PHILADELPHIA - Catholic plaintiffs misconstrue the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) opt out, which does not trigger contraceptive coverage by third parties, a Pennsylvania federal judge held June 26 in denying injunctive relief (Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 14-3096, E.D. Pa.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois appellate panel on June 25 reversed class certification in a complaint filed by firefighters who allege that certain truck and engine sirens caused them to lose their hearing (Albert Lamb, et al. v. Federal Signal Corporation, No. 1-13-1016, Ill. App., 1st Judicial Dist., 3rd Div.; 2014 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1365).
BUTTE, Calif. - The injury a correctional officer sustained while exercising at home arose in the course of his employment, and the officer is entitled to workers' compensation, a California appellate panel ruled June 25 (Daniel Young v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, et al., No. C075047, Calif. App., 3rd Dist.; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 562).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on June 26 approved a $15,500 settlement agreement in an overtime suit, but only so far as the portion of the agreement pertained directly to the overtime owed to the workers (Hugo Armando Azcano Carrillo, et al. v. Dandan Inc., et al., No. 13-671, D. D.C.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86897).
DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on June 24 denied a claimant's motion to remand a suit seeking disability benefits after determining that the claims are preempted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); rather than dismiss the claimant's suit, the judge said the state law claims for recovery will be deemed asserted pursuant to ERISA (Danvis S. Smith v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 13-02888, D. Col.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85642).
PASADENA, Calif. - A retail store sales associate must arbitrate her wage-and-hour claims, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 23, upholding a trial court's decision that the employee failed to opt out of a properly implemented arbitration agreement (Fatemeh Johnmohammadi, et al. v. Bloomingdale's, Inc., No. 12-55578, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11743).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. president may fill any existing vacancies of "officers of the United States," whether occurring before or during a recess, under the "recess appointments clause" of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, during any recess-both intrasession or intersession-as long as the recess is sufficiently long, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 (National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a Division of the Noel Corp., et al., No. 12-1281, U.S. Sup.).
PASADENA, Calif. - An employee suing her employer for various wage violations must arbitrate her individual claims, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 23, reversing a trial court's decision finding that changes to the employee arbitration policy barring most class action lawsuits were improperly instituted (Faine Davis, et al. v. Nordstrom, Inc., No. 12-17403, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11742).
ATLANTA - A district court did not err in granting a disability insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings because the insurer was not required to consider additional documentation the claimant submitted after her appeal was denied by the insurer, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 23 (Sharon Blair v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 13-13463, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11747).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on June 23 rejected a claim by trucking business operators that a Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) motor carrier exemption applies to its intrastate drivers' overtime claims (Alphonse Mazzarella, et al. v. FAST Rig Support, LLC, et al., No. 13-2844, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84947).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on June 25 that under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) fiduciaries are not entitled to a presumption of prudence and are subject to the same standard of prudence as all ERISA fiduciaries, "except that an ESOP fiduciary is under no duty to diversify the ESOP's holdings" (Fifth Third Bancorp, et al. v. John Dudenhoeffer, et al., No. 12-751, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 declined to hear a former International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) employee's appeal in which he claimed that the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals improperly held that comments by his supervisors about his "shelf life" and his readiness to "hit the bench" did not amount to direct evidence of age discrimination (George Mark Roberts v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 13-1240, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4415).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 denied review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that an arbitration decision holding that a contractual provision that indemnifies a fiduciary violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is enforceable, notwithstanding the error of law, because the arbitrator did not disregard ERISA (Bernard J. Schafer and Henry Block v. Multiband Corporation, No. 13-1263, U.S. Sup.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 20 ruled that the association and law firms representing National Football League (NFL) players may seek relief from a stipulation of dismissal in a lawsuit alleging unlawful salary caps under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) based on new evidence that the players claim shows that the dismissal was procured via fraud, misrepresentation or misconduct (Reggie White, et al. v. National Football League, et al., Nos. 13-1251 and 13-1480, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11623).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on June 20 announced a proposed ruled expanding the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages regardless of where they reside. The expansion was proposed in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in United States v. Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675, 186 L. Ed. 2d 808 ), in which the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted "marriage" and "spouse" to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law.
DENVER - A district court did not err in finding that a disability insurer properly denied short-term and long-term disability benefits because the evidence shows that the insurer diligently investigated the claimant's case and had a reasonable basis for its denial, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 18 (Gina M. Nelson v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No.13-5073, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11416).
ATLANTA - A trucking company acted within proper parameters when it determined that a driver who had been treated for alcoholism no longer met the qualifications necessary for his job, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 18 (Sakari Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corporation, No. 13-11601, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11437).
PHILADELPHIA - A tire manufacturing company manager failed to show that he was wrongfully terminated following medical leave, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17, upholding a trial court's ruling in favor of the employer (Ronald Ross v. Kevin Gilhuly, et al., No. 13-2437, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11231).
NEW YORK - A man who often spent 40 hours per week working at a school for more than three years did so as a volunteer, not as an employee, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 18, rejecting the man's wage claims (Jayquan Brown v. New York Department of Education, et al., No. 13-139, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11412).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina court on June 17 reversed an education board's decision to not renew the contract of an employee, who made complaints about mold and other issues, finding that she should be afforded the opportunity to present evidence that was not previously considered by the board (Tiffany N. Tobe-Williams v. New Hanover County Board of Education, a/k/a New Hanover County Schools, N.C. App.; 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 612).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employee's testimony before a federal grand jury was protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern, not pursuant to his job responsibilities, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 19; however, the high court found that the individual defendant in that employee's suit is entitled to qualified immunity because that protection was not clear at the time the employee was fired (Edward R. Lane v. Steve Franks, et al., No. 13-483, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A decision to terminate long-term disability benefits based on a claimant's refusal to cooperate during an examination was not arbitrary or capricious, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 16 (Rolando Ortega-Candelaria v. Johnson & Johnson et al., No. 13-1564, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11127).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on June 17 partially dismissed a wage-and-hour complaint filed against a Las Vegas casino, finding that three of the claims lacked a private right of action and, in the same order, conditionally certified a class of workers to proceed with the remaining claims (Nicole McDonagh, et al. v. Harrah's Las Vegas, Inc., et al., No. 13-1744, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82290).
CHICAGO - The anti-alienation provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not prevent the attachment of funds after they have been paid by the pension plan to the retirees, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 13 in joining the majority of the circuit courts to address the issue (National Labor Relations Board v. HH3 Trucking, Inc., et al., Nos. 05-1362, 05-4075, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10998).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 12 dismissed a wrongful denial of health care benefits suit, saying the health plans at issue excluded treatment at residential treatment facilities that were not staffed 24/7 with licensed mental health professionals, but granted leave to amend the complaint (Elizabeth L., et al. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 13-2554, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80988).