WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a union representing newspaper deliverers that asked the high court to reverse a ruling that it committed unfair labor practices by entering into collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with employers that unlawfully encouraged union membership (Newspaper and Mail Deliverers' Union of New York and Vicinity v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 16-279, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 1241).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed the dismissal of claims against a third-party administrator of an employee pension benefit plan because it was not a fiduciary of the plan and a self-dealing claim was time-barred (Carolinas Electrical Workers Retirement Plan, et al. v. Zenith American Solutions Inc., et al., No. 16-731, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in a case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said a district court did not err in determining that a disability plan did not wrongfully terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits (Elizabeth Jenkins v. Grant Thornton LLP, et al., No. 16-682, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 denied a petition for writ of certiorari in a stock-drop case arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Alex E. Rinehart, et al. v. John F. Akers, et al., No. 16-562, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The church plan exemption in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act unambiguously requires that a church plan be established by a church, the appellee-respondents in three cases consolidated before the U.S. Supreme Court say in their initial brief filed Feb. 16 (Advocate Health Care Network, et al. v. Maria Stapleton, et al., No. 16-74, Saint Peter's Healthcare System, et al. v. Laurence Kaplan, No. 16-86, Dignity Health, et al. v. Starla Rollins, No. 16-258, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 515).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A unitary abuse of discretion standard is the appropriate one to use when reviewing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's subpoena enforcement decisions, an attorney representing an employer argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 21 (McLane Company, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 15-1248, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - A former nurse supervisor's claims for pain and suffering and punitive damages under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) are barred by Dean v. Am. Sec. Ins. Co., a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 15 (Susan L. Vaughan v. Anderson Regional Medical Center, No. 16-60104, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2699).
FRESNO, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 15 issued his findings of fact and conclusions of law on causes of action asserted by truck drivers in relation to wage and rest break claims, finding that judgment should be entered in favor of a transport company on all of its claims (Todd Shook, et al. v. Indian River Transport Co., No. 1:14-1415, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21522).
PORTLAND, Ore. - Although an Oregon federal judge on Feb. 9 found that some fraud and contract-based claims related to a 2014 data breach experienced by Premera Blue Cross merited dismissal, he held that the plaintiffs cured some previous deficiencies and concluded that their claims are not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (In Re: Premera Blue Cross Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 3:15-md-02633, D. Ore., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18322).
GREENSBORO, N.C. - A substance abuse provider's claims that an insurer failed to pay for medically necessary treatments are preempted by ERISA or fail to state a claim, a federal judge in North Carolina held Feb. 9 (Bobby P. Kearney, M.D., PLLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, et al., No. 16-191, M.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18428).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 10 issued a summary order vacating a New York federal judge's ruling that a pension plan participant does not have standing to sue on behalf of himself, his pension plan and other similarly situated Employee Retirement Income Security Act plans over alleged improper fiduciary conduct (Landol Fletcher v. Convergex Group LLC, et al., No. 16-734, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2459).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Feb. 9 granted a joint motion seeking to enjoin numerous pending wage proceedings against nightclub owners in 12 different federal and state courts based on a $6.5 million settlement that was granted preliminary approval two days earlier (Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Deja Vu Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-10877, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18369).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Feb. 8 denied motions for summary judgment in consolidated cases filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC) and other groups opposed to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new "fiduciary rule" set to take effect April 10, saying that the DOL has not exceeded its authority and that the new rule does not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, et al. v. Edward Hugler, Acting Secretary of Labor, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1476, consolidated with 3:16-cv-1530, 3:16-cv-1537, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17619).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A Riverside County, Calif., Superior Court jury on Feb. 7 issued a verdict in favor of the former University of California Riverside's chief campus counsel, who alleged that she was retaliated against after refusing to cover up the school's discriminatory culture and awarded her $2.5 million for past and future lost earnings and past noneconomic damages (Michele Coyle v. Regents of the University of California, et al., No. RIC1503362, Calif Super., Riverside Co.).
LOS ANGELES - A California appeals court on Feb. 7 affirmed a district court's decision to deny a hospital's motion to compel arbitration of numerous class action claims asserted against it by a former nurse, finding that the nurse did not waive her right to assert her claims in a judicial forum under her collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (Tanya Vasserman v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, No. B267975, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 4, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 90).
NEW YORK - A New York federal magistrate judge on Feb. 6 found that an in camera review of an insurer's documents requested through discovery by a disability claimant is necessary to determine if the documents are protected under the work product doctrine or if the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege applies (Cherylle McFarlane v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., No. 16-7806, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16433).
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A federal judge in Kentucky on Feb. 6 signed a final order canceling a trial scheduled for March following an $81,308.71 settlement between a group of Mexican migrant workers who claimed that the owners of farms they worked at underpaid them and violated federal labor laws (Cecillo Gutierrez-Morales, et al. v. Earl Lee Planck Jr., et al., No. 5:15-cv-158, E.D. Ky.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Feb. 3 granted an employee's motion to remand her class action claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and various labor codes, finding that her employer failed to show that the amount in controversy would exceed $5 million under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) (Jasmine Miller v. A-1 Express Delivery Services Inc., No. 16-cv-06251, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15795).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A former insurance company long-term disability (LTD) claim specialist filed a nationwide class complaint Feb. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut seeking more than $50 million from her former employer and two of its subsidiaries for unpaid overtime (Stephanie McKinney v. MetLife, Inc., et al., No. 17-173, D. Conn.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A federal magistrate judge in Kentucky on Feb. 3 found that the owners of a tobacco farm who were sued for allegedly violating federal work visa laws will not face an undue hardship by having to depose a group of migrant workers in Mexico, denying the owners' motion for a protective order that would prohibit the depositions from taking place in Mexico (Martin Rico Murillo, et al. v. Tracy Dillard, et al., No. 1:15-CV-00069, W.D. Ky., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15391).
NEW YORK - A trial court erred when it permitted the admission of an employer's settlement offer and disqualified counsel on both sides in a disability bias suit brought by a pregnant employee, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 2 (Jia Sheng v. M&TBank Corporation, et al., No. 14-4467, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1912).
SAN FRANCISCO - A former cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers, identified only as Jane Doe, filed a lawsuit Jan. 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California accusing NFL Enterprises LLC and individual teams of conspiring to suppress the wages of cheerleaders while the salaries for the football players have "skyrocketed" (Jane Doe, et al. v. NFL Enterprises LLC, et al., No. 17-496, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Puerto Rico federal judge on Jan. 27 adopted a magistrate judge's report and recommendation and denied pension plans' motion to dismiss an amended class action complaint alleging breaches of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying the factual record must be developed before a summary judgment motion could be considered (Ivette M. Martinez-Gonzalez, et al. v. Catholic Schools of the Archioceses of San Juan Pension Plan, et al., No. 16-2077, D. Puerto Rico, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11903).
PHILADELPHIA - A Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation claim can be defeated where an employer shows that it honestly believed that an employee misused FMLA leave, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 30 (Fredrick Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 15-3839, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1593).
ST. LOUIS - A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 26 refused to dismiss a putative class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, saying that a participant in an employer profit-sharing and 401(k) plan's complaint provided sufficient facts to plausibly state these claims (Charlene F. McDonald, et al. v. Edward D. Jones & Co., et al., No. 4:16 CV 1346, E.D. Mo., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10820).