DENVER - A Colorado federal judge on May 19 granted final approval of a settlement under which United Airlines Inc. will pay $6.15 million to end a class complaint filed by a pilot who alleges he and others were denied full pension contributions while on long-term military leave (James Daniel Tuten, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 12-1561, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68336).
SAN FRANCISCO - Eight retired professional football players filed a class complaint on May 20 in a California federal court, accusing the National Football League (NFL) of recklessly treating players will narcotics to keep them on the field and, in doing so, "substitute$(ed$) players' health for profit" (Richard Dent, et al. v. National Football League, No. 14-2324, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on May 19 set the terms a permanent injunction should take against a Blue Cross Blue Shield entity found to have failed to provide adequate notice and appeal notices before recouping money from previously paid claims, saying the injunction would provide relief only to members of the chiropractic association involved and not all providers associated with the defendant and that the injunction would provide only prospective relief instead of the retroactive relief requested by the plaintiff (Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, et al., No. 09-5619, N.D. Ill.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 16 limited the time and scope of a deposition that a senior investigator of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission must give in an employment retaliation suit and denied the agency's request to depose its local director, finding that it was not necessary (Carlos Leglu v. County of Santa Clara, No. 13-cv-01376 BLF, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67882).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - National pet supply retailer PetSmart Inc. will pay $10 million to settle wage-and-hour claims by more than 16,000 of its pet groomers and other employees who say that PetSmart's improper compensation practices violate California's unfair competition law (UCL), according to an agreement that a federal judge preliminarily approved May 14 (Danette M. Moore, et al. v. PetSmart, Inc., No. 12-03577, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67235).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A federal magistrate judge in Alabama on May 16 ordered counsel for a plaintiff in a sexual harassment and discrimination suit to pay the fees associated with a motion to quash a subpoena served on a nonparty after finding that the subpoena did not provide the deponent with adequate time to comply and because it requested production of privileged information (Noria C. Green v. Mobis Alabama LLC, et al., No. 12cv277, M.D. Ala.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67373).
NORFOLK, Va. - The City of Norfolk, Va., and a class of city police officers filed a joint motion for a $3.2 million settlement on May 15 seeking to end an overtime class complaint (William Keith Winingear, et al. v. City of Norfolk, Virginia, No. 12-560, E.D. Va.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on May 16 granted final approval to $20 million in partial class action settlements with Intuit Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar of an antitrust suit accusing high-tech companies of conspiring to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility by entering into agreements not to compete for one another's employees (In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-2509, N.D. Calif.).
ST. LOUIS - A mechanic who entered into a "last chance agreement" (LCA) with his employer after he suspected that he would test positive during a random drug test - but never did - must be reinstated, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 14 (Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local No. 53, No. 12-3712, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8953).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 19 denied review of a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a life insurance company did not breach its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it chose to pay the beneficiary with a retained asset account and then invested the retained assets for its own profit (Connie J. Edmonson v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, No. 13-934, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A former Maryland hotel employee who was fired shortly after complaining of being called a racially derogatory name by another employee who was friends with the hotel owner failed to prove her racial discrimination and retaliation claims, a split Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 13 (Reya C. Boyer-Liberto v. Fontainebleau Corporation, et al., No. 13-1473, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8901).
ATLANTA - An injury allegedly caused by work-related stress is not cognizable under the Jones Act, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 15, reversing a trial court's denial of a motion for a judgment as a matter of law (William C. Skye v. Maersk Line, Limited Corporation, d.b.a. Maersk Line Limited, No. 12-16433, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9017).
NEW ORLEANS - The former executive director of the regional airport in Tupelo, Miss., failed to prove that his termination was due to his age rather than the board's belief that he could not be trusted to tell the truth, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 15 (Terry Anderson v. Tupelo Regional Airport Authority, No. 13-60666, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 9068).
