WASHINGTON, D.C. - The whistleblower anti-retaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 does not extend to individuals who report a securities law violation but do not report it to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 21 in narrowing the statute's definition of a whistleblower (Digital Realty Trust Inc. v. Paul Somers, No. 16-1276, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge in an order filed Feb. 16 certified a class of drivers suing Uber Technologies Inc. and its subsidiary Rasier LLC (collectively, Uber) for changing the pricing policy in 2016 and keeping a larger percentage of each fare, allegedly violating its agreement with the drivers (Martin Dulberg, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 17-850, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26222).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 agreed to dismiss breach of fiduciary duty claims against an employer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act proposed class complaint, finding that the plaintiffs - all retired or former employees - failed to show that the defendant, who was not named a fiduciary under the employee pension benefit plan, was a functional fiduciary (Clifton Marshall, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., et al., No. 16-6794, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 16 issued an order granting a rehearing en banc in consolidated cases all concerning employers accused of improperly claiming tip credits toward the required minimum wage (Alec Marsh v. J. Alexander's LLC, No. 15-15791, Crystal Sheehan v. Romulus Incorporated, No. 15-15794, Silvia Alarcon v. Arriba Enterprises Incorporated, No. 15-16561, Sarosha Hogan, et al. v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., No. 15-16659, Nathan Llanos v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., No. 16-15003, Kristen Romero v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., No. 16-15004, Alto Williams v. American Blue Ribbon Holdings LLC, No. 16-15118, Stephanie R. Fausnacht v. Lion's Den Management, LLC, No. 16-16033, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3781).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a retired worker seeking a ruling on whether the administrator of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed pension plan "may ignore a general rule that is expressly stated in the plan . . . and substitute a different rule, thereby creating an exception to the general rule that does not otherwise exist in the plan itself" (John E. Dowling v. Pension Plan for Salaried Employee of Union Pacific Corporation and Affiliates, et al., No. 17-1010, U.S. Sup.).
PHOENIX - Granting a joint discovery resolution motion filed by the parties in a wrongful termination suit, an Arizona federal magistrate judge on Feb. 14 found that an employee who was purportedly terminated for whistleblowing related to data breaches experienced by his former employer was entitled to conduct discovery into why documents related to lawsuits over those breaches were designated as confidential (Miguel Corzo v. Maricopa County Community College District, et al., No. 2:15-cv-02552, D. Ariz.).
INDIANAPOLIS - Res judicata and U.S. Supreme Court precedent require judgment in favor of the federal government in a state's and school district's attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate, a federal judge in Indiana held Feb. 14 (Indiana, et al. v. Internal Revenue Service, et al., NO. 13-1612, S.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24863).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 14 granted summary judgment in favor of a disability insurer in a U.S. Army veteran's class action suit alleging that the insurer wrongfully offset disability benefits payable under its policy by disability benefits received from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Marco Martinez v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 16-12154, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO - An employee seeking long-term disability (LTD) benefits effectively waived his right to challenge the untimeliness of the initial denial of his claim as he chose to pursue an appeal first rather than filing suit, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 14 (John Dragus v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, No. 17-1752, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3444).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 16 granted a motion for divided argument by the respondents in an appeal over mandatory public-sector agency fees for employees who choose not to join a union and also granted a motion by the solicitor general for leave to participate in the oral arguments scheduled to occur on Feb. 26 (Mark Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, et al., No. 16-1466, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by an employer challenging a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel's decision finding that it violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it suspended contributions to one out of four union trust funds and implemented its company medical plan for returning strikers (Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 17-531, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Foot Locker Inc. asking the high court to decide whether a class of pension plan participants could be certified in a case alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when Foot Locker failed to disclose a temporary freezing of benefits after the Foot Locker Retirement Plan was transitioned to a cash-balance plan (Foot Locker, Inc., et al. v. Geoffrey Osberg, et al., No. 17-690, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 20 issued a per curiam decision in an appeal over retiree's health care benefits and reversed a ruling by a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority for the retirees, referencing a dissenting opinion