DENVER - The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and its officers are entitled to qualified immunity when it comes to disability bias claims filed by an Air Force base employee, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 23 (Jason M. Sumrall v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 14-6164, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20305).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 22 upheld a trial court's ruling that a North Carolina city is not immune from claims in four separate lawsuits brought by police officers and fire fighters who bring breach of contract and estoppel claims related to the city's changes to its "longevity payment program" (Brett Davis, et al. v. City of Greensboro, North Carolina, No. 13-1820, Wendy Cheek, et al. v. City of Greensboro, North Carolina, No. 13-1825, David Morgan, et al. v. City of Greensboro, North Carolina, No. 13-1826, Michael Brownell, et al. v. City of Greensboro, North Carolina, No. 13-1827, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20248).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A co-worker's speculative testimony regarding the presence of asbestos and various manufacturers' products falls short of demonstrating a man's exposure, a Pennsylvania court held Oct. 22 (Colleen M. Krauss, et al. v. Trane US Inc., f/k/a American Standard, et al, Nos. 644 EDA 2013, 671 EDA 2013, Pa. Super.).
MADISON, Wis. - A notice served to a school district by two teachers that included an attached list of parties and itemization of damages was sufficient to allow the later lawsuit filed by six teachers to proceed, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 22, reversing a ruling by a Wisconsin Circuit Court that held that only the two teachers named in the notice could proceed with their claims (Robert B. Townsend, et al. v. Neenah Joint School District, No. 2013AP2839, Wis. App., Dist. II).
DALLAS - Parties challenging Texas' stance on a premises owner's liability for allegedly contemporaneous negligent activities recently filed letter briefs addressing a recent en banc decision from an appeals court. The plaintiffs' letter was filed Oct. 21 (Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Co., No. 13-0175, Texas Sup.).
BATON ROUGE, La. - Even though a retirement benefits expert's report was submitted after a court-mandated deadline, a Louisiana federal judge on Oct. 21 found that the filing was permissible because it corrected an identified error and did not prejudice the defendant in an employment discrimination lawsuit brought under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) (Paul B. Deal v. State of Louisiana, No. 3:11-cv-00743, M.D. La.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149193).
PASADENA, Calif. - A class representative in a wage-and-hour lawsuit who essentially settled his individual claims, but failed to include any language in the agreement preserving his right to appeal the denial of class certification, may not proceed with the class action, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 20 (Jonathan Sultan, et al. v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 12-57072, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20021).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - For legal and public policy reasons, California should side with the majority of other states and reject liability for take-home asbestos exposures, Pneumo Abex LLC told the California Supreme Court on Oct. 17 (Johnny Blaine Kesner v. Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda, No. S219534, Calif. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An anti-abortion group and its employees lack standing and miscast the standard for review in a futile effort to save a doomed case, the government told a District of Columbia federal judge on Oct. 21 (March for Life, Jeanne F. Monahan and Bethany A. Goodman v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., No. 14-1149, D. D.C.).
ATLANTA - Finding no reversible error, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 21 upheld a trial court's denial of an employee's motion to vacate and/or modify an arbitration award that denied her claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related claims brought against her former employer (Ludema Cruz Dorward v. Macy's Inc., d.b.a. Macy's Florida Stores, LLC, No. 13-14783, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20097).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Oct. 15 dismissed delivery drivers' claims filed under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA), finding that Kansas law allows minimum wage claims to be pursued only under the Kansas Minimum Wage Maximum Hour Law (KMWMHL) and that KMWMHL specifically exempts employers, such as the plaintiffs' employer, that are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Jeffrey Wheaton, et al. v. Hinz JJ, LLC, et al., No. 14-2223, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147203).
SAN DIEGO - A newspaper company will pay $3.2 million to resolve claims that it violated California labor laws and the unfair competition law (UCL) by misclassifying newspaper carriers as independent contractors under a class action settlement that received preliminary approval Oct. 17 from a federal judge (Yvonne Dalton, et al. v. Lee Publications, Inc., No. 08-1072, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148240).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 20 denied review of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a $6 million judgment against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) for breaching its fiduciary duty and engaging in self-dealing in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by collecting administrative fees that were not revealed in its administrative service contracts with the sponsor of a self-funded employee health benefit plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan v. Hi-Lex Controls, Inc., et al., No. 14-168, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A federal district court order that held that a plan sponsor is a plan administrator within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and remanded for additional evidence is not an immediately appealable final order, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 15 in an unprecedential order (Raymond Thomas v. Bank of America, No. 13-442, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19711).
ST. LOUIS - An employer that complied with the terms of a document written by the union representative is liable for delinquent contributions to a multiemployer fund pursuant to that document under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, even though the employer did not sign the document containing the terms, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 15 (James Russ, et al. v. South Water Market, Inc., et al., No. 13-3613, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19763).
CHICAGO - A physician who was also a shareholder and member of the board of directors of the anesthesiology practice where she worked was an employer, not employee, so she has no standing to sue the practice for disability discrimination after she was terminated, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 15 (Linda Bluestein, M.D. v. Central Wisconsin Anesthesiology, S.C., Nos. 13-3724, 14-1256 and 14-1257, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19760).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14 partially reinstated racial bias, retaliation and hostile work environment claims brought by two black employees who allege that they were not treated as well as white employees while working for the New York University Medical Center (Desmond Leung, et al. v. New York University, et al., No. 13-2267, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19663).
ATLANTA - A clinical laboratory network manager who was fired after her involvement in a real estate website was discovered failed to prove claims of retaliatory termination or breach of contract, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 14 (Melissa C. Butterworth v. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, No. 13-15021, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19680).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge properly dismissed without prejudice a pension plan participant's claim that the plan improperly reduced his benefits, where the suit was not brought in the federal court specified in the plan's forum-selection clause, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Oct. 14 (Roger L. Smith v. Aegon Companies Pension Plan, No. 13-5492, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 19668).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Oct. 10 agreed to certify two questions regarding pay for agricultural workers during rest breaks to the Washington Supreme Court, opining that "they have significant implications for the lives of thousands of workers and employers" (Francisco Eugenio Paz, et al. v. Sakuma Brothers Farms Inc., No. 13-1918, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145526).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - While two plaintiffs' asbestos cases involve different times of exposure, the fact that they each spent significant time at a single facility warrants consolidating their cases for trial, a Rhode Island judge held Oct. 10 (Maureen Gallagher, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5269, Constance Podedworney, et al. v. American Insulated Wire Corp., et al., No. PC11-5268, R.I. Super., Providence Plantation; 2014 R.I. Super. LEXIS 144).
CINCINNATI - A disability insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying benefits to a participant suffering from fibromyalgia for failure to provide objective evidence of functional limitations, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Oct. 10 in an unpublished opinion (Taylor Hunt v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, No. 13-1724, 6th Cir.).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal magistrate judge on Oct. 10 denied a request by plaintiffs in a wage-and-hour suit for a protective order preventing their employers from taking depositions of absent class members as a part of a "pilot study" (Sabas Arredondo, et al. v. Delano Farms Co., et al., No. 09-1247, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145562).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Oct. 10 overruled a joint motion seeking approval of a $350,000 settlement in a wage-and-hour collective action filed by meat workers who allege that they are improperly compensated under a "gang time" system (Valente Sandoval Barbosa, et al. v. National Beef Packing Company, LLC, No. 12-2311, D. Kan.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144439).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Oct. 8 granted final approval of a $2 million settlement to be paid by the owner of California auto dealerships who was accused by technicians of using a pay scheme that failed to pay them for the actual time they spent working (Jose Ontiveros v. Robert Zamora, et al., No. 08-567, E.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143462).