PHILADELPHIA - A state police officer failed to prove his claims that his constitutional rights were violated when he was placed on restricted duty despite being acquitted of criminal charges filed against him, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5 (Timothy D. Lear v. George Zanic, et al., No. 12-2417, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6902).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act (DCMWA) provides the exclusive remedy for a university employee seeking unpaid overtime, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled April 5, dismissing the employee's claim under the District of Columbia Wage Payment and Collection Law (DCWPCL) and denying the plaintiff's motion for class certification of that claim as moot (David M. Driscoll, et al. v. George Washington University, No. 12-690, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49326).
NEW YORK - Participants who challenged the amount of benefits due under a top-hat plan were not excused from exhausting administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 3 in an unpublished summary order (Daniel C. Quigley, et al. v. Citigroup Supplemental Plan for Shearson Transfers, et al., No. 12-613-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6659).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A direct food delivery company manager had no grounds to sue his former employer alleging that he was improperly terminated after sustaining an eye injury that prevented him from being able to obtain necessary certifications, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 3 (Jeff Knutson v. Schwan' Home Service, Inc., et al., No. 12-2240, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6673).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Fannie Mae employee who alleges that he was subjected to racial bias and a hostile work environment may proceed to a jury trial with his federal claims, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 5, partially reversing a trial court's rejection of all the employee's claims (Magloire K. Placide Ayissi-Etoh v. Fannie Mae, et al., No. 11-7127, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6870).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed 2-1 on April 2 that a pension plan failed to demonstrate that the plan administrator breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by purchasing and continuing to hold mortgage-backed securities as plan assets, concluding that a decline in the market price of mortgage-backed securities generally does not give rise to a reasonable inference that it was imprudent to purchase or hold them (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, et al. v. Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc., No. 10-4497, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 6710).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal court erred in not enforcing an arbitrator"s award for a worker in a scheduling dispute because the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) directed that such matters must be arbitrated and the arbitrator "did not manifestly disregard the CBA," the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 4 (Akers National Roll Company v. United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied industrial and Service Workers International Union, and its Local Union 1138-4 Office and Technical, No. 12-1727, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6803).
NEW ORLEANS - The cost- and fee-shifting provision does not apply to mixed-motive retaliation claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 3 (Anthony Carter v. Luminant Power Services Company, No. 12-10642, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6746).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on April 3 granted a ship owner's motion to compel arbitration of a crewmember's injury-related claims under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, finding that his public policy arguments failed and that he was required to arbitrate the dispute in Panama (Javier Fredy Paucar v. MSC Crociere S.A., et al., No. 13-20235, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48312).
CINCINNATI - A terminated employee failed to make out a prima facie case of interference with benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because she did not demonstrate that she was terminated for the purpose of preventing her from receiving health benefits, the Sixth Circuit ruled April 3 in an unpublished opinion (Kristin Kepreos v. Alcon Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 11-4134, 6th Cir.).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 29 dismissed claims by participants in Pfizer Inc.'s retirement savings plans that the plan fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, finding that the participants failed to demonstrate that the plans' investment in company stock when the stock price was inflated was an abuse of discretion (In re Pfizer Inc. ERISA Litigation, No. 04 Civ. 10071, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45868).
BOSTON - A disability insurer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by offsetting a participant's payments under the plan by service-connected disability compensation under the Veterans' Benefits Act, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 29, concluding that disability benefits under the Veterans' Benefits Act are significantly different from benefits under the Social Security Act (SSA) and the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) (David Hannington v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Company, No. 12-1085, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6515).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on March 28 found that a Georgia company's contract truck drivers located in Massachusetts are actually employees under Massachusetts law (Celso Martins, et al. v. 3PD, Inc., No. 11-11313, D. Mass.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45753).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal magistrate judge on March 28 "generally denied" a motion to compel production of documents relating to more than 1 million employees of a home improvement and building supply chain accused of age discrimination and retaliation (Karen Griffin, et al. v. Home Depot USA, Inc., No. 11-2366, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44421).
ST. LOUIS - A federal court lacks federal subject matter jurisdiction to consider arbitrability arising under a severance agreement, even though the severance benefits were measured by reference to plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, because the benefits were not due under an ERISA plan, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed March 28 (Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation v. Kevin V. Schieffer, No. 12-1807, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6188).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 1 denied review of a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the limitations period for filing a legal claim provided in a disability plan bars a participant's claim for reinstatement of benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Luis Arturo Santaliz-Rios v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 12-923, U.S. Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on March 27 refused to certify under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 a class of customer service representatives (CSRs) seeking unpaid overtime for work they allege they were required to perform before and after their shifts as well as during their unpaid breaks; however, the judge granted conditional certification pursuant to 29 U.S. Code Section 216(b) (Jennifer Tommey, et al. v. Computer Sciences Corporation, No. 11-2214, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43242).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on March 27 refused to dismiss claims by a pension plan's trustees that JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association (JPM) breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by continuing to hold the certain investments in Lehman Brothers as part of a securities lending program before Lehman declared bankruptcy (The Board of Trustees of the Operating Engineers Pension Trust v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, No. 09-Civ-9333, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43746).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on March 27 granted conditional certification to a class of food production supervisors seeking unpaid overtime; however, the judge declined to invoke the doctrine of equitable tolling (Evelyn Garrison, et al. v. ConAgra Foods Packaged Foods, LLC d/b/a ConAgra Foods, No. 12-737, E.D. Ark.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43405).
ATLANTA - A Georgia man failed to prove his claims of sexual harassment, gender bias and retaliation that he filed against his former employer, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 25, affirming a trial court (Tony Faircloth v. Herkel Investments Inc., d.b.a. Aarons Sales and Lease, No. 12-13725, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 5896).
ATLANTA - An Alabama county employee who was criminally charged with improperly collecting overtime pay failed to prove claims of retaliation or bias, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 25, affirming a trial court (Donna Jones v. Greg Ward, et al., No. 12-14270, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 5897).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives sovereign immunity for law enforcement officers' acts where a claim arises out of one of six intentional torts where an officer is "acting within the scope of his office or employment," a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 27, reversing a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision (Kim Millbrook v. United States, No. 11-10362, U.S. Sup.; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 2543).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 declined to review an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a welfare benefit plan may not enforce its subrogation provision as an implied contract or in equity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against a law firm that acknowledged the validity of the provision during its representation of a plan beneficiary in a civil lawsuit but that did not agree to be bound by the provision(Treasurer, Trustees of Drury Industries, Inc. Health Care Plan and Trust v. Sean Goding, et al., No. 12-982, U.S. Sup.).
PASADENA, Calif. - A California city police officer may proceed with his claims that his pay increase was delayed by the police chief in retaliation for free speech, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority ruled March 22 (John Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre, et al., No. 11-55213, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 5731).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands federal judge on March 22 refused a landlord's request for a new trial in relation to a verdict awarded to an employee of the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (VIBIR) who claimed that mold in a building where she worked made her ill, but the judge reduced the amount of noneconomic damages awarded to her (Lorraine Smith v. Sydney Katz, No. 2010-39, D. V.I.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40804).