PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 affirmed a trial court's decision that plan administrators reasonably rejected a hospital's claim that an increase in lifetime maximum benefits for "claims incurred" since a specific date did not include claims made after that date for services rendered prior to that date (Perris Valley Community Hospital, LLC, DBA Vista Hospital of Riverside, A California Limited Liability Company v. Southern California Pipe Trades Administrative Corporation, et al., No. 14-55408, 9th Cir.).
CINCINNATI - A divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 8, based on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett (135 S. Ct. 926 ), reversed a district court's ruling in favor of a class of retirees from Moen Inc. who argued that their collective bargaining agreements guaranteed them health care benefits for life (John L. Gallo, et al. v. Moen Incorporated, Nos. 14-3633 and 14-3918, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2118).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 5 dismissed a claim for conversion asserted by an employee of a travel company who also asserts claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and Labor Code, finding that it was not possible to make a definite calculation of the amount of hours she worked to be converted (Milagros Alvarenga v. Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-01560, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15180).
PHILADELPHIA - Allegations that an employer violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide, upon request by a former employee a copy of a trust agreement were rejected Feb. 5 by a Pennsylvania federal judge, who instead found that the company's provision of the operative 401(k) plan document satisfied 29 U.S. Code Sections 1024(b)(4) and 1103(a) (Derrick Askew v. R.L. Reppert Inc., et al., No. 11-4003, E.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14448).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 5 enforced a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board finding that a New Jersey company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it locked out its employees after failing to reach an agreement with the union on health benefits (Alden Leeds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 11-1267 and 11-1296, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1998).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board erred in part when it failed to address the lawfulness of a confidential settlement agreement between an employer and union based on unfair labor practices committed the very next day, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 5 (Raymond Interior Systems, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1011, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1997).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge did not err in rejecting efforts by an Ohio company to reduce its $1.7 million withdrawal liability following a union-mandated withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (United Food and Commercial Workers Union-Employer Pension Fund, et al. v. Rubber Associates Inc., No. 15-3434, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1873).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 5 announced that it has approved a more than $8.08 million settlement agreement between Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC (Steelworkers), ending a strike dispute (Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 19-CA-147090, NLRB, Region 19; Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., No. 21-CA-146968, NLRB, Region 21).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 reversed a trial court's grant of summary judgment for employers in a racial discrimination suit filed by a white construction worker (Terry Deets v. Massman Construction Company, et al., No. 15-1411, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1770).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 1 affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part a federal district court's ruling in a securities class action lawsuit, holding that a pension fund properly pleaded scienter and loss causation in making certain claims pursuant to federal securities law (Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund v. CVB Financial Corp., et al., No. 13-56838, 9th Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court Appeals panel on Jan. 29 declined to review a National Guard officer's 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 claim based on the military abstention doctrine set forth in Feres v. United States (340 U.S. 135 ) (Frederick Aikens v. William E. Ingram, Jr., et al., No. 14-2419, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1502).
NEW YORK - A trial court erred when it denied qualified immunity to a police chief in a 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 retaliation suit as "there was no clearly established precedent at the time of the defendant's conduct that her conduct violated constitutional norms," a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 28 (Todd Lynch v. Margaret Ackley, et al., No. 14-3751, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1378).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 upheld a ruling that Rule 13200 of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) does not bar enforcement of predispute waivers of a FINRA arbitral forum (Credit Suisse Securities [USA] LLC v. John David Tracy, et al., No. 15-0345, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1354).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 reversed a Maryland federal judge's decision that deemed timely allegations that Marriott International Inc. violated the vesting requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Dennis Bond Sr., et al. v. Marriot International Inc., No. 15-1160, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1499).
ST. LOUIS - A $142,737 payment was properly excluded from pension-qualifying earnings as a moving expense by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Pension Plan for Nonscheduled Employees (the plan), the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 29 in a case brought pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Theodore Ingram v. Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Pension Plan for Nonscheduled Employees, No. 14-3589, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1454).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 26 granted an amended motion filed jointly by the parties in a wage-and-hour class suit filed by workers who were paid on a per-task basis to modify the July order approving a $585,507 settlement (Christopher Otey, et al. v. CrowdFlower, Inc., et al., No. 12-5524, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9049).
SAN FRANCISCO - Drivers who filed a class complaint against Lyft Inc., which provides drive-sharing services, alleging various wage violations filed a motion Jan. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking preliminary approval of a $12.25 million settlement (Patrick Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc., No. 13-4065, N.D. Calif.).
LIMA, Ohio - Asbestosis refers to a specific disease and not asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, an Ohio appeals court held Jan. 25 in affirming a widow's right to participate in the state's workers' compensation system (Fayrene Dennis, surviving spouse of Johnny Dennis v. General Motors Corp., et al., No. 4-15-09, Ohio App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Ohio App. LEXIS 215).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Jan. 26 upheld a summary judgment ruling for an employer in a contract dispute but reversed the award of attorney fees, finding that the trial court improperly applied an outdated version of California Labor Code Section 218.5 (USS-POSCO Industries v. Floyd Case, Nos. A140457 and A142145, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 49).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Jan. 25 partially granted a motion to strike class claims for violation of the California Labor Code and the unfair competition law (UCL) asserted by a former employee of technology entities, allowing his representative claim for violation of the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) and injunctive relief to proceed (Howard Rosenstein, individually and on behalf of himself and others similarly situated v. Pratt and Whitney, et al., No. 15cv2183, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8442).
MADISON, Wis. - A challenge by the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority (UWHCA) of an insurer's denial of payment was rejected on summary judgment Jan. 25 by a Wisconsin federal judge in light of an anti-assignment provision in the parties' contract; the same day, UWHCA's state law claims against defendants Aetna Life Insurance Co., Aetna Health and Life Insurance Co. and Aetna Health Insurance Co. (Aetna, collectively) were dismissed in a related case as preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-779, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8093; University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-286, W.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8091).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 25 in two separate rulings granted preliminary approval of a $900,000 settlement by the trustees of two RadioShack 401(k) plans and partially dismissed the claims against the RadioShack directors and members of the administrative committee in a consolidated complaint brought by plan participants who allege that the defendants violated ERISA and their duty of loyalty by keeping the employee stock options plans (ESOPs) invested in RadioShack stock even as the company was declining into bankruptcy (In Re 2014 RadioShack ERISA Litigation, No. 14-959, N.D. Texas).
NEW YORK - Four parking production assistants (PPAs) employed by Paramount Pictures Corp. and other production companies filed a class suit Jan. 21 in New York federal court alleging that they were denied overtime pay, forced to work without any breaks and often forced to go to the bathroom in their cars or pay local business in order to use their restrooms (Christian Pellot, et al. v. Paramount Pictures Corporation, et al., No. 16-463, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 voted 2-1 to deny panel rehearing of its divided ruling that posthumous state court nunc pro tunc domestic relations orders constitute valid qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) excepted from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act's anti-alienation and preemption provisions (Yale-New Haven Hospital v. Claire M. Nicholls v. Barbara Nicholls, No. 13-4725, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1089).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on Jan. 21 granted in part a motion to compel United Behavioral Health (UBH) to produce redacted or withheld documents in a class complaint accusing the insurance provider of wrongfully denying coverall for mental health and substance abuse-related residential treatment (David Wit, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-2346, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7242).