SAN FRANCISCO - Factual disputes remain as to whether store managers employed by an auto parts chain primarily performed managerial duties, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 12, reversing a trial court's grant of summary judgment in the employer's favor (Michael L. Taylor, et al. v. AutoZone, Inc., et al., No. 12-15378, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8852).
HOUSTON - A Texas federal judge on May 12 declined to reconsider approval of a settlement in two cases that are part of a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas alleging that Wachovia Corp., Wachovia Mortgage Corp. and World Mortgage Co. - collectively, Wachovia - and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank - collectively, Wells Fargo - misclassified mortgage workers to avoid paying them overtime wages (In re: Wells Fargo Wage and Hour Employment Practices Litigation [No. III], No. 11-2266, S.D. Texas; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64843).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on May 13 granted a motion for court-authorized notice in a class complaint filed by students who worked for a Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) subsidiary and allege that they were improperly misclassified as unpaid interns (Kyle Grant, et al. v. Warner Music Group Corp., et al., No. 13-4449, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65664).
SAN DIEGO - A doctor cannot pursue claims under the California Labor Code and unfair competition law (UCL) against his former employer, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VA), because the claims are barred by sovereign immunity, a federal judge held May 9 (Walter M. Shaw v. Veterans Health Administration, et al., No. 12-2369, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64598).
LAS VEGAS - A fast food restaurant chain in Nevada illegally paid employees less than the lawful minimum wage after claiming that it had the right to compensate employees at a reduced minimum wage rate under the Nevada Constitution, four employees allege in a class complaint filed May 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (Latonya Tyus, et al. v. Wendy's of Las Vegas, Inc., et al., No. 14-729, D. Nev.).
RICHMOND, Va. - The former president and CEO of a security equipment company failed to prove that his termination was caused by activity protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 12 (Paul H. Feldman v. Law Enforcement Associates Corporation, et al., No. 13-1849, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8833).
CINCINNATI - Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 does not protect a one-time unsolicited complaint to an employer about alleged violations of ERISA, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 9 (Brian Sexton v. Panel Processing, Inc., et al., No. 13-1604, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8752).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on May 12 issued a notice and invitation to file briefs in a case concerning whether Northwestern University's football players who receive scholarships to play football at the university are employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and are entitled to vote on whether to be represented by the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) for collective bargaining purposes (Northwestern University and College Athletes Players Association $(CAPA$), No. 13-RC-121359, NLRB).
CHICAGO - Following an Illinois federal judge's ruling that using a profit-sharing plan's assets to satisfy a judgment against the plan for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act would not violate the exclusive benefit rule, fiduciary duty requirements or prohibited transaction rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a plan participant on May 9 filed a motion for reconsideration, seeking a ruling exempting her plan assets from being subject to satisfaction of the outstanding judgment pursuant to ERISA's anti-alienation provisions (David R. Gray, Jr. v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity Co., et al., No. 12 C 6281, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58171).
SAN DIEGO - Costco Wholesale Corp. on May 7 removed a class complaint that was filed in the San Diego County Superior Court by pharmacists and managers alleging various wage violations to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, asserting original jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act, original jurisdiction under 28 U.S. Code Section 1332(a)(1) and removal jurisdiction under 28 U.S. Code Sections 1441(a) and 1446 (Paula Dittmar, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., No. 14-1156, S.D. Calif.).
DETROIT - A federal judge in Michigan on May 9 granted a Catholic health organization's motion to dismiss a class action complaint brought by a participant in its pension plan who is challenging the organization's claims that its pension plans are church plans exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, finding that the organization is controlled by or associated with a church (Marilyn Overall v. Ascension Health, et al., No. 13-11396, E.D. Mich.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64116).
ST. LOUIS - The substantial-compliance doctrine does not interfere with discretion granted to a plan administrator by an ERISA plan, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 8 in affirming that an insurer did not abuse its discretion in denying a widow's claim to receive the proceeds of her husband's life insurance policy (Jane Marie Hall v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 13-1332, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8652).