CHICAGO - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is incorrect in claiming that Section 707(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act allows it to sue an employer without engaging in conciliation or alleging that the employer engaged in discrimination, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 17, holding that the agency must comply with all presuit procedures contained in Title VII Section 706 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 14-3653, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21963).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Dec. 11 excluded an expert's report and testimony as to dollar figures of his aggregate damages analysis for rest break premiums, meal period premiums and underpaid meal premium classes for damages pursuant to California Labor Code Section 226.7 (Sandrika Medlock, et al. v. Taco Bell Corp., et al., No. 07-01314, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167128).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on Dec. 11 granted final approval to a settlement by Unum Life Insurance Company of America whereby it will pay $3,738,402 to end a class claim that it erred when it failed to include perpetuity payments when it calculated Humana Inc. disabled workers' long-term disability payments (Mary J. Kemp v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 14-944, E.D. La.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166164).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 11 allowed a plaintiff who filed a wage-and-hour class action against Best Buy Stores L.P. to amend her complaint a second time, despite the retailer's argument that the motion should be denied due to the plaintiff's undue delay (Starvona Harris v. Best Buy Stores, L.P., No. 15-657, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166520).
DALLAS - A widow uses "time travel" to import an employer's current knowledge to past conduct and wildly inflates risk in a failed attempt to "dress up" a negligence claim as one for gross negligence, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. told a Texas court on Dec. 11 (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on Dec. 10 denied preliminary approval of a $795,000 settlement to end class claims filed on behalf of MG Holdings L.P. and Madison Square Garden (collectively, MSG) unpaid interns who seek wages (Christopher Fraticelli, et al. v. MSG Holdings, L.P., et al., No. 13-6518, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166004).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An asbestosis workers' compensation claim may proceed because it differs sufficiently from a previously dismissed breathing dysfunction claim, a panel of Tennessee's top court held Dec. 10 (Jimmy Segroves v. Union Carbide, et al., No. E2015-00572-SC-R3-WC, Tenn. Sup., Spcl. Wrkrs. Comp. App.; 2015 Tenn. LEXIS 945).
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge properly affirmed a decision by an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan administrator to deny a widow benefits in connection with her late husband's fatal fall, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 11 (Judy Hagen v. Aetna Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 15-40597, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21460).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 9 decertified a class of J.C. Penney Corp. (JCP) workers in a suit in which they allege that they were denied pay for unused vacation time upon termination, finding that the class definition was "unworkable" (Raymond Tschudy, et al. v. J.C. Penney Corporation, No. 11-1011, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165897).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - On remand from the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Missouri federal judge on Dec. 9 issued a $11.6 million award of attorney fees in a dispute over breached fiduciary duties, slightly less than the $12.9 million she previously awarded but that was vacated by the appellate court (Ronald Tussey, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 06-4305, W.D. Mo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164818).
WHEELING, W.Va. - A breach of contract counterclaim brought in response to an action seeking a declaration that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempts a request for indemnification was dismissed Dec. 10 by a West Virginia federal judge (Ohio Valley Health Services & Education Corporation, et al. v. Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley Inc., et al., No. 15-65, N.D. W.Va.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165705).
LAKE CHARLES, La. - Three employees at an Indian casino are not shielded by the tribe's sovereign immunity from claims that they negligently allowed a customer to get drunk, drive away and crash into another car, killing two people, because the complainant sufficiently alleges personal liability against the employees, a Louisiana appeals court ruled Dec. 9 in partly reversing a trial court decision (Zachary Zaunbrecher, et al. v. The Succession of Leo J. David, et al., No. 15-769, La. App., 3rd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Dec. 9 expanded the class of drivers who have driven in California for Uber Technologies Inc. and allege that they were improperly classified as independent contractors and denied reimbursement for all necessary expenditures, as well the full amount of gratuity left by customers (Douglas O'Connor, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 13-3826, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165182).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Dec. 10 refused an employer's request to transfer a case filed against it by a former employee who asserts causes of action for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and California's Private Attorneys' General Act of 2004 (PAGA) but found that the PAGA claim must be arbitrated (Anh BUI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., No. 15-cv-1397, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165878).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California court on Dec. 7 affirmed a trial court's decision to deny a motion for class certification filed by a former employee, finding that a care facility did not violate California's unfair competition law (UCL) or the California Labor Code when it required new employees to sign an agreement that they would eat their meals with clients (Yvonne Palacio v. Jan & Gail's Care Homes, Inc., No. F070861, Calif. App., 5th Cir.; 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 1093).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 partially affirmed and partially reversed a decision by the National Labor Relations Board that an electric company's dispatchers were not supervisors (Entergy Mississippi, Incorporated v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-60796, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21190).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 7 upheld the rejection of bias and retaliation claims filed by the former employee of a U.S. Air Force contractor, but did so as to the retaliation claim for reasons other than those relied upon by the trial court (Deanne Casey v. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 15-1115, 1st Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21174).
FLORENCE, S.C. - A request for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was remanded Dec. 1 to a claims administrator by a South Carolina federal judge, who deemed allegations that two plaintiffs were denied a full and fair review "well-founded" (Wayne Boyd, et al. v. Sysco Corporation, et al., No. 13-599, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160576).
NEW ORLEANS - A former imaging solutions salesman failed to show that his termination as part of a larger reduction-in-force (RIF) was caused by age and race bias or was retaliatory in nature, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 1 (Martin Quintana v. Fujifilm North America Corporation, No. 15-10298, 5th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 21025).
ATLANTA - A district court did not err in determining that claims alleged against a health insurer are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 1 in affirming the district court's dismissal of the suit (Gables Insurance Recovery Inc., as assignee of South Miami Chiropractic LLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 15-10459, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20789).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In an employee discrimination case alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a psychologist may testify on a woman's functional ability to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL) and in English, a California federal judge ruled Nov. 25 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Placer Arc d/b/a Placer Advocacy Resources & Choices, No. 13-0577, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159585).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An attorney for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians told the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 7 that by voluntarily operating on tribal land, a business owner consents to litigating private tort claims stemming from that business in tribal court (Dollar General Corp., et al. v. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, et al., No. 13-1496, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The clock starts ticking in cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "when the cause of action is complete," meaning that "a constructive discharge claim is complete only after the employee resigns," the attorney representing a former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee argued Nov. 30 before the U.S. Supreme Court (Marvin Green v. Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, No. 14-613, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a putative class action over a breach of Anthem Inc.'s database, which was consolidated with many similar cases, saw their motion to remand to New York state court denied Nov. 24 by a California federal judge, who found that the plaintiffs' state law claims were preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), thus requiring federal jurisdiction (Y. Michael Smilow, et al. v. Anthem Life & Disability Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-cv-04739, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159643).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 30 granted a request by the California attorney general for divided argument in the appeal of a case over agency-fee requirements for non-union workers (Rebecca Friedrichs, et al. v. California Teachers Association, et al., No. 14-915, U.S. Sup.).