GREENSBORO, N.C. - An allegation that three defendants violated the anti-cutback provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act with an amendment to their pension plan survived a motion to dismiss Jan. 19 in North Carolina federal litigation (Carolyn Wood v. General Dynamics Corporation, et al., No. 15-45, M.D. N.C.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 remanded a dispute over the life of retiree health benefits, in which the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion on Jan. 26, 2015, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for reconsideration of factual determinations in light of the high court's decision (Hobert Freel Tackett, et al. v. M&G Polymers USA, LLC, et al., No. 12-3329, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 998).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In respective reply briefs filed Jan. 19, Anthem Inc. and related insurers argued in support of their motions to dismiss a putative class action over a January 2015 breach of Anthem's network, asserting that the plaintiffs did not adequately specify the allegedly breached contractual provisions (In Re: Anthem Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 5:15-cv-02617, N.D. Calif.).
Residents of Flint, Mich., on Jan. 19 filed two putative class action lawsuits in Michigan state court, seeking damages for lead contamination in the city's water supply. One lawsuit names Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and his administration as defendants, while the other complaint names the City of Flint and its officers as defendants (Melissa Mays, et al. v. Gov. Rick Snyder, et al., No. N/A, Mich. Clms., and Melissa Mays, et al. v. City of Flint, et al., No. 16-N/A. Mich. Cir., Genesee Co.).
GREENVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 14 granted class certification in a suit accusing a farming enterprise of various wage-and-hour violations under federal and state laws (Manuel Mateo-Evangelio, et al. v. Triple J Produce, Inc., et al., No. 14-302, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4872).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Public employees, whether affiliated with a specific party or not, have a right to job protection for perceived political association, the attorney representing a demoted police detective argued Jan. 19 before the U.S. Supreme Court (Jeffrey J. Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, et al., No. 14-1280, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 on Jan. 20 that an employee welfare plan fiduciary may not bring a suit under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) to attach a participant's separate assets when the participant wholly dissipated a third-party settlement on nontraceable funds, concluding that such a suit was not permissible "equitable relief" (Robert Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 15 granted final approval to a $2.25 million settlement to be paid by Bank of America National Association to end a class complaint brought on behalf of customer service representatives who claimed that they were misclassified as administrative employees who were exempt from California's overtime and other labor laws (Zelma Brawner v. Bank of America National Association, et al., No. 14-2702, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4975).
BISMARK, N.D. - An employer is not liable for failing to warn household members of the dangers of asbestos, the North Dakota Supreme Court held Jan. 14 after finding that a widow lacks sufficient evidence of a special relationship between the employer and its employee's son or that the employer knew the risks (Deborah J. Palmer, surviving spouse of Gary J. Palmer, deceased v. 999 Quebec Inc. [f/k/a International Boiler Works Co.], et al., No. 2016 ND 17, N.D. Sup.; 2016 N.D. LEXIS 17).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In light of the "entirely unsettled" question of whether a jury trial is warranted in cases that question the validity of a plan document governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a North Carolina federal judge on Jan. 14 treated a jury verdict as advisory, deeming a widow entitled to $140,905 in benefits under her husband's group life insurance policy plan (American United Life Insurance Company v. Joanna Arthur and Steven Bruce Sumpter, No. 14-586, W.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4810).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 14 denied rehearing of its divided ruling rejecting claims that State Street Bank and Trust Co. breached its statutory duty of prudence as fiduciary of the General Motors (GM) Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) (Raymond M. Pfeil and Michael Kammer v. State Street Bank and Trust Company, No. 14-1491, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 19536).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 15 agreed to decide whether car dealership service advisers are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime pay requirements (Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Hector Navarro, et al., No. 15-415, U.S. Sup.; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 635).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 11 granted a motion to amend filed by employees of a care business for mentally challenged adults as plaintiffs to a class action lawsuit that asserts violations of the California Labor Code and unfair competition law (UCL) but found that the employers in the case would be prejudiced by the addition of new defendants (Horacio Veyra Palana, et al. v. Mission Bay Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-05235, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3740).
PHILADELPHIA - A female truck driver who was laid off following her filing of numerous complaints about her co-workers and was never recalled, even after all her male co-workers were, may proceed with her disparate treatment and retaliation claims, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 11, vacating a trial court's dismissal of the claims with prejudice (Sandra Connelly v. Lane Construction Corporation, No. 14-3792, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 366).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Jan. 8 partially dismissed wage-related claims asserted by a former employee of a food company, finding that his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and California Labor Code were unsupported (Jerrod Finder v. Leprino Foods Company, et al., No. 1:13-CV-2059, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2584).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court denied review Jan. 11 of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a federal judge properly dismissed without prejudice a pension plan participant's claim that the plan improperly reduced his benefits, where the suit was not brought in the federal court specified in the plan's forum-selection clause (Roger L. Smith v. AEGON Companies Pension Plan, No. 14-1168, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 upheld a trial court's rejection of taxi cab drivers' state wage and unjust enrichment claims, finding that both were barred by the drivers' employment agreements (Peter Enger, et al. v. Chicago Carriage Cab Corp., et al., No. 15-1057, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 388).
RICHMOND, Va. - A trial court erred when it found that gender-specific physical fitness requirements for FBI trainees violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the case of a male trainee who failed to graduate from the FBI Academy due to missing the physical test cut-off by one push-up, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 11 (Jay J. Bauer v. Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General, Department of Justice, No. 14-2323, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 379).
ST. LOUIS - Compounding pharmacies are not entitled to injunctive relief against a pharmacy benefits manager for denial of claims in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's claims regulation, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 11 (Grasso Enterprises, LLC, et al. v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 15-1578, 8th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An attorney representing California teachers who opt out of union membership but are still required to pay certain fees asked the U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 11 to overturn its decision in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed. (431 U.S. 209 ) concerning agency-fee requirements for non-union workers working for public entities (Rebecca Friedrichs, et al. v. California Teachers Association, et al., No. 14-915, U.S. Sup.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 7 upheld a trial court's decision dismissing a former Lockheed Martin Corp. employee's disability bias claims with prejudice after the plaintiff failed repeatedly to obey a court order requiring him to properly file an amended complaint (Deon D. Jones v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, et al., No. 14-15010, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 98).
PORTLAND, Ore - A federal judge in Oregon on Jan. 7 denied a health insurers' motion to dismiss claims alleging that it breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for the treatment of autism-related spectrum disorder to children who have been diagnosed as autistic (A.F., by and through his parents and guardians, Brenna Legaard and Scott Fournier, et al. v. Providence Health Plan, No. 13-776, D. Ore.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1503).
ST. LOUIS - A retirement plan sponsor's allegations that a service provider breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act failed because the provider did not owe any duty to the participants at the time the fees were negotiated and because the sponsor failed to establish a connection between its excessive fee allegations and the alleged post-contract basis for fiduciary duty, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 8, rejecting the position of the U.S. Department of Labor (McCaffree Financial Corp. v. Principal Life Insurance Company, No. 15-1007, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 214).
NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 5 vacated a trial court's rejection of a detention center officer's claim of retaliatory firing, finding that there was evidence that the center was inconsistent when it came to firing workers who mistreated inmates, but the majority affirmed the rejection of the officer's remaining claims (Lillie D. Wheat v. Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Commission, No. 14-30788, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 45).
ST. LOUIS - A class of workers who provide companionship services to disabled individuals in the individuals' place of residence fall under a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption and are not owed overtime, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 5, upholding a trial court's ruling (Frederic Fezard, et al. v. United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arkansas, No. 14-3601, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 27).