ATLANTA - A trucking company acted within proper parameters when it determined that a driver who had been treated for alcoholism no longer met the qualifications necessary for his job, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 18 (Sakari Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corporation, No. 13-11601, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11437).
PHILADELPHIA - A tire manufacturing company manager failed to show that he was wrongfully terminated following medical leave, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17, upholding a trial court's ruling in favor of the employer (Ronald Ross v. Kevin Gilhuly, et al., No. 13-2437, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11231).
NEW YORK - A man who often spent 40 hours per week working at a school for more than three years did so as a volunteer, not as an employee, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 18, rejecting the man's wage claims (Jayquan Brown v. New York Department of Education, et al., No. 13-139, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11412).
RALEIGH, N.C. - A North Carolina court on June 17 reversed an education board's decision to not renew the contract of an employee, who made complaints about mold and other issues, finding that she should be afforded the opportunity to present evidence that was not previously considered by the board (Tiffany N. Tobe-Williams v. New Hanover County Board of Education, a/k/a New Hanover County Schools, N.C. App.; 2014 N.C. App. LEXIS 612).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employee's testimony before a federal grand jury was protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern, not pursuant to his job responsibilities, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 19; however, the high court found that the individual defendant in that employee's suit is entitled to qualified immunity because that protection was not clear at the time the employee was fired (Edward R. Lane v. Steve Franks, et al., No. 13-483, U.S. Sup.).
BOSTON - A decision to terminate long-term disability benefits based on a claimant's refusal to cooperate during an examination was not arbitrary or capricious, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said June 16 (Rolando Ortega-Candelaria v. Johnson & Johnson et al., No. 13-1564, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11127).
LAS VEGAS - A Nevada federal judge on June 17 partially dismissed a wage-and-hour complaint filed against a Las Vegas casino, finding that three of the claims lacked a private right of action and, in the same order, conditionally certified a class of workers to proceed with the remaining claims (Nicole McDonagh, et al. v. Harrah's Las Vegas, Inc., et al., No. 13-1744, D. Nev.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82290).
CHICAGO - The anti-alienation provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not prevent the attachment of funds after they have been paid by the pension plan to the retirees, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 13 in joining the majority of the circuit courts to address the issue (National Labor Relations Board v. HH3 Trucking, Inc., et al., Nos. 05-1362, 05-4075, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10998).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 12 dismissed a wrongful denial of health care benefits suit, saying the health plans at issue excluded treatment at residential treatment facilities that were not staffed 24/7 with licensed mental health professionals, but granted leave to amend the complaint (Elizabeth L., et al. v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 13-2554, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80988).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 16 granted petitions for writ of certiorari filed in two appeals challenging the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division's decision to find, without first engaging in notice-and-comment rulemaking as required under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), that mortgage-loan officers are not exempt from receiving overtime pay; the high court consolidated the two appeals and allotted one hour total for oral argument (Thomas E. Perez, et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, et al., No. 13-1041, U.S. Sup., Jerome Nickols, et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, No. 13-1052; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 4275).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After finding no medical evidence to support a ruling that mold exposure at work caused a county employee's respiratory issues, a West Virginia appeals court on June 12 dismissed her appeal of a decision to deny her compensation (Judy L. Treadway v. Fayette County Commission, No.12-1402, W.Va. Sup. App.; 2014 W.Va. LEXIS 738).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on June 11 declined to dismiss two counterclaims filed in a fraudulent billing dispute but dismissed a counterclaim for common law fraud, saying that the claim failed to meet pleading requirements (Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. Roseland Ambulatory, No. 12-5941, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79189).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on June 11 declined to remand a health care reimbursement suit to state court, holding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempted at least some of the claims (Innova Hospital San Antonia v. Humana Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-1089, W.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79155).
NEW ORLEANS - The insurer of an accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policy did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to the beneficiaries of a policyholder who died while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed June 11 (Lindsey Green, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 13-60049, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10875).
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers (LAC Basketball Club Inc.) and The Sterling Family Trust violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the California unfair competition law by failing to pay interns, a former intern alleges in his class complaint filed June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Frank Cooper, et al. v. LAC Basketball Club, Inc., et al., No. 14-4445, C.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - A plan administrator that breached its fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide a life insurance plan participant with an adequate summary plan description (SPD), by actively misleading the participant about the plan terms and by failing to inform her of her conversion rights when the company knew she was severely ill is liable for $120,000 in surcharge to the beneficiaries, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled June 10 (Weaver Bros. Insurance Associates, Inc. v. Jacqueline Braunstein, et al., No. 11-5407, E.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78629).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on June 11 ruled that a denial of disability coverage should be mediated or remanded for a full and fair administrative review because a number of questions regarding the claimant's physical and mental disabilities remain unanswered (Karen Criss v. Union Security Insurance Co., No. 13-685, N.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79300).
DENVER - An employer that attempted to re-enter a multiemployer pension plan following the expiration of its collective bargaining agreement without following the required procedures is liable for withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendment Act and is not entitled to a refund of the money it paid to the plan after it withdrew, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 10 in an unpublished order (Trustees of the Utah Carpenters' and Cement Masons' Pension Trust, et al. v. Elizabeth Loveridge, Trustee for Perry Olsen Drywall, Inc., Nos. 13-4025, 13-4120, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10731).
ATLANTA - A 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 11 upheld a summary judgment ruling for an employer accused by an almost-employee of improperly revoking a job offer following a medical exam in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (John Wetherbee v. The Southern Company, et al., No. 13-10305, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10843).
NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana federal judge on June 9 denied a motion to reconsider his determination that plaintiffs could continue their Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims in a health care reimbursement suit, saying that the defendant failed to raise any new issues (Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, et al. v. Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana, et al., No. 10-4346, E.D. La.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 10 found that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend its insured against underlying Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims, vacating and remanding for the lower court to determine whether the insurer also has a duty to indemnify (Euchner-USA, INC., et al. v. Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 13-2021-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10797).
CINCINNATI - A strategic sourcing manager who failed to disclose a prior termination during the hiring process was unable to prove that her firing, once her past was found out, was in any way improper, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 9 (Venus Springs v. United States Department of Treasury, et al., No. 13-1521, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10689).
NEW YORK - An arbitrator acted within his authority when he applied the doctrine of collateral estoppel against American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 6, reversing the judgment of a trial court (American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO v. United States Postal Service, No. 13-2579, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10641).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota appeals court on June 9 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a nursing home and care center, finding that a former employee failed to show that she suffered an adverse employment action after making complaints about mold growth (Joni Quam v. St. Francis Health Services of Morris, et al., No. 13-1437, Minn. App.; 2014 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 553).
LOS ANGELES - Five California statutes regarding the employment and retention of teachers that were challenged by California students are all unconstitutional, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge found in a tentative decision issued June 10 (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).