RICHMOND, Va. - A district court erred in concluding an employee suing her employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) owes attorney fees because her "conduct was not vexatious," opined a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 28 (Stella Andrews, et al. v. America's Living Centers, LLC, et al., No. 15-1658, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11776).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on June 28 granted in part and denied in part United HealthCare Services Inc.'s motion to dismiss claims that it either did not pay or underpaid claims for services provided by a Texas hospital to United subscribers (Texas General Hospital LP, et al. v. United HealthCare Services Inc., et al., No. 3:15-CV-02096, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84082).
BALTIMORE - Pallet Cos., doing business as IFCO Systems NA Inc., will pay $202,200 and provide equitable relief to settle one of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's first lawsuits alleging gender discrimination based on sexual orientation, the EEOC announced June 28 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Pallet Companies d/b/a IFCO Systems NA, Inc., No. 16-595, D. Md.).
DETROIT - After finding that a former property owner failed to respond to a notice of debt in a timely manner, a Michigan federal judge on June 28 granted a motion filed by a bank and loan servicer to dismiss his claim for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (Cornelious Moore v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-14294, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83400).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 24 remanded for trial a case in which an auto mechanics' pension board claims that Full Circle Group Inc. (FCG) has withdrawal liability for fund contributions as a successor to an insolvent company (Board of Trustees of the Automobile Mechanics' Local No. 701 Union and Industry Pension Fund v. Full Circle Group Inc., et al., No. 15-2497, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11600).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 let stand a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals divided opinion that rejected the breach of prudence claims asserted by participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) (Raymond M. Pfeil, et al. v. State Street Bank and Trust Company, No. 15-1199, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 denied rehearing in an appeal brought by teachers who objected to agency-fee requirements for non-union workers employed by public entities and sought to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed. (431 U.S. 209 ) (Rebecca Friedrichs, et al. v. California Teachers Association, et al., No. 14-915, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 denied petitions for writ of certiorari filed by two Indian tribes appealing two Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decisions in which divided panels enforced the National Labor Relations Board's jurisdiction over the tribes' casino operations (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Government v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1024; Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1034, U.S. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on June 21 dismissed a class complaint accusing a seafood and steakhouse of failing to properly compensate its workers for nontipped duties performed before and after closing and improperly deducting transaction fees from tips paid via credit cards (Chelsey Craig, et al. v. Landry's, Inc., et al., No. 16-277, S.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80489).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on June 22 granted a motion for class certification and denied a defense motion to exclude expert testimony in a case alleging that Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (John Teets v. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co., No. 14-02330, D. Colo.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on June 20 denied a motion for class certification in a suit brought by servers who allege their employer failed to turn over to them the full amount of tips left by banquet customers, finding that the plaintiffs failed to provide an adequate class definition or meet the numerosity, commonality and predominance requirements (Carol Carter, et al. v. PJS of Parma, Inc., et al., No. 15-1545, N.D. Ohio; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79747).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 21 approved an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a settlement worth at least $126 million in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. on behalf of patients denied coverage for the prescription drug Harvoni (Eugene Oakes, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 16-80028, SD. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 affirmed by an equally divided court a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' finding that retailer Dollar General Corp. can be sued in tribal court by an Indian youth who says he was sexually molested by the manager of a Dollar General store on tribal land because the company consented to the tribe's jurisdiction by hiring the youth as an intern (Dollar General Corp., et al. v. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, et al., No. 13-1496, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A district court did not err when it ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may proceed with its claims alleging a "pattern or practice" of discrimination by an employer in its hiring practices under Sections 706 and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17, rejecting the employer's claim that such claims may be brought only for equitable relief and only under Section 707 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, L.L.C., et al., No. 15-20078, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11031).
DALLAS - The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on June 17 filed an unopposed motion in Texas federal court to consolidate three cases challenging its new "fiduciary rule" (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, N.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 16 upheld a New York federal judge's ruling that a company had cause to fire two employees who refused to answer questions about their possible involvement in an alleged criminal conspiracy (William W. Gilman, et al. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc., et al., No. 15-0603, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10937).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 20 granted a petition for writ of certiorari in an appeal of a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in which the appellate panel held that a former acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) served in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) (5 U.S. Code Section 3345, et seq.) for nearly two years and, as a result, the unfair labor practice complaint he issued against an ambulance company was unauthorized (National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc., doing business as Southwest Ambulance, No. 15-1251, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 14 partially reinstated a former Environmental Protection Agency manager's racial bias claims, finding that she produced sufficient evidence to proceed with her claim that she was suspended during her employment due to her race (Susan M. Morris v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 14-5074, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10714).
LOS ANGELES - In a two-phase special verdict filed June 13 and 14, a California state jury awarded an employee $352,083 on his claims that his former employer discriminated against him and harassed him based on his sexual orientation (Brandon Grey v. American Management Services, LLC, No. BC412760, Calif. Super., Los Angles Co.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of contract lawsuit on June 15 filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of a $30.9 million class settlement in Massachusetts federal court (Dennis Gordon, et al. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-30184, D. Mass.).
PHOENIX - A former collegiate district employee who claims that he was terminated in part due to reporting data security lapses that led to a network breach may bring his contractual wrongful termination claim against his former employer, an Arizona federal magistrate judge ruled June 14, while directing the plaintiff to file a more definite statement of that claim (Miguel Corzo v. Maricopa County Community College District, et al., No. 2:15-cv-02552, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77243).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 15 denied hotel franchisors' motion to dismiss a second amended complaint alleging that they subjected African-American employees to racially discriminatory and harassing treatment (Gwendolyn Miller, et al. v. Stickbay Inc., et al., No. 8:15-cv-2040, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77925).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 13 partially granted a motion for sanctions against Menzies Aviation Inc. in a wage-and-hour class dispute after the company admitted to destroying years of pay records (Jessica Jimenez, et al. v. Menzies Aviation Inc., et al., No. 15-2392, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76675).
NEW ORLEANS - An employer that retained a percentage of its servers' tips paid by credit card was only legally permitted to withhold the credit card issuer fees, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 14, partially affirming a trial court's decision in a collective action filed by a group of servers; however, the appellate panel held that the District Court erred in denying the servers attorney fees (Guillian Steele, et al. v. Leasing Enterprises, Limited, No. 15-20139, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10775).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 10 reversed the grant of summary judgment to four carpenter union fringe benefit funds that alleged violations of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, et al. v. Schal Bovis Inc., Nos. 14-3413, 14-3336, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10568).