PHILADELPHIA - Supplemental disability and life insurance coverage is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the supplemental policies cannot be unbundled from the employer's broader ERISA benefits plan, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 6 in holding that ERISA preempted state law claims that the insureds were fraudulently induced to purchase supplemental coverage that was worthless (Alexander L. Menkes, et al. v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 13-1408, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15113).
CHICAGO - A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding retirees more than $400,000 in attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act following the retirees' settlement of their claims that their employer's successor unlawfully eliminated their health care benefits, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 6 (Shirley Temme, et al. v. Bemis Company, Incorporated, No. 14-1085, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15174).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Aug. 6 granted preliminary approval of settlement that will provide expanded health care coverage to Washington insureds with developmental disabilities and autism (R.H., et al. v. Premera Blue Cross, et al., No. 13-97, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108503).
SCRANTON, Pa. - The owner of 19 Pennsylvania restaurants may not appeal the rejection of its motion seeking to dismiss a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim brought by servers challenging the inclusion of expediters in the tip pool, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 6 (Matthew Ford, et al. v. Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, Inc., No. 14-227, M.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108041).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 dismissed the appeal of a December 2013 contempt order in a dispute between the manager of five Connecticut health care centers and the union representing the centers' employees, finding that appellate review would be inappropriate at this time as other pending proceedings may affect the viability of the order (Jonathan B. Kreisberg, Regional Director of Region 34 of the National Labor Relations Board, for and on behalf of The National Labor Relations Board v. HealthBridge Management, LLC, No. 13-4850, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20837).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Aug. 4 that a federal judge applied the wrong causation standard to claims by participants in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s 401(k) plan that the plan fiduciaries are monetarily liable for breaching their fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act based on the removal of Nabisco stock from the plan following a spin-off (Richard G. Tatum v. RJR Pension Investment Committee, et al., No. 13-1360, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14924).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 4 affirmed that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt a Michigan state law established to generate revenue necessary to fund the state's obligations under Medicaid (Self-Insurance Institute of America v. Rick Snyder, et al., No. 12-2264, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14905).
MINNEAPOLIS - Royal Tire Inc., a commercial and retail tire company, will pay $182,500 and be subject to end a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the EEOC announced Aug. 4 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al. v. Royal Tire, Inc., No. 13-1516, D. Minn.).
CHICAGO - A former Wal-Mart assistant manager failed to prove that her firing was due to gender bias and retaliation, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 4, upholding a trial court's opinion (Erika M. Langenbach v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 14-1022, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14991).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge on July 31 dismissed a claim filed by government employees who are seeking overtime pay for the salaried workers who worked during the 2013 government shutdown; however, the judge declined to dismiss a claim seeking overtime for hourly workers as well as a claim alleging that a delay in pay for both salaried and hourly workers who worked during the shutdown violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Donald Martin Jr., et al. v. The United States, No. 13-834C, Fed. Clms.; 2014 U.S. Claims LEXIS 723).
PHILADELPHIA - A retail sales manager who retired after being assigned to a sales territory he felt was inferior failed to prove that his reassignment was due to racial discrimination, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 4 upholding the trial court's decision (Reginald Fenter v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 12-4552, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14933).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board announced Aug. 4 that it unanimously ratified all administrative, personnel and procurement matters taken by the NLRB between Jan. 4, 2012, and Aug. 5, 2013. The vote was held July 18, 2013.
NEW YORK - In vacating a lower court's decision, a panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 31 held that a New York state law related to obtaining reimbursement of medical benefits from plaintiffs' tort settlements is not subject to preemption pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, but that federal jurisdiction does exist under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Meghan Wurtz, et al. v. Rawlings Co., et al., No. 13-1695, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14877).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on July 30 granted a health care provider's motion to remand a reimbursement suit to state court, saying the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the plaintiff's claims (Methodist Hospitals of Dallas v. Aetna Health, No. 13-4992, N.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104291).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on July 31 granted a health insurer's motion for summary judgment in a wrongful denial of benefits case, saying the plan excluded coverage for treatments considered experimental or investigative and studies confirmed a lack of support for the treatment involved to treat abdominal cancers (Doug Burton, in his capacity as executor of the Estate of Marsha Burton v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, No. 13-2099, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104328).
CHICAGO - A railroad engineer failed to show that his termination - a year after he was hired because of his failure to timely comply with the union-shop agreement, despite his efforts to correct the mistake - was motivated by his race, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 1 (Isaac Cox v. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, et al., No. 10-2535, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14820).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 partially reinstated wage claims brought by a food distributor's sales representatives who sued alleging that they were improperly misclassified as exempt from receiving overtime (Thomas E. Killion, et al. v. KeHE Distributors, LLC, Nos. 13-3357/4340, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14528).
BOSTON - A Boston University (BU) information technology employee who was laid off during a department reorganization failed to prove that his age cause his termination, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 30 (Michael Dunn v. Trustees of Boston University, No. 13-2272, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14556).
PHILADELPHIA - A trial court, not an arbitrator, must decide whether employees' employment agreements that don't directly address it permit classwide arbitration, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 30, vacating the trial court's order directing an arbitrator to decide the matter (David Opalinski, et al. v. Robert Half International Inc., et al., No. 12-4444, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14538).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 28 reinstated one of five Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claims filed by a former postmaster in which he claims that being placed on off-duty status was an adverse action because being placed on unpaid leave could dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in a protected activity (Marvin Green v. Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, No. 13-1096, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14290).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 25 let stand the certification of a class of employees alleging hostile work environment claims, finding that the petition filed by the employer for interlocutory review of a trial court's refusal to decertify the class was untimely (Nucor Corporation, et al. v. Quinton Brown, et al., No. 14-154, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14182).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on July 28 conditionally certified a class of satellite television technicians who are paid per job but are seeking overtime compensation (Freddy Simmons, et al. v. Broadway Home Improvement Inc., d/b/a ABC Hi-Def Communications, et al., No. 14-483, S.D. Ind.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102420).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) does not preempt a California unfair competition law (UCL) lawsuit filed by the state alleging that a trucking company misclassifies drivers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation, the California Supreme Court held July 28 (The People ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc. v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., et al., No. S194388, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 5181).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 24 reinstated hostile work environment claims brought by a former employee of Telesector Resources Group Inc., doing business as Verizon Services Group, and ordered Verizon to compel certain documents requested by the former employee that may support her claims of gender bias (Cindy Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc., DBA Verizon Services Group, AKA Verizon New York Inc., Nos. 12-4688 and 13-918, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14066).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 23 vacated a decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finding that Dresser-Rand Co. committed numerous unfair labor practices by locking out its employees in the wake of a strike (Dresser-Rand Company v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-60638, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14018).