SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 5 ruled that a disability insurer does not have to produce communications regarding a disability claim because the claimant has not shown that the information requested is necessary for the resolution of the case (Lizabeth Healy v. Fortis Benefits Insurance Co., et al., No.14-832, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156549).
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The government has not shown that the accommodation it offers religious employers with objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s contraceptive mandate is the least restrictive means of accomplishing its goals, two colleges told the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 4 (Dordt College and Cornerstone University v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-2726, 8th Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge properly dismissed a health plan participant's putative class action claim that the plan's claim administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying claims until it is provided evidence regarding whether there is a collateral source for coverage, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Nov. 4 in an unpublished opinion (Joe Hollingshead v. Aetna Health Inc., No. 14-20158, 5th Cir.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Oct. 31 determined that an insurer's denial of long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not arbitrary or capricious because the insurer's decision is supported by substantial evidence showing that the claimant's subsequent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is not what caused his termination of employment (Jeff Schmitz v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 13-622, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154885).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Reading the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s language in context clearly indicates Congress' intent to offer states a choice, not to threaten them and the viability of the statute through disastrous language, the government told the en banc District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Nov. 3 (Jacqueline Halbig, et al. v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-5018, D.C. Cir.).
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., a service provider for 401(k) plans, on Oct. 31 moved for preliminary approval of a $9,475,000 settlement of class action claims that it violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it received revenue-sharing payments from third-party mutual funds (Golden Star, Inc., et al. v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 3:11-30235-MGM, D. Mass.).
NEW YORK - The statute of limitations bars New York Franchise Sales Act (FSA) claims brought by all but two delivery drivers who are challenging the subscription agreements (SA) they entered into with a delivery-service company, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 4 in a decision in which it also vacated a district court ruling against the drivers on their breach of contract and New York Labor Law (NYLL) claims (Jaroslav Kroshnyi, et al. v. U.S. Pack Courier Services, Inc., et al., Nos. 11-2789 and 11-4368, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21058).
BOSTON - Project managers who made more than $100,000 per year were highly compensated and, as a result, exempt from receiving overtime pay, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 4 (Crystal Litz, et al. v. The Saint Consulting Group, Inc., et al., No. 13-2437, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21055).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York federal magistrate judge on Oct. 30 found that requests for records from a sheriff's department regarding employee accommodation requests related to pregnancies and temporary medical conditions are reasonable and relevant to a civil rights discrimination lawsuit, granting the federal government's motion to compel (United States of America v. Niagara Co., New York, No. 1:13-cv-00503, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154232).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 3 granted a motion by the U.S. solicitor general for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae in the appeal of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' opinion finding that a driver failed to prove that her employer, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), discriminated against her because of her race, gender or pregnancy when it took her off the job as a result of doctor-imposed lifting restrictions related to her pregnancy (Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 12-1226, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 7232).
SAN FRANCISCO - On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court following the high court's recent presumption-of-prudence ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S.Ct. 2459 ), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 30 held that participants in eligible individual account plans (EIAPs) sponsored by Amgen Inc. sufficiently alleged that the plans' fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duty of care imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by retaining company stock in the plans when the stock price was artificially inflated because the company was marketing risky "off label" uses of the drugs (Steve Harris, et al. v. Amgen, Inc., et al., No. 10-56014, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20816).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 3 relisted a case challenging the availability of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax subsidies for those who enrolled in insurance through state exchanges for its Nov. 7 conference, according to its docket (David King, et al. v. Sylvia Mathew Burwell, et al., No. 14-114, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A restoration and cleaning company employee is not owed overtime because he is an outside salesperson under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 29 (Barry Dooley, et al. v. CPR Restoration and Cleaning Services LLC, et al., No. 13-4774, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20918).
DENVER - A finance department employee who was fired after working for the same company for more than three decades failed to prove that her age caused her termination, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 30 (Kathy Hutchins v. Cessna Aircraft Company, No. 14-3014, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20891).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 31 denied motions for summary judgment filed by both sides in a lawsuit brought by a transgender individual who alleges that her employer discriminated against her because of that and because of her health issues (James Hughes A/K/A Jamie Hughes v. William Beaumont Hospital, No. 13-13806, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154432).
CHICAGO - Expert Barry Castleman may testify regarding asbestos state of the art, but he may not opine about specific asbestos defendants' knowledge, a federal judge in Illinois judge affirmed Oct. 28. A judge previously rejected William Longo's testimony and videotaped demonstrations as an insufficient fit for the case (Charles Krik v. Crane Co.; ExxonMobil Oil Corp.; Owens-Illinois Inc.; and The Marley-Wylain Co., No. 10-7435, N.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE - The duty of fair representation in no way bars a union from appointing and removing stewards based on their affiliation, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 28 (United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, et al. v. Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, et al., No. 13-35095, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20665).
CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 28 upheld a summary judgment ruling in favor of an Illinois county sheriff in a bias suit finding the plaintiff, a prison guard, failed to establish even a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation (Salvatore Ziccarelli v. Thomas J. Dart, Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, et al., No. 13-3247, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20812).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge on Oct. 27 remanded a disability benefits suit to the plan administrator after learning that the disability insurer never calculated a claimant's monthly benefit amount (Michael Werb v. ReliaStar Life Insurance Co., No. 13-669, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152194).
MIAMI - Having Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate challengers notify the government does not warrant a change in outcome from cases decided under the previous rule, which had them notify third-party administrators, a Florida federal judge held Oct. 28 (Ave Maria School of Law v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 13-795, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152738).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Oct. 27 approved a $215,000 settlement between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Vamco Sheet Metals Inc., a construction contractor, in a gender discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of four individuals (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Vamco Sheet Metals, Inc., No. 13-6088, S.D. N.Y.).
DENVER - A federal judge in Colorado on Oct. 27 denied a motion to certify for interlocutory appeal an order rejecting a magistrate judge's finding that a Catholic health organization's retirement plan is not a church plan exempt from the funding and reporting requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Janeen Medina v. Catholic Health Initiatives, et al., No. 13-1249, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151667).
NEW YORK - Testimony establishes that a company knew its valves would eventually be removed and scrapped, and it can held liable for third-party asbestos-containing parts based on its sale of such parts, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 28 (Bryan Hockler v. 3M Co., et al. [William Powell Co.], No. 190235/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4642).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A disability plan sponsored by a hospital that is associated with a church is not exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act as a "church plan" because the hospital's principal purpose is not the administration of the benefits plan, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Oct. 24 in denying the participant's motion to remand to state court (Pamela Hanshaw v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 3:14-cv-00216, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151411).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal magistrate on Oct. 24 ordered a tree-removal services company to supplement discovery materials it had already provided regarding employee timesheets and work truck assignments in a class action alleging nonpayment for overtime hours (Curtis Wiley v. Asplundh Tree Expert Co., No. 2:13-cv-02952, S.D. W.Va.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150955).