WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 8 held telephonic oral arguments on arbitrability disputes in a case between two distributors of dental equipment, first hearing from the attorney representing petitioner Henry Schein Inc. who argued that the arbitration agreements in question delegated arbitrability to an arbitrator but that the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals negated the delegation by deciding the question itself (Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., No. 19-963, U.S. Sup.).
GRETNA, La. — A trial court did not err in finding that a widow failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that her husband’s adult children exercised undue influence over him and that a will executed in his final days was valid, a Louisiana appellate panel ruled Dec. 2, affirming the dismissal of the woman’s petition to nullify the will (Succession of Victor Edward Robinson Bradley, Jr., No. 20-168, La. App., 5th Cir., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 1750).
BOSTON — Two initial rulings by a trial court in favor of an employee suing for age discrimination did not impact the court’s ability to later rule for the employer, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 4 (Wanda E. Daumont-Colón v. Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito de Caguas, et al., No. 19-1709, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 37873).
DENVER — A bank vice president who was laid off during a reduction-in-force (RIF) following a merger failed to show that her age, race, gender or past statements about certain loans resulted in her selection, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 2, affirming a trial court’s summary judgment ruling (Keiko Kawahara v. Guaranty Bank and Trust, No. 19-1341, 10th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 37651).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Nov. 30 granted in part a motion to dismiss filed by a service that helps elderly individuals apply for Medicaid benefits, finding that a choice-of-law provision in the company’s fee agreement allows a woman and the estate of her father to bring claims only on behalf of a proposed class of New Jersey residents and that the plaintiffs’ second amended complaint failed to sufficiently allege violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA) (Estate of Lester Cotton, et al. v. Senior Planning Services LLC, et al., No. 19-8921, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 223567).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge on Nov. 23 recommended the dismissal of claims against a company that purchased assets belonging to a nursing home accused of discharging a resident and sending him home in a three-hour Uber ride, during which he suffered a stroke and heart attack (Hamill v. Twin Cedars Senior Living Ctr., No. 3:20- 231, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220355).
NEW ORLEANS — In a Nov. 25 directive, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Texas officials, who are accused of failing to protect inmates housed in a Texas prison primarily for the elderly and those with health issues from COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, to prepare for Dec. 3 oral arguments the numbers of staff and offenders who have tested positive for COVID-19, who have been hospitalized and who have died (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20-20525, 5th Cir.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The secretary of Health and Human Services on Nov. 24 defended his decision to exclude a Florida nursing home where eight residents died in the days following Hurricane Irma from all federal payer programs until the home is reinstated in Florida’s Medicaid Program, noting that the law allows such a decision, the facility has not been reinstated into the Medicaid program and the facility never sought reinstatement (Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills LLC v. Alex M. Azar, No. 0:20cv61357, S.D. Fla.).
SEATTLE — The Social Security Administration (SSA) was directed in a Nov. 24 order issued by a federal judge in Washington to re-adjudicate claims by class members who were previously denied Social Security survivor benefits and enjoined from denying benefits without considering whether they would have qualified but for laws prohibiting same-sex marriage (Helen Josephine Thornton, et al. v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 18-1409, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220711).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 6 certified two questions to the New York Court of Appeals regarding whether collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) entered into by the state of New York and state employees’ unions created a vested right that prohibited an increase in health insurance premiums for retired employees during the retirees’ lifetimes after determining that the claims alleged against the state raise unresolved issues of state law (Danny Donohue, et al. v. Andrew Cuomo et al., No. 18-3193, 2nd Cir.).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A 5-3 Oklahoma Supreme Court on Nov. 24 overturned a trial court’s ruling denying a daughter’s motion to transfer a probate proceeding to the county where her father died, finding that the state’s probate jurisdiction statute highly prioritizes the location where the decedent lived and died (Dorothy Fulks v. Tammy McPherson, No. 118314, Okla. Sup., 2020 Okla. LEXIS 102).
CINCINNATI — An employer can’t be found to have committed age discrimination where a job applicant lacked the qualifications for a position, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 12 (Michael Flowers v. WestRock Services, Inc., No. 20-1230, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 35566).
SAN DIEGO — Because a woman signed an arbitration agreement as an agent of her husband when he entered a residential care facility, his claims for elder abuse and wrongful death must be arbitrated, even though the widow’s individual wrongful death claim is not subject to arbitration, a California appellate court held Nov. 20, partially reversing a trial court’s ruling (James E. Gibbons, et al. v. Silverado Senior Living Management, Inc., No. D076703, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7669).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Supreme Court on Nov. 18 denied a petition to review lower court rulings that family members serving as temporary conservators of an older woman’s person lacked the power to bind her to an arbitration agreement included in the paperwork they signed admitting her to a senior living facility (Diane Holley, et al. v. Silverado Senior Living Management, Inc., et al., No. S264488, Calif. Sup., 2020 Cal. LEXIS 8038).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel on Nov. 18 affirmed a ruling denying a nursing home’s request to compel arbitration of an estate’s allegations of negligence, finding that the facility failed to prove that the estate had the authority to execute a voluntary arbitration agreement that was included in admissions paperwork that was signed when the man was discharged (Hattie D. Lovett v. HCR ManorCare Inc., et al., No. 564 EDA 2020, 2020 Pa. Super. LEXIS 3585).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Nov. 20 that a home health care agency and two of its executives agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations brought by former employees under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (FCA), in two lawsuits in federal court in Florida accusing the defendants of engaging in a scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare for unnecessary medical treatments to elderly patients to avoid the government insurer’s low utilization payment adjustment (LUPA).
LOS ANGELES — A trial court correctly applied the rule in Roldan v. Callahan & Blaine in ordering a nursing home to pay the full costs of arbitrating a negligence and elder abuse action against it or have its petition to compel arbitration denied, a California appellate panel held Nov. 16, agreeing with the lower court that the plaintiff could not afford to pay the costs of the arbitration under a fee-splitting provision in the agreement (Simon Butler v. KSM Healthcare, Inc., No. B302991, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 3, 2020 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7527).
BUFFALO, N.Y. — In a purported class complaint filed Nov. 16, former employees of Xerox Corp. maintain the company ran afoul of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act when it recently enacted a change to its enhanced early retirement program (ERP) that requires retirees to contribute to their medical and dental benefits (Paul Vollmer, et al. v. Xerox Corporation, et al., No. 20-6979, W.D. N.Y.).
ABERDEEN, S.D. — A 74-year-old Native American with a long history of sexually molesting teenage girls, including his granddaughter and stepdaughter, is not entitled to a compassionate release from prison due to the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic because he is still a danger to society and will be safer in custody than in home confinement in South Dakota, which has the second highest per capita cases of the disease in the country, a federal judge in that state ruled Nov. 13 (United States v. William T. Carter, No. 03-cr-30041, D. S.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214129).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A New York appellate panel on Nov. 13 reinstated claims of negligence and state Public Health Law violations against the owners and operators of a nursing home, finding that the administrator of a deceased resident’s estate adequately stated the claims under the theory of vicarious liability (Kevin M. Cunningham v. Mary Agnes Manor Management, L.L.C., et al., No. 392 CA 19-1231, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6838).