CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 24 partially reinstated race bias claims brought by a former Chicago public school system employee who alleges that she was let go during a reorganization while another, less qualified white employee in the same position was retained (Joyce Hutchens v. Chicago Board of Education, et al., No. 13-3648, 7th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4769).
PHILADELPHIA - A former shipping company employee's claims of race and gender discrimination fail because she failed to show that she and her male comparator performed substantially similar work, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 20, affirming the trial court's judgment (Cathalene Johnson v. Federal Express Corporation, No. 14-2886, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4558).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A pregnant worker who seeks to demonstrate disparate treatment via indirect evidence may do so under the framework established in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green (411 U.S. 792, 802 ), a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 25 (Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 12-1226, U.S. Sup.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 20 refused to dismiss a former employee's claims for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), finding that she provided sufficient evidence to show that her husband suffered a serious health issue allegedly caused by mold and that she was entitled to FMLA leave (Sarah R. Novo v. City of Sacramento, et al., No. 2:13-cv-00521, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35309).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal magistrate judge on March 20 granted final approval of a $1 million settlement to be paid by Tractor Supply Co. to resolve a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a former store clerk; however, the magistrate reduced the lead plaintiff's requested incentive award by $5,000 (Patrick Bellinghausen v. Tractor Supply Company, No. 13-2377, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35266).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - An Indian tribe waived its objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s large employer mandate by not raising them during the rulemaking process, and its action runs afoul of the Anti-Injunction Act's (AIA) bar on tax challenges taxes, the government told a federal judge on March 19 (Northern Arapaho Tribe, et al. v. Sylvia Burwell, et al., No. 14-247, D. Wyo.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30480).
ATLANTA - A trial court wrongly dismissed age and gender discrimination claims filed by a former employee of a marketing firm, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 18 (Brigitte Castillo v. Allegro Resort Marketing, et al., No. 14-11961, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4302).
CINCINNATI - A defendant's discovery costs related to depositions and hard drive imaging were reasonable and necessary given the facts of the case and the litigation circumstances, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 17, affirming a lower court's award of costs in favor of the defendant, which prevailed in a wrongful termination lawsuit (Brenda C. Colosi v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., No. 14-3710, 6th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4184).
SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 17 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss after determining that because an association's disability plan is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a disability claimant's state law claims are preempted (Martin J. Hayes v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., et al, No. 14-0714, M.D. Pa.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32543).
NEW YORK - Claims by a former union member and his wife that they were defamed in a union newsletter that was printed and also published on a website hosted by GoDaddy.com LLC all fail because the claims against the union are time-barred and the website host is entitled to immunity, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 18 (Peter Ricci, et al. v. Teamsters Union Local 456, et al., No. 14-1732, 2nd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4303).
MINNEAPOLIS - A transgendered individual may proceed with a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557 discrimination case because the law creates a singular standard regardless of protected class status, a federal judge in Minnesota held March 16 (Jakob Tiarnan Rumble v. Fairview Health Services d/b/a/ Fairview Southdale Hospital and Emergency Physicians P.A., No. 14-2037, D. Minn.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31591).
NEW YORK - A widow presents no evidence that a premises owner itself required asbestos-containing products, or that it controlled the work in a way sufficient for liability under New York employment law, a state judge held in denying leave to renew or reargue on March 17 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190415/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 734).
LOS ANGELES - Two female managers employed by Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp. (BSNC) filed a class complaint in California federal court on March 13, accusing the medical device manufacturer of discriminating against its female employees through assignments, disparate pay and promotion and differential treatment (Denise Fretter, et al. v. Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corporation, No. 15-1988, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on March 16 dismissed claims by union members against trustees of three union-side and management-side trusts for improper double-breasting except those based on collective bargaining agreement (CBA) circumvention and improper write-offs as pleaded against the management-side trustee defendants (David Slack, et al. v. International Union of Operating Engineers, et al., No. 13-5001, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32151).
CHICAGO - Pension funds' claims that Bank of New York Mellon breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by investing in notes issued by Lehman Brothers Holding Co. through its securities lending program are not precluded by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (134 S.Ct. 2459 ), a federal judge in Illinois ruled March 16 (The International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local No. 710 Pension Fund, et al. v. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, et al., No. 13 C 1844, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31682).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 17 determined that a claimant's suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and willful miscalculation of long-term benefits is time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations (William Goodes, et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., No. 13-16027, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 4248).
CHICAGO - In granting a disability claimant's motion for entry of judgment, an Illinois federal magistrate judge on March 13 determined that the claimant's predisability earnings should be based on the claimant's regular earnings and not based on a tax year in which the claimant's salary was vastly different from other years (Carole Cheney v. Standard Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-4269, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30918).
MILWAUKEE - A judge properly excluded layperson co-worker testimony regarding asbestos content, evidence of a defendant's duty and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into a workplace, a Wisconsin court held March 17 while reversing some aspects of the order (June Calewarts, et al. v. CR Meyer and Sons Co., et al., No. 2014AP531, Wis. App.; Dist. 3; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 208).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 13 certified a class of door-to-door salespersons who allege that they were improperly classified as independent contractors (Levonna Wilkins, et al. v. Just Energy Group, Inc., et al., No. 13-5806, N.D. Ill.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31902).
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on March 17 affirmed a $1.4 million asbestos verdict against a railroad for exposure arising from a property it leased, rejecting challenges to the verdict form, jury instructions and admission of evidence regarding the lease (In re: Estate of Lilienthal, No. 4-14-0280, Ill. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 514).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A judge improperly denied class certification to a group of plaintiffs seeking medical monitoring after allegedly suffering asbestos exposure during employment in a Missouri courthouse, a state appeals court panel held March 17 (David M. Elsea and Jeanne Morgan, et al. v. U.S. Engineering Co., and Jackson Co., Mo., No. WD77687, Mo. App.).
LOS ANGELES - A school bus driver bringing various wage claims against her former employer failed to establish that questions of law common to her proposed class predominate over individualized matters, a California federal judge ruled March 12, denying the plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Imelda Vasquez, et al. v. First Student, Inc., et al., No. 14-6760, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30631).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A participant in a nongovernmental health need not exhaust tribal remedies prior to bringing a claim for recovery of health benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, a federal judge in Kansas ruled March 13 (Amy Coppe v. The Sac & Fox Casino Healthcare Plan, et al., No. 14-2598, D. Kan.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30992).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on March 12 declined to certify a class of workers under the New York Labor Law (NYLL) suing their former employer for various wage violations, finding that the plaintiffs failed to prove predominance and commonality (Christopher D. Griffith, et al. v. Fordham Financial Management, Inc., et al., No. 12-1117, S.D. N.Y.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30869).
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A majority of the Ohio Supreme Court on March 12 found that a commercial general liability insurance policy exclusion bars coverage for a carpenter's employer intentional torts claims against his employers arising from his 14-foot fall from a ladder-jack scaffold (Hoyle; The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. DTJ Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 2013-1405, Ohio Sup.; 2015 Ohio LEXIS 595).