PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Allegations that Brown University engaged in prohibited transactions with regard to two retirement plans were dismissed July 11, but in the same ruling a Rhode Island federal judge agreed to let other claims by a purported class of plan participants and beneficiaries move forward (Diane G. Short, et al., v. Brown University, No. 17-318, D. R.I., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115065).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 11 affirmed a district court's summary judgment ruling in favor of a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, agreeing with the lower court that the death benefits can be paid only to the designated beneficiary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Emma Cehovic-Dixneuf v. Lisa Wong, No. 17-1532, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18853).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 9 refused to reconsider a Jan. 18 ruling that a former employee's claims against Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. and numerous related entities and individuals under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act could not be compelled to arbitration because they did not fall within the scope of arbitration provisions in several underlying documents that were signed by the employee (Michael F. Dorman, et al. v. Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-00285, N.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - The current and former mayors of a Texas city sued for racial discrimination by an employee are entitled to qualified immunity as the plaintiff failed to show a violation of his constitutional rights when he was unable to provide proper comparators, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 10, reversing a trial court's denial (Arthur Mitchell v. Danny Mills, et al., No. 17-40737, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18754).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 affirmed a district court's dismissal of claims against five defendants named in a class action complaint against 12 banks and their affiliates under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, agreeing with the district court's conclusion that the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries or "parties in interest" (Doris Sue Allen, et al. v. Credit Suisse Securities [USA] LLC, et al., Nos. 16-3327, 16-3571, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18756).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 9 affirmed the dismissal of a disability claimant's suit after determining that the claimant failed to provide support for the state law claims that were not preempted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Surrinder Arora v. Henry Ford Health System, et al., No. 17-2252, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18712).
RICHMOND, Va. - A former administrative assistant for a Maryland city may proceed with her racial discrimination lawsuit after a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 6 ruled that the trial court erred in finding that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a prima facie case of retaliation (Felicia Strothers v. Laurel, Maryland, No. 17-1237, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18417).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A union, acting as the employer, showed that it reached a lawful impasse with the union representing its employees in a dispute over five terminations despite a finding by the National Labor Relations Board that the employer attempted to reduce the remedy established in Transmarine Navigation Corp., 170 NLRB 389 (1968), a divided District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 6 (Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 16-1328, D.C. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18382).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals defied the U.S. Supreme Court's clear holding when it ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) doesn't preempt state law and the lack of reference to class arbitration in an employment agreement is not "silence" as defined by Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int'l Corp., 559 U.S. 662, 684 (2010), an employer argues in a petitioner brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9 (Lamps Plus, Inc., et al. v. Frank Varela, No. 17-988, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel, in the second appeal in a case over the denial of psychiatric treatment by a health plan fund, upheld a trial court's ruling on a benefits claim but vacated an order denying the plaintiff attorney fees and remanded for further consideration in light of a change in the relevant legal standard and a partial settlement (Wendy A. Tedesco v. I.B.E.W. Local 1249 Insurance Fund, et al., No. 17-3404, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18370).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 6 enforced an order by the National Labor Relations Board directing In-N-Out-Burger Inc. to drop its "no pins and stickers" rule where there was no exception made for button or insignia related to wages, hours, terms of employer, unions or other protected activities (In-N-Out Burger, Incorporated v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 17-60241, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18472).
HAMMOND, Ind. - The city of East Chicago, Ind., is permitted to withhold from discovery certain portions of a terminated employee's personnel file that are deemed attorney work product or attorney-client communications, an Indiana federal magistrate judge ruled July 5, denying the ex-employee's motion to compel in a wrongful termination suit (Terri G. Martin v. Anthony Copeland, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00059, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111756).
SEATTLE - Likening the plaintiffs in a gender bias suit against Microsoft Corp. to those in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 345 (2011), a Washington federal judge in a redacted order released July 6 denied class certification and ruled in part that the "Plaintiffs provide no convincing evidence of 'some glue' holding together the reasons behind the numerous employment decisions they challenge" (Katherine Moussouris, et al. v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 15-1483, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
TRENTON, N.J. - An arbitrator's assessment of $2.55 million in withdrawal liability following a car dealership's withdrawal from a United Auto Workers (UAW) pension fund was upheld July 3, when a New Jersey federal judge granted the plan summary judgment (Manhattan Ford Lincoln Inc. v. UAW Local 259 Pension Fund, No. 17-5076, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111969).
KANSAS CITY - The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) request for information about other businesses owned by the owners of a Missouri restaurant being investigated for wage violations is a "fishing expedition," an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 3, reversing a trial court's order holding the restaurant in civil contempt (R. Alexander Acosta v. La Piedad Corporation, No. 17-1845, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18148).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on July 3 signed off on a consent decree between franchisor G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under which the company will pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging it unlawfully placed an employee on leave solely because she was pregnant (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. G6 Hospitality, LLC, No. 16-14330, E.D. La.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Age Discrimination in Employment Act's (ADEA) Section 630(b) numerosity requirement for private employers does not carry over to public employers, two fire captains argue in their respondents' brief filed July 5 in the U.S. Supreme Court (Mount Lemmon Fire District v. John Guido, et al., No. 17-587, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 denied a petition for rehearing, refusing to reconsider a June 15 remand of a disability benefits dispute to a district court to determine whether the claimant is entitled to equitable relief based on the disability plan's failure to properly offset the claimant's disability benefits (Petar Mrkonjic v. Delta Family-Care and Survivorship Plan, et al., Nos. 16-56335 and 16-56487, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18228).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Seven teachers who resigned their union memberships filed a class complaint July 2 in a California federal court seeking the return of agency fees they have been required to pay to various unions in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, No. 16-1466 (June 27, 2018) (Scott Wilford, et al. v. National Education Association of the United States, et al., No. 18-1169, C.D. Calif.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 denied a petition for rehearing en banc filed by the appellants in a decade-long case over a bank's illegal transfer of assets from a 401(k) plan to an Employee Retirement Income Security Act pension plan (William L. Pender, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 17-1485, 4th Cir.).
HONOLULU - A health insurance provider violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it denied intermittent leave to disabled employees without first discussing reasonable accommodation options, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a class complaint filed June 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Hawaii Medical Service Association, et al., No. 18-253, D. Hawaii).
ATLANTA - A trial court misread the term "materials" in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in a valet's wage collective action and erred in granting summary judgment to the employer, a divided 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 29 (Flor Andrea Rodriguez Asalde, et al. v. First Class Parking Systems LLC, et al., No. 16-1684, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17935).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 28 reduced an award of attorney fees to a disability claimant after determining that a number of the hours billed by the claimant's attorney are not compensable because the hours were related to alleged misrepresentations made by the claimant's attorney (Diahann L. Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 09-11678, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107918).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois federal judge on June 28 granted a motion to toll the statute of limitations in a wage collective complaint against a sandwich company franchisee during the time a stay was in effect, ruling that the lead plaintiff diligently pursued his complaint and that extraordinary circumstances existed (Sebastian Lucas v. JJ's of Macomb, Inc., No. 16-3328, C.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108023).