DENVER - A damages expert proffered by three paramedics against their employer is sufficiently qualified to testify, a Colorado federal judge ruled Aug. 14, also holding that the expert's testimony would assist a jury in understanding the parties' disputes regarding wages and overtime pay (Karen Kinne, et al. v. Rocky Mountain EMS Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-02710, D. Colo.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112872).
ATLANTA - A dual-listed company is not suable under Florida laws, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 12, upholding the dismissal of a class complaint filed by seafarers seeking additional benefits following injuries at sea (Zolt Sabo, et al. v. Carnival Corporation, d.b.a. Carnival Corporation & PLC, et al., No. 13-11765, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15398).
LOS ANGELES - Employees who are required to use their personal cell phones for work-related calls are required, per California Labor Code Section 2802, to be reimbursed by their employer, the Second District California Court of Appeal ruled Aug. 12, reversing a trial court's denial of class certification of a complaint filed by a customer service manager (Colin Cochran v. Schwan's Home Service, Inc., No. B247160, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 724).
CHICAGO - A federal judge in Illinois on Aug. 12 ruled that a surgeon whose staff and clinical privileges were revoked failed to allege antitrust injury because she maintained such privileges at other hospitals but that the surgeon could continue with her hostile work environment claims (Yelena Levitin, et al. v. Northwest Community Hospital, et al., No. 13-5553, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110830).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky federal judge on Aug. 12 granted a disability insurer's motion to dismiss breach of fiduciary duty claims alleged against it because the claims are essentially the same as the breach of contract claim (James W. Hackney v. The Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., No. 11-268, W.D. Ky.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111142).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Two companies' cross-claims under California's unfair competition law (UCL) that a rival company used illegal noncompete agreements with its employees to unlawfully compete with its competitors are not barred by the state's law banning strategic lawsuits against public participation (anti-SLAPP statute) because the claims are based on the rival's business practices and not its litigation conduct, a state appellate panel held Aug. 8 in affirming a trial court's ruling (Pathology, Inc. v. Aviir, Inc., et al., No. G048824, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3; 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5621).
CINCINNATI - A long-term disability insurer failed to provide a disability claimant with a fair opportunity for review when it did not notify the claimant that there was a contractual time limit for judicial review of its decision to deny long-term benefits, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 7 (Joseph Moyer v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., No. 13-1396, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15186).
MILWAUKEE - Participants in two S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. retirement plans who received early retirement benefits on Aug. 7 sought approval of two class action settlement agreements totaling $44.4 million on their claims challenging the legality of the plans' method for calculating pre-age-65 lump sums from 1998 through Aug. 17, 2006, the effective date of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (Michael Thompson, et al. v. Retirement Plan For Employees Of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., et al., No. 07-1047, E.D. Wis.).
PORTLAND, Ore - An Oregon federal judge on Aug. 8 granted partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in a case alleging that a health insurance company violated federal and state law by denying coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for the treatment of autism-related spectrum disorder to children who have been diagnosed as autistic, saying that the exclusion is prohibited by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (A.F., by and through his parents and guardians, Brenna Legaard and Scott Fournier, et al. v. Providence Health Plan, No. 13-776, D. Ore.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109507).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A federal judge in California on Aug. 8 rejected $324.5 million partial class action settlements between employees and Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. on the 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.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110064).
DENVER - A health plan participant's state law contract and tort claims against a health care provider were properly removed to federal court because a single claim for tortious interference with contract, which was related to the discount for services provided by the participant's health plan, was completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 6 (Richard Salzer v. SSM Health Care of Oklahoma Inc., No. 13-6099, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15122).
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).