SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal jury returned a verdict on June 20 against Trans Union LLC in a class action accusing the credit-reporting agency of failing to provide proper disclosures and failing to ensure the maximum accuracy on its credit reports for individuals with names potentially matching the names of individuals on the U.S. government's list of terrorists and drug traffickers and individuals involved in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (Sergio L. Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 12-632, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 15 granted class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking reprocessing of mental health insurance claims after their insurer allegedly imposed overly strict definitions of medically necessary care in contravention of the plans' terms (Charles Des Roches, et al. v. California Physicians' Service, et al., No. 16-2848, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92573).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a pension fund had no standing to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against its investment adviser for continuing to recommend investment in a Ponzi scheme when the adviser had privately expressed significant doubts about the continued prudence of that investment vehicle (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 16-1377, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States filed an amicus curiae brief on June 16 in the U.S. Supreme Court fully supporting the employers in three consolidated appeals challenging the barring of class or collective action waivers in employment agreements, noting that it was changing its position as it had previously filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board in one of the cases, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup. (Epic Systems Corp. v. Jacob Lewis, No. 16-285, Ernst & Young, et al. v. Stephen Morris, et al., No. 16-300, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 14 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability benefits because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's termination of benefits (Lashondra Davis v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-10895, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10576).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 15 affirmed summary judgment for Johnson Controls Inc. in an Employee Income Retirement Act lawsuit, saying that language in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and insurance booklets indicates that the company never intended for retirees' health insurance benefits to vest (William Grove Sr., et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 16-2178, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10615).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Macy's Inc., seeking a ruling on "[w]hether the National Labor Relations Board must explain the legal significance of factual distinctions between included and excluded employees when deciding if a petitioned-for 'unit [is] appropriate for collective bargaining'" (Macy's Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 16-1016, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on June 15 granted the Illinois Department of Human Services' motion for summary judgment in an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) lawsuit, saying the plaintiff failed to show that any of the claims she alleged constituted a materially adverse employment action (Diannah Evans v. Illinois Department of Human Services, No. 15-cv-4098, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91908).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AARP and the AARP Foundation on June 15 filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the high court to review an "errant" Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals holding that no damages beyond lost wages are available in retaliation cases under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), saying the appeals panel's reasoning runs counter to the underlying logic of many of the high court's opinions (Susan L. Vaughan v. Anderson Regional Medical Center, No. 16-1386, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 12 affirmed a district court's ruling that the termination of a disability claim was reasonable based on the plan's mental health coverage limitation and the medical evidence considered by the disability insurer (Kathee A. Colman v. American International Group Inc. Group Benefit Plan, et al., No. 15-15903, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10394).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a proposed settlement of class action claims seeking penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) did not leave the class members with a clear option for asserting their non-PAGA claims, a California federal judge on June 12 denied a joint motion for approval of the agreement (David Vargas v. Central Freight Lines Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-00507, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90070).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A woman who alleges that her age was the motivating factor in a decision to not renew her employment contract has established a prima facie case of age discrimination, a Florida federal judge ruled June 12, finding that genuine issues of fact precluded granting her former employer's motion for summary judgment (Carmel Saxon v. Seminole County Public Schools, No. 6:15-cv-01854, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89663).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 13 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to defendants in a case where a plaintiff sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act seeking additional reimbursement for a series of steroid knee injections that an orthopedic surgeon administered to his spouse, finding no abuse of discretion in the defendants' decision to not provide additional insurance coverage and no error in the trial court's refusal to consider information that the plaintiff failed to provide during the administrative appeals process (Monte Hooper, et al. v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-2157, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10482).
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.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on June 9 granted in part and denied in part a retired bus driver's motion to conditionally certify a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Robert Estorga v. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, No. 16-02668, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89200).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 9 granted final approval of a proposed settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate for class members and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective members, further approving $450,000 in class counsel fees and costs and a $10,000 service award to the named plaintiff (Juan Luna Dominguez, et al. v. Galaxy Recycling Inc., et al., No. 12-7521, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88855).
MIAMI - Plaintiffs in a class action against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. on June 8 filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a $25 million settlement of a 401(k) lawsuit alleging that Merrill Lynch breached its fiduciary duties by failing to ensure that small retirement plan clients received mutual fund sales discounts (Benjamin Fernandez, et al. v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., No. 1:15-cv-22782, S.D. Fla.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on June 8 denied Wells Fargo Bank's motion to reconsider his March order that a 2013 verdict did not have a preclusive effect on nonjury claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because its counsel failed to timely raise the issue (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 11-2529, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89240).
PHILADELPHIA - A disability insurer was entitled to offset a disability claimant's long-term disability benefits against income the claimant earned by working part time for her medical practice because the claimant still received the benefit of her earnings even though the earnings were applied against debt she owed her medical practice, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 7 (Amy Patrick, M.D. v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 16-3980, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10105).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Franchise Association (IFA) on June 7 applauded the announcement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta that day that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would withdraw the Obama administration's interpretation of joint employer that it called "one of the most costly and burdensome regulations impacting the franchise business model."
CINCINNATI - A district court erred in determining that a disability plan administrator's denial of disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 8 after determining that the disability claimant provided the administrator with objective findings that support a disability (Bruce Corey v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., et al., No. 16-3817, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10179).
PITTSBURGH - An employee of a Pennsylvania oil field who alleges that he was paid miscalculated overtime wages or none at all was granted conditional class certification June 6 in his wage-and-hour lawsuit by a Pennsylvania federal judge (Christopher Meals, et al. v. Keane Frac GP LLC, et al., No. 16-1674, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86149).
SEATTLE - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 6 certified two questions to the Oregon Supreme Court regarding the appropriate limitations period in a disability policy after determining that the claimant's suit cannot be resolved until the certified questions are answered (Cynthia Raynor v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Co., No. 14-36090, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10015).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 2 found that an employment practices liability insurer has no duty to defend its insured against a former employee's claims for unpaid commissions, denying the insured's motion for partial summary judgment (American Chemicals & Equipment, Inc. d/b/a American Osment v. Continental Casualty Co., et al., No. 15-00299, N.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84769).
SEATTLE - In a June 5 order, a Washington federal judge granted in part a fired employee's motion for production of certain emails from her former supervisor, with the judge taking the opportunity to admonish both sides for the necessity of the motion, which he attributed to the parties' unwillingness to cooperate on discovery (Theresa Ortloff v. Dave Trimmer, et al., No. 2:16-cv-01257, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85963).