ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in Missouri on Feb. 5 asked parties to explain why North Carolina residents' action alleging asbestos exposure largely in North Carolina should not be transferred to that state (Anthony Trezza and Peggy Trezza v. 84 Lumber Co., et al., No. 14-1282, E.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13740).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The universal application of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate cannot preclude a constitutional challenge to the law, a local-level politician argues in a Feb. 4 brief to the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Jeffrey Cutler v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 14-5183, D.C. Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Coca-Cola Co. and several of its divisions asked a Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 3 to dismiss a Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) class complaint brought employees after dozens of laptops containing their personal data were stolen (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al., No. 14-6476, E.D. Pa.).
TAMPA, Fla. - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate substantially burdens religious practice, as does requiring objectors to provide details of their insurance carrier to the government, which forces objectors to "become excessively entangled" in the process, a federal judge in Florida held Feb. 3 (Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation Inc., et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-580, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12506).
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on Feb. 3 granted preliminary approval of an $840,000 settlement to be paid by an employer to end Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class claims brought by job applicants (Jason Smith, et al. v. Res-Care, Inc., No. 13-5211, S.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12256).
MIAMI - After finding that certain injury-related claims asserted by a cruise line worker fell within the scope of an agreement that provided for arbitration under Bahamian law, a Florida federal judge on Feb. 3 partially granted a motion to compel the dispute to arbitration (Meredith Rutledge v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., et al., No. 14-23682, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12554).
LOS ANGELES - Because an underlying dispute between a delivery person and his employer involves direct claims of violations of California's wage and hour laws or arises out of such purported violations, a policy exclusion bars employment practices liability coverage for the allegations, a California federal judge ruled Jan. 29, granting the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Admiral Insurance Co. v. Kay Automotive Distributors Inc., No. CV 13-05100, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11357).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 affirmed the rejection of a former Georgia county worker's disability discrimination claims, finding that her rejected request to work from home was not a reasonable accommodation and that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as to her constructive discharge claim (Gloria Abram v. Fulton County Government, No. 14-11550, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1380).
NEW ORLEANS - A financial adviser who was fired after he, while at work, purchased a $25 money order for his attorney, may proceed with his age discrimination and defamation claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 2 (Lloyd Flanner v. Chase Investment Services Corp., doing business as JP Morgan Securities, L.L.C., No. 13-31132, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1603).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 29 upheld a successor liability decision, as well as a tax component award, in a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 suit brought by a restaurant worker who was subjected to a racist incident and then fired after complaining about it (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Northern Star Hospitality, Inc., d/b/a Sparx Restaurant, et al., No. 14-1660, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1465).
LOS ANGELES - An attorney's suit alleging that that two principles comingled and mismanaged bank account funds, shorting him of compensation seeks in excess of $75,000, Napoli Bern Ripka & Associates argues in removing the action on Jan. 28 (Marc I. Willick v. Napoli Bern Ripka & Associates, et al., No. 5-652, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Hourly workers who allege that they were denied pay for any time worked in excess of 40 hours per week were granted conditional certification of their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) suit by a California federal judge on Jan. 30 (James Warren Ash, et al. v. Bayside Solutions, Inc., No. 14-2183, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11323).
ALBANY, N.Y. - An employee's death is a separate injury from his disability and necessitates a separate reimbursement claim by an employer, a New York appeals court held Jan. 29 in affirming denial of the untimely reimbursement claim (In the Matter of the Claim of Richard J. Connolly v. Consolidated Edison, et al. and Special Disability Fund, Workers' Compensation Board, No. 518246, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept.; 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 685).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 29 denied an employer's request for summary judgment on claims asserted by a former employee for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and other claims, allowing her mold-related exposure claims to proceed (Tina Canalejo v. ADG LLC, d/b/a Great Expressions, No. 8:14-cv-17, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10271).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court erred in rejecting a limo driver's wage-and-hour claims and denying him leave to amend his complaint, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 27 (Robert G. Greene, AKA Robert A. Greene v. Executive Coach & Carriage, No. 12-17306, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1257).
SAN FRANCISCO - There is a triable issue as to whether a plan participant complied with the governing plan documents' requirements for changing beneficiary designation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 28, reversing summary judgment in an interpleader case seeking a determination as to the proper beneficiary of proceeds under two employee benefit plans (Lawrence M. Becker, as fiduciary of the Xerox Corporation Savings Plan and Xerox Corporation Retirement Income Guarantee Plan and Carmen Stephanie Mays-Williams v. Asa Williams Jr., as personal representative of the Estate of Asa Willie Williams, No. 13-35069, 9th Cir.).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 upheld a trial court's ruling for an employer that terminated an employee following his leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), finding that there was no proof of retaliatory animus (Murad Y. Ameen v. Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc., No. 14-1086, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1150).
RICHMOND, Va. - A trial court did not err when it allowed a jury to twice modify its verdict in a lawsuit brought by a worker who claimed that she was terminated following her whistle-blowing, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 26 (Andrea Gail Jones v. SouthPeak Interactive Corporation of Delaware, et al., Nos. 13-2399 and 14-1765, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1114).
MILWAUKEE - The state's statute of repose for improvements to real property does not cover ongoing repair and replacement of insulation, a Wisconsin appeals court held Jan. 26 (Pamela Peter, et al. v. Sprinkmann Sons Corp., Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., United Health Care Service, No. 2014AP923, Wis. App.; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 50).
LOS ANGELES - The "any exposure" to asbestos theory has no place in a trial involving alleged exposure from phenolic molding compounds, Union Carbide Corp. told a federal judge in California on Jan. 27 (Larry Armstrong, an individual; Carolyn Armstrong v. 3M Co., a/k/a Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co., et al., No. 14-1039, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 27 upheld a jury verdict for two workers who alleged Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violations after they were subjected to a work event, scheduled during a Texas holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery, during which the company brought in a gorilla singing telegram (James L. Henry, et al. v. CorpCar Services Houston, Limited, et al., No. 13-20744, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1208).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Jan. 26 remanded to state court a hospital's lawsuit seeking reimbursement for charges for treatment of a participant in a health plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, holding that the hospital's state unfair competition law claims were not completely preempted by ERISA (Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula v. Blue Cross of California, et al., No. 14-CV-04552, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9248).
LOS ANGELES - Pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens (135 S. Ct. 547, 551 ), a California federal judge on Jan. 22 ruled that when a defendant removes a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), "[t]he Court must accept these allegations as true unless 'contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court'" (Carmen Roa, et al. v. TS Staffing Services, Inc., et al., No. 14-8424, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7442).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Jan. 22 declined to certify a class of workers in the United States on H-1B visas who allege that they were forced to continue their labor in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and underpaid in violation of the Indiana Statutory Wage Law (Rituraj Singh Panwar, et al. v. Access Therapies, Inc., et al., RN Staff Inc. v. Rituraj Singh Panwar, et al., No. 12-619, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7584).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House of Representatives lacks standing to challenge implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s employer mandate in court, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Jan. 26 (United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-1967, D. D.C.).