SEATTLE - A Washington federal court erred when it determined that an employee's state law gender-based hostile work environment claim was preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 4, reinstating the jury verdict from the first trial in favor of the employee and remanding for reconsideration of the damages (Mary Matson v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 13-36174, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19927).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that a former Red Cross employee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), fraud and other claims against her former employer did not arise under California's workers' compensation law, a California federal judge on Nov. 4 denied her ex parte application to remand the case to a state court (Xochitl Nisbet v. American National Red Cross, et al., No. 16-7342, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153626).
CHICAGO - The National Hockey League (NHL) on Nov. 4 asked the federal judge in Illinois overseeing a wrongful death suit brought by the estate of a former professional hockey player to reconsider his order allowing the estate to file a second amended complaint, saying the claims brought by the estate in the second amended complaint are preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Len Boogaard, et al. v. National Hockey League, et al., No. 13-C-4846, N.D. Ill.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134232).
MILWAUKEE - In an employer negligence lawsuit, a Wisconsin federal judge decided Nov. 3 several motions filed by the employer to exclude testimony offered by an ergonomist, an employee's former treating physician and a medical expert to support the employee's case that his diagnosis of osteoarthritis was caused by his work (David Rowley v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 11-46, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153391).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 4 denied the National Association for Fixed Annuities' (NAFA) motion for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) fiduciary rule and granted the DOL's request for summary judgment, saying that the DOL did not go beyond its statutory authority when it extended the reach of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to individual retirement accounts (The National Association of Fixed Annuities v. Thomas E. Perez, et al., No. 16-1035, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153214).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The restrictions in Section 3345(b)(1) of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) preventing an individual from serving as both a nominee and acting official for a single office apply only to a person serving as first assistant in that office and acting pursuant to the automatic service rule outlined in Subsection 3345(a)(1), Acting Solicitor General Ian H. Gershengorn told the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 7 (National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc., doing business as Southwest Ambulance, No. 15-1251, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 28 denied a disability claimant's motion for rehearing and reiterated that the termination of the claimant's benefits was reasonable because the claimant did not undergo an independent medical exam as requested by the insurer and as required under the plan (Curtis F. Lee v. ING Groep, N.V., et al., No. 14-15848, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19513).
FLINT, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 31 denied approval of a confidential wage-and-hour settlement between an employer and its alarm response security officers (AROs), opining that she was unable to determine, based on the information provided, that the settlement is fair and reasonable (Marcus Williams, et al. v. Alimar Security, Inc., No. 13-12732, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150119).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that a pharmacy employee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor code were not preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), a California federal judge on Oct. 31 remanded the case to a state court (Schirrelle Robertson v. CVS Pharmacy Inc., et al., No. 16-7533, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150665).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 31 denied a petition for writ of certiorari asking it to review a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel decision that reversed a district court's ruling in favor of a class of retirees from Moen Inc. who argued that their collective bargaining agreements guaranteed them health care benefits for life (John L. Gallo, et al. v. Moen Incorporated, No. 16-222, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 31 denied a petition for writ of certiorari asking it to review a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision affirming an Illinois federal judge's determination that a pension fund need not refund contributions made by an employer on behalf of an erroneously classified employee (Bulk Transport Corp. v. Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund, et al., No. 16-457, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge issued an opinion on Oct. 31 granting Rite Aid Corp. permission to question three plaintiffs in an ongoing New York collective and class wage suit about their supervision of certain plaintiffs in current California wage suits without the plaintiffs' counsel present (Yatram Indergit, et al. v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al., No. 08-9361, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150565).
FRESNO, Calif. - A truck operator who had opted in to a wage-and-hour collective action that was ultimately denied certification before filing his own wage-and-hour collective action is not estopped from bringing his suit, a California federal judge ruled Oct. 26 (Williams Phillips, et al. v. Randy's Trucking, Inc., et al., No. 16-753, E.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148574).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Oct. 24 conditionally certified two classes of restaurant workers in a wage-and-hour suit, finding that the defendants failed to provide sufficient evidence of their claim that the workers already waived their claims in a settlement between the defendants and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) (Luis Antonia Arellano Galvan, et al. v. San Jose Mexican Restaurant of NC, Inc., et al., No. 16-39, E.D. N.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146544).
