CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 10 followed an approach adopted by the Second, Third and Ninth circuits and ruled "that a class may be certified as to particular issues concerning liability even if the claim as a whole does not meet the predominance requirement of [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 23(b)(3)" (Lashon Jacks, et al. v. DirectSat USA, LLC, et al., No. 10-1707, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28881).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court properly evaluated a disability claimant's denial of benefits under an abuse-of-discretion standard because the beneficiary was not substantially harmed and the denial was not the result of a violation of the plan's terms, the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals said March 11 (Isela Dimery v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-17550, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3794).
NEW ORLEANS - An out-of-network medical provider that implemented a discount program has standing as an assignee to sue the administrator of plans regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for underpayment of benefits, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 10 (North Cypress Medical Center Operating Company, et al. v. Cigna Healthcare, et al., No. 12-20695, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3711).
PHILADELPHIA - An armored truck driver and the class she represents are owed overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week because they fall within an exception to a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 11 (Ashley McMaster v. Eastern Armored Services, Inc., No. 14-1010, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3826).
WARREN, Ohio - A trial court's order compelling certain financial information from a law firm that is the target of an ex-employee's sexual harassment lawsuit does not constitute a final, appealable order, an Ohio appeals panel ruled March 9, dismissing the appeal for lack of jurisdiction (Celina Colombo v. The Mismas Law Firm LLC, et al., No. 2014-L-069, Ohio App. 11th Dist.; 2015 Ohio App. LEXIS 772).
OMAHA, Neb. - An employee who was required to drive to perform multiple tasks of his job and was unable to drive after having multiple seizures failed to prove that his firing, following multiple attempts to move him to a job that didn't require driving, was discriminatory, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 9 (Mark Minnihan v. Mediacom Communications Corporation, No. 14-1109, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3625).
DENVER - An employer's one-time, improper pay deduction does not supersede the employee's classification as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 9 (Sandra Ellis, et al. v. J.R.'s Country Stores, Inc., No. 13-1346, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3667).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An employee with an alleged disability has no grounds to sue her former employer for disability bias when the employee never revealed she had a disability or requested accommodation, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 9 (Marissa Walz v. Ameriprise Financial, Inc., No. 14-2495, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3629).
ST. LOUIS - Former servers at a pizzeria who are bringing wage claims against their former employer on behalf of former and current servers have no standing to challenge an arbitration agreement that applies only to current servers, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 9 (Jacqueline L. Conners, et al. v. Gusano's Chicago Style Pizzeria, et al., No. 14-1829, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3632).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 invited the solicitor general to file a brief regarding whether the court should review the proper causation standard in a 401(k) breach of fiduciary case under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al. v. Richard G. Tatum, No. 14-656, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A nonparty migrant advocacy organization must comply with a magistrate's order requiring the production of privilege logs related to a study on migrant workers in the carnival industry, a Massachusetts federal judge ruled March 5, finding that the logs would not violate the academic researcher privilege and would not constitute undue burden (Jorge Garcia, et al. v. E.J. Amusements of New Hampshire Inc., et al., No. 1:13-cv-12536, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26977).
SEATTLE - A whistle-blower who brought suit under the Energy Reorganization Act (ERA) regarding cleanup efforts of a nuclear waste site in Washington state may not sue the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) or URS Corp. because he failed to meet the administrative exhaustion requirement but may sue URS Energy & Construction Inc. (URS E&C) and is entitled to a jury trial, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 4 in an amended opinion that also denied a petition for rehearing and rejected a petition for rehearing en banc (Walter L. Tamosaitis, Ph.D. v. URS Inc., et al., No. 12-35924, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3595).
BOSTON - Multiple allegations of retaliation made by a former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs worker are discrete acts and do not constitute a continuing violation, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 6, upholding a district court's decision (Brunilda Ayala v. Eric Ken Shinseki, et al., No. 13-2260, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3581).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The doctrine established in Paralyzed Veterans of Am. v. D.C. Arena L.P. (117 F. 3d 579 ), which holds that an agency must use the Administrative Procedure Act's (APA) notice-and-comment procedures prior to issuing a new interpretation of a regulation, is contrary to the APA's rulemaking provisions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 9 (Thomas E. Perez, et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, et al., No. 13-1041, U.S. Sup., Jerome Nickols, et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, No. 13-1052; 2015 U.S. LEXIS 1740).
NEW ORLEANS - A plan participant's beneficiary on March 4 filed a petition for rehearing of a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the administrator of the participant's 401(k) did not abuse its discretion in determining the participant's daughter had a valid power of attorney and distributing the plan assets to the participant's daughter (Doretha Hall v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, No. 14-10471, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2462).
DALLAS - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt the Texas Prompt Payment Act's (TPPA) mandatory payment deadlines, insofar as the deadlines apply to third-party administrators of self-funded health insurance plans, a federal judge in Texas ruled March 4 (Aetna Life Insurance Company v. Methodist Hospitals of Dallas, No. 3:14-cv-347-M, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26455).
HOUSTON - A federal judge on March 4 granted participants in BP's retirement plans leave to amend their prudence and monitoring claims but not their disclosure claims related to allegations that the plans' investment in company stock violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, in a separate order, certified a question regarding the factual allegations necessary to meet the pleading standard articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S.Ct. 2459 ) (In re: BP p.l.c. Securities Litigation, In re: BP p.l.c. ERISA Litigation, MDL No. 10-md-2185, No. 4:10-cv-4214, S.D. Tex.; 2015-U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27138).
CINCINNATI - A divided en banc Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 5 ruled that a disability plan participant who was awarded benefits under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(1)(b) was not also entitled to an equitable award of $3.79 million in disgorged profits under Section 502(a)(3) (Todd R. Rochow, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3532).
TRENTON, N.J. - A man may pursue his asbestos-exposure action based on his testimony regarding work aboard ships and schematics suggesting the presence of asbestos, a New Jersey appeals court held March 3 (Henry W. Latter Jr., et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. A-2714-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 425).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 upheld the rejection of a former Boeing employee's racial bias claims, finding that the employee was unable to show any pretext (Ernest McDonald v. The Boeing Company, No. 14-1288, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3419).
ST. LOUIS - A divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 vacated a $340,000 jury award for a superintendent found to have been wrongfully fired, holding that the jury wrongfully included front pay in the award (Ray Nassar, Ph.D., et al. v. Earnestine Jackson, et al., No. 13-1953, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3367).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 granted a motion for preliminary approval of a $415 million settlement with Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Intel Corp. on employees' claims that the high-tech companies conspired to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees in violation of federal antitrust law (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 adopted in full a magistrate judge's January recommendation to approve a $900,000 settlement to be paid by CVS Pharmacy Inc. to end wage claims brought by distribution center workers (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25730).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Both sides faced critical questioning from Justice Anthony Kennedy during oral arguments March 4 in the case challenging the availability of subsidies in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) federal exchange (David King, et al. v. Sylvia Mathew Burwell, et al., No. 14-114, U.S. Sup.).
PASADENA, Calif. - There is no retroactivity for a pilot who turned 60 just days before the federal rule for when pilots must stop operating aircraft was changed from 60 to 65, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 2 (Henry J. Weiland v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 11-56088, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3242).