HOUSTON - A federal judge on March 4 granted participants in BP's retirement plans leave to amend their prudence and monitoring claims but not their disclosure claims related to allegations that the plans' investment in company stock violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, in a separate order, certified a question regarding the factual allegations necessary to meet the pleading standard articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S.Ct. 2459 ) (In re: BP p.l.c. Securities Litigation, In re: BP p.l.c. ERISA Litigation, MDL No. 10-md-2185, No. 4:10-cv-4214, S.D. Tex.; 2015-U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27138).
CINCINNATI - A divided en banc Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 5 ruled that a disability plan participant who was awarded benefits under Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 502(a)(1)(b) was not also entitled to an equitable award of $3.79 million in disgorged profits under Section 502(a)(3) (Todd R. Rochow, et al. v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-2074, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3532).
TRENTON, N.J. - A man may pursue his asbestos-exposure action based on his testimony regarding work aboard ships and schematics suggesting the presence of asbestos, a New Jersey appeals court held March 3 (Henry W. Latter Jr., et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. A-2714-13T4, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 425).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 upheld the rejection of a former Boeing employee's racial bias claims, finding that the employee was unable to show any pretext (Ernest McDonald v. The Boeing Company, No. 14-1288, 10th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3419).
ST. LOUIS - A divided Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 vacated a $340,000 jury award for a superintendent found to have been wrongfully fired, holding that the jury wrongfully included front pay in the award (Ray Nassar, Ph.D., et al. v. Earnestine Jackson, et al., No. 13-1953, 8th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3367).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 granted a motion for preliminary approval of a $415 million settlement with Adobe Systems Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Intel Corp. on employees' claims that the high-tech companies conspired to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees in violation of federal antitrust law (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 3 adopted in full a magistrate judge's January recommendation to approve a $900,000 settlement to be paid by CVS Pharmacy Inc. to end wage claims brought by distribution center workers (Leticia Ceja-Corona, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1868, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25730).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Both sides faced critical questioning from Justice Anthony Kennedy during oral arguments March 4 in the case challenging the availability of subsidies in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) federal exchange (David King, et al. v. Sylvia Mathew Burwell, et al., No. 14-114, U.S. Sup.).
PASADENA, Calif. - There is no retroactivity for a pilot who turned 60 just days before the federal rule for when pilots must stop operating aircraft was changed from 60 to 65, a split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 2 (Henry J. Weiland v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 11-56088, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3242).
BOSTON - A Massachusetts federal judge on Feb. 27 declined to strike class wage claims filed by two distributors who claim that they have been improperly classified as independent contractors (Edmund Sayward Sr., et al. v. Pepperidge Farm, Inc., No. 13-12770, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24060).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on Feb. 25 heard arguments over whether a jury's $1,443,810.53 asbestos verdict can stand in the face of challenges to the verdict form's lack of itemization and references to a leasee's nearby use of asbestos (In re: Estate of Lilienthal, No. 4-14-0280, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Ohio Supreme Court erred when it held that when teacher, as a mandatory reporter, becomes involved in reporting suspected child abuse, that teacher became a law enforcement agent of the government for the purposes of the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Matthew E. Meyer of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office in Cleveland told the U.S. Supreme Court March 2 while presenting oral arguments on behalf of the State of Ohio (State of Ohio v. Darius Clark, No. 13-1352, U.S. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Feb. 24 certified a class of transportation operators alleging that they were forced to work off the clock (Baljinder Rai, et al. v. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, et al., No. 12-4344, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22175).
LOS ANGELES - The need for individualized inquiries bars class certification in a complaint brought by a retailer's former employee who seeks wages for the time spent going through bag checks before and after rest breaks, a California federal judge ruled Feb. 24 (Shamea Ogiamien, et al. v. Nordstrom, Inc., No. 13-5639, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22128).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 26 denied a man's motion to dismiss his insurance company's lawsuit accusing him of violating the Illinois Insurance Fraud Statute and stayed the case for the company to assert a portion of its allegations as a counterclaim to a separate suit brought by the defendant accusing the company of violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Concert Health Plan Insurance Company v. James E. Killian, No. 14 C 4697, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23195).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 denied a disability claimant's petition for writ of certiorari challenging the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision that a disability insurer was not required to consider additional documentation the claimant submitted after her appeal was denied by the insurer (Sharon Blair v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 14-670, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 declined to grant certiorari, which left standing an agreement reached in In re Managed Care Litigation that bars several physicians and physician groups from bringing claims against WellPoint Inc. in In re WellPoint, Inc. Out-of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Sherman Act but not from bringing certain claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Medical Association of Georgia, et al. v. Wellpoint Inc., No. 14-554, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 denied a petition for writ of certiorari, leaving in place a California Supreme Court decision holding that 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 to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation (Pac Anchor Transportation, et al. v. People of the State of California, ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc., No. 14-491, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 let stand a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a multiemployer welfare benefits plan may seek reimbursement of health benefits paid on behalf of a plan participant who later received a third-party settlement because the plan language established an equitable lien by agreement (Bernard McLaughlin v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-626, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 declined to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt a New York state anti-subrogation law that prohibits insurers from obtaining reimbursement of medical benefits from participants' tort settlements (The Rawlings Company, et al. v. Megan Wurtz, et al., No. 14-487, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 let stand a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that even though a disability plan's summary plan description (SPD) did not comply with the notice and disclosure requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because it described only one level of internal review, a claimant's case was properly dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies because she did not establish that the SPD's deficiencies caused her failure to pursue a second-level internal review (Lucrecia Caprio Holmes v. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Long Term Disability Plan, No. 14-551, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 denied writ of certiorari in an appeal over whether the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is the exclusive remedy for age bias in employment (Anthony Hildebrand v. Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, et al., No. 14-363, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 23 remanded for further consideration in light of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' unpublished opinion affirming the dismissal of Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of fiduciary duty claims by participants in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) sponsored by Delta Air Lines Inc. (Dennis Smith, et al. v. Delta Air Lines Inc., et al., No. 14-696, U.S. Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. - A spouse lacks standing to assert breach of contract claims against his spouse's former employer regarding an alleged failure to timely send notice for health insurance coverage, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Feb. 18 (John Sacchi v. Katheryn J. Luciani, et al., No. 14-3130, D. N.J.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19002).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 20 upheld the rejection of a class complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that an employer's use of background checks violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after determining that the EEOC's expert testimony was unreliable (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Freeman, No. 13-2365, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2592).