NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on April 9 granted final approval to a $140 million class action settlement between Nationwide Financial Services Inc. and Nationwide Life Insurance Co. (collectively, Nationwide) and trustees of employer-sponsored pension plans on the trustees' claims that the investment service providers breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by receiving revenue-sharing payments (Lou Haddock, et al. v. Nationwide Financial Services Inc., et al., No. 01-CV-1552, D. Conn.).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability claimant's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because the claimant failed to prove that she had a period of seven consecutive days of disability during her employment pursuant to the policy's terms (Michele Clark v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., No. No. 14-1701, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5739).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 7 that it lacked jurisdiction over an appeal of a decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority's (FLRA) general counsel to settle an unfair labor charge unilaterally after the issuance of a complaint but before a hearing (Jared R. Clark v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, No. 13-1261, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5531).
SAN FRANCISCO - A settlement agreement that includes a provision in which the former employee waives his rights to employment with the employer at any facility it currently owns or with which it may contract in the future is ripe for review, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 8 (Donald Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., No. 12-16514, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5642).
DES MOINES, Iowa - After finding that a teacher's lung injury was caused by exposure to mold in the building where she worked, the Iowa Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a decision awarding her compensation for an occupational injury (United Heartland Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Brown, No. 14-1070, Iowa App.; 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 321).
PHILADELPHIA - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a long-term disability benefits claim because its decision is supported by substantial medical evidence, a Pennsylvania federal judge said April 6 (Salvatore Chiodo v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 14-02270, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44511).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 7 denied United Behavioral Health's (UBH) motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that the insurer denied claims for mental illness and substance abuse-related outpatient treatment in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-cv-05337, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46046).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the claimant exceeded the total monthly earnings limits when a company bonus was calculated into his earnings for the year; however, the insurer failed to meet its burden that it is entitled to recoup all of the overpayments, a Virginia federal judge said April 6 (Jeffrey P. Fine v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 14-551, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44729).
SAN FRANCISCO - Specific terminology need not be used to meet the requirement of Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 403(a) that "all assets of an employee benefits plan shall be held in trust by one or more trustees," the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 7 (David Barboza v. California Association of Professional Firefighters, et al., Nos. 11-15472, 11-16024, 11-16081, 16082, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5583).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 6 reinstated a lawsuit filed by a lieutenant alleging that she was denied a promotion due to her race (Gayle Miller McMullin v. Mississippi Department of Public Safety, et al., No. 14-60366, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5523).
BOSTON - An insurance agent whose contract was terminated following repeated violations of company policies failed to prove both that he was an employee rather an independent contractor and that he was actually targeted due to his age, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 6, upholding a trial court's decision (Peter Santangelo v. New York Life Insurance Company, No. 14-1912, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5509).
CINCINNATI - A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) unambiguously required employer signatories to make fringe benefit contributions for all hours worked by their employees, regardless of whether those hours were for covered employment, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed April 1 in an unpublished opinion (Bunn Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. Ohio Operating Engineers Fringe Benefit Programs, et al., No. 14-3255, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5425).
PITTSBURGH - No link exists between a couple's 2014 asbestos action alleging exposure between 1964 and 2000 and defendant US Airways Inc.'s 2002 bankruptcy, a federal judge held March 31 in granting remand (Ronald P. Abbott, Mary L. Abbott v. The Boeing Co., et al., No. 15-331, W.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42347).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal court properly found that a former child welfare services caseworker did not adequately plead a discrimination claim against his employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and that his due process rights were not violated, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held April 1 in a nonprecedential opinion (Stefano Kiniropoulos v. Northampton County Child Welfare Service, No. 14-2857, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5217).
BOSTON - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits based on the policy's 24-month limitation provision was not an abuse of discretion because there is substantial evidence supporting the insurer's decision, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 30 (Mark Dutkewych v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-1450, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5108).
OXFORD, Miss. - A Mississippi county and sheriff's department on March 31 were ordered to comply with a dismissed deputy's discovery requests and interrogatories in his Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit, with a Mississippi federal magistrate judge finding the submitted responses to be "virtually worthless" (Earl Burdette v. Panola County, et al., No. 3:13-cv-00286, N.D. Miss.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41705).
ATLANTA - On remand for the second time from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Dun & Bradstreet Inc. (D&B) was awarded summary judgment on March 30 for the third time by a Georgia federal court on a former employee's retaliatory hostile work environment claims. In a judgment entered the same day, the court awarded D&B its costs of the action (Richard V. Kelly v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., No. 09-1498, N.D. Ga.).
CONCORD, N.H. - Medical records, employment search records and email communications are relevant to a plaintiff's claims against her former employer, a New Hampshire federal judge ruled March 27, mostly granting the defendant's motion to compel production of such materials (Christyna Faulkner v. Mary Hitchcock Medical Center, et al., No. 1:12-cv-00482, D. N.H.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39371).
ATLANTA - An expert's testimony regarding causation from "any exposure" to asbestos is "not controversial" in a case alleging more than de minimis exposure, a divided Georgia appeals court held March 30 (Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. v. Knight, et al., No. A14A1587, Ga. App.; 2015 Ga. App. LEXIS 237).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on March 30 granted a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration of a system manager's personal injury claims, finding that the claims must be arbitrated pursuant to Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Francis D'Cruz v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., et al., No. 1:15-cv-20240, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40326).
NEW YORK - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the National Labor Relations Act do not preempt a New York wage parity law governing the total compensation for home care aides, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 27 (Concerned Home Care Providers, Inc., et al. v. Andrew M. Cuomo, et al., No. 13-3790-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4973).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Lack of an asbestosis diagnosis dooms a widow's workers' compensation lung cancer claim, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals held March 27 (Stella Watkins, widow of Clay Watkins Jr. v. Century Aluminum of West Virginia Inc., No. 14-0390, W.Va. App.; 2015 W.Va. LEXIS 225).
LOS ANGELES - Even a railway's admittedly continuous and substantial contacts with the state fall short of the standard for forum, a California appeals court held in granting a petition to vacate a forum ruling in a Kansas woman's asbestos action (BNSF Railway Co. v. Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, Vicki L. Kralovetz, et al., No. B260798, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 265).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A judge properly admitted evidence of asbestos contamination and testimony regarding exposure in a talc case resulting in a $1.6 million award, a New Jersey appeals court held March 27 (Steven Kaenzig v. Charles B. Chrystal Inc., et al., No. A-2512-13T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
CINCINNATI - A satellite dish installer who claims that he was improperly classified as an independent contractor may proceed with his wage claims, a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 26 (Michael Keller v. Miri Microsystems LLC, No. 14-1430, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4887).