HARRISBURG, Pa. - Joint employer status, without more, cannot bind a nonsignatory to a collective bargaining agreement entered into by another employer to make contributions to employee fringe benefit plans, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Oct. 15 in refusing to extend liability to the nonsignatories under Section 515 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Carpenters Combined Funds Inc. v. Kelly Systems Inc., et al., No. 15-1091, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140278).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 determined that a health benefits insurer did not wrongfully deny a claim for residential treatment because four physicians noted in the administrative record that residential treatment was not necessary (Neil Tansey, et al. v. Anthem Health Plans Inc., et al., No. 14-3931, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17889).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 19 granted the motions of the U.S. solicitor general for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument in the appeal of a nearly $5.8 million award for a class of Tyson Foods Inc. workers who successfully brought a donning and doffing suit against the company (Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Peg Bouaphakeo, et al., No. 14-1146, U.S. Sup.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Oct. 14 denied a retirement investment plan's motion to dismiss after determining that the plan administrator was not permitted to ignore the participants' request to diversify their investment (Dave Bryant, et al. v. Community Bankshares Inc., et al., No. 14-1074, M.D. Ala.).
LOS ANGELES - After finding that certain terms of an arbitration agreement in an employment contract were unconscionable, a California federal judge on Oct. 14 refused to compel arbitration of the claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and labor laws (Brandyn Ridgeway, et al. v Nabors Completion & Production Services Co., et al., No. 15-03436, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140012).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 13 enforced an order by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that a paratransit service company discontinue interfering with its employees' union activities and reinstate two workers with back pay, finding that they were improperly terminated (National Labor Relations Board v. Allied Medical Transport, Inc., No. 14-15033, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17777).
MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin federal judge on Oct. 13 dismissed claims brought by dump truck drivers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), finding that they were exempt from overtime pay under the Motor Carrier Act, and ruled that the drivers waived their rights to bring their state claims on behalf of a class because they failed to move for certification (Greg Bakkestuen, et al. v. Lepke Holdings LLC, et al., No. 14-700, W.D. Wis.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138969).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 8 granted the motions for certification of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 class and conditional certification of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action in the wage-and-hour complaint filed against Cascade Water Services Inc., but denied preliminary approval of the $150,000 settlement due to concerns about the fairness of it (Nicholas Millan, et al. v. Cascade Water Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-1821, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138666).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A wage-and-hour and wrongful termination class complaint filed against the University of Phoenix belongs in federal, not state, court, a Kentucky federal judge ruled Oct. 9 (Morlena Aldrich, et al. v. The University of Phoenix, Inc., No. 15-578, W.D. Ky.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137916).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York justice on Oct. 9 ordered a defunct mining operation to pay $5.6 million after it refused to appear at trial, sources told Mealey Publications (Joseph Muir v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 809307/2014, N.Y. Sup., Erie Co.).
RALEIGH, N.C. - Two individuals' last asbestos exposure came before the state created an association ensuring that self-insured employers meet obligations, a North Carolina appeals court held Oct. 6 in affirming denial of the claims (Dorothy Jane Ketchie and Clegg Lee Joines v. Fieldcrest Cannon Inc., insolvent self-insured employer, N.C. Self-Insurance Security Association, No. COA15-140, N.C. App.).
CINCINNATI - A claimant who was prevented by her disability from filing a claim for disability benefits is entitled to prove that her failure to meet the plan's notification requirements was caused by her disability, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Oct. 2 in reversing a district court's ruling (Laura Waskiewicz v. Unicare Life and Health Insurance Co., No. 14-1479, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17309).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied certiorari in a disability benefits suit, refusing to consider the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling that an abuse-of-discretion standard of review was the correct standard of review in the suit (R. Jeffrey Evans v. Sun Life & Health Insurance Co., No. n/a, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Oct. 5 remanded a proposed class action in relation to employee misclassification filed on behalf of California truck drivers, who assert claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL), finding that the $5 million amount in controversy requirement was not met (Leonard Vitale v. Celadon Trucking Services, et al., No. 15-5193, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135689).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 6 reinstated claims filed by an army reservist who alleges that her termination following absences due to military leave and the need to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and constituted disability discrimination (LuzMaria Arroyo v. Volvo Group North America, LLC, d/b/a Volvo Parts North America, No. 14-3618, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17527).
CINCINNATI - The Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) agricultural exemption includes the growing and raising of worms, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 2 (John Barks, et al. v. Silver Bait, LLC, et al., No. 15-5175, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17310).
SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana appeals panel held Sept. 30 that there is no primary or excess fiduciary liability or directors and officers liability insurance coverage for an underlying lawsuit spawned by a federal investigation of insureds' Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) (Woody D. Bilyeu, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa, et al., No. 50,049-CA, La. App., 2nd Cir.; 2015 La. App. LEXIS 1868).
INDIANAPOLIS - Kentucky's status as a one-disease state bars a couple's action alleging asbestos exposure in private employment but not their maritime-law claims, a federal judge in Indiana held Sept. 30 (Bryan Kimberly Hedden and Cynthia Hedden v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 13-1986, S.D. Ind.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132684).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. filed a motion focused on product identification issues, but then improperly argued and obtained judgment on causation issues surrounding whether its talc contained asbestos, Alabama's Supreme Court held Sept. 30 (Frank Kruse, et al. v. Vanderbilt Minerals LLC, f/k/a R.T. Vanderbilt Company Inc., No. 1121382, Ala. Sup.; 2015 Ala. LEXIS 121).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a welder who alleged that his former employer discriminated against him based on his nationality and his disability (Ferenc Fodor v. Eastern Shipbuilding Group, No. 14-10366, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 declined to accept the petition for writ of certiorari filed by a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lawyer who sued the NLRB and the NLRB union alleging violation of his rights under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), violation of the union's duty of fair representation and violation of right to free speech (Don Firenze v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 14-1184, U.S. Sup.).
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Texas federal judge on Sept. 30 dismissed claims against the auditor of a short-term investment fund on the basis that there was no privity between the auditor and the participants in a pension plan whose proceeds were placed in the fund, which was later discovered to be fraudulent (The Administrative Committee of the American Excelsior Company Employee Stock Ownership Trust v. GreatBanc Trust Co., et al., No. 14-825, N.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133160).
GREENVILLE, S.C. - A health insurer was not the primary payer for an employee's medical claims because the plan at issue clearly stated that Medicare was the primary payer if an insured received Medicare benefits, a South Carolina federal judge said Sept. 30 (Jennifer Perkins v. US Airways Inc., et al., No. 14-2577, D. S.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132502).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 5 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a former Macy's Inc. employee who alleged that she was the victim of national origin and race discrimination (Ludema Cruz Dorward v. Macy's, Inc., No. 14-9036, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A former employee of The Coca-Cola Co. has standing to sue the beverage giant related to the theft of laptops that contained his personally identifiable information (PII), a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Sept. 30, declining to dismiss for lack of standing. However, the judge granted partial dismissal of the putative class action, finding that claims for negligence and fraud were not properly pleaded (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., No. 2:14-cv-06476, E.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133168).