CINCINNATI - A disability insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to a participant suffering from fibromyalgia for failure to provide objective evidence of functional limitations, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 10 in an unpublished opinion (Taylor Hunt v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 13-1724, 6th Cir.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Oct. 10 denied a request by plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour suit for a protective order preventing their employers from taking depositions of absent class members as a part of a "pilot study" (Sabas Arredondo, et al. v. Delano Farms Co., et al., No. 09-1247, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145562).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Oct. 10 overruled a joint motion seeking approval of a $350,000 settlement in a wage-and-hour collective action filed by meat workers who allege that they are improperly compensated under a "gang time" system (Valente Sandoval Barbosa, et al. v. National Beef Packing Company, LLC, No. 12-2311, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144439).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 8 granted final approval of a $2 million settlement to be paid by the owner of California auto dealerships who was accused by technicians of using a pay scheme that failed to pay them for the actual time they spent working (Jose Ontiveros v. Robert Zamora, et al., No. 08-567, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143462).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct. 8 denied as premature a motion by Merck & Co. Inc. to dismiss a class complaint filed by female employees who allege that the company favors men and discriminates against females when it comes to pay and promotions (Kelli Smith, et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc., No. 13-2970, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143013).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that a welfare plan administrator acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying benefits for continued inpatient treatment for a participant who suffered from an eating disorder is contrary to the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Rush Prudential HMO, Inc. v. Moran, the administrator contends in its Oct. 10 petition seeking rehearing and rehearing en banc (Lisa Mirsky v. Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, No. 13-4121, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18484).
ST. LOUIS - A disability plan insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to a truck driver who could not maintain a commercial driver's license because he had insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Oct. 7 (Christopher Hampton v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-2782, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19098).
WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Oct. 6 granted summary judgment in favor of Delaware State University (DSU) and various university staff, finding that a former secretary and union president failed to show that her position was terminated after she made complaints about mold and asbestos (Michelle Thomas v. Delaware State University, et al., No. 10-522; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141728).
OMAHA, Neb. - A former employee of an underwriting company presented sufficient evidence to proceed with her age bias claim, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 7, partially reversing a trial court's dismissal of the employee's lawsuit (Marjorie Tramp v. Associated Underwriters, Inc., No. 13-2546, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19097).
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) opt-out available to those who oppose providing insurance coverage for contraceptive merely shifts obligations to third parties and protects religious practice and important government interests, the government told the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Oct. 3 (Dordt College and Cornerstone University v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-2726, 8th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 once again remanded an Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate challenge brought by a closely held for-profit corporation for an inquiry into whether its inability to find insurance without such coverage arises from government conduct (Annex Medical Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 13-1118, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - No conflict among courts exists regarding the availability of tax credits for individuals obtaining insurance through federal exchanges, an outcome supported by the language and structure of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the government told the U.S. Supreme Court Oct. 3 (David King, et al. v. Sylvia Mathew Burwell, et al., No. 14-114, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Passing through security following a shift "is a classic postliminary activity that is non-compensable under the Portal-to-Portal Act," Paul D. Clement of Bancroft in Washington, the attorney representing Integrity Staffing Solutions Inc. (ISS), told the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8 (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Jesse Busk, et al., No. 13-433, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 granted qualified immunity to four of five police supervisors named as defendants in a discrimination suit filed by three police officers (Jennifer Raspardo, et al. v. John Carlone, et al., Nos. 12-1686 and 12-1870, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19010).
BOSTON - A participant in a long-term disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is bound by the time periods for filing claims and appeals that are in the summary plan description (SPD), even if they are not expressly mentioned in the written plan itself, where the plan expressly incorporates the SPD, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Oct. 6 in ruling that the participant's failure to meet that deadline barred her attempt to challenge an adverse benefit decision in court (Michele C. Tetreault v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-2353, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19049).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 denied review of a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a long-term disability benefits plan properly denied benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to a claimant with anxiety disorder who failed to provide requested medical evidence of his inability to work (Ted Rall v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, No. 14-5594, U.S. Sup.).
WICHITA, Kan. - In what he described as a "close call" discovery dispute between an insurer and a long-term disability (LTD) benefits claimant, a Kansas federal magistrate judge on Oct. 3 granted the insured's motion to compel discovery of additional materials from the insurer's electronic claim manual, deeming them to be relevant to a dispute under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (Larry Winfrey v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 6:14-cv-01034, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140634).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 6 upheld the dismissal of a former dishwasher's discrimination claims and the imposition of sanctions against the plaintiff for his untimely filings (Charles W. Goode, et al. v. Wings of Alpharetta, Inc., et al., No. 13-14909, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19041).
BOSTON - A former customs agent who retired after his third request to delay a reassignment was denied failed to successfully bring claims that he was constructively discharged due to his age or national origin, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 6, upholding a trial court's ruling (Santiago Acevedo-Perez, et al. v. United States, et al., No. 12-2351, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19046).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a group of Indian state room workers for a cruise line who sought review of a federal judge's decision to dismiss their case to vacate an arbitration award as untimely (Agnelo Gonsalvez, et al. v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., No. 13-1285, U.S. Sup.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After finding that a teacher's due process claim in relation to alleged mold exposure at work should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, a Connecticut federal judge on Sept. 30 granted a school district's motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction (Mary D. Lopresti v. Norwalk Public Schools, No. 3:13-cv-976, D. Conn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139361).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A pathologist was under contract with a hospital as an independent contractor, not an employee, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 30, upholding a trial court's rejection of the doctor's discrimination claims (Larry Alexander, M.D. v. Avera St. Luke's Hospital, No. 13-2592, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18633).
ATLANTA - A coal producer and its subsidiaries constitute a single employer and violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when they failed to bargain with the union representing their employees before laying off 21 workers, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 2, enforcing a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (Taft Coal Sales & Associates, Inc., et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-10618, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 18823).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 granted motions by the U.S. solicitor general for leave to participate in oral argument and for divided argument in the appeal of a lawsuit filed by warehouse employees seeking compensation for the time they spend at the end of each shift passing through a security check (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Jesse Busk, et al., No. 13-433, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4904).
CLEVELAND - Because a hospital's human resources department was not involved in the investigation of an employee's complaint, an Ohio federal judge on Sept. 29 held that notes from a meeting between department personnel are not subject to attorney-client privilege and are, therefore, discoverable (Marianne Joyce v. Cleveland Clinic Foundation, et al., No. 1:13-cv-01224, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137680).