to recover deficient employer contributions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 26 (Carpenters Pension Fund of Baltimore, Maryland, et al. v. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, et al., No. 12-1480, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13102).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over an administrative law judge's (ALJ) complaint alleging that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development interfered with his decisional independence and, as a result, violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 28 (J. Jeremiah Mahoney, An Administrative Law Judge at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Shuan Donovan, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, et al., No. 12-5016, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13272).
DALLAS - Five employees of American Eagle Airlines and one employee of Southwest Airlines filed a class complaint June 27 in Texas federal court against Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, challenging the union's compulsory fee procedures in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Knox v. SEIU Local 1000 (567 U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 2277 $(2012$)) (Jose Serna, et al. v. Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, No. 13-2469, N.D. Texas).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 27 reversed a federal District Court's remand of a wage-and-hour class complaint to state court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA); the appellate panel ruled that the defendants had not lost the right to removal due to a failure to file a timely notice under 28 U.S. Code Sections 1446(b)(1) or (b)(3) once they discovered, on their own that the case was removable (Amy Roth, et al. v. CHA Hollywood Medical Center, L.P., et al., No. 13-55771, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13224).
NEW YORK - A class of seafarers who were discharged due to illness or injury are owed, as part of their unearned wages, overtime pay they would have earned, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 25, affirming a trial court decision (John Padilla, et al. v. Maersk Line, Limited, No. 12-834, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12964).