CLEVELAND - A trial judge erred in allowing expert testimony that "every exposure" to asbestos contributed to a man's mesothelioma, resulting in an $815,723 verdict, an asbestos-brake manufacturer told an Ohio appeals court May 1 (Barbara Watkins, et al. v. Affinia Group, et al., No. CA-15-102538, Ohio App., 8th Dist.).
NEW YORK - A trial court on remand must consider a doctor's bias and retaliation claims brought under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) as the federal court wrongly found that it lacked jurisdiction over the claims and that the claims must be analyzed separately from any federal and state law claims, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 6 (Jotica Talwar v. Staten Island University Hospital, et al., No. 14-1520, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7455).
PHILADELPHIA - An employee who alleges that his discrimination complaint was mishandled may sue his employer, not the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 5 (Duane Miller v. EEOC, Pittsburgh Area Office, No. 14-2787, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7437).
BOSTON - A disability insurer is required to produce documents related to the policy's 24-month limitation provision in addition to information regarding the compensation paid to medical experts, a Massachusetts federal judge said May 1 (Elizabeth Wilson v. Pharmerica Corp. Long Term Disability Plan, et al., No. 14-12345, D. Mass.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57487).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal on May 1 determined that the termination of a claimant's long-term disability (LTD) benefits was not "de novo" wrong because the claimant no longer met the policy's definition of "disabled" and the claimant failed to provide the required medical evidence in support of her claim (Sandra E. Nolley v. The Bellsouth Long Term Disability Plan for Non-Salaried Employees, et al., No. 14-13470, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7218).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 5 found that it lacked the jurisdiction to review whether a border guard found by an arbitrator to have been wrongly denied an overtime opportunity was owed monetary compensation under the Back Pay Act (United States Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Scobey, Montana v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, No. 14-1052, D.C. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7393).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a class of current and former cable installers seeking unpaid wages and overtime (David Trentman, et al. v. RWL Communications, Inc., et al., No. 15-89, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58153).
ATLANTA - A longshoreman failed to prove his Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 retaliation claims, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 4, upholding a trial court's decision (Robert Williams v. Georgia Stevedore Association, Inc., et al., No. 14-11790, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7334).
NEW YORK - A general contractor must face claims that its workers created a dangerous condition by sweeping up asbestos debris after a New York justice rejected challenges to state labor law claims in an opinion posted May 1 (John F. Storey and Candace Storey v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190283/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 29 partially vacated a ruling in favor of a union and against the employer and remanded the portion of the ruling regarding benefit discrimination for reconsideration (800 River Road Operating CO LLC, DBA Woodcrest Health Care Center v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 14-1571, National Labor Relations Board v. 800 River Road Operating CO LLC, D/B/A Woodcrest Health Care Center, No. 14-2036, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 7205).
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A majority of the Missouri Supreme Court found April 28 that the injuries that resulted in an insured's employee's death were the result of an unsafe workplace and could only have been brought against an employer, affirming a lower court's ruling that coverage for a $7 million wrongful death lawsuit is barred (Katina Piatt, et al. v. Indiana Lumbermen's Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. SC94364, Mo. Sup.; 2015 Mo. LEXIS 32).
SEATTLE - A disability insurer erred in denying a claim for short-term disability (STD) benefits because the claimant adequately proved that she could not perform the functions of her job, a Washington federal judge said April 27 (Dana Mirick v. The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., No. 14-1801, W.D. Wash.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55676).
TAMPA, Fla. - Federal pleading standards and not Florida's more strict ones apply to an asbestos action, and plaintiffs largely adequately plead negligence, strict liability and fraudulent concealment claims against safety mask and airplane parts defendants, a federal Florida judge ruled April 27 (Darryl S. Dugas and Marsha Dugas v. 3M Co., et al., No. 14-39, M.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Courts have a limited authority to review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has met its duty under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to attempt conciliation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 29 in a unanimous opinion that vacated a decision by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 13-1019, U.S. Sup.).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on April 23 granted final approval to an offer by Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and other related entities to pay $4.97 million to settle a wage-and-hour class complaint (Donovan Long, et al. v. Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., et al., No. 14-1246, S.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53595).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on April 23 declined to strike class allegations brought by applicants and employees of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) who allege that the authority's background check policy that disqualifies from employment individuals with a criminal history disproportionately excludes black applicants and employees (Erick Little, et al. v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, et al., No. 14-1289, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53367).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 27 granted two Catholic groups' petition for certiorari and vacated a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate did not substantially burden religious beliefs. The court remanded the case for further consideration in light of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (573 U.S. __ ) (Michigan Catholic Conference, et al. v. Burwell, Sec. of H&HS, et al., No 14-701, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 27 agreed to hear the appeal of a constructive discharge suit brought by a former U.S. Postal Service employee and decide if the clock begins ticking when an employee resigns or at the time of an employer's last allegedly discriminatory act (Marvin Green v. Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service, No. 14-613, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 22 determined that a district court correctly applied an abuse of discretion standard of review in a disability benefits suit and correctly determined that the claimant is owed benefits under the policy (R. Jeffrey Evans v. Sun Life & Health Insurance Co., No. 13-55601; 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6688).
SAN FRANCISCO - A District Court erred in applying an abuse-of-discretion standard of review to a benefits denial suit because the summary plan description (SPD) does not constitute the plan document as the insurer argued, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said April 21 in vacating and remanding the lower court's decision (Matthew Prichard v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. et al., No. 12-17355, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6553).
RICHMOND, Va. - A multiemployer pension fund properly filed a complaint in federal district court to seek review of an arbitration order related to the fund's assessment of withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (MPPAA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 21 (Freight Drivers and Helpers Local Union No. 557 Pension Fund v. Penske Logistics LLC, et al., No. 14-1464, 4th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6557).
CINCINNATI - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act bars an employer in an action brought by multiemployer benefit funds to collect delinquent payments under a union contract from asserting the equitable defenses of laches and estoppel, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 20 (Operating Engineers Local 324 Health Care Plan, et al. v. G & W Construction Company, et al., No. 12-1786, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6420).
SAN ANTONIO - A Texas federal judge on April 16 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a collective action and authorization for notice in a wage lawsuit brought by Time Warner Cable inbound sales agents (Abbie Garcia, et al. v. TWC Administration, LLC, d/b/a Time Warner Cable, No. 14-985, W.D. Texas; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50384).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A decision by the Alaska Police Standards Council to revoke an officer's police certificate is entitled to deference, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled April 17 (Alaska Police Standards Council v. Lance Parcell, No. S-15364, Alaska Sup.; 2015 Alas. LEXIS 40).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on April 20 declined to review a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a multiemployer welfare fund was not entitled to reimbursement from another insurer for benefits paid on behalf of a plan beneficiary who was covered by both insurers because the claims were not "appropriate equitable relief" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Health and Welfare Fund, et al. v. Gerber Life Insurance Company, et al., No. 14-987, U.S. Sup.).