DETROIT - The Michigan Court of Appeals on July 11 determined that a municipal liability insurer has no duty to defend a police officer against an underlying federal civil rights lawsuit arising from the disappearance and death of the police officer's cousin, reversing a lower court (Timothy Matouk v Michigan Municipal League Liability & Property Pool, No. 332482, Mich. App., 2017 Mich. App. LEXIS 1106).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A man who claims that J.P. Morgan Chase Co. (JPMC) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act by denying his request for parental leave on the ground that only women can be primary caregivers for children on June 14 filed a charge asking the Ohio Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate his allegations on a classwide basis.
CHICAGO - A woman suing Chicago police after being wrongly convicted of murdering her young son can present expert testimony that police erred in giving her a lie detector test during a lengthy interrogation and that her responses to the test were truthful, despite the police labeling the test results as "inconclusive," an Illinois federal judge ruled May 31 (Nicole Harris v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 14-4391, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82698).
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court on May 26 found that neither an insurer nor its insureds have a unilateral right to specify the format of discovery under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 196.4, Texas R. Civ. P. 196.4, denying the insurer's request for mandamus relief without prejudice in a dispute over the discovery submission form for electronically stored information (ESI) (In re State Farm Lloyds, Nos. 15-0903 and 15-0905, Texas Sup., 2017 Tex. LEXIS 482).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 5 affirmed rulings, including determinations on expert witnesses, during a trial in which a jury acquitted Florida police officers of civil rights violations in the shooting death of a man and wounding of a woman in the man's car (Michael Knight, et al. v. Miami-Dade County, et al., No. 15-10687, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8036).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on May 2 refused to certify a class of disabled persons suing a retailer with stores in numerous states for failing to make the stores fully accessible to individuals who required mobility devices, finding that the plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the class meets all the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Equal Rights Center, et al. v. Kohl's Corporation, et al., No. 14-8259, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66390).
NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a 7-7 vote on April 28 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in an appeal by Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC and Tracker Marine Retail LLC (collectively, Bass Pro) that the court notes is one of "first impression" in that circuit, concerning whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can bring a "pattern or practice" case under Sections 706 and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 asserting the violation of the rights of 50,000 job applicants (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-20078, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7628).
CHICAGO - The en banc Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed "to take a fresh look" at bias on the basis of a person's sexual orientation and issued a divided opinion on April 4 in which the majority ruled that that type of discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, No. 15-1720, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5839).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on March 31 dismissed a lawsuit filed by a senior citizen who sought damages and an order preventing a property foreclosure, finding that her vague civil rights allegations did not support federal jurisdiction (Yvonne Roundtree v. Anthony Onwaunibe, et al., No. 16-4014, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48667).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 27 reinstated a gay employee's bias claim, finding that while it can't reconsider the ruling in Simonton v. Runyon, 232 F.3d 33 (2d Cir. 2000), which held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it does find that the employee plausibly alleges a gender-stereotyping claim cognizable under Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989) (Matthew Christiansen v. Omnicom Group, Incorporated, et al., No. 16-748, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5278).
ATLANTA - Job discrimination based on an individual's gender nonconformity is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but discrimination based on sexual orientation is not, a divided 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 10 (Jameka K. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, et al., No. 15-15234, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4301).
DETROIT - The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) on Feb. 17 issued a report in which it said the "disparate response" to the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Mich., was the result of "systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and the suburban area surrounding it" and said the state should establish a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" to deal with racial discrimination.
MIAMI - A former law enforcement officer's privacy claims under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and related civil rights claims were properly dismissed as barred by the statute of limitations, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 9, finding that the claims accrued on the date that the purported violations occurred (Shaun Foudy, et al. v. Indian River County Sheriff's Office, et al., No. 15-14646, 15-14659 and 15-15015, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 369)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 9 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a Florida corporation asking it to review a decision by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that reversed a trial court's partial summary judgment ruling for the corporation on claims brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Arizona Civil Rights Division on behalf of a class of female prison workers who allege gender discrimination and harassment, finding that the two agencies sufficiently conciliated their claims (The Geo Group, Inc. v. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al., No. 16-302, U.S. Sup.; 2017 U.S. LEXIS 294).
SELMA, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Nov. 18 denied a Prudential Insurance Co. insured's motion to remand to state court an action alleging that the insured failed to pay any policy benefits, saying that his state law claims are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which authorizes a plan participant or beneficiary to bring a civil suit "to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future benefits under the terms of the plan" (Marion McIntosh v. Prudential Insurance Co., No. 16-0523, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159869).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Three users of Facebook Inc. filed a putative class action against the social networking giant in California federal court Nov. 3, alleging that its online advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by permitting advertisers to prevent members of certain demographics from seeing ads related to housing or employment opportunities (Suzanne-Juliette Mobley, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-06440, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - Failing to apply for a job with a replacement subcontractor does not doom retaliation claims filed against that employer by two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 19 (Shannon Volling, et al. v. Kurtz Paramedic Services, Inc., No. 15-3572, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18816).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a jewelry company seeking review of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel's ruling that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, courts may review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission conducted an investigation, not whether the investigation was sufficient (Sterling Jewelers, Inc. v. EEOC, No. 15-1329, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 4580).
CHICAGO - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it's presently written does not bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 28, noting that while the panel does not condone such discrimination, it cannot enforce something that does not exist (Kimberly Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, South Bend, No. 15-1720, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13746).
NEW ORLEANS - A district court did not err when it ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may proceed with its claims alleging a "pattern or practice" of discrimination by an employer in its hiring practices under Sections 706 and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17, rejecting the employer's claim that such claims may be brought only for equitable relief and only under Section 707 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-20078, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11031).