WASHINGTON, D.C. - A beneficiary's claim for wrongful denial of disability benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not accrue for limitations purposes until the plan's internal benefits resolution process has been exhausted, notwithstanding a plan provision providing that the limitations period commences before the plan has resolved the claim for benefits, a plan participant told the U.S. Supreme Court in oral arguments on Oct. 15 (Julie Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-729, U.S. Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A pro se plaintiff alleging breach of fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act may join 27 individual defendants, including partners of the plan's sponsor and directors and officers of the plan's insurer, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas ruled Oct. 10 (Kristopher Yarbary v. Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P., et al., No. 12-2773, D. Kan.; Ralph G. Mabone v. Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, L.L.P., et al., No. 12-2794, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146291).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 15 in a per curiam, one-sentence decision dismissed the appeal of a government worker's age discrimination case "as improvidently granted" (Lisa Madigan, et al. v. Harvey Levin, No. 12-872, U.S. Sup.; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 7251).
ATLANTA - A Georgia federal judge on Oct. 10 granted a pharmacy chain's motion for summary judgment as to a former employee's declaratory judgment claim but denied a motion to decertify a wage-and-hour claim (Philip Bradford, et al. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 12-1159, N.D. Ga.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146501).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Oct. 10 granted a lead plaintiff's request for equitable tolling of prospective plaintiffs' claims in a class complaint filed by a trainer accusing his employer of requiring workers to work "off the clock," failing to reimburse certain business expenses and failing to provide meal and rest breaks (Osabemi-Ye Adedapoidle-Tyehimba, et al. v. Crunch LLC, et al., No. 13-225, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147531).
DENVER - A domestic partner who is not legally married to a health plan participant lacks standing to assert a claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and, therefore, the health care provider who was assigned the domestic partner's rights also lacks standing, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 9 in an unpublished opinion (Denver Health and Hospital Authority v. Beverage Distributors Company, LLC, et al., No. 12-1355, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20537).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - An animal rights activist's allegations that circus employees' harassment necessitated longer recordings and forced her to purchase additional memory cards satisfies the California unfair competition law (UCL) injury standard, a federal judge held Oct. 4 (Shannon Campbell and Mark Ennis v. Feld Entertainment Inc., James Dennis, Matthew Gillett, Mike Stuart, David Bailey, DOES 1 through 20, Nos. 12-4233, 13-0233, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145495).
NEW ORLEANS - A school teacher who was terminated after she exhausted her medical leave and was unable to provide a date on which she would return to work failed to provide claims of discrimination or retaliation, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 8, upholding a trial court (Karen Darlene Mann Owens v. Calhoun County School District, No. 12-60897, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20498).
NEW ORLEANS - Federal claims by two lawyers formerly employed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were properly dismissed by a Texas federal court, but the state claims must be remanded for further consideration because the laws of the wrong state were applied, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 8 (Tracie Jackson, et al. v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, d/b/a/ NAACP, et al., No. 12-20399, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20493).
CINCINNATI - A split Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 7 upheld an award of $751,942.48 in fees and costs for a temp agency accused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of having a companywide policy of denying employment to people with felony records and that the policy had a disparate impact on blacks (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Peoplemark, Inc., No. 11-2582, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20408).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 3 upheld the rejection of bias and hostile work environment claims filed by a federal air marshal (FAM) who alleged that his diabetes diagnosis caused him to be the victim of discrimination (Derek William Thomas v. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, No. 13-10159, 5th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20297).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Oct.7 remanded a health care reimbursement suit to state court, finding that the defendant failed to show that federal preemption existed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Medwell v. CIGNA Healthcare of New Jersey Inc., No. 13-3998, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144577).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 invited the U.S. solicitor general to file a brief in an appeal it is being asked to accept in a case concerning pregnancy discrimination (Peggy Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., No. 12-1226, U.S. Sup.; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 5435).
ATLANTA - A police officer who was injured while off duty had no claim for failure to provide him with reasonable accommodation when he never requested a transfer, had no right to additional leave time when he failed to show that he would be able to perform his job duties within the near future and could not show retaliation or bias based on his termination when he could not perform his job, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 4, affirming a trial court's decision (Kevin G. Roddy, a.k.a. Kevin Grayson Roddy v. City of Villa Rica, Georgia, No. 12-15218, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20324).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 invited the solicitor general to file a brief expressing the views of the United States on whether to grant review of a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling regarding the appropriate standard of review and the enforcement of an equitable lien by agreement in a disability insurance case arising under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (Sharon Thurber v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 13-130, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Congress never intended, when it extended age bias administrative and judicial procedures and remedies to government employees, to permit state and municipal workers to "frustrate this regime or bypass it entirely using the more general remedies of $(42 U.S. Code$) Section 1983," Solicitor General Michael A. Scodro of Chicago argued Oct. 7 before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and four additional attorney general employees (Lisa Madigan, et al. v. Harvey Levin, No. 12-872, U.S. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A former Pennsylvania state purchasing agent failed to prove that he was the victim of racial discrimination when his probationary period was extended and he was ultimately terminated, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 2, upholding a trial court's rulings (Ed Collins v. Daniel Boyd, et al., No. 13-1739, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20111).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied petitions seeking review of two cases arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act that involved jurisdictional issues.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 denied a disability insurer's petition seeking review of a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the insurer's decision to offset benefits was subject to a de novo standard of review because it depended on the insurer's interpretation of non-plan documents (Sun Life and Health Insurance Company v. David Hannington, No. 13-92, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on October 7 denied two petitions seeking review of cases that determined whether claimants were entitled to benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act pursuant to a beneficiary designation or a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The "fraud or concealment" exception to the six-year statute of limitations set forth in Employee Retirement Income Security Act Section 413 did not apply to toll claims that pension and welfare plans' trustees breached their fiduciary duties by failing to monitor the plan managers, a federal judge in New York ruled Oct. 2 (Douglas A. Janese, et al. v. Santo S. Scrufari, et al., No. 09-cv-593, W.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142888).
ATLANTA - An Alabama federal judge did not err in awarding a plaintiff in an overtime lawsuit more than $61,000 in attorney fees after the employee and employer reached a $3,600 settlement, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Oct. 1 (Phyllis Wolff v. Royal American Management, Inc., No. 12-15981, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20030).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 30 in an unpublished opinion that although a health plan participant was not entitled to benefits based on the insurer's delay in processing her claim, the participant might be entitled to attorney fees under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act if the filing of the instant lawsuit caused the insurer to pay the claim (Selina Bryant v. Cigna Healthcare of California, Inc., et al., No. 11-57249, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19966).
DENVER - A split 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 1 reversed a trial court's decision finding that a clothing retailer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it refused to hire a female due to her head scarf (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., et al., No. 11-5110, 10th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 20028).
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Oct. 1 conditionally certified a class of workers seeking unpaid overtime from their employer, a prepaid mobile phone retailer (Brittany Will, et al. v. Sohail "Nick" Panjwani, d/b/a Unlimited Mobile, et al., No. 13-1055, S.D. Ind.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141454).