NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 3 partially reinstated a former City of New York worker's disparate treatment and retaliation claims, finding that she proffered sufficient evidence to withstand motions to dismiss by the city and her former supervisor (Dawn F. Littlejohn v. City of New York, et al., No. 14-1395, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13475).
BOSTON - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 affirmed a trial court's decision that a drywall company's letter that contained a "layman's choice of words" was still sufficient to terminate the company's agreement with Massachusetts unions and, as a result, the company had no obligation to comply with the unions' audit requests (New England Carpenters Central Collection Agency, et al. v. Labonte Drywall Company, Inc., No. 14-1739, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13386).
PASADENA, Calif. - In a lawsuit where both class claims and nonclass claims are being pursued, the amount sought for the nonclass claims may not be added together with the amount sought for class claims to meet the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) amount-in-controversy requirement, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30 (Porfiria Yocupicio, et al. v. PAW Group, LLC, et al., No. 15-55878, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13273).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 29 partly denied a university's motion to dismiss wiretap and privacy class claims against it related to campus police officers' assertions that their conversations were covertly recorded (Federated University Police Officers' Association, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., No. 8:15-cv-00137, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99147).
LOS ANGELES - A lawsuit filed by an insurance claims examiner who alleges that she and other similarly situated examiners were improperly classified as exempt from receiving overtime is not appropriate to proceed as a class action because individual issues predominate, a California appellate panel ruled July 27, affirming a trial court's ruling (Anna Marie Gentile v. Keenan & Associates, No. B253097, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3; 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5256).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A complainant who failed to update his mailing address with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and, as a result, did not receive his right-to-sue notice when it was first sent is not entitled to equitable tolling, a split District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 24 (Matthew Maggio v. Wisconsin Avenue Psychiatric Center, Inc., No. 13-7181, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12787).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 24 affirmed in part and reversed in part the National Labor Relations Board's decision in a meat-processing plant's union organizing dispute (Bruce Packaging Company, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1054, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12784).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on July 27 granted preliminary approval of a settlement worth at least $550,000 to end claims by former hospital workers who allege on behalf of themselves and a similarly situated class that they were improperly denied separation benefits at the time they were laid off (Patricia Geiger, et al. v. Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, Inc., et al., No. 14-2378, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97362).
PHILADELPHIA - An avionics lead filed a class complaint on July 23 in Pennsylvania federal court accusing his employer of illegally rounding off the hours worked by nonexempt employees (Joshua Lane, et al. v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, et al., No. 15-4106, E.D. Pa.).
NEW YORK - PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's cash balance pension plan violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it defines "normal retirement age" as five years of service, which "bears no plausible relation to 'normal retirement,'" the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 23 (Timothy D. Laurent, et al. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, et al., No. 14-1179, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12678).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 23 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that an insurer has no duty to defend its farm insured against an underlying injury claim brought by an independent contractor because the employers liability coverage extends only to injuries of employees (Danny Swafford v. Forestry Mutual Insurance Co., No. 14-6475, 6th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 21 denied a motion by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation LLC (collectively, Wal-Mart) to certify an interlocutory appeal, finding Wal-Mart's questions of law to be "over-broad, argumentative and untethered" (Charles Ridgeway, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., et al., No. 08-5221, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94981).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on July 21 granted final approval of a $7.15 million settlement to be paid by Foot Locker Inc. to end a wage-and-hour multidistrict litigation (In Re: Foot Locker, Inc., Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Wage and Hour Litigation, No. 11-MDL-02235, E.D. Pa.).
ATLANTA - A district court must reconsider whether an arbitration agreement between a restaurant and its server is enforceable in a wage dispute, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 21, finding that a trial court failed to issue an order properly explaining its decision to not enforce the agreement (Marquisha Matthews v, Ultimate Sports Bar, LLC, et al., No. 14-14809, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12549).
PHILADELPHIA - Courts must look to the economic realities, not the structure, of the relationship between a business and its workers to determine whether those workers are employees or independent contractors, a split Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 21 (Mikael M. Safarian v. American DG Energy Inc. v. Multiservice Power, Inc., No. 14-2734, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12548).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 confirmed an arbitration panel's award in favor of a talk-show radio host in a syndication dispute but denied the host's request for sanctions (Dr. Michael A. Weiner, et al. v. The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., No. 13-16111, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12389).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. - A federal judge in Illinois on July 17 awarded $20.6 million in fees and $1.6 million in costs and, on July 20, granted final approval to a $62 million settlement of claims by participants in two of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s 401(k) plans that the plans' fiduciaries breached their duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by causing the plans to pay excessive administrative expenses, by investing in a stable-value fund (SVF) that did not result in a rate of return that was sufficient for a retirement asset and by mismanaging the plan's company stock funds (CSFs) (Anthony Abbott, et al. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., et al., No. 06-cv-701, S.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93206).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A fire captain who was terminated after she refused to consent to a fitness-for-duty evaluation without changes to the waiver may partially proceed with claims that she was required to undergo the evaluation in retaliation for complaints protected under the District of Columbia Whistleblower Protection Act (Whistleblower Act), a divided District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 (Vanessa Coleman v. District of Columbia, et al., No. 12-7114, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12350).
LOS ANGELES - A former Rite Aid Corp. store manager who claimed that he was subjected to harassment and discrimination and was ultimately fired after he became disabled as the result of an injury he sustained while attempting to stop a robbery at his store was awarded nearly $8.8 million by a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury, the plaintiff's attorney announced July 21 (Robert Leggins v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al., No. BC511139, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board must prove, on remand, that its settlement with an employer to pay back pay to an employee over 11 years with no interest accrual, reached despite objections from the employee, is reasonable and fair, a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 17 (Jamison John Dupuy v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1001, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12349).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 15 reinstated a sexual harassment suit filed by a temporary factory employee, opining that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides for joint employer liability and that when the "hybrid" test is properly applied to the worker's suit, both the factory and the temp agency were the worker's employers (Brenda Butler v. Drive Automotive Industries of America, Incorporated, et al., No. 14-1348, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12188).
ATLANTA - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion by holding that a disability plan's claims administrator and plan administrator are not liable for penalties and attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for failure to provide plan documents to a plan participant, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 in an unpublished opinion (Allena Burge Smiley, D.M.D. v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, No. 15-10056, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12334).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A former employee's claims against a Nike Netherlands affiliate must be litigated in Dutch court, not the United States, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 16, upholding a trial court's decision (Loredana Ranza v. Nike, Inc., et al., No. 13-35251, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12290).
NEW YORK - A medical center's severance policy that had been maintained for almost 25 years and had not been modified for 15 years was an employee welfare benefit plan within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 17 (Alexander Okun, MD, v. Montefiore Medical Center, No. 13-3928-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S App. LEXIS 12361).
NEW YORK - Health care providers are not beneficiaries of their patients' health insurance plans and, therefore, do not have standing to assert anti-retaliation protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 15 (Henry L. Rojas, M.D., et al. v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-3455, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12210).