WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by non-union personal home health care assistants asking whether they need “to prove contemporaneous subjective opposition” to the SEIU, the union that collected fair-share fees from them, to establish injury and damages under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Theresa Riffey, et al. v. Governor J.B. Pritzker, et al., No. 18-1120, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A deckhand who was injured when a hatch blew open may not recover punitive damages on his claim of unseaworthiness, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24 (The Dutra Group v. Christopher Batterton, No. 18-266, U.S. Sup.,2019 U.S. LEXIS 4202).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal court in Mississippi erred when it referred a disagreement in an age bias lawsuit over the conscionability of an arbitration agreement’s formation to an arbitrator as Mississippi law dictates that a court must decide, a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 19 (Cathy J. Bowles v. OneMain Financial Group, L.L.C., No. 18-60749, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 18414).
PIERRE, S.D. — Wrongful termination claims leveled by a former principal at an Indian school are preempted by federal laws providing for the education of Native American children, the South Dakota Supreme Court held June 19 in affirming dismissal of the claims in state court (Timothy Stathis v. Marty Indian School, et al., No. 2019 S.D. 33, S.D. Sup.).
DURHAM, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on June 4 granted preliminary approval of a $54.5 million class settlement to be paid by Duke University and Duke University Health System (collectively, Duke) to end claims that Duke and University of North Carolina (UNC) conspired to reduce or eliminate competition for skilled medical labor (Danielle Seaman, et al. v. Duke University, et al., No. 15-462, M.D. N.C.).
ATLANTA — An Amtrak route director whose job was eliminated as part of a reorganization and who was not selected for multiple posts for which she applied failed to show that any of the employment decisions were based on her race or health issues, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 20 (Karen Shannon v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, No. 18-13149, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 14775).
CHICAGO — A federal court in Illinois “erred by demanding too much specificity” in a race and disability bias complaint by a former water treatment plant worker who claims that he was fired because he is black and suffers from alcoholism, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 14, vacating the trial court’s judgment as to the bias claims and remanding for further proceedings (Shaka Freeman v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, No. 18-3737, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 17933).
CHICAGO — A trial court’s ruling in a class and collective action over wage deductions and time rounding would remain untouched if it weren’t for a retroactive amendment made to Indiana wage-deduction law made after the trial court’s decision, a Seventh Circuit panel ruled May 29, partially vacating the judgment for the workers and remanding for further proceedings (Brian A. Weil, et al. v. Metal Technologies, Inc., Nos. 18-2556 and 18-2440, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15946).
CINCINNATI — A former Mexican fast food chain supervisor may proceed with her retaliation claims after showing that her declaration regarding a conversation with her manager about his alleged bias was improperly rejected by the trial court and that, along with other evidence, is sufficient for a jury to find that the reason given for her termination was false, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 28 (Alashae Crawford v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 18-3360, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15739).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A company that provides warehouse labor services and Amazon.com Inc., in their petition for a writ of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court over the compensability of security screenings under Nevada law, have flipped their position and are objecting to an interpretation of the Portal-to-Portal Act by an appellate court that they advanced in 2014, employees argue in their June 7 brief in opposition (Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., et al. v. Jesse Busk, et al., No. 18-1154, U.S. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California trial court did not abuse its discretion when it used its power of remittitur to reduce excessive damages awarded by a jury to a former employee of the city of Los Angeles who alleged that he was subjected to harassment and retaliation based on his perceived sexual orientation, a California appellate panel ruled June 18 (James Pearl v. Los Angeles, No. B285235, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 7, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 557).
SAN FRANCICO — A franchiser seeks panel rehearing or rehearing en banc from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on its holding that the franchisor is liable for alleged wage-and-hour violations of its franchisees unless the franchisor can disprove each element of the “ABC test” adopted by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. 17-16096, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 10 denied petitions for rehearing in two employment-related cases and denied a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a denial of a jury trial in case concerning noncompete agreements (Loretta C. Adigun v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 18-8035, Cedrick Euron Draper v. Muy Pizza Southeast LLC, No. 18-8008, Dale De Steno, et al. v. Kelly Services, Inc., No. 18-1295, U.S. Sup.).
CHICAGO — Noting reasons given in an earlier ruling by a retired judge on a gourmet sandwich franchisor’s motion to dismiss, a federal judge in Illinois on May 21 denied the franchisor’s renewed motion to dismiss claims for violations of the Sherman Act because the franchisor failed to show that there was any clear error in the previous order (Donald Conrad v. Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC, et al., No. 18-00133, S.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94411).
CHICAGO — Employees of two airlines challenging the collection of their biometric data via systems tracking their work time must take their disputes before an adjustment board pursuant to the Railway Labor Act (RLA), a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 13 (Jennifer Miller, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 18-3476, David Johnson, et al. v. United Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 19-1785, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 17803).
LANSING, Mich. — A 4-2 Michigan Supreme Court on May 30 held that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between a county and its employees did not promise lifetime health care benefits to retirees and that the provisions of the agreement limited the benefits to three years (Rita Kendzierski, et al. v. Macomb County, No. 156086, Mich. Sup., 2019 Mich. LEXIS 989).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Baltimore County, Md., seeking reversal of a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that a back pay award in an age-based pension rate dispute was a mandatory legal remedy (Baltimore County, Maryland v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 18-781, U.S. Sup.).
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on June 12 signed off on a consent decree between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a gold mine under which the mine will pay $690,000 and make policy changes to end claims that it failed to promote a female miner and then retaliated against her when she complained (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC, No. 18-34, D. Alaska).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on June 11 certified a class of participants in JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.’s 401(k) plan suing over allegedly excessive fees for certain options after narrowing the definition to exclude participants who invested only when there were reasonable fees or no fees at all (Terre Beach, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, et al., No. 17-563, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97946).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 10 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by an employer seeking a ruling on whether the common-law tender-back rule applies to claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act (EPA) (Midwest Machining, Inc. v. Jena McClellan, No. 18-928, U.S. Sup.).