ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A Native American tribe cannot pursue claims that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by failing to charge the tribe Medicare-like rates for contracted services at a hospital because the tribe waited too long to sue, a Michigan federal judge held July 21 (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan v. Munson Medical Center, No. 5:14-cv-11349, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113759).
ST. LOUIS - In an opinion filed July 24, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that an Arkansas federal judge did not err in upholding an insurer's denial of a woman's claims for accidental death and spousal benefits, saying that because her husband was not on a business trip at the time of his fatal accident, the insurer's interpretation of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act-governed policy was consistent with the policy's goals of excluding accidents that occurred while the insured was working at his regular place of employment (Michele Donaldson v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 16-2229, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13258).
CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 18 affirmed a Michigan federal judge's ruling granting $314,000 in additional life insurance benefits in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach of fiduciary duty case alleging that a fiduciary made material representations regarding a woman's coverage level, saying that the defendant failed to rebut the plaintiff's claims (Donald Van Loo, et al. v. Cajun Operating Company, No. 16-1980, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13081).
NEW YORK - In what the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is calling the first criminal appeal related to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to reach a federal appellate court, the appeals court on July 19 overturned the convictions of two former employees of Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank), ruling that a district court erred in allowing compelled testimony because it is not allowed in U.S. criminal cases even when it was compelled by a foreign sovereign (United States of America v. Anthony Allen, et al., Nos. 16-898-cr and 16-939-cr, 2nd Cir.).
BAY CITY, Mich. - A health care plan administrator owes a Michigan Indian tribe more than $8.4 million for violating the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by charging hidden administrative fees for the tribe's employee benefit program but is not liable for any alleged damages related to the tribe's separate health care plan for all of its members, even though some are also employees, a federal judge held July 14 (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109366).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 13 affirmed the dismissal of retired Booz Allen Hamilton officers' Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims because the plan through which Booz Allen distributed its stock to employees was not an employee pension benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA but vacated the judgment to the extent that it denied the motion by one plaintiff for leave to amend to add securities fraud claims (Bruce Pasternack, et al. v. Ralph W. Shrader, et al., No. 16-217, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12513).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 14 affirmed in part and reversed in part a Washington federal judge's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action, saying that an issue regarding hourly contributions to a pension plan had not been fully litigated (Richard Lehman, et al., v. Warner Nelson, et al., Nos. 15-35414, 15-35457, 15-35696, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12619).
NEW ORLEANS - A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 17 ruled that it lacked appellate jurisdiction over a class member's untimely objection to a settlement resolving a merger dispute where class members receive only additional disclosures, confirmatory discovery and attorney fees (Lawrence G. Farber v. Crestwood Midstream Partners L.P., et al. v. David G. Duggan, Isaac Aron, et al. v. Crestwood Midstream Partners L.P., et al. v. David G. Duggan, No. 16-20742, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12765).
ST. LOUIS - The plaintiffs in a putative class action centered on a 2015 breach of the adult dating website AshleyMadison.com moved for preliminary approval July 14 of what they call a "hard fought" $11.2 million settlement with the site's operator (In re Ashley Madison Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 4:15-cv-02669, E.D. Mo.).
NEWARK, N.J. - A shareholder sued a pharmaceutical company and certain of its executive officers on July 12 in New Jersey federal court, alleging that the defendants concealed manufacturing issues with the drug company's inflammatory dry eye disease medication in violation of federal securities laws (Dylan Caraker v. Ocular Therapeutix Inc., et al., No. 17-5095, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK - An investor failed to plead demand futility in claiming that the board of directors of The Wendy's Co. breached its fiduciary duty by failing to require the company to join an industry alliance, which allegedly led to consumer protests and boycotts of the fast food chain, a federal judge in New York ruled July 11 in granting the board's motion to dismiss (Samuel B. Trickey v. Emil J. Brolick, et al., No. 16-7789, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC will pay $5.5 billion to settle claims that it misrepresented the investment quality of certain mortgage-backed securities it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in violation of state and federal securities laws, according to a press release issued July 12 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is serving as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Federal Housing Finance Agency v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, et al., No. 11-1383, D. Conn.).
NEW ORLEANS - The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 agreed to rehear en banc a case involving the proper standard of judicial review of a denial of benefits under a health plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas Inc., No. 16-20174, 5th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A semiconductor developer and certain of its executive officers will pay more than $7 million to settle claims that they violated federal securities laws by failing to disclose certain related party transactions in the company's financial statements, lead plaintiffs say in a motion for preliminary approval of settlement filed July 10 in California federal court (In re Montage Technology Group Limited Securities Litigation, No. 14-0722, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK - A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 7 partially overturned a federal judge's class certification order, ruling that the judge failed to properly consider the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, Ltd. in certifying two classes of investors in a securities class action lawsuit (In re Petrobras Securities Litigation, No. 16-1914, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12219).
LOS ANGELES - A shareholder on July 10 filed a securities class action complaint against a camera company, certain of its executive officers and underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO) in California federal court, alleging that the defendants concealed a slowdown in a key user engagement metric for its principal product, Snapchat, in violation of federal securities laws (Shinu Gupta v. Snap Inc., et al., No. 17-5054, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 7 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that a software firm insured's former first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer is entitled to recover the $5 million it paid to settle an underlying securities action plus prejudgment interest from the insured's latter first-layer excess directors and officers liability insurer (Genesis Insurance Co. v. Magma Design Automation Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 15-16999, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12194).