DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on March 14 instructed a coalition of insurance associations opposed to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new "fiduciary rule" to file a supplemental brief to their emergency motion for an injunction pending appeal of a ruling that the DOL has not exceeded its authority in formulating the new rule and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO - A motion for a partial stay filed by an employer in a wage-and-hour dispute pursuant to the Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800 (1976), doctrine must be denied because it was an attempt to dismiss "the potentially meritorious" claims of a nationwide class, a California federal judge ruled March 13 (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35758).
BISMARCK, N.D. - A company provided sufficient evidence to support its misappropriation of trade secrets claims against a former employee, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled March 13 in denying the former employee's motion to dismiss (Aggreko LLC v. Guillermo Barreto, et al., No. 16-353, D. N.D., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35573).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 10 remanded a class action lawsuit filed by product specialists who assert wage-related claims against a car maker and staffing companies, finding that the amount in controversy did not meet federal jurisdictional requirements (Henry Chen, et al. v. United Talent Agency LLC, et al., No. 17-1848, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34960).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 9 held that an insurer's decision to deny an insured's benefits is supported by substantial evidence notwithstanding the insurer's inherent conflict of interest as both the plan administrator and payer, affirming a lower federal court's decision to uphold the denial of benefits sought under Section 502(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Daniel Collins v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 16-3918, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4322).
ATLANTA - Job discrimination based on an individual's gender nonconformity is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but discrimination based on sexual orientation is not, a divided 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 10 (Jameka K. Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, et al., No. 15-15234, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4301).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on March 10 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Costco Wholesale Corp. in a class complaint accusing the retailer 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 (Julius Terrell v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 16-1415, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34821).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on March 8 found that former employees, who sold skincare products for various entities, failed to show that a company was the alter ego of other defendants named in the case, granting the owner of the product's motion to dismiss claims for violation of California labor code and California's unfair competition law (UCL) (Candle Horton, et al. v. NeoStrata Company Inc., et al., No. 3:16-CV-02189, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34059).
SAN FRANCISCO - A little more than seven months after a class of minor league baseball players was decertified in a lawsuit seeking unpaid wages from the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, its member franchises and former Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig, a California federal magistrate judge granted in part a motion class certification and recertification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action (Aaron Senne, et al. v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., et al., No. 14-608, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32949).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 9 remanded to Missouri federal court a case in which ABB Inc. fiduciaries were found to have abused their discretion and breached their fiduciary duties in choosing investment options for their 401(k) retirement plans, saying that the lower court seems to have mistook a recommendation on how to measure plan losses (Ronald C. Tussey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 15-2792, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4225).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A disability insurer's interpretation of a tolling provision to extend the 45-day time deadline to decide an administrative appeal was arbitrary and capricious, an Alabama federal judge said March 7 in partially adopting a magistrate judge's recommendation to deny the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Melissa Stevens v. Sun Life and Health Insurance Co. [U.S.], No. 16-76, M.D. Ala., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31734).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge failed to consider, when ruling in favor of the employer in a wage-and-hour complaint, whether the employer was entitled to treat the server's tips as wages for all hours worked, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 7, reversing and remanding (Aarica Romero v. Top-Tier Colorado LLC, et al., No. 16-1057, 10th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3996).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 7 granted a motion to dismiss an Employee Retirement Income Security Act lawsuit alleging that a record-keeper breached its fiduciary duty by preventing ERISA plans from getting a more competitive rate for record-keeping services, finding that the record-keeper was not a fiduciary of the plans (Elaine Malone, et al. v. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, No. 15-cv-08038, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32308).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 7 vacated an order by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a union representation suit involving airport baggage handlers, ruling that the NLRB departed from precedent without explanation and must either provide an explanation justifying the new test or identify another agency that could (ABM Onsite Services - West, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1299, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3974).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on March 3 denied a former truck driver's request to certify a class of truck drivers in relation to an alleged failure to pay a minimum wage for the hours worked, finding that he failed to meet the federal pleading requirements (Robert Gatdula, et al. v. CRST International Inc., et al., No. 11-1285, C.D. Calif., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184720).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A hotel cook who received various warnings about unsatisfactory job performance and violated his employer's policies on at least 13 separate occasions failed to show that his firing was actually carried out in retaliation for age, race and disability discrimination complaints he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority ruled March 3 (Robert Lee Johnson v. Interstate Management Company, LLC, doing business as Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel, No. 14-7164, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3828).
ST. LOUIS - An employer's challenge of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) decision to follow the standard approach established in Wright Line, 251 N.L.R.B. 1083, 1089 (1980), in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is barred after it failed to raise a challenge before the board, an Eighth Circuit panel ruled March 6 (National Labor Relations Board, et al. v. Chipotle Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 15-3925, Chipotle Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 15-3955, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3918).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 6 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a nursing home that was found by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to have violated the National Labor Relations Act when it failed to follow salary guidelines established in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after the agreement expired (Regency Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation Center v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 16-862, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 1606).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal on March 1 approved a class action settlement between former U.S. veterans and Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston after determining that the terms of the settlement, which provides compensation to class members whose disability benefits were offset or reduced by Liberty Life, are reasonable (James L. Bush v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, et al., No. 14-1507, N.D. Calif.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A nontraditional student who was hired by the company where he interned shortly after graduating but was fired six months later failed to show that he was discriminated against due to his age, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 1 (Thomas Nash v. Optomec, Inc., No. 16-2186, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3684).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Single-route FedEx Home Delivery drivers in Hartford, Conn., just like drivers in Massachusetts in FedEx Home Delivery v. NLRB (FedEx I) are independent contractors, not employees, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 3, vacating orders by the National Labor Relations Board (FedEx Home Delivery, an operating division of FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1196, D.C. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3826).
SAN DIEGO - After finding that a restaurant chain's shared tip-pooling policy is not unlawful, a California federal judge on Feb. 28 dismissed a former server's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and for penalties under the California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Brendan Wilkes v. Benihana Inc., et al., No. 16cv2219, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29127).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 1 found that more than $1.4 million in defense costs paid by an insurer in an underlying pension plan dispute have eroded the insured's $1 million fiduciary liability coverage limit, reversing a lower federal court in part (Federal Insurance Co. v. Singing River Health System, No. 15-60774 consolidated with No. 15-60876, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3742).
RICHMOND, Va. - A woman from Kenya who worked in Virginia for a family from Saudi Arabia and alleges that she was denied the full wages and forced to work more hours than the wages and hours that were stated in her employment contract failed to show that her situation constituted forced labor as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 2 (Winfred Muchira v. Halah Al-Rawaf, et al., No. 15-2198, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3782).
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas federal judge on March 1 granted a pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) trade association summary judgment on its claim that Arkansas Act 900, a law that requires PBMs to pay pharmacies the amounts those pharmacies spent to buy generic drugs from wholesalers, is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and denied the state of Arkansas' motion for summary judgment because Act 900 is invalid as applied to PBMs in their administration and management of ERISA plans (Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. Leslie Rutledge, No. 4:15-cv-00510 BSM, E.D. Ark.).