DETROIT - An arbitration provision agreed to by Uber Technologies Inc. drivers "clearly and unmistakably" provides that an arbitrator must decide the issue of arbitrability, a Michigan federal judge ruled Dec. 27, granting a motion to compel arbitration of a wage class complaint filed by two drivers (Arthur Zawada, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 16-11334, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178582).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Dec. 20 ordered the U.S. Treasury Department to produce more than 100 documents it has withheld in a civil action against the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), saying that Treasury has "miserably failed" to explain its deliberative process privilege claims (U.S. Department of the Treasury v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., v. Dennis Black, et al., No. 12-mc-100, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175656).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 21 affirmed an Illinois federal judge's ruling that three Teamster pension and welfare funds are entitled to collect shortfalls in contributions due from an employer under collective bargaining agreements, finding the employer's audit report to be unreliable (Teamsters Local Union No. 727 Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. L&R Group of Companies, No. 16-2037, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22870).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 21 made a small amendment to its Sept. 7 opinion in which it held that a California federal judge erred when he assumed the authority to decide in two class complaints whether arbitration agreements between Uber Technologies Inc. and its drivers were enforceable and denied a petition for rehearing en banc (Abdul Kadir Mohamed, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 15-16178, Ronald Gillette v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 15-16181, Abdul Kadir Mohamed, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 15-16250, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22898).
LOS ANGELES - The defendants in a putative class action alleging that the University of Southern California's (USC) 403(b) retirement plans charged excessive fees moved Dec. 19 in California federal court for an order compelling individual, nonclass arbitration and dismissal or, in the alternative, staying all proceedings pending the resolution of arbitration (Allen L. Munro, et al. v. University of Southern California, et al., No. 2:16-cv-06191, C.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 21 affirmed an Ohio federal judge's ruling that hypothetical situations lack the necessary concrete injury required to pursue claims that an insurer shirked its obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Daniel Soehnlen, et al. v. Fleet Owners Insurance Fund, et al., No. 16-3124, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22914).
BOSTON - An Amtrak lineman who claims that he was improperly denied overtime opportunities and was subjected to a hostile environment failed to successfully link either claim to his race, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 16, affirming a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the defendant (Gregory Garmon, Sr. v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation d/b/a Amtrak, No. 15-1803, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22402).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on Dec. 13 granted Jack in the Box Inc.'s motion to dismiss the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims of plaintiffs in a putative class action against the fast food restaurant franchisor, finding that Jack in the Box was not the plaintiff's joint employer after it franchised several corporate-owned Jack in the Box restaurants (Jessica Gessele, et al. v. Jack in the Box Inc., No. 3:14-cv-1092, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172061).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A former insurance company financial representative failed in his attempt to show that he was actually an employee, not an independent contractor as his contract stated, a New York federal judge ruled Dec. 12, granting a motion for summary judgment filed by the insurance company in the wage-and-hour class dispute (Joseph Rose, et al. v. Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3569, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171404).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. discriminated against approximately 250 employees when it terminated them and replaced them with workers from India, more than two dozen of the former employees allege in a class complaint filed Dec. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Leonardo Perrero, et al. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., No. 16-2144, M.D. Fla.).
SAN DIEGO - A candy company former employee who filed a wage and hour class complaint against her former employer may proceed only with two of her individual claims, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal, Division I, ruled Dec. 9, upholding summary judgment for the employer on the other remaining causes of action, including the class claims (Pamela Silva v. See's Candy Shops, Inc., No. D068136, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8895).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on Dec. 8 denied a motion for class decertification filed in a wage-and-hour complaint brought by a limo driver who claims that his employer's commission-based payment structure resulted in hours worked without any compensation and a denial of overtime wages when hours exceed 40 per week (Roger Lassen, Jr., et al. v. Hoyt Livery, Inc., et al., No. 13-1529, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169506).
