WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The state's Wrongful Death Act does not permit a widow's wrongful death loss of consortium claim arising from asbestos exposure occurring before the couple's marriage, a divided Florida court held Feb. 22 (Janis Kelly, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. 4D15-4666, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2413).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Baltimore employee failed to show that the city's requirement that employees submit proof of marriage for their spouses to be eligible for health insurance coverage violates state or federal law, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 4, upholding a trial court's dismissal of an employee's complaint (Adris Abdus-Shahid, et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, No. 15-2181, 4th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 118).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Citing public interest, Tennessee's governor and other officials, who were defendants in one of the cases that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling in June 2015, on Jan. 8 moved to unseal the plaintiffs' counsel's time entries, asserting that they are protected by neither attorney-client privilege nor the work product doctrine (Valeria Tanco, et al. v. William Edward "Bill" Haslam, et al., No. 3:13-cv-01159, M.D. Tenn.).
WAUKESHA, Wis. - A trial court properly relied on testimony of a business valuation expert to conclude that a failure to pay tax liabilities did not constitute marital waste, a Wisconsin appeals panel affirmed Oct. 28 (In re the marriage of: Rebecca Lynn Sternat v. Shawn William Sternat, No. 2014AP2844, Wis. App., Dist. 2; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 776).
BOSTON - A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employee filed a class complaint on July 14 in Massachusetts federal court accusing the retailer of unlawfully depriving health benefits to the spouses of employees who are in same-sex marriages (Jacqueline A. Cote, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 15-12945, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO - An asbestos defendant owed no duty under Illinois law to a woman who married a man after his alleged asbestos exposure, a federal judge held in dismissing her loss of consortium claim on July 14 (Kenneth D. Smith Jr. and Diane Smith v. Crane Co., et al., No. 13-7411, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95831).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on June 20 announced a proposed ruled expanding the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they reside. The expansion was proposed in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675, 186 L. Ed. 2d 808 ), in which the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted "marriage" and "spouse" to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.
NEWARK, N.J. - There is no question that a former priest had knowledge of a "counseling incident" at the time an insurance policy began, a New Jersey federal judge ruled May 29, concluding that the policy's "prior acts" provision fails to provide coverage for a parishioner's claims that the priest had an irreconcilable conflict of interest in providing marriage counseling because he was having an affair with the parishioner's wife (Henry Drew and Michael Doerr v. Church Mutual Insurance Co., No. 13-cv-01906 [JLL][MAH], D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73562).
HARRISONBURG, Va. - A Virginia federal judge on Jan. 31 certified a class of people challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage and seeking to end the state's refusal to recognize marriages that same-sex couples have legally entered elsewhere (Joanne Harris, et al. v. Janet M. Rainey, et al., No. 13-77, W.D. Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12801).
HARRISONBURG, Va. - Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a class complaint in Virginia federal court on Aug. 1, seeking to end the ban same-sex marriage in Virigina and to end the state's refusal to recognize marriages that same-sex couples have legally entered elsewhere (Joanne Harris, et al. v. Robert F. McDonnell, et al., No. 13-77, W.D. Va.).
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).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Proponents of California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage did not have standing to appeal a ruling finding the ballot initiative unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 ruling (Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin M. Perry, et al., No. 12-144, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 struck down as unconstitutional Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife for purposes of all federal statutes. The decision means that same-sex couples married in states that recognize same-sex marriage as legal cannot be denied federal benefits under federal laws in which marital or spousal status is addressed (United States v. Edith Windsor, executor of the estate of Thea Spyer, No. 12-307, U.S. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A pension plan administrator did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by concluding that a widow did not qualify for widow's benefits because she had not been married to the plan participant for one year before his death, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed May 22 in an unpublished opinion (Mary Kern v. Chrysler UAW Pension, No. 12-2049, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10596).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 25 affirmed the revocation of a federal employee's security clearance following his marriage, finding that it lacks jurisdiction to review the decision (Mahmoud M. Hegab v. Letitia A. Long, et al., No. 12-1182, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 8411).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on April 19 provisionally certified a class complaint challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and alleging that it prevents homosexual immigrants from receiving certain immigration benefits available to immigrants in heterosexual marriages (Martin R. Aranas, et al. v. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, et al., No. 12-1137, C.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - The Chapter 7 trustee in the bankruptcy case of Peregrine Financial Group Inc. on Jan. 25 filed an adversary complaint against Connie J. Wasendorf, the former wife of Peregrine CEO Russell Wasendorf Sr., seeking to recover more than $2.46 million in transfers that were part of the agreement the Wasendorfs reached regarding the dissolution of their marriage before the bankruptcy (Ira Bodenstein v. Connie J. Wasendorf $(In Re: Peregrine Financial Group Inc.$), No. 12-27488, Chapter 7, N.D. Ill. Bkcy.).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on April 3 granted partial summary judgment against the wife of a painter asserting long-latency injuries for benzene exposure, saying loss-of-consortium claims may not be asserted when the underlying injury existed before the relationship (Craig Moore, et al. BASF Corporation, et al., No. 11-1001 E.D. La.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46748).