SAN FRANCISCO - National cleaning products company Hillyard Inc. will pay $750,000 to settle class claims that it violated California labor laws and unfair competition law (UCL) by failing to reimburse sales representatives for work-related expenses in a deal that received preliminary approval from a federal magistrate judge on Aug. 22 on the third try (Lawrence Daniel Christensen, et al. v. Hillyard, Inc., No. 13-4389, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117499).
SAN FRANCISCO - An Air Force base security guard who was banned from carrying a weapon after a verbal altercation and then fired after referencing a shooting at another base failed to prove that he was the victim of discrimination, retaliation and a hostile work environment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 20 (Nathaniel Hosea v. Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the US Air Force, No. 13-15138, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16036).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 20 affirmed a trial court's rejection of a female employee's gender and pregnancy bias claims based on lack of proof and untimeliness (Aletha Weaver v. Basic Energy Services, L.P., et al., No. 14-50119, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 16052).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 19 upheld a trial court's denial of a motion for judgment as a matter of law filed by Tyson Foods Inc. in a donning and doffing dispute and denied Tyson's request to reduce the nearly $3.4 million attorney fee award (Adelina Garcia, et al. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., et al., No. 12-3346, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15917).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Aug. 19 determined that claims for breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment against a disability insurer must be dismissed for failure to state a claim (Douglas Esposito v. Wal Mart Stores Inc., et al., No. 13-98, W.D. N.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115114).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 reinstated two claims by a former government worker who alleges that the denial of her request for substantial flexibility in her working hours - known as a "maxiflex" schedule - violated the Rehabilitation Act (Linda Solomon v. Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, No. 12-5123, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15671).
NEWARK, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 15 remanded a health insurance breach of contract case to state court, holding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the claims (Thomas R. Peterson, M.D., et al. v. Cigna Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-03818, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11349).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 15 dismissed claims against one health insurer in a reimbursement dispute and partially dismissed claims against another group of insurers, leaving two claims brought pursuant to the Employee Retirement Act and one state law claim for prompt-payment violations (MBody Minimally Invasive Surgery, et al. v. Empire Healthchoice HMO Inc., et al., No. 13-6551, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114012).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 14 narrowed the claims and definition of the class in a complaint filed by 11 current and former employees of a pharmaceutical company who allege gender discrimination (Megan Barrett, et al. v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., et al., No. 12-5224, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113289).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 14 declined to remand a health care reimbursement suit to state court, finding that federal question jurisdiction existed pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but also declined to dismiss the claims, saying it was unclear to what extent the claims involved ERISA plans (United Surgical Assistants LLC v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 14-211, M. D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112816).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A police officer's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) did not qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 15 (Matthew Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, No. 12-35726, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15762).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 15 reinstated a discrimination claim filed by a Louisiana school district employee who alleges that she was passed over for a promotion based on her race (Sandra A. Pace v. Livingston Parish School Board, No. 13-30919, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15705).
DENVER - A damages expert proffered by three paramedics against their employer is sufficiently qualified to testify, a Colorado federal judge ruled Aug. 14, also holding that the expert's testimony would assist a jury in understanding the parties' disputes regarding wages and overtime pay (Karen Kinne, et al. v. Rocky Mountain EMS Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-02710, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112872).
ATLANTA - A dual-listed company is not suable under Florida laws, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 12, upholding the dismissal of a class complaint filed by seafarers seeking additional benefits following injuries at sea (Zolt Sabo, et al. v. Carnival Corporation, d.b.a. Carnival Corporation & PLC, et al., No. 13-11765, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15398).
LOS ANGELES - Employees who are required to use their personal cell phones for work-related calls are required, per California Labor Code Section 2802, to be reimbursed by their employer, the Second District California Court of Appeal ruled Aug. 12, reversing a trial court's denial of class certification of a complaint filed by a customer service manager (Colin Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service, Inc., No. B247160, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 724).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 12 ruled that a surgeon whose staff and clinical privileges were revoked failed to allege antitrust injury because she maintained such privileges at other hospitals but that the surgeon could continue with her hostile work environment claims (Yelena Levitin, et al. v. Northwest Community Hospital, et al., No. 13-5553, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110830).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Aug. 12 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss breach of fiduciary duty claims alleged against it because the claims are essentially the same as the breach of contract claim (James W. Hackney v. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., No. 11-268, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111142).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Two companies' cross-claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) that a rival company used illegal noncompete agreements with its employees to unlawfully compete with its competitors are not barred by the state's law banning strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP statute) because the claims are based on the rival's business practices and not its litigation conduct, a state appellate panel held Aug. 8 in affirming a trial court's ruling (Pathology, Inc. v. Aviir, Inc., et al., No. G048824, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5621).
CINCINNATI - A long-term disability insurer failed to provide a disability claimant with a fair opportunity for review when it did not notify the claimant that there was a contractual time limit for judicial review of its decision to deny long-term benefits, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 7 (Joseph Moyer v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 13-1396, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15186).
MILWAUKEE - Participants in two S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. retirement plans who received early retirement benefits on Aug. 7 sought approval of two class action settlement agreements totaling $44.4 million on their claims challenging the legality of the plans' method for calculating pre-age-65 lump sums from 1998 through Aug. 17, 2006, the effective date of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (Michael Thompson, et al. v. Retirement Plan For Employees Of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., et al., No. 07-1047, E.D. Wis.).
PORTLAND, Ore - An Oregon federal judge on Aug. 8 granted partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in a case alleging that a health insurance company violated federal and state law 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, saying that the exclusion is prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (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.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109507).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 rejected $324.5 million partial class action settlements between employees and Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on the 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.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110064).
DENVER - A health plan participant's state law contract and tort claims against a health care provider were properly removed to federal court because a single claim for tortious interference with contract, which was related to the discount for services provided by the participant's health plan, was completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 6 (Richard Salzer v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma Inc., No. 13-6099, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15122).
PHILADELPHIA - Supplemental disability and life insurance coverage is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the supplemental policies cannot be unbundled from the employer's broader ERISA benefits plan, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 6 in holding that ERISA preempted state law claims that the insureds were fraudulently induced to purchase supplemental coverage that was worthless (Alexander L. Menkes, et al. v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 13-1408, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15113).
CHICAGO - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding retirees more than $400,000 in attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following the retirees' settlement of their claims that their employer's successor unlawfully eliminated their health care benefits, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 6 (Shirley Temme, et al. v. Bemis Company, Incorporated, No. 14-1085, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15174).