Mealey's Labor & Employment - Federal Judge Expands Injunction To Cover ACA Insurers, Administrators

OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Dec. 3 modified an order enjoining the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate, expanding it to prevent the government from interfering with insurers or third-party administrators (The Catholic Benefits...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Federal Judge Rejects 'Dual Persona,' Finds Complete Employer Immunity

SEATTLE - An injury arising from potential exposures both as a direct employee and as a contractor is indivisible, and the employer is immune under Washington state law, a federal judge held in rejecting plaintiffs' "dual persona" argument on Dec. 2 (Alan McMann and Donna McMann v. Air...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Plan Sponsor Is Not Proper Defendant In Claimant's Suit, Ala. Federal Judge Says

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Dec. 2 dismissed a disability claimant's allegations against her employer because the employer is the plan sponsor and not subject to liability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Susan Saunders v. Liberty Life Assurance Company...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 9th Circuit: Worker Was Fired For Threats, Not Accommodation Request

SAN FRANCISCO - An employee who was terminated after requesting an accommodation for his hearing impairment failed to prove that his employer's proffered reason - a long history of making threats to co-workers - was pretextual, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 2 (Michael P. Curley...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 8th Circuit: Employee Failed To Prove Harassment, Constructive Discharge

ST. LOUIS - An employee who retired at 55, citing health issues, failed to prove his claims of constructive discharge, harassment and bias, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 2 (Donald Rickard v. Swedish Match North America, Inc., No. 13-3729, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 22741).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Estate Can Sue Insurer, But Exclusion Prevents It From Collecting $9.5M Judgment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Answering three certified questions from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the affirmative, the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4 found that although the estate of a deceased employee of an insured has standing to bring a breach of contract lawsuit against the insured's...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Plan Misinterpreted Change- Of-Control Provision, 2nd Circuit Rules

NEW YORK - A plan sponsor breached its obligations under a supplemental retirement plan by terminating monthly benefits and paying a lump sum to the plan participants pursuant to a change-in-control provision, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering the plan to reinstate the monthly...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 10th Circuit: Denial Under Plan Proper Despite Award Of Social Security Benefits

DENVER - A disability insurer did not act arbitrarily or capriciously by terminating benefits under the any-reasonable-occupation disability standard of a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, despite a contrary determination by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under the...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 9th Circuit Reverses $2.48 Million Verdict In Age Bias Suit, Orders New Trial

PASADENA, Calif. - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 3 reversed a nearly $2.48 million jury verdict for a warehouse worker who alleges age discrimination, finding several errors that necessitate a new trial (Alfonso W. January v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-56171,...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 11th Circuit Affirms Ruling Compelling Arbitration Of Claims Against Cruise Line

ATLANTA - After finding that all jurisdictional prerequisites were met and that a seaman's claims against his employer fell within the scope of a collective bargaining agreement, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 affirmed a court's ruling compelling arbitration under Italian law...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - U.S. High Court: Security Screening Time Is Not Compensable

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The time warehouse workers spend waiting to undergo and actually undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled Dec. 9 (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, et al., No. 13-433, U.S. Sup.; 2014...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 5th Circuit: City Worker Failed To Prove Bias, Retaliation Claims

NEW ORLEANS - A welder failed to prove that his former employer subjected him to harassment and discrimination based on his race or retaliated against him based on his complaints, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 4, upholding a trial court's ruling (Warren R. Watkins v. Recreation...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - No Coverage For Injuries Arising From Hay Wagon Accident, 6th Circuit Affirms

CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 8 found that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in exercising jurisdiction over a declaratory judgment lawsuit, affirming the lower court's ruling that a hay wagon driver's injury is not covered under a commercial general...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 7th Circuit: Officer Owed Full Longevity Pay Despite Military Service

CHICAGO - An Indiana police officer who was paid only a small portion of his longevity benefit for the preceding year due to time away for military service is owed his full payment under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - 3rd Circuit: Employee's Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim Must Be Arbitrated

PHILADELPHIA - An employee's claim of whistle-blower retaliation under the Dodd-Frank Act is subject to arbitration, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 8, upholding a trial court ruling (Boris Khazin v. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation, et al., No. 14-1689, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - En Banc 9th Circuit Vacates Panel's Reduction Of Punitive Damages Award

SEATTLE - The en banc Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 10 upheld a $300,000 punitive damages verdict in a sexual harassment case despite the fact that only nominal damages were awarded, finding that the verdict did not violate due process (State of Arizona, et al. v. ASARCO LLC, No. 11-17484...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Parties In Pro-Life Group's Birth-Control Mandate Challenge Brief Court On Priests

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A pro-life employer and the government filed supplemental briefs on Dec. 10 in the District of Columbia federal court on the impact of a recent District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate (March...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Split NLRB Grants Employees A Limited Right To Send Personal Emails At Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board majority on Dec. 11 overruled its divided 2007 decision in Register Guard (351 NLRB 1110) to the extent that it holds that employees can have no statutory right to use their employer's email systems for personal use and granted limited statutory...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Federal Judge Refuses To Grant New Trial On Worker's Mold Claims

ST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - A Virgin Islands federal judge on Dec. 11 found that the court did not err when it previously refused to allow an internal revenue worker's experts to testify on causation in relation to her alleged mold-related injuries and refused to grant her a new trial (Lorraine...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Solicitor General View Sought Regarding ERISA Preemption Of State Database Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 15 invited the solicitor general to weigh in on whether the court should grant review of a divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts Vermont's health care data collection law as applied...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Louisiana Court Reinstates Asbestos Case Based On 5 Days Of Exposure

NEW ORLEANS - Even five days of alleged asbestos exposure constitute a potential substantial cause of a man's asbestosis, a Louisiana appeals court panel held Dec. 10 in reversing summary judgment for an employer (Edward Anthony Alberes, et al. v. Anco Insulations Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-1549,...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - California Panel Affirms Denial Of Class Certification In Wage-And-Hour Suit

SAN DIEGO - A California appellate panel on Dec. 10 upheld a trial court's denial of certification to two classes of workers who allege that they were denied lawfully owed breaks, required to perform work off the clock and subjected to improper rounding of work time (Emerita V. Chavez, et al. v....

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Pennsylvania Federal Judge Grants Limited Conditional Certification In Wage Suit

PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Dec. 11 granted conditional certification in a wage suit filed by a home health care aide but limited the class to those individuals within Pennsylvania, finding that the lead plaintiff failed to produce evidence supporting a nationwide class (Markisha Gordon...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Split Pa. High Court Upholds Certification Of, Verdict For Wal-Mart Worker Class

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 15 rejected a claim of "trial by formula" and upheld the certification of 187,979 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Sam's Club (collectively, Wal-Mart) workers who brought a wage-and-hour suit and a more than $187 million award for those...

Mealey's Labor & Employment - New Jersey Federal Magistrate Judge Approves $250,000 Travel Time Settlement

NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal magistrate judge on Dec. 12 granted final approval of a $250,000 settlement of a class complaint accusing a New Jersey employer of failing to pay for travel time and the correct prevailing wage rate (John Mulroy, et al. v. National Water Main Cleaning Company of New...