that called the decision "Yard-Man [UAW v. Yard-Man, Inc., 716 F.2d 1476 (6th Cir. 1983)] re-born, re-built, and re-purposed for new adventures" (CNH Industrial N.V., et al. v. Jack Reese, et al., No. 17-515, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - Sports broadcaster Warner Wolf filed an age discrimination complaint on Feb. 15 in a New York state court, his attorneys announced, against radio personality Don Imus and other former employers after he was abruptly fired and replaced with a sportscaster decades younger (Warner Wolf v. Don Imus, et al., No. N/A, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 13 denied a retirement plan's administrative and investment committees' petition for permission to appeal the grant of class certification in a breach of fiduciary duty case in which the investors claim that the defendants selected company-affiliated mutual funds as plan investments rather than other better-performing mutual funds, finding that immediate appeal is unwarranted (Marya J. Leber v. Citigroup, Inc., et al., No. 07-9329, 2nd Cir.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 13 granted a motion for class certification in a lawsuit alleging that New York University (NYU) breached its duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in its administration and management of its retirement plan (Dr. Alan Sacerdote, et al. v. New York University, et al., No. 16-6284, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23540).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on Feb. 9 granted final approval of a $1 million settlement to be paid by a Jewish school in Orange County, N.Y., to end class wage claims brought by the school's kitchen workers (Oscar Vivaldo, et al. v. United Talmudical Academy of Kiryas Joel, Inc., et al., No. 14-2636, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22863).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer's termination of benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the claimant failed to prove that she suffered solely from a physical disability that precluded her from performing the duties of any occupation (Serilyn Krash v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Group, No. 17-1814, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3240).
PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine dairy company and a class of workers entangled in a wage-and-hour lawsuit stemming from the lack of a serial comma in a list of activities exempted from Maine's overtime law filed a motion on Jan. 8 for preliminary review of a proposed $5 million settlement (Christopher O'Connor, et al. v. Oakhurst Dairy, et al., No. 14-192, D. Maine).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on Feb. 8 reversed an appeals court finding that a district attorney's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising law asserted against a plastics maker in relation to an explosion that killed two employees were not preempted by federal occupational safety and health law, finding that those claims remain within a state's responsibility under federal law to regulate worker safety (Solus Industrial Innovations LLC, et al. v. The Superior Court of Orange County, et al., No. S222314, Calif. Sup., 2018 Cal. LEXIS 934).
NEW YORK - Harvey Weinstein (HW), The Weinstein Co. LLC (TWC), The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC and Robert Weinstein (RW) were named as respondents in a Feb. 11 lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman alleging that Harvey Weinstein "repeatedly and persistently sexually harassed female employees at TWC" and "repeatedly and persistently used his position at TWC, female employees at TWC, and the resources at his disposal as the co-CEO of TWC, to serve his interests in sexual contact" (New York v. The Weinstein Company LLC, et al., No. N/A, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK - Noting that the parties involved in a suit alleging that New York University (NYU) breached its duty of prudence under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in its administration and management of its retirement plan may benefit from an early indication of class certification, a New York federal judge on Feb. 7 entered an order stating that the court intended to grant the plaintiffs' order for class certification (Dr. Alan Sacerdote, et al. v. New York University, et al., No. 1:16-cv-6284, S.D. N.Y.).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insurer and an out-of-network health care provider engaged in a battle over what constitutes the proper reimbursement rate under Florida law and whether those claims implicate ERISA asked a federal court to dismiss the case with prejudice on Feb. 7 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).
NEW ORLEANS - RadioShack Corp. employees who participated in its 401(k) plan failed to show that RadioShack's board of directors and 401(k) plan administrative committee breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by allowing plan participants to invest in RadioShack stock while the company was headed to bankruptcy, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 6, upholding a trial court's ruling for RadioShack (Manoj P. Singh v. RadioShack Corporation, et al., Jeffrey Snyder v. RadioShack Corporation, et al., William A. Gerhart, et al. v. RadioShack Corporation, et al., No. 16-11587, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2904).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A medical expert for a doctor's race bias claims against his former employer used no reliable reasoning or methodology in forming his opinions on the doctor's state of mind when seeking consultations and on the employer's peer-review process, so the opinions are inadmissible, a federal judge in Indiana ruled Feb. 5 (Bhaktavatsala R. Apuri, M.D. v. Parkview Health Systems, Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-363, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17986).