RICHMOND, Va. - A multiemployer pension fund properly filed a complaint in federal district court to seek review of an arbitration order related to the fund's assessment of withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Freight Drivers and Helpers Local Union No. 557 Pension Fund v. Penske Logistics LLC, et al., No. 14-1464, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6557).
CINCINNATI - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act bars an employer in an action brought by multiemployer benefit funds to collect delinquent payments under a union contract from asserting the equitable defenses of laches and estoppel, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 20 (Operating Engineers Local 324 Health Care Plan, et al. v. G & W Construction Company, et al., No. 12-1786, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6420).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on April 16 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a collective action and authorization for notice in a wage lawsuit brought by Time Warner Cable inbound sales agents (Abbie Garcia, et al. v. TWC Administration, LLC, d/b/a Time Warner Cable, No. 14-985, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50384).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A decision by the Alaska Police Standards Council to revoke an officer's police certificate is entitled to deference, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled April 17 (Alaska Police Standards Council v. Lance Parcell, No. S-15364, Alaska Sup.; 2015 Alas. LEXIS 40).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 20 declined to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a multiemployer welfare fund was not entitled to reimbursement from another insurer for benefits paid on behalf of a plan beneficiary who was covered by both insurers because the claims were not "appropriate equitable relief" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. Gerber Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-987, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 20 declined to consider whether the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals erred in ruling that pension plan trustees' claims that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act related to the purchase of life insurance policies for the plan are time-barred (Dublin Eye Associates, P.C., et al. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-974, U.S. Sup.).
DENVER - Patterson-UTI Drilling Co. LLC, a Texas-based multistate oil drilling company, agreed to pay $14.5 million to settle a racial and national origin discrimination lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to resolve several cases through separate conciliation agreements, the EEOC and Patterson-UTI both announced April 20 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC, No. 15-600, D. Colo.).
WASHINGTON,D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 20 denied review of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) (JHUSA) and its related entities are not fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in regard to allegations by participants in two 401(k) plans that the companies charged excessive fees for their services in breach of its fiduciary duties (Danielle Santomenno, et al. v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-1054, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - Negligence and strict liability claims involve an employer's duty to provide a safe workspace under Pennsylvania law and would not require interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement, the federal judge overseeing the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation held April 15 in remanding the case (Rita G. Stellar, et al. v. Allied Signal Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 14-5083, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50066).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appeals court on April 17 reissued and published an opinion affirming that a couple lacks evidence of exposure to asbestos from brakes on a manufacturer's cranes (Norman J. Sterling and Laura M. Sterling v. P&H Mining Equipment Inc., a/k/a Joy Global Surface Mining Inc., No. 1006 EDA 2014, Pa. Super.; 2015 Pa. Super. LEXIS 186).
LOS ANGELES - Three California residents on April 16 filed a class complaint against their former employer, American Apparel Inc., alleging that the clothing company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the WARN Act), the California WARN Act and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200, et seq., when it executed a mass layoff earlier in the month without 60 days' notice (Carlos Hirschberg, et al. v. American Apparel, Inc., et al., No. 15-2827, C.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. - Independent contractors who deliver furniture and provide installation services in New Jersey for Macy's Inc. and Home Delivery Link Inc. moved April 15 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to settle their wage claims for $2.8 million (Henry Badia, et al. v. Home Delivery Link, Inc., et al., No. 12-6920, D. N.J.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 15 upheld the dismissal of claims challenging two ordinances passed by the City of New Orleans related to paid detail for city police officers, finding that the ordinances did not violate the U.S. and state constitutions (Walter Powers, Jr., et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. 14-30444, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6158).
NEW YORK - A New York justice on April 13 rejected expert causation testimony and set aside an $11 million friction-products asbestos verdict against Ford Motor Co., finding the "every exposure" theory incompatible with science and state law (Arthur H. Juni Jr. and Mary Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190315/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - The store manager of a discount retailer failed prove that he was improperly denied overtime wages, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 9, upholding a trial court (Albert Itterly, et al. v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc., et al., No. 14-1274, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5751).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A health care worker who was fired after experiencing health issues, including being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, failed to prove that her termination was related to her health issues or was discriminatory, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in an opinion issued April 8 (Lucinda Dalton v. ManorCare of West Des Moines IA, LLC, et al., No. 13-3743, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5536).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 9 granted a joint motion for approval of a consent decree under which a Florida clinic will pay $150,000 to settle claims brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it unlawfully terminated a transgender employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A., No. 14-2421, M.D. Fla.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on April 9 granted final approval to a $140 million class action settlement between Nationwide Financial Services Inc. and Nationwide Life Insurance Co. (collectively, Nationwide) and trustees of employer-sponsored pension plans on the trustees' claims that the investment service providers breached their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by receiving revenue-sharing payments (Lou Haddock, et al. v. Nationwide Financial Services Inc., et al., No. 01-CV-1552, D. Conn.).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a district court's ruling that a disability claimant's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because the claimant failed to prove that she had a period of seven consecutive days of disability during her employment pursuant to the policy's terms (Michele Clark v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., No. No. 14-1701, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5739).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 7 that it lacked jurisdiction over an appeal of a decision by the Federal Labor Relations Authority's (FLRA) general counsel to settle an unfair labor charge unilaterally after the issuance of a complaint but before a hearing (Jared R. Clark v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, No. 13-1261, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5531).
SAN FRANCISCO - A settlement agreement that includes a provision in which the former employee waives his rights to employment with the employer at any facility it currently owns or with which it may contract in the future is ripe for review, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 8 (Donald Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group, et al., No. 12-16514, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5642).
DES MOINES, Iowa - After finding that a teacher's lung injury was caused by exposure to mold in the building where she worked, the Iowa Court of Appeals on April 8 affirmed a decision awarding her compensation for an occupational injury (United Heartland Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Brown, No. 14-1070, Iowa App.; 2015 Iowa App. LEXIS 321).
PHILADELPHIA - A disability insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a long-term disability benefits claim because its decision is supported by substantial medical evidence, a Pennsylvania federal judge said April 6 (Salvatore Chiodo v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 14-02270, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44511).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge in California on April 7 denied United Behavioral Health's (UBH) motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that the insurer denied claims for mental illness and substance abuse-related outpatient treatment in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Gary Alexander, et al. v. United Behavioral Health, No. 14-cv-05337, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46046).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An insurer did not abuse its discretion in terminating long-term disability (LTD) benefits after determining that the claimant exceeded the total monthly earnings limits when a company bonus was calculated into his earnings for the year; however, the insurer failed to meet its burden that it is entitled to recoup all of the overpayments, a Virginia federal judge said April 6 (Jeffrey P. Fine v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 14-551, E.D. Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44729).