PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania nurse who was fired from his job just a few months after he started failed to prove that his termination was due to anything other than his poor performance, so he must pay back the student loan provided by his employer, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 12 upholding a trial court's decision (Arthur J. Petrikonis v. Wilkes-Barre Hospital Company, LLC, No. 13-4403, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17642).
NEW ORLEANS - A university director who was forced to resign after telling a member of a U.S. representative's staff that he believed the representative was a "fear monger" may proceed with his free speech claim against his former employer, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 15 (Christian Cutler v. Stephen F. Austin State University, et al., No. 13-40685, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17715).
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Texas appeals panel on Sept. 11 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an excess insurer was prejudiced by an insured's late notice of an arbitration claim arising from the alleged wrongful termination of a former employee (C.L. Thomas Inc. and Thomas Fuels Lubricants & Chemicals Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co. and Acordia of Texas, Inc., No. 13-13-00566-CV, Texas App., 13th Dist.; 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 10148.)
NEWARK, N.J. - Plaintiffs involved in an antitrust and racketeering multidistrict litigation case accusing Aetna Inc. of underpaying out-of-network reimbursement claims asked a New Jersey federal court on Sept. 12 to deny the defendant's motion to dismiss the suit, which Aetna had filed just two days after the plaintiffs' filed a motion in support of a $120 million settlement (In Re: Aetna UCR Litigation, Master File No. 07-3541, MDL 2020, D. N.J.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Sept. 11 declined to approve a $900,000 settlement by CVS Pharmacy Inc. to end wage claims filed by distribution center workers and ordered the plaintiffs to file an amended motion with additional evidentiary support (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127946).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Sept. 10 partially certified a class of Wal-Mart truck drivers who are suing the retailer for various wage violations (Charles Ridgeway, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., a Delaware Corporation dba Wal-Mart Transportation LLC, et al., No. 08-5221, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126806).
FLINT, Mich. - A Michigan federal judge on Sept. 11 overruled objections to a magistrate judge's order that denied a motion to compel discovery and denied a motion to compel compliance with subpoenas that were filed by a Michigan man in his class complaint accusing his former employer of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to properly determine Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes payable at the time of his retirement (John B. Davidson, et al. v. Henkel Corporation, et al., No. 12-14103, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127152).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Sept. 12 granted a plaintiff's motion for limited discovery beyond the administrative record in his wrongful denial of benefits case (Christopher Brown v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 14-661, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128219).
ATLANTA - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s elimination of the causation requirement in Black Lung benefits cases permits pursuit of a denied claim originally made final in 2006, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Sept. 12 (Jim Walter Resources Inc. v. Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Viola L. Davis o.b.o Johnny E. Davis, No. 13-13185, 11th Cir.).
GULFPORT, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Sept. 10 dismissed a disability claimant's suit against an insurer after determining that the state law claims alleged in the complaint are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Sheila Smith Foto v. Standard Insurance Co. et al., No. 13-341, S.D. Miss.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126591).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 9 granted final approval of a settlement by 11 Ohio teacher unions in a class complaint filed by non-union teachers challenging the fees they were required to pay (Kathleen Thaxton, et al. v. Ohio Education Association, et al., No. 11-707, S.D. Ohio).
NEW YORK - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 9 ruled that an asbestos worker raised a triable issue of fact with regard to the injuries he suffered while remediating the World Trade Center disaster site following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (In Re: World Trade Center Lower Manhattan Disaster Site Litigation, No. 09-680, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126854).
INDIANAPOLIS - Even where an employer concedes exposure in an asbestos-related workers' compensation case, an employee still carries the burden of demonstrating that the exposure gave rise to his disease, an Indiana appeals court held Sept. 10 (Mary Ragon as personal representative of the estate of Larry Ragon v. Eli Lilly & Co., No. 93A02-1402-EX-80, Ind. App., 2014 Ind. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1205).
DETROIT - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept.12 held briefing of a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive mandate challenge in abeyance until resolution of the government's unopposed motion to remand (Mersino Management Co., et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 13-1944, 6th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 11 passed legislation grandfathering more insurance plans from compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) minimum coverage standards
SALT LAKE CITY - Product catalogs, evidence of trade association knowledge and defendants' insurance coverages are admissible in an asbestos trial only to the extent that they address the products and knowledge at issue, questions that can be answered as they arise at trial, a Utah federal judge held Sept. 9 in partially granting four motions in limine (Arva Anderson v. Ford Motor Co., et al., No. 06-741, D. Utah).
NEW ORLEANS - The former director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's (TDCJ) Public Information Office, who was demoted for various time-keeping violations, may proceed with her gender bias claims, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 9, reversing a trial court's summary judgment ruling for TDCJ (Michelle Lyons v. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, No. 13-20543, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17394).
PHILADELPHIA - Denying a Delaware man's motion to compel documents from his employer, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on Sept. 5 found that the employment discrimination plaintiff did not meet his burden of establishing that the sought documents serve to establish his disparate treatment and related claims (Francois Lafate v. The Vanguard Group Inc., No. 2:13-cv-05555, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123862).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 5 reinstated age bias claims filed by a fired worker, finding that the District Court erred in concluding that the employee must arbitrate his claims (Robert Kay v. The Minacs Group [USA], Inc., No. 13-1974, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17373).
TULSA, Okla. - A class complaint accusing union defendants of misleading union members about equity distribution benefits belongs in a California federal court where a similar suit is pending pursuant to the first-to-file rule, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled Sept. 5 (Mark Letbetter, et al. v. Local 514, Transport Workers Union of America, et al., No. 14-125, N.D. Okla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123949).
DALLAS - A Texas jury on Sept. 5 awarded $15 million in punitive damages and $3.6 million in other damages to the family of a tire builder who suffered exposure to asbestos during employment with a The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. subsidiary, sources told Mealey Publications (Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al. v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., No. 10-03294-E, Texas Law, Dallas Co.).
NEW YORK - A Bank of America Corp. (BoA) employee who was twice transferred and then laid off as part of a reduction in force (RIF) failed to prove claims of age discrimination or breach of contract, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 5 (John Delaney v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., No. 13-184, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17205).
DETROIT - In two separate complaints filed Sept. 3 and 4 in federal court, two Michigan companies and their health benefits plan sued Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for allegedly engaging in self-dealing in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging self-insured welfare plans and theirs sponsors administrative fees without disclosing the fees (Stone Transport Holding Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 14-13407, Tarus Products Inc., et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 14-13433, E.D. Mich.).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Sept. 3 granted a health insurer's motion for summary judgment in a wrongful denial of benefits suit, saying mental health coverage provided at the residential treatment facility at issue was not covered under the plan because the facility did not have an operating certificate from the commission of mental health (Bruce J. Halpern v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, No. 12-407S, W.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124388).