PHILADELPHIA - A former employee of The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) argues in a Dec. 7 brief in Pennsylvania federal court that his bid for certification of a class of Coke employees whose personally identifying information (PII) is appropriate, contending that his proposed classes meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A university ceramics professor who alleges that she developed occupational asthma due her employer's failure to properly clean and ventilate its studio and then failed to make accommodations for her asthma for 37 years may proceed with only her timely claims, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Dec. 6 (Winifred Owens-Hart v. Howard University, No. 14-758, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167984).
NEW YORK - One of six employees who sued their former employer for age discrimination after they were terminated as part of a reduction in force (RIF) may proceed with her claims after providing sufficient evidence to survive a summary judgment motion, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 2 (Maria Martinez, as Executor of the Estate of Oscar Martinez, et al. v. New York City Transit Authority, et al., Nos. 15-3159, 15-3165, 15-3166, 15-3180, 15-3183, 15-3198, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21509).
CHICAGO - A federal judge was correct when he ruled that student athletes are not employees of the universities where they play, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 5 (Gillian Berger, et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, et al., No. 16-1558, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21642).
SAN FRANCISCO - An Arizona federal judge erred in determining that a staffing coordinator's claim that she was owed overtime failed as a matter of law, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 1 (Jennifer Quintiliani, et al. v. Concentric Healthcare Solutions, LLC, et al., No. 14-17312, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21484).
CINCINNATI - An engineer who alleges that he was wrongfully discharged after notifying his employer of back problems may proceed with his claims of disability bias, wrongful termination and breach of severance agreement, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 2, reversing a trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the employer (Robert B. Cady v. Remington Arms Company, No. 16-5035, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21592).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 2 granted petitions for writ of certiorari in three "church plan" Employee Retirement Income Security Act cases, consolidated them and allotted one hour for oral argument (Saint Peter's Healthcare System, et al. v. Laurence Kaplan, No. 16-86, Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Maria Stapleton, et al., No. 16-74, Dignity Health, et al. v. Starla Rollins, No. 16-258, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - Asbestos plaintiffs themselves introduced irrelevant contract provisions about which they now complain, and any error arising from improper jury instructions regarding an employer's duty did not prejudice them, a California appeals court held Nov. 22 (Kenneth Evans, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B265222, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 23 denied the National Association for Fixed Annuities' (NAFA) motion for a preliminary injunction staying the applicability date of the new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule regulating conflicts of interest in the market for retirement investment advice, saying that NAFA has failed to show irreparable damage if the injunction is not granted and that harm could occur if the rule is not in force (National Association for Fixed Annuities v. Thomas E. Perez, No. 16-1035, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162428).
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 22 issued a nationwide preliminary injunction requested by the state of Nevada and 20 other states barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wage rule that was to increase the minimum salary level for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,892 per year from taking effect on Dec. 1 (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-731, E.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162048).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Nov. 18 withheld ruling on a plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification and preliminary approval of an $8.8 million Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action settlement, saying that he did not have enough information to conclude that the proposed settlement should be approved as being fair, reasonable and adequate to the members of the proposed class (Salvador Ortiz, et al. v. American Airlines Inc., et al., No. 4:16-cv-151, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160588).
SELMA, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Nov. 18 denied a Prudential Insurance Co. insured's motion to remand to state court an action alleging that the insured failed to pay any policy benefits, saying that his state law claims are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which authorizes a plan participant or beneficiary to bring a civil suit "to recover benefits due to him under the terms of his plan, to enforce his rights under the terms of the plan, or to clarify his rights to future benefits under the terms of the plan" (Marion McIntosh v. Prudential Insurance Co., No. 16-0523, S.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159869).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 21 granted defendants' motions to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that a pension fund, its trustees and its lawyers conspired with each other to have the fund retain and convert the contributions made on a plaintiff's behalf, saying that the plaintiff's state law conversion claim is preempted by Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 514 and that his conspiracy claim is untenable in light of controlling precedent (John P. Cooney v. Trustees of the Will County Carpenters Local 174 Pension Fund, et al., No. 13-cv-8819, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160603).