PASADENA, Calif. - A divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 10 upheld a jury's verdict for a police officer who alleged that he was terminated in retaliation for testifying in a wage-and-hour lawsuit filed by a co-worker (Leonard Avila v. Los Angeles Police Department, et al., Nos. 12-55931 and 12-56554, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13052).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employer's religious preferences could not block employee access to contraceptives provided for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) under legislation introduced by two Senate Democrats on July 9.
DETROIT - Removal of a disability claimant's suit to Michigan federal court was proper because the claimant's breach of contract claim is clearly preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a Michigan federal judge said July 3 (Paul Crowley v. Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, No. 14-cv-11280, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90752).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A federal judge on July 7 preliminarily approved a $2 million settlement of a class action complaint filed six years ago alleging that the compensation practices of a group of car dealerships for its service technicians violated California's unfair competition law (UCL) and federal and state wage-and-hour statutes (Jose Ontiveros v. Robert Zamora, et al., No. 08-567, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91964).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 reinstated a $23,000 judgment against a Florida county for two firefighters who claim they were retaliated against after alleging in court documents that they feared their coworkers would not back them up out in the field (Anthony Booth, et al. v. Pasco County, Florida, et al., No. 12-13389, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12838).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled July 3 that claims asserted by 11 subclasses of pension plan participants related to the administration and amendment of the plan are time-barred except for the claims that the plan fiduciaries breached their duty to act solely in the interest of participants by concealing the plan's failure to pay required lump-sum distributions (Phyllis Johnson, et al. v. Meriter Health Services Employee Retirement Plan, et al., No. 10-426, W.D. Wis.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91364).
HOUSTON - The estate of a deceased funeral director fails to meet the requirements necessary to serve as class representative for a proposed class of black funeral home employees who claim that they were denied promotions due to their race, a Texas federal judge ruled July 3 (Milton Holmes, et al. v. Service Corporation International, No. 10-4841, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90501).
DENVER - A disability plan participant improperly served her complaint on the U.S. secretary of labor instead of the plan's designated agent for service of process, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 2 in an unpublished opinion, holding that the designation of "Human Resources" identified the individual heading that department within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Linda Bigley v. CIBER, Inc. Long Term Disability Coverage, No. 13-1243, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12498).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 1 affirmed that a coordination of benefits provision in an employee welfare benefit plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act trumped a coordination of benefits policy in a regular health insurance policy, thus making the regular insurer the primary party responsible for paying medical claims when beneficiaries had coverage under both plans (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas and Welfare Fund v. First Agency Inc., et al., No. 13-2077, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12370).
NEW YORK - An arbitrator did not err in determining that an employer did not withdraw from a multi-employer benefit plan until the date that the employer received a letter from the union disclaiming interest, even though that date was 11 years after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 1 (666 Drug, Inc. v. The Trustee of 1199 SEIU Health Care Employees Pension Fund, No. 13-3280, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12366).
SAN FRANCISCO - A former luxury department store employee may proceed with his retaliation lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 3, upholding a district court's decision that the continued employment following the distribution of a new arbitration agreement did not amount to acceptance of the agreement (Tayler Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Holdings, Inc., No. 11-17920, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12645).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 reversed a federal magistrate judge's determination that a restaurant franchisor was also the employer in a wage-and-hour suit filed by the former cook at one of the franchised restaurants (Benjamin Orozco v. Craig Plackis, No. 13-50632, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12680).
ST. LOUIS - A former retail store associate failed to prove that, due to his hearing impairment and multiple sclerosis (MS), he was a "qualified individual" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because he was unable to perform essential functions of his job, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 (Joshua D. Stricklin v. Dolgencorp, LLC, No. 13-1582, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12374).
RICHMOND, Va. - A former university professor failed to prove claims that he was improperly required to undergo a mental health evaluation before being allowed to return to the classroom following leave or that he was improperly terminated when he failed to do so, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 1 (Leon Coursey v. University of Maryland Eastern Shore, et al., No. 13-1626, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12407).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 declined to hear the appeal of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a New York utility company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it stopped allowing its union members to take company vehicles home at night without first bargaining the change (Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 12-1178, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4682).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by the National Labor Relations Board challenging a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that three 2012 NLRB appointments were constitutionally invalid (National Labor Relations Board v. Enterprise Leasing Company-Southeast, LLC, et al., No. 13-671, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4689).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 granted petitions for writ of certiorari in two cases involving the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and remanded both cases to their respective appellate courts in light of the high court's June 26 ruling in National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (No. 12-1281, U.S. Sup.) in which it found that the U.S. president's 2012 appointments to the NLRB, made during a three-day recess, were inappropriate (Ambassador Services, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 13-972, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4696; National Labor Relations Board v. Gestamp South Carolina LLC, No. 13-1103, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4688).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 granted a writ of certiorari filed by home child care providers seeking the return of union dues and agency fees and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of its June 30 ruling in Pamela Harris, et al. v. Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, et al. (No. 11-681, U.S. Sup.), in which a divided panel found that "partial public employees" cannot be required to pay dues or fees if they do not wish to join or support a union (Carrie Schlaud, et al. v. Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan, et al., No. 13-240, U.S. Sup; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4698).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 granted certiorari, vacated judgments and remanded two stock-drop cases arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, one each to the Second and Fifth Circuits U.S. Court of Appeals, in light of the high court's recent presumption-of-prudence ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (Randy Kopp v. Scott W. Klein, et al., No. 13-578, U.S. Sup.; Alex E. Rinehart, et al. v. John F. Akers, et al., No. 13-830, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 agreed to hear the appeal of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' opinion finding a driver failed to prove that her employer, United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), discriminated against her because of her race, gender or pregnancy when it took her off the job as a result of doctor-imposed lifting restrictions related to her pregnancy (Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 12-1226, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4683).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 declined to review a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling affirming summary judgment in favor of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) on claims by USAirways Inc. pilots that the PBGC violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the terminated plan when it made its final benefit determinations (Thomas G. Davis, et al. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, No. 13-1280, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 27 reinstated a worker's claims that his former employer treated Japanese workers more favorably than American workers during a reduction in force (RIF) but declined to reinstate the worker's claim that the employer violated an implied term of his contract that allegedly promised he would only be terminated for cause (Todd Brown v. Daikin America Inc., et al., No. 12-2955, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12130).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 granted certiorari, vacated judgment and remanded a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in a case arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act light of the high court's recent presumption of prudence ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (Amgen Inc., et al. v. Steve Harris, et al., No. 13-888, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A class of in-home care providers, classified as "partial public employees," who do not wish to join or support a union cannot be required to pay an agency fee, a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 30 (Pamela Harris, et al. v. Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois, et al., No. 11-681, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4504).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 granted a petition for writ of certiorari in an appeal of a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision finding that an alleged failure to conciliate is not an affirmative defense to the merits of a discrimination suit (Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 13-1019, U.S. Sup.).