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).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Sept. 29 denied several motions by the secretary of the Labor to exclude expert testimony in a lawsuit alleging fraudulent activity in the purchase of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) (Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor, et al. v. First Bankers Trust Services, Inc., et al., No. 12-4450, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130749).
GREENBELT, Md. - Attorneys for United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and a former employee who sued the company for pregnancy discrimination, in a suit that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in March, filed a stipulation of dismissal on Oct. 1, stating that they reached a resolution of all claims (Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 08-2586, D. Md.).
NEW BERN, N.C. - A North Carolina federal judge on Sept. 29 determined that a retirement committee overseeing a pension plan is entitled to equitable contribution and reimbursement from plan participants for overpayments of pension benefits (Retirement Committee of DAK Americas LLC, et al. v. Rodney B. Smith, et al., No. 14-36, E.D. N.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133286).
NEW YORK - A pension plan must be reformed to provide the benefits reasonably expected by a class of plan participants as a result of the plan's misrepresentations, a New York federal judge said Sept. 29 after determining that the evidence submitted by the class plaintiffs fully supported their claims against the plan (Geoffrey Osberg v. Foot Locker Inc., et al., No. 07-1358, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132054).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 granted a petition for writ of certiorari in an appeal that asks the high court to determine whether California arbitration-only severability rule is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) (MHN Government Services, Inc., et al. v. Thomas Zaborowski, et al., No. 14-1458, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 1 granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a police detective after the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined earlier this year that he failed to prove his case claiming that he was demoted in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution after he was perceived as being involved in a political campaign (Jeffrey J. Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey, et al., No. 14-1280, U.S. Sup.).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Sept. 29 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss a claimant's complaint because the only claims alleged against the insurer are state law claims, which are preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (Charles M. Davis v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 14-43, M.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130732).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In two separate orders, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 28 denied a rehearing and a rehearing en banc in a case in which a South Carolina union was found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by creating an exclusive hiring hall for its drivers and preventing others from being employed (Teamsters Local Union No. 509 v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 12-1002, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 17108).
MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota federal judge held Sept. 28 that because any lost earnings stemming from a Ponzi scheme perpetuated by an insured's investment advisers were not "owned" by the insured pursuant to a blanket crime policy, the insurer has no duty to indemnify its insured (3M Company, et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa, et al., No. 14-CV-1058 (PJS/JSM), D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131197).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A federal judge on Sept. 29 awarded $3 million in a take-home asbestos case after finding that Alabama law imposes a duty on employers to protect household members from asbestos exposure and applying substantial factor causation (Melissa Ann Bobo and Sharon Jean Cox, as co-personal representatives of the estate of Barbara Bobo v. Tennessee Valley Authority, No. 12-S-1930, N.D. Ala.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130741).