ST. LOUIS - An employee failed to demonstrate interference in violation of Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 510 based on her employer's failing to remit a disability insurance premium to the insurer or on her termination, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 7 in affirming summary judgment for the employer (Jacqueline Barnhardt v. Open Harvest Cooperative, No. 13-2254, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2331).
CHICAGO - A group of police officers and firefighters employed in Indianapolis failed to prove in two different lawsuits that the promotion process used in both departments was biased against black candidates, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (Kendale L. Adams, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, Nos. 12-1874 and 13-3422, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2115).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Ohio on Feb. 4 awarded $1.32 million in fees, a portion of which is to paid by the sponsor of a cash-balance pension plan, in a class action in which retirees prevailed on their claims that the plan miscalculated their lump-sum payments by failing to apply a whipsaw calculation in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (William J. Schumacher v. AK Steel Corporation Retirement Accumulation Pension Plan, et al., No. 09-794, S.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13768).
LOS ANGELES - The effectiveness of teachers is measurable, as is the impact those teachers have on their students, Thomas Kane, a professor of education and economics at Harvard University, testified Feb. 6 during the ninth day of the trial in the lawsuit California students filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against the state challenging teacher employment laws and alleging that they cause grossly ineffective teachers to remain employed (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
MISSOULA, Mont. - An employment practices policy's self-insured retention (SIR) provision was exhausted, and the insurer's duty to indemnify was triggered upon entry of a $210,000 stipulated judgment to settle an underlying sexual discrimination claim, a Montana federal judge ruled Feb. 5, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment in part (Samantha Lasorte v. Those Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, No. 12-87, D. Mont.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14352).
PHILADELPHIA - A divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 4 reversed a finding that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act did not preempt a Vermont state law requiring health insurers to provide information for the state's health care database (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Susan L. Donegan, in her capacity as the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, No. 12-4881, 2nd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2088).
DENVER - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 affirmed a summary judgment ruling in favor of a hotel on claims asserted by a former employee who alleged that his contract was terminated after he made complaints about mold (Guy DeFazio v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., No. 13-1197, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2030).
SAN FRANCISCO - United Airlines Inc.'s sick leave plan and trust is not an employee benefits plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, therefore, is subject to California's Kin Care Law, which requires employers who provide paid sick leave to their employees to use sick leave to care for family members, a California appellate court ruled Jan. 31 (Airline Pilots Association International, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc., No. A129914, Calif. App., 1st App. Dist., Div. 4; 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 100).
NEW YORK - Following the mandates of a state law is not a defense when it comes to liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 4 (Elsa Gulino, et al. v. Board of Education of the New York City School District of the City of New York, No. 13-1001, 2nd Cir.).
CINCINNATI - A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 3 remanded a case to a district court with instructions that it should enter judgment in favor of a debtor who sued his former employer alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 when it denied him long-term disability benefits. The panel also ruled that the debtor's lawsuit was not barred by judicial estoppel despite the fact that he failed to list it in his bankruptcy schedules when he filed his petition (Nilratan Javery v. Lucent Technologies Inc., No. 12-3834, Chapter 13, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1992).
TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge in a Jan. 30 unpublished opinion granted a motion to dismiss brought by defendants in a health care reimbursement dispute, saying the patient's health care plan contained a valid anti-assignment of benefits provision that precluded the plaintiff provider from bringing the suit (Dr. Brian M. Torpey v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, at al., No. 12-7618, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11412).
CHICAGO - A former discount store manager failed to show that behavior by her supervisor that was "unprofessional" and "age-based" was severe enough to cause constructive discharge, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 30 (Virginia Fugate v. Dolgencorp, LLC, et al., No. 13-1681, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1856).
RICHMOND, Va. - The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 30 partially reinstated a bias suit filed by a former Maryland worker, finding that dismissal of the entire suit based on legislative immunity was an abuse of discretion (Marie M. McCray v. Maryland Department of Transportation, No. 13-1215, 4th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1860).
LOS ANGELES - On Jan. 30 and 31, as the first week concluded in the bench trial of the lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws and alleging that they cause grossly ineffective teachers to remain employed, the court heard additional testimony from a Harvard economist and testimony from a charter school principal and the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) director of labor strategy (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt an employer's counterclaim for unjust enrichment under Illinois state law against former employees who did not reimburse the employer for health insurance premium payments the employer made during the former employees' extended medical leave, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Jan. 30 (Daniel A. Madero v. Peters Engineering, Inc., et al., No. 12 C 50157, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11403).
SEATTLE - The State of Washington's discretionary clause ban applies to any final denial of benefits that occurs after the ban's effective date, even if the plan under which the denial was issued took effect before the ban's effective date, a federal judge in Washington ruled Jan. 29 in ruling that de novo review applied to a denial of disability benefits under a plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Korri Marie Treves, et al. v. Union Security Insurance Company, LLC, et al., No. 12-1337, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11905).
NEW YORK - A federal court has original jurisdiction over New York state law wage claims filed by a class of adult entertainers based on the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a New York federal judge ruled Jan. 28 (Sabrina Hart, et al. v. Rick's NY Cabaret International, Inc., et al., No. 09-3043, S.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10346).
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 29 conditionally certified a class of window installers suing for unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) but declined to certify an opt-out state wage class action (Fred Adami, et al. v. Cardo Windows, Inc., et al., No. 12-2804, D. N.J.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10805).
LOS ANGELES - Questioning of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent wrapped up on Jan. 29, the third day of the bench trial in the lawsuit filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws, and a Harvard economist began his testimony about his research on the long-term impact teachers have on students (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Jan. 27 declined to remand a health care reimbursement suit to state court, saying that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act preempted claims against one of the defendants (Enigma Management Corp. v. Multiplan Inc., et al., No. 13-5524, E.D. N.Y.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9738).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 28 upheld a summary judgment ruling for the defendants in a former fire captain's political discrimination and whistle-blower case, finding that the fire department and board presented legitimate, business-related reasons for their employment decisions and that the former captain failed to show that those reasons were pretextual (David Pierce v. Cotuit Fire District, et al., No. 13-1428, 1st Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1746).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 24 affirmed the dismissal of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class complaint filed against a railroad and a union following a change in representation and wage and benefits package (Teamsters Local Union No. 705, et al. v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC, et al., No. 11-3705, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1476).
SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge on Jan. 24 granted a preliminary injunction and class certification in a case challenging the denial of benefits for the treatment of autism (K.M., et al. v. Regence BlueShield, et al., No. 13-1214, W.D. Wash.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9156).
LOS ANGELES - The trial in the lawsuit filed by California students against the state challenging teacher employment laws started Jan. 27 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court with opening statements from counsel for the students, the state and the intervening teacher unions as well as testimony from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent who argued that the existing probationary period of 18 months is not sufficient to allow the identification of "grossly ineffective" teachers (Beatriz Vergara, et al. v. State of California, et al., No. BC484642, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 27 declined to accept the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Amerijet International Inc. challenging the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling upholding the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) jurisdiction to conduct a preliminary investigation of an unfair labor practice charge filed by the union representing the employer's cargo handlers (Amerijet International, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 13-663, U.S. Sup.; 2014 U.S. LEXIS 835).