NEW ORLEANS - Tankermen perform seaman work when loading and unloading vessels, and as a result are not owed overtime, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 13 (Keith Coffin, et al. v. Blessey Marine Services, Incorporated, No. 13-20144, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21622).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 14 reinstated pay differential claims brought by a college program manager who alleges that she was denied the ability to negotiate higher pay while a male counterpart hired at the same time was allowed to negotiate (Margaret D. Thibodeaux-Woody v. Houston Community College, No. 13-20738, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21664).
GREENBELT, Md. - A federal magistrate judge in Maryland recommended Nov. 13 that no default judgment be awarded to a multiemployer health fund in its action seeking to recover overpayments under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act under the equitable theories of unjust enrichment and restitution (Food Employers Labor Relations Association and United Food & Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Fund v. David Dove, No. 8:14-cv-01273, D. Md.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159773).
NEW YORK - A New York man filed a collective action complaint on Nov. 12 in New York federal court accusing Google Inc. and the outside agencies it uses of intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid various wage law requirements including overtime (Jacob McPherson, et al. v. Google, Inc., et al., No. 14-9026, S.D. N.Y.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two veterans, the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Vietnam Veterans of America filed a class complaint on Nov. 14 in the District of Columbia federal court. alleging that the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) has failed to review applications for correction of military records filed by thousands of veterans (National Veterans Legal Services Program, et al. v. The United States Department of Defense, et al., No. 14-1915, D. D.C.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 14, ruling on pretrial motions, ordered the employers of adult entertainers to pay more than $10.8 million in damages for various violations of federal and state wage laws (Sabrina Hart, et al. v. Rick's Cabaret International, Inc., et al., No. 09-3043, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160264).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Nov. 12 partially granted and partially denied plaintiffs' motion to certify eight putative classes in a wage and labor dispute. Among the classes denied was a state unfair competition law class, which was denied as being redundant to the class and subclasses certified (Charles Brewer, et al. v. General Nutrition Corp., No. 11-3587, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159380).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 17 denied review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unpublished opinion ruling that participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) challenging the plan's fiduciaries' decision to continue investing in company stock failed to sufficiently plead causation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Thomas J. Metyk, et al. v. KeyCorp, et al., No. 14-240, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 17 let stand a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 does not protect a one-time unsolicited complaint to an employer about alleged violations of ERISA (Brian Sexton v. Panel Processing, Inc., et al., No. 14-152, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania man filed a class complaint on Nov. 12 against The Coca-Cola Co. and its divisions, alleging that the personal information of more than 70,000 employees has been compromised due to the theft of 55 laptop computers from Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) between 2007 and 2013 (Shane K. Enslin, et al. v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al., No. 14-6476, E.D. Pa.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The de minimus "bit of paperwork" required to opt out of contraceptive coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate does not substantially burden religious exercise and is the least restrictive means of ensuring universal access to such coverage, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 14 (Priests for Life, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 13-5368; Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., Nos. 13-5371, 14-5021, D.C. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employee claiming failure to pay minimum or overtime wages must, at a minimum, allege at least one workweek where overtime hours were worked and either overtime pay or minimum wages were not provided, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 12 in an issue the panel identified as one of first impression (Greg Landers, et al. v. Quality Communications, Inc., et al., No. 12-15890, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21440).
NEW YORK - A New York City restaurant will pay $2.4 million to end wage-and-hour claims filed against it by wait staff, bussers and chefs, according to a settlement granted final approval by a New York federal judge on Nov. 12 (Sakiko Fujiwara, et al. v. Sushi Yasuda Ltd., et al., No. 12-8742, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159140).
PHILADELPHIA - Because a lawsuit seeking survivor retirement benefits was not filed within four years of the termination of benefits, the suit is time-barred pursuant to Pennsylvania's applicable four-year statute of limitations, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 12 (Lynn K. Christian v. Honeywell Retirement Benefit Plan, No. 14-1084, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21410).
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - An insurer has no duty to defend its farm insured against an underlying injury claim brought by an independent contractor because the employers liability coverage extends only to injuries of employees, a Tennessee federal judge ruled Nov. 10, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment in a declaratory judgment suit (Danny Swafford v. Forestry Mutual Insurance Co., No.1:14-CV-00093, E.D. Tenn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158837).
BATON ROUGE, La. - A judge's "kind statements" from the bench do not indicate that her $3.8 million asbestos verdict includes damages unavailable in a survival action, a divided Louisiana appeals court held Nov. 10 (Dorothy Carter White, et al. v. Entergy Gulf States Louisiana LLC, et al., No. 2013 CA 1608, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 2712).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court's grant of certiorari in King v. Burwell (No. 14-114, U.S. Sup.) warrants staying en banc review of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) case challenging the availability of tax subsidies, plaintiffs told the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 10 (Jacqueline Halbig, et al. v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-5018, D.C. Cir.).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An in-home direct care worker's class complaint seeking unpaid overtime fails because she brought her claims pursuant to state law when she and the other workers are actually subject to federal law, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 7 (Carol King, et al. v. West Virginia's Choice, Inc., No. 13-1255, W.Va. Sup.; 2014 W. Va. LEXIS 1174).
JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. - A woman's epithelial mesothelioma was the same disease she was diagnosed with in 2002, making her 2012 suit untimely, a New York justice held Nov. 5 (Linda Wells v. Abex Corp., et al., No. 48156/12, N.Y. Sup., Schenectady Co.).
TOLEDO, Ohio - An Ohio federal magistrate judge on Nov. 6 granted a plaintiff's motion to quash discovery of materials related to the planning and preparation of her ex-husband's will and estate in a dispute over life and disability insurance benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), finding that they were subject to the attorney-client privilege (Anette Davis v. Mary Ann Drake, et al., No. 3:14-cv-00113, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157313).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge, in an order filed Nov. 5, remanded a class complaint accusing Costco Wholesale Corp. of various wage violations, finding that the warehouse club failed to prove that the complaint met the $5 million Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) threshold or the $75,000 diversity jurisdiction threshold (Paula Dittmar, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-1156, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156666).
SAN FRANCISCO - A health care provider has constitutional standing as an assignee of health plan beneficiaries to bring claims for payment of benefits against the plan administrator under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 5 (Spinedex Physical Therapy USA Incorporated, et al. v. United HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., et al., No. 12-17604, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21132).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ordinary contract interpretation should be applied to a dispute over the life of retiree health benefits and, where the contract is silent, courts should apply the relevant default principles, an attorney representing M&G Polymers USA LLC told the high court on Nov. 10 in a dispute over how long retiree health benefits are promised (M&G Polymers USA, LLC, et al. v. Hobert Freel Tackett, et al., No. 13-1010, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 10 denied review of an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a deferential standard of review applies in cases in which retirement plan participants' claim that the plan's fiduciaries breached their statutory duties of loyalty and prudence under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 404 (Ronald Tussey, et al. v. ABB, Inc., et al., No. 14-130, U.S. Sup.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Where a man develops and dies of an occupationally related asbestos disease after retiring because of an unrelated disease, death benefits may be based on his last year of work, a North Carolina appeals court affirmed Nov. 4 (Shirley Lipe, et al. v. Starr Davis Company Inc., et al., No. COA14-90-2, N.C. App.; 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 1127).