SAN FRANCISCO - Stating that a transgender man was terminated in retaliation for his posting on an employer-rating website that criticized the employer's purported discriminatory practices the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 24 filed a complaint on the employee's behalf in California federal court, alleging violation of federal anti-discrimination statutes (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. IXL Learning Inc., No. 3:17-cv-029979, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 23 granted preliminary approval of a $3 million settlement to be paid by an industrial service company to end claims that it improperly classified directional drillers as independent contractors and failed to pay overtime wages and meal and rest period premiums (Marc McCulloch, et al. v. Baker Hughes Inteq Drilling Fluids, Inc., et al., No. 16-157, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78367).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24, considering a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, vacated a trial court's order denying enforcement of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission administrative subpoena issued as part of the investigation of a gender bias claim because the district court based its ruling on an incorrect view of the legal standard governing relevance and remanded for further proceedings (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. McLane Company, Inc., No. 13-15126, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9027).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 22 affirmed a district court's finding that a disability claimant waived his rights to contest the termination of his disability benefits because the claimant signed a waiver of all rights, including his rights to contest the termination of his disability claim, as part of a settlement with his former employer for wrongful termination claims (Thomas A. Gonda v. The Permanente Medical Group Inc., et al., No. 15-16484, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8888).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on May 22 granted final approval of a $1.75 million settlement to be paid by Coach Inc. and Coach Services Inc. (collectively, Coach) to end multiple class wage-and-hour claims, including one brought under California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Mary Lou Ayala, et al. v. Coach, Inc., et al., No. 14-2031, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77652).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new fiduciary duty rule regarding investment advice will take effect June 9, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said in a May 23 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal.
MILWAUKEE - Plaintiffs alleging that they were undercompensated by their health plan's systemic miscalculation of reasonable out-of-network charges may bring potentially duplicative claims while the court works out the injuries and appropriate remedies, a federal judge in Wisconsin held May 22 (Brenten George and Denise Valente-McGee v. CNH Health & Welfare Benefit Plan, et al., No. 16-1678, E.D. Wis., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77437).
NEW YORK - In a suit brought by two police officers who were directed to undergo treatment for alcoholism, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 22 certified a question to the New York Court of Appeals to decide whether sections of the New York City Administrative Code preclude an individual from bringing a disability bias claims solely based on a perception of untreated alcoholism (Kathleen Makinen, et al. v. City of New York, et al., No. 16-973, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8868).
NEW ORLEANS - An employer had no reasonable basis to remove to federal court counterclaims filed by its employer, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 22, vacating a trial court's order and remanding for reconsideration of attorney fees for the employee (Renegade Swish, L.L.C. v. Emily A. Wright, No. 16-11152, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8916).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 18 denied a motion to dismiss and granted a motion to transfer New York state overtime claims filed by pet store assistant managers to a California federal court where another case is pending alleging overtime claims under federal law (Deserie Michel, et al. v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc., et al., No. 16-1838, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75892).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on May 19 granted final approval of a $4.5 million settlement to be paid by a food production company to end current and former employees' claims that they were denied pay for certain activities, including donning and doffing (Luis Aguilar, et al. v. Wawona Frozen Foods, et al., No. 15-93, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76751).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 18 held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not completely preempt an "out-of-network" health care provider's promissory estoppel claim against a health insurer where the provider did not receive a valid assignment for payment under the health care plan and received an independent promise from the insurer that he would be paid for certain medical services provided to the insured, saying that any legal duty the insurer has to reimburse the provider is independent and distinct from its obligations under the patient's plan (McCulloch Orthopaedic Surgical Services PLLC a/k/a Dr. Kenneth E. McCulloch v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 15-2150, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8694).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 19 affirmed dismissal of a 61-year-old dentist's claims of age discrimination and violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that she presented no direct evidence of age discrimination or intentional interference with her entitlement to ERISA-protected benefits (Mikele L. Boyle, D.M.D. v. Penn Dental Medicine, et al., No. 160-3621, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8799).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 19 affirmed a Michigan federal judge's dismissal of denial of benefits and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Ford Motor Co. and its retirement plan, saying it was not arbitrary and capricious for Ford to set a period to elect lump-sum distribution of retirement benefits that paid a widow $463,254.78 less in survivor benefits (Jennifer Strang v. Ford Motor Company General Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-2090, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8849).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 22 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by disability plan administrators claiming that a district court and the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals failed to follow prior decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in disability insurance cases when determining that a claimant's benefits claim was "deemed denied" (Sun Life and Health Insurance Co., et al. v. Janet Solnin, No. 16-1238, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - The majority of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 18 affirmed a district court's judgment of more than $580,000 in past disability benefits in favor of a disability claimant after determining that the plan did not specify any type of job the claimant is capable of performing (Cathleen Kennedy v. The Lilly Extended Disability Plan, No. 16-2314, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8738).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 17 sued Ruby Tuesday Inc. in Florida federal court, alleging that it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by failing to hire a man for a vacant general manager position at its Boca Raton, Fla., location because of his age (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ruby Tuesday Inc., No. 0:17-cv-60970, S.D. N.Y.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on May 17 found that a professional liability insurer has a duty to defend two out of three insureds against underlying claims that they operated as a cartel and colluded to fix standard au pair wages (Colony Insurance Co. v. Expert Group International Inc., et al., No.15-02499, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75073).
PHILADELPHIA - Two wage claims brought by a proposed class of nursing assistants don't depend on disputed interpretations of provisions in their collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 18, upholding a denial of arbitration (Tymeco Jones, et al. v. John Does 1-10, et al., No. 16-1101, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8695).
BAY CITY, Mich. - If an Indian tribe prevails on its claim that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden fees and pursues prejudgment interest, its expert on calculating the interest amount can offer his analysis at trial, a Michigan federal judge ruled May 16, while also blocking the tribe's request for discovery in the interest rate dispute (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56562).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on May 16 remanded a class suit accusing Costco Wholesale Corp. of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to provide a full and correct disclosure when requesting authorization to conduct background checks of job applicants, finding that a lack of subject matter jurisdiction warranted sending it back to state court and not dismissing it (Julius Terrell v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 16-1415, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74567).
ATLANTA - In a case of first impression, a three-judge 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 16 that a corrugated packaging and paper company could not sue a multiemployer pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the statute does not allow employers to sue over certain pension fund changes (WestRock RKT Co. v. Pace Industry Union-Management Pension Fund, et al., No. 16-16443, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8569).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 11 affirmed a district court's ruling after determining that a long-term disability (LTD) claim was properly denied because the claimant failed to provide any objective medical findings in support of the claim for benefits (Tricia Z. Cooper v. Intel Corporation Long Term Disability Plan, No. 14-35745, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 8380).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on May 11 granted preliminary approval of a $2 million settlement proposed by Costco Wholesale Corp. to end truck drivers' wage claims, less than a month after the same judge rejected the proposed settlement for the second time; however, the judge noted that the class counsel has undermined its credibility (Douglas Thompson, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-2778, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72389).
SAN DIEGO - A class action waiver that was part of the arbitration agreement between the owner of Papa John's Pizza franchises and an employee who filed a class complaint is invalid because it precludes the employee from engaging in at least one of the three types of concerted actions the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects, a California federal judge ruled May 11 (Peter Ross v. P.J. Pizza San Diego, LLC, et al., No. 16-2330, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72411).