ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 19 that a Georgia federal judge did not err in dismissing a former Delta Air Lines Inc. employee's Employee Retirement Income Security Act complaint for failure to state a claim (Barry Steven Slakman v. Administrative Committee of Delta Air Lines Inc., No. 16-10572, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17049).
SAN FRANCISCO - A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 20 denied a petition for rehearing en banc in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, with the majority saying that a plan administrator's decision in a dispute over a since-deceased plaintiff's entitlement to benefits was not illogical, implausible or without support (Estate of Bruce H. Barton v. ADT Security Services Pension Plan, et al., No. 13-56379, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 17146).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Statements made by satellite television installers on a television news segment protesting pay changes were protected under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a divided District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 16 (DIRECTV, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 11-1273, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16940).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - An administrative assistant who was terminated following an independent operations audit failed to show that her firing was actually due to her age and not because many of her duties had been automated, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 14 (Sharilyn Haggenmiller v. ABM Parking Services, Inc., No. 15-3107, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16787).
BOSTON - A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 13 affirmed that an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan participant's beneficiaries were not entitled to a guaranteed single-life annuity because he died before the beginning of the annuity payments (Brian O'Shea, et al. v. UPS Retirement Plan, et al., No. 15-1923, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16734).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 15 affirmed an Alabama federal judge's rejection of a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accusing an employer of racial discrimination when it enforced a grooming policy that barred dreadlocks (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, No. 14-13482, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16918).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Sept. 12 granted a request to remand claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims asserted by operators of sleep centers in relation to allegedly unpaid medical care by insurers, finding that the district court lacked federal jurisdiction (Northern Va. Operating Co. LLC, et al. v. CIGNA Healthcare of Ca. Inc., et al., No. 16-5168, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124291).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Sept. 13 granted three California plaintiffs' motion to sever and transfer their class action claims against a cleaning franchisor to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saying that California has a greater interest in this case and that all claims brought by Massachusetts plaintiffs have been dismissed (Giovani Depianti, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising Inc., No. 08-10663, D. Mass.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124106).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 13 granted final certification of a collective action filed by assistant store managers (ASMs) seeking unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and certified three out of four proposed classes alleging violations of various state wage-and-hour laws (Kyle Rivet, et al. v. Office Depot, Inc., No. 12-2992, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123655).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Finding no evidence that a University of California (UC) police chief was on notice of potential litigation related to the surreptitious recording of officers' private conversations, a California federal judge on Sept. 8 denied a plaintiff officer's motion seeking sanctions for what he said was spoliation of essential evidence in the deletion of those recordings (Federated University Police Officers' Association, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., No. 8:15-cv-00137, C.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - A restaurant server may proceed with her class complaint seeking wages for time spent on nonserving duties, an Illinois federal judge ruled Sept. 8; however, the judge ruled that the server's request to toll the statute of limitations was overbroad (Katrina Soto, et al. v. Wings 'R Us Romeoville, Inc., et al., No. 15-10127, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121223).
Just a day after ITT Educational Services Inc. told its students and employees on Sept. 6 that all of its campuses were being permanently shuttered, three class complaints had been filed by employees in two federal courts accusing the for-profit chain of failing to provide them with proper notice (Dennis Artis, et al v. ITT Educational Services, Inc., No. 16-790, D. Del., Allen Federman v. ITT Educational Services, Inc., No. 16-780, D. Del., Christin M. Long, et al. v. ITT Educational Services, Inc., No. 16-2399, S.D. Ind.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Sept. 7 denied an employer's motion to dismiss all of the claims asserted against it in relation to employee meal breaks, finding that his claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and the state labor code were properly pleaded (Terrill Johnson v. Q.E.D. Environmental Systems Inc., No. 16-cv-01454, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120900).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 7 reversed and remanded a district court's ruling that a disability claimant is not entitled to long-term disability benefits beyond the plan's one-year limitation for mental disorders because the plan administrator's decision was arbitrary and capricious (Patti Okuno v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 15-4043, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16423).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A man's claims invoke the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which unlike other regulations does not specifically exclude government-sponsored plans, a federal judge in New York held in granting reconsideration and reinstating the claims on Sept. 6 (Raymond A. Semente, D.C., P.C. v. Empire Healthcare, et al., No. 14-5823, E.D. N.Y.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 6 denied a petition for rehearing and, on behalf of the court, denied a petition for rehearing en banc concerning its Feb. 23 ruling in which the split panel held that two trial courts in two cases over tip pooling erred when the courts ruled in favor of the employers as the courts must follow the guidance of a new rule announced by U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in 2011 rather than the precedent set by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a 2010 decision (Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, et al. v. Thomas Perez, et al., No. 13-35765, Joseph Cesarz, et al. v. Wynn Las Vegas, LLC, et al., No. 14-15243, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16361).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept.1 in a nonprecedential opinion granted an employer's petition for review and denied a cross-application for enforcement filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a dispute over a close election for a small bargaining unit of New York City building workers (Newark Portfolio JV, LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-2565 and 15-2877, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16185).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 affirmed the dismissal of claims against a third-party administrator of an employee pension benefit plan because it was not a fiduciary of the plan and a self-dealing claim was time-barred (Carolinas Electrical Workers Retirement Plan, et al. v. Zenith American Solutions Inc., et al., No. 15-14046, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16162).
CHICAGO - A notice of appeal filed by an employee in her age bias suit that occurred outside of the time limit granted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(a)(5)(C), but within the extension granted by an Illinois federal judge, is untimely, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 31 (Charmaine Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago & Fannie Mae, No. 15-3764, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16113).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 31 reversed a Maine federal judge's summary judgment ruling for a hotel accused by two former employees of firing them in violation of the Maine Whistleblowers' Protection Act (MWPA) and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) in light of its ruling issued earlier this year that there was no "job duties exception" under the statutes (Brenda Pippin, et al. v. Boulevard Motel Corp., d/b/a Comfort Inn South Portland Hotel, Nos. 15-2011 and 15-2012, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16139).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 31 affirmed that a bonus agreement offered by an employer to a select number of employees does not qualify as an Employee Retirement Income Security Act employee welfare benefit plan because "the purchase of insurance alone is insufficient to demonstrate an ERISA plan" (Sarah Mozingo Martin, et al. v. Trend Personnel Services, et al., No. 15-11263, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16146).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 31 affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit over whether a mother and daughter were co-beneficiaries of a life insurance policy for failure to state a valid claim (Judy Woolf v. Shaela K. Wigginton, et al., No. 15-4142, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16151).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California statute voiding discretionary clauses in disability and life insurance policies does not apply to a claim for medical expenses under a health insurance policy because New York law applies to the dispute and because health insurance is not a form of disability insurance, a California federal judge said Aug. 30 (David Bain et al., v. United Healthcare Inc., No. 15-3305, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116805).
MIAMI - After finding that a cruise line worker's employment contract envisioned performance abroad because he worked on international waters, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 affirmed a decision finding that an arbitration clause was enforceable under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Francis D'Cruz v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., et al., No. 15-11766, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15932).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 30 affirmed a ruling that the investment advisers for employee pension plans sponsored by Severstal Wheeling Inc. (SWI) and its predecessors are liable for the full amount of investment losses - $9.6 million - due to their failure to properly diversify and manage the plans (Severstal Wheeling, Inc. Retirement Committee, et al. v. WPN Corporation, et al., No. 15-2725, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15970).