BAY CITY, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Oct. 27 stood by his dismissal of an Indian tribe's claim that its health care plan administrator breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to pay Medicare-like rates (MLRs) for certain health services but agreed with the parties that the tribe can still proceed with an ERISA claim based on the allegation that the administrator had a practice of hiding certain access fees (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148615).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Obama administration on Oct. 25 issued a "state call to action" for restrictions on noncompete agreements that ban workers from starting a company or going to work for a competitor for a certain period after leaving a job, saying it would empower and inform consumers, workers and entrepreneurs and ultimately boost the economy.
CINCINNATI - The lack of employee signatures on an arbitration agreement does not prevent enforcement, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 24, finding that under Kentucky law, the employees' decision to continue working "demonstrated assent" (Marlena Aldrich, et al. v. University of Phoenix, Inc., No. 16-5276, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19296).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 24 ordered the fiduciaries of the California Pacific Bank employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) to pay more than $150,000 in principal and lost interest to the plan and set the principal and interest owed to plan participants for the plan's failure to liquidate and distribute plan assets to them after the ESOP was terminated (Thomas E. Perez v. California Pacific Bank, et al., No. 3:13-cv-03792, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147090).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Oct. 24 partially denied a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in an action in which a man says he was illegally fired by his employer so it could stop paying for his medical expenses under its medical insurance plan, finding that he has sufficiently alleged facts that would support a claim under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 (Steve Wesley Culver, et al. v. United Commerce Centers Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-01055, N.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146939).
PASADENA, Calif. - A former hospital employee who had her union negotiate an agreement with her employer that would permit her to "bump" back from her promotion to a prior position in the event of a reduction-in-force (RIF) may proceed with her claims against the union after she was terminated during a RIF, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 26 (Starla Rollins v. Community Hospital of San Bernardino, et al., No. 14-55971, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19317).
ATLANTA - A district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of an employer and a disability insurer because the evidence supported the disability insurer's conclusion that the disability claimant was capable of working in a sedentary position, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 21 (Andrew Ramdeen v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 16-11179, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18962).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A class of current and former McDonald's employees may proceed with their state wage claims against a couple who own and operate 16 franchises in Pennsylvania and pay their hourly employees via JP Morgan Chase Payroll Cards, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled Oct. 21, determining in a question of first impression that that form of payment, which subjects the employees to fees, does not meet requirements of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) (Alisha Siciliano, et al. v. Albert/Carol Mueller, et al., No. 1321 MDA 2015, Pa. Super.; 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 596).
CHICAGO - Joining its sister circuits, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 24 held that a health plan trustee's suit against insurers to recoup amounts it paid for the beneficiaries' medical care seeks legal relief, not equitable relief, and as such is not authorized by Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(3) (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. American International Group Inc., et al., No. 15-2237, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19165).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Oct. 20 denied a motion to dismiss five counts in a 10-count complaint brought by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez against Chimes District of Columbia Inc. alleging that an employee benefit plan sponsored by Chimes paid millions of dollars in excessive fees, finding that a plan trustee has joint and several liability for the alleged breaches of her co-fiduciaries (Thomas E. Perez v. Chimes District of Columbia Inc., et al., No. 15-3315, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145272).
CINCINNATI - A former grocery store clerk who was fired after almost four decades based on lifting restrictions may proceed with his federal age and disability bias claims, a split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority ruled Oct. 21, finding that the clerk submitted evidence of age discrimination and that there are factual disputes regarding whether the clerk was qualified for his position with or without accommodation (Kenneth W. Camp v. Bi-Lo, LLC, No. 16-5080, 6th Cir.; 216 U.S. App. LEXIS 19053).