CHICAGO - A former Chicago teacher's federal age discrimination lawsuit is barred by an earlier state lawsuit because she failed to show that the school board acquiesced to claim splitting, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 10 (Harriet Walczak v. Chicago Board of Education, No. 12-2808, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 556).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by a man who claims that a child suffered burn injuries due to an allegedly defective cigarette lighter (David R. Cummins v. Bic USA Inc., et al., No. 13-574, U.S. Sup.).
DULUTH, Minn. - A Minnesota federal judge on Jan. 8 conditionally certified a class of meat-processing facility workers seeking compensation for time spent working outside of their clocked hours, including donning and doffing protective gear, and denied a motion to dismiss the workers' breach of contract claim (Carol Knaak, et al. v. Armour-Eckrich Meats LLC, No. 13-829, D. Minn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1903).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A retirement plan participant who challenged the amount of benefits she received upon the plan's termination did not have a cause of action under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act for the plan fiduciaries' alleged violation of the tax code or reliance on the advice of the plan's legal counsel, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 7 (Denise M. Clark v. Feder Semo and Bard, P.C., et al., No. 12-7092, D.C. Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 218).
ATLANTA - Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a corporate employer undergoing bankruptcy reorganization cannot pursue an action for the benefit of its bankruptcy estate and, thus, its unsecured creditors against the employer's former owner for liabilities arising from the termination of a pension plan, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 7 (Durango-Georgia Paper Co., et al. v. H.G. Estate, LLC, et al., No. 11-15079, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 251).
PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 9 upheld a trial court's rejection of a class complaint accusing a membership warehouse club of federal and state wage violations when it withheld wages from employees' final paychecks (Carrie Ward, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, No. 11-56757, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 450).
DAYTON, Ohio - Employees' health records are relevant and discoverable in a class complaint in which they accuse their employer of interfering with their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an Ohio federal magistrate judge ruled Jan. 6 (Michele Wilkinson, et al. v. Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, et al., No. 11-247, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 909).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 8 affirmed a decision granting a ship owner's motion to compel arbitration of a crew member's claims under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, agreeing that the dispute should be arbitrated in Panama (Javier Fredy Paucar v. MSC Crociere S.A., et al., No. 13-11881, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 333).
NEW ORLEANS - A federal district court properly ruled that a disability insurer did not abuse its discretion under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by terminating benefits based on medical evidence that post-dated a Social Security Administration (SSA) determination that the claimant was disabled, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Jan. 3 in an unpublished opinion (Susan Nugent v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., No. 13-30795, 5th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 130).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Jan. 2 denied a motion to remand a class complaint accusing a salon chain of various wage violations, opining that even though the chain was overzealous with its initial amount in controversy estimates, the figure was still clearly above $5 million (Melissa Fong, et al. v. Regis Corporation, et al., No. 13-4497, N.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 275).
NEW YORK - A divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 6 upheld a finding that a New York State agency was liable on a former employee's intimate association claim as well as an award of punitive damages on that claim, but the majority vacated punitive damages against the individual defendants, finding that they were protected by qualified immunity (Scott M. Matusick v. Erie County Water Authority, et al., Nos. 11-1234, 11-1618, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 192).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 31, in an order addressing two cases, certified three questions concerning the proper interpretation of two California wage orders regarding an employer's obligation to provide an employee with a seat (Nykeya Kilby, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-56130, Kemah Henderson, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, No. 13-56095, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25862).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 31 partially reinstated a former Utah county employee's suit alleging that she lost her job after complaining that the judge she worked for was sexually harassing her (Marcia Eisenhour v. Weber County, et al., No. 12-4190, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25856).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The federal government on Jan. 3 filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing an emergency injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution following a Dec. 31 order by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that temporarily blocked the federal government from enforcing the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) against an order of Catholic nuns at the request of the group after a lower court denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in a case challenging the mandate (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13A691, U.S. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. - A Salvation Army employee who was fired for missing too much work failed to show that being given more time for discovery would in any way help her case, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 31, upholding a trial court's denial of her discovery motion (Roberta Ahmed v. The Salvation Army, No. 13-1122, 4th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25866).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge in an opinion filed Dec. 30 denied a motion to dismiss the two surviving claims in a case accusing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) of doing nothing to stop a hostile work environment and retaliating against one of the correctional officers who complained (Yvette Daniels, et al. v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, No. 10-3, E.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181441).
NEW YORK - A federal district court erred in deferring to a pension plan administrator's interpretation of an offset provision under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the interpretation violated the plan's provisions and was not disclosed in summary plan descriptions (SPDs) given to the plan participants, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 23 (Paul J. Frommert, et al. v. Sally L. Conkright, et al., No. 12-67-cv, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25500).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Dec. 31 granted certification to a class of pizza delivery drivers alleging various minimum wage violations and denied their employers' motion to strike the report and testimony of the plaintiffs' expert witness (William Timothy Perrin, et al. v. Papa John's International, Inc., et al., No. 09-1335, E.D. Mo.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181749).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 23 conditionally certified a class of armored-vehicle drivers seeking unpaid overtime but denied their motion for equitable tolling (Arturo Rojas, et al. v. Garda CL Southeast, Inc., No. 13-23173, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179595).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Dec. 31 temporarily blocked the federal government from enforcing the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) against an order of Catholic nuns at the request of the group after a lower court denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in a case challenging the mandate (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13A691, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 19 upheld the denial of a former Time Warner attorney's discrimination and retaliation claims, finding that she was unable to show that but for her discrimination claim, she would not have been terminated (Tamsin Wolf v. Time Warner, Inc., No. 12-4226, 2nd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25181).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 19 partially vacated the rejection of a former Texas county employee's suit over her termination and remanded, ordering the district court to decide whether it should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff's appeal of her grievance denied by the Nueces County Civil Service Commission (Maria Angela Vasquez v. Nueces County, Texas, No. 13-40453, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25220).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's new workers' compensation law, which will take effect on Feb. 1, 2014, stands as is, a divided Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Dec. 16, rejecting a constitutional challenge brought by a member of the state Senate, a member of the state House of Representatives and the Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma and its president (The Honorable Harry E. Coates, et al. v. The Honorable Mary Fallin, et al., No. 112167, Okla. Sup.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Dec. 16 remanded a reimbursement dispute to state court, holding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt the state law claims (Bay Area Surgical Management v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-2512, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176682).
HELENA, Mont. - A split Montana Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld a state court's order defining the class in a suit challenging the denial of a preauthorization request for a medical procedure but reversed and remanded with respect to the court's certification of the plaintiffs' claim as to "$(w$)hether the State of Montana breached its contract" and remanded to allow the court to consider whether a question could be presented where individual questions would not predominate (Steve Sangwin, et al. v. State of Montana, et al., No. 12-0712, Mont. Sup.; 2013 Mont. LEXIS 496).