RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 reinstated a sexual harassment suit filed by a temporary factory employee, opining that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for joint employer liability and that when the "hybrid" test is properly applied to the worker's suit, both the factory and the temp agency were the worker's employers (Brenda Butler v. Drive Automotive Industries of America, Incorporated, et al., No. 14-1348, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12188).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge found June 30 that although a civil rights lawyer's alleged conduct in representing a client is, at a minimum, abhorrent, a $250,480 default judgment against the lawyer cannot be recovered under his legal malpractice insurance policy (Michael Petersen v. Arch Insurance Co., No. 15-00832, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85183).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on June 30 dismissed a former inmate's civil rights action which claimed a prison's drinking water was contaminated. The judge said that the plaintiff failed to state a claim (Rhea Michelle Walker v. Camp Brighton Prison, No. 15-12153, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84529).
NEW YORK - A trial court erred when it ruled that an employee's failure to exhaust administrative remedies deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction over the employee's Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claims, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 19 (Cole Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, et al., No. 12-336, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10339).
PASADENA, Calif. - A filing date of a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 action was the date it was delivered to the court clerk, not the date the filing fee was ultimately paid, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 4, reversing a trial court's finding that a former restaurant cook's filing was untimely (Maria Escobedo v. Applebees, et al., No. 12-16244, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9313).
DENVER - Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's requirement that a claimant verify the charges against an employer is a nonjurisdictional matter, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 27 (Sabreen Gad v. Kansas State University, No. 14-3050, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8782).
ATLANTA - A longshoreman failed to prove his Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 retaliation claims, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4, upholding a trial court's decision (Robert Williams v. Georgia Stevedore Association, Inc., et al., No. 14-11790, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7334).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Courts have a limited authority to review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has met its duty under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to attempt conciliation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 29 in a unanimous opinion that vacated a decision by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 13-1019, U.S. Sup.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 9 granted a joint motion for approval of a consent decree under which a Florida clinic will pay $150,000 to settle claims brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it unlawfully terminated a transgender employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A., No. 14-2421, M.D. Fla.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 20 upheld the rejection of a class complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that an employer's use of background checks violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after determining that the EEOC's expert testimony was unreliable (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Freeman, No. 13-2365, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2592).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 3 refused to reconsider an earlier ruling that dismissed a wrongfully convicted criminal's claim that he relied on insurers' false statements when he settled an underlying civil rights case against a city and its police detective (Arrowood Indemnity Co., f/k/a Royal Indemnity Co. v. The City of Warren, Michigan, et al., No. 13-13938, E.D. Mich., Southern Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12304).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 upheld a successor liability decision, as well as a tax component award, in a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 suit brought by a restaurant worker who was subjected to a racist incident and then fired after complaining about it (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Northern Star Hospitality, Inc., d/b/a Sparx Restaurant, et al., No. 14-1660, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1465).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 upheld a jury verdict for two workers who alleged Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violations after they were subjected to a work event, scheduled during a Texas holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery, during which the company brought in a gorilla singing telegram (James L. Henry, et al. v. CorpCar Services Houston, Limited, et al., No. 13-20744, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1208).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on Jan. 15 conditionally certified an Equal Pay Act (EPA) collective claim filed by a former lab specialist who accuses her former employers of gender discrimination; however, the judge dismissed the plaintiff's Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claim with prejudice (Danielle Ailts Campeau, et al. v. NeuroScience Labs Inc., et al., No. 14-324, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4813).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, must first attempt to resolve a claim of bias against a private employer through conciliation before filing suit, the court may conduct a "modest inquiry" into whether that portion of the statue was violated, the attorney representing Mach Mining LLC told the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments on Jan. 13 (Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 13-1019, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge did not err in refusing to strike a right of publicity complaint as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) under California's anti-SLAPP statute, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 6 (Michael E. Davis, et al. v. Electronic Arts Inc., No. 12-15737, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 154).
NEW BERN, N.C. - Environmental groups alleging that the previous and current owners of a swine farm violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by illegally disposing of animal waste have the right to a jury trial to determine the defendants' liability for civil penalties, a federal judge in North Carolina held Dec. 29 (North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, et al. v. Donald Taylor, et al., No. 12-CV-154-D, E.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177773).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge on Oct. 30 found that requests for records from a sheriff's department regarding employee accommodation requests related to pregnancies and temporary medical conditions are reasonable and relevant to a civil rights discrimination lawsuit, granting the federal government's motion to compel (United States of America v. Niagara Co., New York, No. 1:13-cv-00503, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154232).
ATLANTA - Finding no reversible error, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 21 upheld a trial court's denial of an employee's motion to vacate and/or modify an arbitration award that denied her claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related claims brought against her former employer (Ludema Cruz Dorward v. Macy's Inc., d.b.a. Macy's Florida Stores, LLC, No. 13-14783, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20097).
ALBANY, Ga. - Expert witnesses proffered by both the plaintiff and defendant in a civil rights, excessive force case will be permitted to testify, a Georgia federal judge ruled Oct. 14, denying in part the parties' respective motions to strike and exclude (Jonathan Collins v. Demetrius Sheppard, et al., No. 1:13-cv-00031, M.D. Ga.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145973).
CHICAGO - A legal malpractice insurance policy's prior knowledge exclusion precludes coverage for an underlying lawsuit against a law firm insured arising from its representation of a client in a civil rights lawsuit, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 19 (Maria Cardenas v. Twin City Fire Insurance Co., No. 13-8236, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132420).