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).
RICHMOND, Va. - In a case in which an employee alleged that his employer improperly administered life insurance benefits, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 27 affirmed a federal judge's decision dismissing the complaint alleging misrepresentation, constructive fraud and infliction of emotional distress because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act completely preempts these state law claims (Billy E. Prince, et al. v. Sears Holdings Corp., No. 16-1075, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1512).
MIAMI - Concluding that a former employee was properly terminated for cause, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 25 ruled that he violated both the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) by accessing the emails of other employees without authorization (Brown Jordan International Inc., et al. v. Christopher Carmicle, No. 16-11350, 11th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1310).
DALLAS - In a disability discrimination suit, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 24 excluded an expert's opinion that "audism and phonocentric views may have prevented accommodations" from being made to two women (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. S&B Industry Inc. d/b/a Fox Conn S&B, No. 15-0641, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9259).
SEATTLE - The Railway Labor Act (RLA) preempts a flight attendant's claim that she was unlawfully denied the right to use already allotted vacation leave earlier than planned to care for a sick family member in violation of the Washington Family Care Act (WFCA), a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 25, finding that the dispute is a "minor" one under the RLA and a grievance must be filed pursuant to the controlling collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (Alaska Airlines Inc. v. Judy Schurke, et al., No. 13-35574, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1318).
PASADENA, Calif. - A California federal court did not err in decertifying a class of Costco Wholesale Corp. workers alleging various wage violations after finding that individualized issues predominate over common ones, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 20 (Eric Stiller, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, Nos. 15-55361 and 15-55691, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1062).
TOLEDO, Ohio - A trial court judge did not err when allowing a jury to hear evidence about an administrative hearing that concluded that a man should be terminated from his job for representing that he was married to obtain insurance benefits for his ex-wife because presentation of the information did not result in "a manifest miscarriage of justice," an Ohio appeals court panel ruled Jan. 20 in affirming the man's sentence and conviction (State of Ohio v. Marvin Arnold, No L-15-1126, Ohio App., 6th Dist.; 2017 Ohio App. LEIS 227).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer that includes a disclosure required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the same document as a liability waiver willfully violates the FCRA, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 20 in a case that it noted presented a question of first impression (Sarmad Syed, et al. v. M-I, LLC, et al., No. 14-17186, 9th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1029).
ATLANTA - All Ph.D. students at Duke University who are employed by the university to provide instructional services or research services, except for those students at Duke Kushan University and Duke-NUS Medical School, are employees within the meaning of Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and may vote on union representation, a National Labor Relations Board regional director ruled Jan. 18 (Duke University and Service Employees International Union CLC/CTW, No. 10-RC-187957, NLRB, Region 10).
DALLAS - A Texas federal judge on Jan. 13 dismissed claims alleging gender identity discrimination under Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) against an insurer and an employer because the plaintiff failed to cite any controlling precedent that recognizes a cause of action under Section 1557 for gender identity discrimination (Charlize Marie Baker v. Aetna Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 15-3679, N.D. Texas; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5665).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 let stand a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that reversed the grant of summary judgment to four carpenter union fringe benefit funds that alleged that a general contractor failed to pay fringe benefits for work performed by nonunion labor as required by a collective bargaining agreement in violation of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, et al. v. Schal Bovis, Inc., No. 16-690, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 17 denied review of a ruling by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that enforced a forum-selection clause in a disability plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Lorna Clause v. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, et al., No. 16-641, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS - The state of Nevada and 20 other states filed a brief on Jan. 17 asking the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wage rule that was to increase the minimum salary level for executive, administrative and professional (EAP) employees who are exempt from receiving overtime pay from $23,660 per year to $47,892 per year (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 16-41606, 5th Cir.).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Jan. 12 denied a plaintiff's motion to remand after determining that her state law claims arising out of the disclosure of medical records without consent are preempted by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (Jane Doe v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 16-8390, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4866).
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California woman on Jan. 13 filed a class action complaint in federal court alleging that she and other women have been wrongfully denied access to and coverage for a vital women's preventive service - breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling - for which coverage is mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Rachel Condry, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00183, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 agreed to hear an appeal in which it has been asked to decide whether an appeal of a decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued in a "mixed" case - one involving a claim under the federal anti-discrimination laws - should be reviewed in a district court or in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Anthony W. Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 16-399, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 agreed to hear the appeal of two consolidated personal injury cases in which the employer, BNSF Railway Co., has asked the high court to decide whether a state court may decline to follow the decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman (134 S. Ct. 746 ) in a lawsuit against an American defendant under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) (BNSF Railway Company v. Kelli Tyrrell, as Special Administrator for the Estate of Brent T. Tyrrell, et al., No. 16-405, U.S. Sup.).