WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 27 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a widow seeking to have the high court reverse a determination that she was not entitled to the proceeds of a life insurance policy issued to her husband by his former employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Kimberly D. Hendrix v. Wal-Mart Stores, Incorporated, et al., No. 17-488, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 27 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a pro se petitioner who claims that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' "oral screening" process for handling pro se and other appeals breaches the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Sally Gillette v. The Wilson Sonsini Group Welfare Benefit Plan, et al., No. 17-559, U.S. Sup.).
PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania pain management and weight loss services provider has been ordered to pay $55,000 in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's first sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC announced Nov. 27 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Scott Medical Health Center, P.C., No. 16-225, W.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189577).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 27 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by retirees representing a class of approximately 2,900 individuals and seeking to reverse a decision by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which held that a series of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) did not provide retired employees of an employer and its predecessors with a vested right to lifetime health care benefits (Robert Cole, et al. v. Meritor, Inc., et al., No. 17-413, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that an agreement to arbitrate an employment dispute in Hong Kong involved a forum that is no longer available, a California federal judge on Nov. 17 refused to compel arbitration of the dispute (Alexander Mirza v. Cachet Hotel Group Limited Cayman L.P., et al., No. 2:17-CV-07140, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190833).
SAN FRANCISCO - A disability plan administrator did not abuse its discretion in offsetting a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits to account for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits that she receives for her dependents, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Nov. 17 in affirming a district court's ruling for the plan (Susan Rene Jones v. Life Insurance Company of North America, et al., No. 16-16172, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23244).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 remanded a disability claimant's suit after determining that a district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding the cause of the claimant's disability and whether the plan's pre-existing conditions exclusion applies (Kristian Horneland v. United of Omaha Insurance Co., No. 16-16935, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23129).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Nov. 16 remanded an insured's claim seeking coverage for almost $500,000 incurred for the transport of her daughter from a hospital in Mexico to a hospital in Seattle by air ambulance because the plan administrator did not consider all of the available information before denying the claim on the basis that the air transport was not for an emergency (Aviation West Charters LLC, d/b/a Angel Medflight v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co., No. 16-436, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190114).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 affirmed a merit system board's decision to suspend a former employee for failure to use his government purchase credit card to make work-related purchases, finding that the employee's protected disclosures did not have an effect on the board's decision to suspend him (Rick D. Salerno v. Department of the Interior, No. 2017-1145, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23137).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California appeals court on Nov. 15 found that an employee's claims for violation of the California Labor Code and California's unfair competition law (UCL) were excluded from a mandatory arbitration provision, affirming a court's decision refusing to compel arbitration of the claims (Christopher Silva v. Fry's Electronics Inc., No. A146622, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7875).
CHICAGO - The owner of assisted living facilities violates the Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting biometric data, one former employee alleges in a class complaint filed Nov. 14 in the Cook County, Ill., Circuit Court (Jonnae Taylor, et al. v. Sunrise Senior Living Management, Inc., et al., No. 2017-CH-15152, Ill. Cir., Cook Co., Chancery Div.).
SEATTLE - An employer's use of a workweek average to arrive at the appropriate pay rate for employees doesn't violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it provides employees with wages that meet the minimum wage, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 15, noting that whether the employees have a contract claim is beyond the scope of the interlocutory appeal (Kristy Douglas, et al. v. Xerox Business Services, LLC, et al., No. 16-35425, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22967).
LOS ANGELES - A Santa Ana, Calif.-based business will pay $105,000 to end claims that it paid a female sales representative less than her male co-worker, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 15, one day after the consent decree of order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Spec Formliners, Inc., et al., No. 16-2066, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS).
PHILADELPHIA - A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer's termination of long-term disability benefits under the plan's any-occupation standard was not arbitrary and capricious because the termination is supported by substantial evidence, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Nov. 13 (Kristen Ann Davies v. First Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., No. 17-1782, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22656).
SAN FRANCISCO - Uber Technologies Inc. has failed to perform adequate background checks on its drivers prior to hiring and has failed to monitor them after hiring, resulting in passengers - primarily females - suffering sexual harassment and assaults, two unnamed Jane Does allege in a Nov. 14 class complaint filed in a California federal court alleging violations of the Unfair Fraudulent and Unfair Business Practices Act and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 17-6571, N.D. Calif.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appellate panel on Nov. 13 found that an employee's tweet, which led to her dismissal, did not violate her employer's social media policy and, thus, did not constitute willful misconduct to disqualify her from receiving unemployment compensation (UC) benefits (Waverly Heights Ltd. v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 312 CD 2017, Pa. Cmwlth.).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on Nov. 14 granted an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a coverage dispute over underlying age discrimination and retaliation claims against its insured, finding that the insured failed to give timely notice of the claim (Scottsdale Indemnity Co. v. Convercent Inc., et al., No 17-01236, D. Colo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187939).
SAN ANTONIO - A paramedic challenging his firing was successful in getting a fire chief's expert testimony excluded from the case when a Texas federal judge ruled Nov. 13 that the chief's testimony is not relevant and would not be helpful to a jury (Bryan Brightwell v. Bandera County, No. 5:16-cv-1216, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186730).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 10 held in abeyance a motion for collective certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) filed by a property appraiser alleging that he and others have been misclassified and denied overtime wages and ruled that the plaintiff may renew his motion when he files for class certification of his state law claims (Som Swamy, et al. v. Title Source, Inc., No. 17-1175, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186535).
BOSTON - A settlor's contributions to a 401(k) plan are not a defense to claims that the plan trustee breached its fiduciary duties by engaging in prohibited transactions, AARP and the National Employment Lawyers Association argue in an amicus curiae brief filed in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of plan participants in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action suit (John Brotherston, et al. v. Putnam Investments LLC, et al., No. 17-1711, 1st Cir.).
RICHMOND, Va. - An employer acted within its rights and did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it amended a deferred compensation plan's applicable crediting rate, affecting all, even retired, plan participants, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 8 (Jeffrey Plotnick, et al. v. Computer Sciences Corporation Deferred Compensation Plan for Key Executives, et al., No. 16-1606, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 22500).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 7 passed with a 242-181 vote a bill that rolls back the joint-employer standard that was implemented under President Barack Obama.
NEW YORK - Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc. (Con Edison) has agreed to pay $800,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit accusing the employer's doctors of refusing to medically approve qualified candidates to commence their employment due to their disabilities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 8 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., No. 17-7390, S.D. N.Y.).
FARGO, N.D. - A North Dakota federal judge on Nov. 7 denied a motion for a preliminary injunction brought by a trade association representing pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) seeking to halt two new state laws regulating the categorization of prescription drugs and requiring PBMs to make certain disclosures, finding that the trade association failed to show that the two laws implicitly reference or have a connection with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. Mylynn Tufte, et al., No. 17-141, D. N.D.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota federal judge on Nov. 3 granted a plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction and the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) motion to stay in a lawsuit over the DOL's new "best interest contract" prohibited exemption (BIC exemption) (Thrivent Financial for Lutherans v. R. Alexander Acosta, et al., No. 0:16-cv-03289, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182657).