CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 7 reversed a district court's denial of class certification to participants in 401(k) plans on their claims that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, et al., No. 12-3736, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16376).
CINCINNATI - A health plan administrator did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by interpreting the coordination of benefits (COB) provision of the plan to deny payment of benefits for medical expenses that were paid by an individual automobile insurance policy, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 8 (Richard Barron, Jr. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 12-2351, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16583).
NEW YORK - Under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (133 S. Ct. 2304 ), an employee cannot invalidate a class action waiver provision in an arbitration agreement when the waiver removed the financial incentive for her to pursue a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 9 (Stephanie Sutherland, et al. v. Ernst & Young LLP, No. 12-304, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16513).
NEW YORK - A New York man who worked as an unpaid volunteer at the Major League Baseball (MLB) 2013 All-Star FanFest filed a class complaint on Aug. 7, seeking wages for the thousands of unpaid volunteers (John Chen, et al. v. Major League Baseball, et al., No. 13-5494, S.D. N.Y.).
ATLANTA - At least two, and possibly three, rounds of layoffs by a casino violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act of 1988 (WARN Act), the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 5 (Mayra Sides, et al. v. Macon County Greyhound Park, Inc. a.k.a. Victoryland, No. 12-14673, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16123).
CINCINNATI - An employment agreement that waives an employee's rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or the Equal Pay Act can't be upheld, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 6 (Margaret Boaz v. FedEx Customer Information Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-5319, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16198).
NEW YORK - An insurance program salesperson failed to prove that she was denied overtime in violation of federal and state laws, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 5 (Ramona Dejesus v. HF Management Services, LLC, No. 12-4565, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16105).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal magistrate judge on Aug. 5 partially granted and partially denied summary judgment motions made by both parties in a health care payment dispute between a health care provider and a health insurer and plan administrator (Robert Metcalf v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, et al., No. 11-1305, D. Ore.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109641).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 denied a request for attorney fees under the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S. Code Section 5596, and Federal Circuit Rule 47.7, finding that the court lacks the statutory authority to make such an award under the Back Pay Act to employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Jane L. Gallo v. Department of Transportation, No. 2011-3094, Fed. Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16085).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 1 amended a March 21 opinion that ruled that revenue sharing between mutual funds and a 401(k) plan's administrative service provider did not violate the plan or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, explaining the appropriate standard of review (Glenn Tibble, et al. v. Edison International, et al., Nos. 10-56406, 10-56415, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16050).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 denied a motion for summary judgment made by a health insurer and plan provider in a care denial of benefits suit (Debra L. Rubin v. AmeriHealth Administrators Inc., et al., No. 12-3719, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108579).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 2 granted an interlocutory appeal filed by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and vacated class certification in a dispute over extended warranty plans, ordering that certification must be considered once more in light of a recent decision exploring Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23's class definition, ascertainabilty and numerosity requirements (William Hayes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 12-2522, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15959).
BOSTON - A split First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 1 partially reinstated wage claims against a health care facilities operator and its former president and reopened the possibility of the case proceeding on behalf of a class after vacating the order striking the class and collective allegations (Elizabeth Manning, et al. v. Boston Medical Center Corporation, et al., Nos. 12-1573, 12-1653, 1st Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16025).
ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands federal judge on Aug. 1 refused to reconsider a decision that denied summary judgment in favor of a group of employees who alleged that they suffered injuries as a result of mold exposure at work, finding that they could not rely on a jury verdict in an associated case to support their breach of duty claims against a real estate agent (Barbara Richards, et al. v. Sydney Katz, et al., No. 2009-23, D. Virgin Islands; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107905).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 1 granted summary judgment in favor of health insurers in a reimbursement dispute and denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Premier Health Center, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group, et al., No. 11-425, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108041).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 2 denied class certification and ruled that each female in the gender bias complaint against Wal-Mart that began more than a decade ago must pursue her claims individually (Betty Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 01-2252, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109106).
ST. LOUIS - The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of a truck, not the actual weight, is what is to be used to determine the driver's eligibility for overtime, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (Birdell McCall, et al. v. Disabled American Veterans, et al., No. 12-3011, 8th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15622).
NEW ORLEANS - Two former employees of the owner and operator of an apartment complex failed to show that one of the employees was improperly fired due to his disability or that the other employee was improperly fired for helping hire the disabled worker, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (John Gober v. Frankel Family Trust, et al., Alissa Moore v. Frankel Family Trust, et al., No. 13-50035, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15782).
RICHMOND, Va. - A poultry-processing-facility employee failed to prove age discrimination because he was unable to show that a proposed reassignment did not satisfy the threshold Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) requirement of an adverse employment action, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31 (James M. Darnell v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 13-1011, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15677).
NEWARK, N.J. - Three chiropractors pursuing class claims against a health insurer's "bundling" of purportedly distinct claims survived dismissal on July 31, with a New Jersey federal judge finding that they had satisfied standing and pleading requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and state law (Alphonse A. DeMaria, D.C., et al. v. Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., et al., No. 11-7298, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107422).
PHILADELPHIA - A service provider did not breach its fiduciary duties or engage in prohibited transactions in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by allegedly charging excessive fees for reviewing domestic relations orders (DROs) because it was not an ERISA fiduciary when it negotiated its fee, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 29 in an unpublished opinion (Nicholas Danza v. Fidelity Management Trust Company, et al., No. 12-3497, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15751).
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional requires recognition of a valid Canadian same-sex marriage for purposes of determining the proper distribution of survivor benefits under a profit-sharing plan that is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled July 29 (Cozen O'Connor, P.C. v. Jennifer J. Tobits, et al., No. 11-00045, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105507).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on July 29 granted preliminary approval to a $3 million settlement of claims by Flagstar Bancorp Inc. 401(k) plan participants that the plan fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by offering company stock as an investment option (Debra Griffin, et al. v. Flagstar Bancorp, Inc., et al., No. 2:10-cv-10610, E.D. Mich.).
CHICAGO - An employee who was fired after taking several weeks of leave to travel abroad to bury his father may proceed with his religious bias suit, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 31, reversing a trial court's grant of summary judgment to the employer (Sikiru Adeyeye v. Heartland Sweeteners, LLC, No. 12-3820, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15610).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Ohio on July 29 calculated the prejudgment interest rate for retirees who prevailed on their claims that a cash-balance pension plan miscalculated their lump-sum payments by failing to apply a whipsaw calculation (William J. Schumacher v. AK Steel Corporation Retirement Accumulation Pension Plan, et al., No. 09-794, S.D. Ohio; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105761).