SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on June 28 denied a motion for class certification filed by distributors of baked goods who claim that they were improperly classified as independent contractors, finding that individualized issues predominate (Mark Soares, et al. v. Flowers Foods, Inc., et al., No. 15-4918, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100418).
FRESNO, Calif. - A class complaint accusing an employer of suppressing wages by hiring undocumented immigrants was settled June 29 with no recovery for the class due to the defendant's negative net worth due to a multimillion-dollar judgment already entered against him and his lack of future job prospects (Robin Brewer v. Scott Salyer, No. 06-1324, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101374).
SAN FRANCISCO - A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 28 sent an employment dispute involving two school districts on tribal land back to the tribe's labor commission to decide whether it has jurisdiction to decide the employees' claims for merit pay and violation of the tribe's hiring preference law (Window Rock Unified School District, et al. v. Ann Reeves, et al., No. 13-16278, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11503).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 26 upheld a jury verdict in favor of an employer in a lawsuit filed by a legal process server seeking unpaid overtime and alleging that he was misclassified as an independent contractor (Jeffrey Karlson v. Action Process Service & Private Investigations, LLC, et al., No. 15-3322, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11377).
HARTFORD, Conn. - A Connecticut federal judge on June 27 granted union employees' motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered Honeywell International Inc. to reinstate previously existing medical coverage benefits, saying that the threat of termination and the actual termination of medical coverage benefits constitute irreparable harm (David Kelly, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00543, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99419).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 26 reversed a trial court's ruling that an employee's retaliatory discharge complaint against Neiman Marcus Group Inc. was mooted by a mandatory arbitration agreement and remanded for further proceedings (Tayler Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., No. 15-15287, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11294).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 27 denied a petition to appeal a New York federal judge's order certifying a class of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) employees who invested in any of its stable value funds during 2009 and 2010, saying "an immediate appeal is unwarranted" (In re J.P. Morgan Stable Value Fund ERISA Litigation, No. 17-1091, 2nd Cir.).
MIAMI - A lead plaintiff's failure to show that there are any potential opt-in plaintiffs is fatal to his motion for certification of a misclassification collective action, a Florida federal judge ruled June 27 (Sebastian A. Rojas v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 16-23670, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98716).
RICHMOND, Va. - Because a plan administrator failed to follow a reasoned process in determining a disability claimant's onset date of disability, the plan must adopt the disability onset date determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal said June 23 in affirming a district court's decision (Jesse Solomon v. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan, et al., No. 16-1730, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11197).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A California federal judge on June 22 denied a motion to remand a wage-and-hour class complaint seeking, in part, unpaid compensation for missed meal and rest breaks, finding that the amount in controversy exceeds $12 million (Belen Torrez, et al. v. Freedom Mortgage, Corp., et al., No. 17-867, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97704).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 22 reversed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer was entitled to offset a claimant's benefits based on the claimant's settlement of his personal injury claim after determining that New York law bars the disability insurer from offsetting benefits when a claim for personal injuries is settled (Salvatore Arnone v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 15-2322, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11055).
COPPELL, Texas - A Texas charter school is a political subdivision of the state and is exempt from the National Labor Relation Act's (NLRA) jurisdiction, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled June 21 (LTTS Charter School, Inc. d/b/a Universal Academy and Kimberly Free, No. 16-CA-170669, NLRB).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 agreed to decide whether the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010's whistleblower provision extends to individuals who have not reported the alleged misconduct to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Paul Somers, No. 16-1276, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on June 21 dismissed an Employee Retirement Income Security Act putative class action that alleged that a record keeper's advice arrangement constituted a breach of fiduciary duty resulting in excessive fees, saying that the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries with respect to their fees (Lisa Patrico v. Voya Financial Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-7070, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95735).
CHICAGO - A racial bias claim brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a sales manager who claimed that he was transferred out of a particular store because he was a different race than the surrounding neighborhood fails as the claimant must show an action that adversely affected his employment status, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 20 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. AutoZone, Inc., et al., No. 15-3201, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10903).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Review of a dismissal of a mixed case by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) where, like the present case, an employee complains of adverse action prompted at least in part by the employing agency's violation of federal anti-discrimination laws must occur in the district court, rather than the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled June 23 (Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 16-399, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 dismissed the remaining claims in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that the plaintiffs have failed to show that the defendants breached their duties of loyalty and prudence and failed to make a prima facie showing of loss (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-13825, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93654).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on June 19 granted Fidelity Management Trust Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a class action alleging that Fidelity breached its fiduciary duties pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by mismanaging the Fidelity Group Employee Benefit Plan Managed Income Portfolio Comingled Pool (MIP), saying the plaintiffs did not carry their burden to establish a fiduciary breach (John Ellis, et al. v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., No 1:15-14128, D. Mass., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93656).
OKLAHOMA CITY - On remand, a trial court must consider whether a woman's class action claiming that a hospital improperly sought collection from her in violation of its contract with her insurer invokes an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan or whether the plan is merely part of the "factual backdrop" of the case, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court held June 21 (Elizabeth Cates v. INTEGRIS Health Inc., No. 114314, Okla. Sup., 2017 Okla. LEXIS 53).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal jury returned a verdict on June 20 against Trans Union LLC in a class action accusing the credit-reporting agency of failing to provide proper disclosures and failing to ensure the maximum accuracy on its credit reports for individuals with names potentially matching the names of individuals on the U.S. government's list of terrorists and drug traffickers and individuals involved in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (Sergio L. Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 12-632, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on June 15 granted class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking reprocessing of mental health insurance claims after their insurer allegedly imposed overly strict definitions of medically necessary care in contravention of the plans' terms (Charles Des Roches, et al. v. California Physicians' Service, et al., No. 16-2848, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92573).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari to review a judgment of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a pension fund had no standing to assert breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act against its investment adviser for continuing to recommend investment in a Ponzi scheme when the adviser had privately expressed significant doubts about the continued prudence of that investment vehicle (Trustees of the Upstate New York Engineers Pension Fund v. Ivy Asset Management, et al., No. 16-1377, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States filed an amicus curiae brief on June 16 in the U.S. Supreme Court fully supporting the employers in three consolidated appeals challenging the barring of class or collective action waivers in employment agreements, noting that it was changing its position as it had previously filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board in one of the cases, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup. (Epic Systems Corp. v. Jacob Lewis, No. 16-285, Ernst & Young, et al. v. Stephen Morris, et al., No. 16-300, NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-307, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 14 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating a claimant's long-term disability benefits because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's termination of benefits (Lashondra Davis v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 16-10895, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10576).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 15 affirmed summary judgment for Johnson Controls Inc. in an Employee Income Retirement Act lawsuit, saying that language in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) and insurance booklets indicates that the company never intended for retirees' health insurance benefits to vest (William Grove Sr., et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 16-2178, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10615).