ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 1 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. 15-14046, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16162).
CHICAGO - A notice of appeal filed by an employee in her age bias suit that occurred outside of the time limit granted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(a)(5)(C), but within the extension granted by an Illinois federal judge, is untimely, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 31 (Charmaine Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago & Fannie Mae, No. 15-3764, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16113).
BOSTON - The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 31 reversed a Maine federal judge's summary judgment ruling for a hotel accused by two former employees of firing them in violation of the Maine Whistleblowers' Protection Act (MWPA) and the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) in light of its ruling issued earlier this year that there was no "job duties exception" under the statutes (Brenda Pippin, et al. v. Boulevard Motel Corp., d/b/a Comfort Inn South Portland Hotel, Nos. 15-2011 and 15-2012, 1st Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16139).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 31 affirmed that a bonus agreement offered by an employer to a select number of employees does not qualify as an Employee Retirement Income Security Act employee welfare benefit plan because "the purchase of insurance alone is insufficient to demonstrate an ERISA plan" (Sarah Mozingo Martin, et al. v. Trend Personnel Services, et al., No. 15-11263, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16146).
DENVER - A 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 31 affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit over whether a mother and daughter were co-beneficiaries of a life insurance policy for failure to state a valid claim (Judy Woolf v. Shaela K. Wigginton, et al., No. 15-4142, 10th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16151).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California statute voiding discretionary clauses in disability and life insurance policies does not apply to a claim for medical expenses under a health insurance policy because New York law applies to the dispute and because health insurance is not a form of disability insurance, a California federal judge said Aug. 30 (David Bain et al., v. United Healthcare Inc., No. 15-3305, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116805).
MIAMI - After finding that a cruise line worker's employment contract envisioned performance abroad because he worked on international waters, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 affirmed a decision finding that an arbitration clause was enforceable under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Francis D'Cruz v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., et al., No. 15-11766, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15932).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 30 affirmed a ruling that the investment advisers for employee pension plans sponsored by Severstal Wheeling Inc. (SWI) and its predecessors are liable for the full amount of investment losses - $9.6 million - due to their failure to properly diversify and manage the plans (Severstal Wheeling, Inc. Retirement Committee, et al. v. WPN Corporation, et al., No. 15-2725, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15970).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 29 granted Chevron Corp.'s motion to dismiss an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against it alleging breach of fiduciary duty for failure to state a claim (Charles E. White, et al. v. Chevron Corp., et al., No. 16-cv-0793, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115875).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Aug. 26 denied a motion for certification of a class of bus drivers bringing wage-and-hour claims, finding that class counsel does not meet Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23's adequacy requirement (James Motty, et al. v. First Student, Inc., et al., No. 15-7463, C.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114948).
SAN FRANCISCO - A district court erred in entering judgment in favor of a disability plan and a disability insurer because it failed to consider how medications taken by the disability claimant would affect his ability to function in a workplace under the 'any occupation' test, the majority of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Aug. 26 (Daniel G. Demer v. IBM Corporation LTD Plan, et al., No. 13-17196, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15788).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 agreed to hold argument in abeyance pending settlement of union members' claims that their employer improperly withheld pay raises due to their union membership (KAG West, LLC v. National Labor Relations Board, Nos. 15-1189 and 15-1269, D.C. Cir.).
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal judge on Aug. 24 consolidated two Employee Retirement Income Security Act class actions against Bon Secours Health System Inc. and appointed interim lead class counsel (Arlene Hodges, et al. v. Bon Secours Health System Inc., et al., No. RDB-16-1079, Carolyn Miller, et al. v. Bon Secours Health System Inc., et al., No. RDB-16-1150, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113414).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 23 granted final approval of a $1.9 million settlement to be paid by a retailer to end wage-and-hour class claims brought by employees, finding that the evidence, potential length of the case and overwhelming support from class members weighed in favor of approval (Lannden Bower v. Cycle Gear, Inc., No. 14-2712, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112455).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 25 reversed the dismissal of Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims against the trustee of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) because, it said, the plaintiffs plausibly alleged both a prohibited transaction and a breach of fiduciary duty (Lisa Allen, et al. v. GreatBanc Trust Co., No. 15-3569, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15704).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 found that a cruise line worker's claims related to an alleged injury while working on a vessel must be arbitrated under his employment contract and affirmed a decision granting the employer's motion to compel (Robert M. Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 15-14775, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15502).
ST. LOUIS - Hourly manufacturing employees are not owed compensation for time spent donning and doffing work clothing because that time was excluded from measured working time in an implied-in-fact bona fide collective bargaining agreement between the employer and union representing the workers, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 23 (David J. Jackson, et al. v. Old EPT, LLC, also known as EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, No. 15-1078, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15416).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Aug. 23 granted five defendants' motion to dismiss claims against them in a second amended class action complaint against 12 banks and their affiliates under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the plaintiffs failed to adequately plead that the defendants were ERISA fiduciaries or "parties in interest" (Doris Sue Allen, et al. v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 1:15cv4285, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112407).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer may not condition employment on the requirement that an employee sign an agreement barring employees from coming together to file legal action over work-related claims, a divided Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 22, finding that the clause violates National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Section 7 (Stephen Morris, et al. v. Ernst & Young, LLP, et al., No. 13-16599, 9th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 22 affirmed a disability insurer's denial of a long-term disability (LTD) claim on the basis that the claimant's lawsuit was not filed within the plan's contractual limitations period (Jeff Schmitz v. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, No. 14-3701, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15319).
CINCINNATI - The majority of a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 19 determined that remanding a disability retirement claim to the plan administrator was not an abuse of discretion because the remand remained within the purview of an earlier mandate issued by the Sixth Circuit (Kyle D. Kennard v. Means Industries Inc., No. 15-1872, 6th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15308).
PHILADELPHIA - A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 19 vacated a decision denying a woman's claim for benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because of an "active-service" clause in her husband's employee benefit plan and remanded for a determination of the terms of the plan at the time her benefits, if any, vested (Lou Ann Woerner, et al. v. Fram Group Operations LLC, et al., No. 15-2813, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15248).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants working at private colleges and universities are covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the National Labor Relations Board ruled 3-1 on Aug. 23, reversing Brown University and International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW AFL-CIO (342 NLRB 483 ) (The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York and Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC, UAW, No. 02-RC-143012, NLRB).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on Aug. 19 certified a class of Nike Retail Services Inc. workers suing for wages for time spent waiting for and during inspections following their shifts (Isaac Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Services, Inc., No. 14-1508, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110961).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Labor Relations Board on Aug. 18 enforced, with some modifications, a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) finding that the social media code of Chipotle Services LLC (doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the fast food chain committed further violations by directing an employee to delete certain tweets, prohibiting the employee from circulating a petition challenging the chain's break policy and terminating the employee for his actions (Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Fast Food Workers Committee, Nos. 04-CA-147314 and 04-CA-149551, NLRB).