LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a motion for certification of a class of bus drivers bringing wage-and-hour claims, finding that class counsel does not meet Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23's adequacy requirement (James Motty, et al. v. First Student, Inc., et al., No. 15-7463, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114948).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court erred in entering judgment in favor of a disability plan and a disability insurer because it failed to consider how medications taken by the disability claimant would affect his ability to function in a workplace under the 'any occupation' test, the majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Aug. 26 (Daniel G. Demer v. IBM Corporation LTD Plan, et al., No. 13-17196, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15788).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 agreed to hold argument in abeyance pending settlement of union members' claims that their employer improperly withheld pay raises due to their union membership (KAG West, LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-1189 and 15-1269, D.C. Cir.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Aug. 24 consolidated two Employee Retirement Income Security Act class actions against Bon Secours Health System Inc. and appointed interim lead class counsel (Arlene Hodges, et al. v. Bon Secours Health System Inc., et al., No. RDB-16-1079, Carolyn Miller, et al. v. Bon Secours Health System Inc., et al., No. RDB-16-1150, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113414).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 23 granted final approval of a $1.9 million settlement to be paid by a retailer to end wage-and-hour class claims brought by employees, finding that the evidence, potential length of the case and overwhelming support from class members weighed in favor of approval (Lannden Bower v. Cycle Gear, Inc., No. 14-2712, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112455).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 reversed the dismissal of Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims against the trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) because, it said, the plaintiffs plausibly alleged both a prohibited transaction and a breach of fiduciary duty (Lisa Allen, et al. v. GreatBanc Trust Co., No. 15-3569, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15704).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 found that a cruise line worker's claims related to an alleged injury while working on a vessel must be arbitrated under his employment contract and affirmed a decision granting the employer's motion to compel (Robert M. Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 15-14775, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15502).
ST. LOUIS - Hourly manufacturing employees are not owed compensation for time spent donning and doffing work clothing because that time was excluded from measured working time in an implied-in-fact bona fide collective bargaining agreement between the employer and union representing the workers, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 23 (David J. Jackson, et al. v. Old EPT, LLC, also known as EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, No. 15-1078, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15416).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 23 granted five defendants' motion to dismiss claims against them in a second amended class action complaint against 12 banks and their affiliates under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries or "parties in interest" (Doris Sue Allen, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 1:15cv4285, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112407).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer may not condition employment on the requirement that an employee sign an agreement barring employees from coming together to file legal action over work-related claims, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 22, finding that the clause violates National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Section 7 (Stephen Morris, et al. v. Ernst & Young, LLP, et al., No. 13-16599, 9th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 affirmed a disability insurer's denial of a long-term disability (LTD) claim on the basis that the claimant's lawsuit was not filed within the plan's contractual limitations period (Jeff Schmitz v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 14-3701, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15319).
CINCINNATI - The majority of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 19 determined that remanding a disability retirement claim to the plan administrator was not an abuse of discretion because the remand remained within the purview of an earlier mandate issued by the Sixth Circuit (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 15-1872, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15308).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 19 vacated a decision denying a woman's claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because of an "active-service" clause in her husband's employee benefit plan and remanded for a determination of the terms of the plan at the time her benefits, if any, vested (Lou Ann Woerner, et al. v. Fram Group Operations LLC, et al., No. 15-2813, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15248).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants working at private colleges and universities are covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 on Aug. 23, reversing Brown University and International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW AFL-CIO (342 NLRB 483 ) (The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York and Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC, UAW, No. 02-RC-143012, NLRB).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 19 certified a class of Nike Retail Services Inc. workers suing for wages for time spent waiting for and during inspections following their shifts (Isaac Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., No. 14-1508, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110961).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 18 denied preliminary approval for a second time of a $100 million settlement between Uber Technologies Inc. and its drivers, who allege in two lawsuits that they have been misclassified as independent contractors, finding that, despite supplemental briefing, "the Settlement as a whole is not fair, adequate, and reasonable" (Douglas O'Connor, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 13-3826, Hakan Yucesoy, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 15-262, N.D. Calif.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - An internal medicine specialist may not offer testimony on how a woman's emotional distress could be linked to medications she was taking at the time of alleged sexual harassment during her employment at Pittsburg State University (PSU), a Kansas federal judge ruled Aug. 17 (Martha Fox v. Pittsburg State University, No. 14-2606, D. Kan.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109861).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - An Alaska federal judge on Aug. 16 ruled that Alaska's Prompt Pay Statute, requiring insurers to pay benefit claims within 30 days, is preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for claims related to employee benefit plans and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA) for claims related to federal worker benefit plans (John D. Zipperer Jr. v. Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, No. 3:15-CV-00208, D. Alaska; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109531).
FRESNO, Calif. - After finding that an employer's calculation of the amount in controversy in a class action filed in relation to wage claims was speculative, a Califronia federal judge on Aug. 16 granted a former employee's motion to remand his claims for violation of California labor laws and unfair competition law (UCL) to state court (David Dobbs, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Wood Group PSN Inc., an unknown entity, No. 1:16-CV-00838, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108714).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 16 granted partial summary judgment to McDonald's Corp. in a wage-and-hour putative class action brought by a franchisee's workers, finding that McDonald's does not jointly employ the named plaintiffs because it does not retain or exert direct or indirect control over their hiring, firing, wages or working conditions (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald's Corp., et al., No. 3:14-cv-02096, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108764).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 16 held that a federal judge erred in determining that an external review of the medical necessity of a woman's anorexia treatment was binding on the parties and precluded her from challenging Oxford Health Insurance Inc.'s denial of her claim under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the external review had not finally decided the issue against her (Alexandra H. v. Oxford Health Insurance Inc. Freedom Access Plan, et al., No. 15-11513, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15030).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed a class claim for medical monitoring brought by airline workers stationed at the Philadelphia International Airport who allege that they were exposed to toxins, finding that the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act (PWCA) is the exclusive remedy available to the workers (David Smith, et al. v. American Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 16-156, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107402).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that it lacked jurisdiction over a former university employee's claims for violation of the California labor code and unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to termination of his employment, a California appeals court on Aug. 12 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a motion to quash service of summons for lack of personal jurisdiction (Sergio Melgar v. State of Kentucky, et al., No. B264723, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5; 2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5942).
SAN FRANCISCO - An award of an attorney fee out of a common fund calculated as a percentage of a settlement amount in not per se unreasonable, the California Supreme Court ruled Aug. 11 in the appeal of a nearly $6.34 million attorney fee approved as part of a $19 million class action employment settlement (Mark Laffitte, et al. v. Robert Half International Inc., et al., No. S222996, Calif. Sup.; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 6387).