CINCINNATI — A trial court that entered, following an arbitrator’s award, summary judgment on Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims and awarded attorney fees to retirees and a labor union representing them in a dispute over termination of their health care benefits lacked the authority to do so, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 11, reversing the District Court’s judgment.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Following the denial of motions for class certification and for leave to amend an action alleging that the owners of a chain of assisted living facilities failed to sufficiently staff the facilities, a California federal judge on Feb. 10 granted the defendants judgment on the pleadings on the plaintiffs’ claim for equitable restitution under the California unfair competition law (UCL) but denied it as to their claims for injunctive relief under the UCL and the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).
PITTSBURGH — A trial court properly concluded that an arbitration agreement a decedent signed was unconscionable, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled March 5 in a nonprecedential decision affirming an order declining to compel arbitration in a nursing home negligence and wrongful death suit.
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in New Jersey properly found that the operators of two rehabilitation facilities where at least 50 patients have died from COVID-19 were not acting at the direction of a federal agency or operator, and the operators’ arguments to the contrary are “overreaching,” the plaintiffs in two putative negligence and wrongful death actions tell the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 10 appellee brief urging affirmance of the lower court’s order remanding their cases to state court.
NEW YORK — A divided New York appellate panel on March 9 ruled that a state Supreme Court erred when it annulled a decision by the Administrative Board of the New York State Unified Court System to terminate the services of dozens of justices over the age of 70 due to budgetary constraints from the coronavirus, despite claims by the justices that the decisions constitute age discrimination and violation of the state constitution.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A trial court correctly determined that a fraudulent and forged power of attorney did not constitute extrinsic fraud in a confessed judgment action brought by a divorced couple’s daughter on behalf of her mother, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals concluded Feb. 26. Therefore, the lower court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to vacate its judgment against the ex-husband in a dispute over a $75,000 promissory note he executed during the divorce proceedings.
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 8 held that a retired dual status technician’s pension does not fall within the uniformed service exception to the Social Security Act’s windfall elimination provision (WEP), reversing a lower court’s ruling in favor of the retiree.
ATLANTA — A former law school professor who sued for age discrimination after she was not reappointed failed to show that the school’s proffered reason of poor performance and complaints by students was pretextual, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in a Feb. 25 per curiam opinion.
BOSTON — A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 3 largely reversed a trial court’s judgment for an employee in an age bias and retaliation lawsuit following a more than $1 million jury verdict for the worker and remanded for a new trial only on damages stemming from a letter by the employer threatening to fire her if she didn’t return from leave, rejecting the employer’s claim that that was not an adverse employment action.
ATLANTA — The son of a deceased long-term care facility resident on March 1 sued the facility, its owners and operators and a physician and his employer in a Georgia court for negligence, wrongful death and violations of state law, alleging that failures including not restarting anticoagulant medication therapy “proximately caused or proximately contributed” to the pulmonary embolism that resulted in the woman’s death.
TOPEKA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Feb. 26 granted a plaintiff’s motion to remand a nursing home COVID-19 wrongful death case to state court, finding that there is no federal jurisdiction because the claims do not fall under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act as the defendants had claimed.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals court on Feb. 18 affirmed a $1.5 million judgment in a woman’s action against her brother alleging financial elder abuse of their father before he died and the dismissal of the brother’s libel suit against his sister for writing an email stating that he had committed elder abuse.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court on Feb. 26 reversed and remanded a probate court’s grant of summary judgment in a will contest, finding that the hospitalized testator’s erroneous statement in the will that he had no children and the possibility that medication might have influenced his mental state created a genuine issue of material fact regarding his testamentary capacity.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A New York federal magistrate judge on Feb. 22 recommended denying a retired widow’s petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the Social Security Administration (SSA) to produce a benefits increase that has been delayed by errors on grounds that the court lacks mandamus jurisdiction because no violation of nondiscretionary duty was identified.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Section 34-15-12 of the Rhode Island General Laws “abrogates the common law right of survivorship in a joint tenancy when an action for partition is pending,” the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled Feb. 25, addressing what it termed an issue of first impression and vacating a lower court ruling dismissing a deceased woman’s petition to partition a jointly owned property.
NEW YORK — Medicare beneficiaries placed on observation status after being admitted to the hospital as inpatients urge the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a March 3 brief to affirm a lower court’s ruling ordering the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a procedure that will permit them to challenge the decisions to change their status, rejecting the secretary’s arguments that they lack standing and that the lower court erred in concluding that their due process rights were violated and improperly allowed the case to proceed as a class action.
TRENTON, N.J. — A trial court did not abuse its discretion in barring a defense expert’s report due to the untimely service of his report and allowing a plaintiff’s expert to testify on a state law concerning a long-term care resident’s rights, a New Jersey appellate court held Feb. 17, affirming a $349,000 award to the resident in her suit over the delay in treating her rising blood sugar level.
TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona appellate court on Feb. 11 affirmed a trial court’s denial of motions for DNA testing and its grant of summary judgment in a probate suit, ruling that the appellant failed to establish that the motions complied with proper procedures and that the lack of DNA testing after a 60-day deadline left her efforts “insufficient to create a material issue of fact” related to the appellee’s paternity.
OXFORD, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on Feb. 22 granted the Health and Human Services secretary’s motion to dismiss a Medicare denial of coverage suit, finding that because the plaintiff seeking judicial review didn’t have to pay noncovered charges and suffered no injury, he did not meet the standing requirement of Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which limits federal court jurisdiction to live “cases” or “controversies.”
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal magistrate judge in California on Feb. 22 recommended approving a motion for default judgment, damages and attorney fees against a defendant accused of defrauding an elderly man and his wife and violating California law, including the unfair competition law (UCL), who has not answered or appeared in the suit, saying that absent such judgment, “plaintiff would be without another recourse.”