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Guzman was operating a soil compactor on a hillside with a 45-degree slope when the compactor hit a rock. The compactor rose in the air, causing Guzman to fall backward, and then fell on top of him. The workers’ compensation judge determined that Guzman sustained an injury to his back and psyche and that the psychiatric injury was caused by a “sudden and extraordinary employment condition,” Lab. Code, 3208.3(d). The workers’ compensation carrier for Guzman’s employer unsuccessfully sought reconsideration by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, arguing that Guzman failed to meet his burden of proving that his psychiatric injury was caused by a “sudden and extraordinary employment condition.” The court of appeal annulled the Board’s order denying reconsideration. Guzman did not provide any evidence establishing that it is “uncommon, unusual, and totally unexpected” for a rock to be in soil, for a compactor to rise when striking a rock, or for an operator to become unbalanced and to fall when the compactor rises on a 45-degree hillside. He did not introduce any evidence regarding what regularly or routinely happens if a compactor hits a rock on a slope. Guzman admitted that he had previously worked on flat surfaces only. View "State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board" on Justia Law

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Guzman was operating a soil compactor on a hillside with a 45-degree slope when the compactor hit a rock. The compactor rose in the air, causing Guzman to fall backward, and then fell on top of him. The workers’ compensation judge determined that Guzman sustained an injury to his back and psyche and that the psychiatric injury was caused by a “sudden and extraordinary employment condition,” Lab. Code, 3208.3(d). The workers’ compensation carrier for Guzman’s employer unsuccessfully sought reconsideration by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, arguing that Guzman failed to meet his burden of proving that his psychiatric injury was caused by a “sudden and extraordinary employment condition.” The court of appeal annulled the Board’s order denying reconsideration. Guzman did not provide any evidence establishing that it is “uncommon, unusual, and totally unexpected” for a rock to be in soil, for a compactor to rise when striking a rock, or for an operator to become unbalanced and to fall when the compactor rises on a 45-degree hillside. He did not introduce any evidence regarding what regularly or routinely happens if a compactor hits a rock on a slope. Guzman admitted that he had previously worked on flat surfaces only. View "State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Tony Muro entered into an employment contract with defendant Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc. (Cornerstone). The contract included a provision requiring that all disputes arising out of Muro's employment with Cornerstone to be resolved by arbitration. It also incorporated a class action waiver provision. In response to this case, which was styled as a proposed class action and alleged various Labor Code violations, Cornerstone moved to compel arbitration and dismiss the class claims. Relying heavily on Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial, U.S. LP, 241 Cal.App.4th 833 (2015), the trial court concluded the contract was exempted from the operation of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA; 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) and was instead governed by California law. It further determined that the California Supreme Court's decision in Gentry v. Superior Court, 42 Cal.4th 443 (2007) (overruled by 59 Cal.4th 348(2014)) continued to provide the relevant framework for evaluating whether the class waiver provision in the contract was enforceable under California law. After applying Gentry to the record here, the court found the class waiver provision of the contract unenforceable and denied the motion to compel arbitration. Cornerstone appeals, but finding no error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Muro v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Tony Muro entered into an employment contract with defendant Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc. (Cornerstone). The contract included a provision requiring that all disputes arising out of Muro's employment with Cornerstone to be resolved by arbitration. It also incorporated a class action waiver provision. In response to this case, which was styled as a proposed class action and alleged various Labor Code violations, Cornerstone moved to compel arbitration and dismiss the class claims. Relying heavily on Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial, U.S. LP, 241 Cal.App.4th 833 (2015), the trial court concluded the contract was exempted from the operation of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA; 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) and was instead governed by California law. It further determined that the California Supreme Court's decision in Gentry v. Superior Court, 42 Cal.4th 443 (2007) (overruled by 59 Cal.4th 348(2014)) continued to provide the relevant framework for evaluating whether the class waiver provision in the contract was enforceable under California law. After applying Gentry to the record here, the court found the class waiver provision of the contract unenforceable and denied the motion to compel arbitration. Cornerstone appeals, but finding no error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Muro v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions" on Justia Law

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Carl Genberg was an executive for Ceragenix Corporation when he suspected misconduct by the Company's Board of Directors. When he acted on these alleged suspicions, he was fired. He sued Ceragenix's Chief Executive Officer for retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and defamation under Nevada law. The district court granted summary judgment to the CEO on both claims. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court concluded a reasonable factfinder could have concluded two emails at the heart of this case could have been viewed as protected activities that had contributed to Genberg’s termination, or the absence of which would not have lead to his termination. Either way, the Court concluded the CEO was not entitled to summary judgment based on the same-action defense with respect to these emails. Because the district court found otherwise, the Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the CEO on the Sarbanes-Oxley claim. Regarding the defamation claim, the Court affirmed the district court’s award of summary judgment: the CEO's statements fell under the common-interest privilege, and Genberg did not present evidence of an abuse of the privilege. View "Genberg v. Porter" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs worked for Oleson’s in Michigan. The collective bargaining agreement between Oleson’s and the Union allowed Oleson’s to deduct union dues from employees’ paychecks if the employee signed an authorization form. That form provided that the authorization would be irrevocable for one year or until the termination of the agreement, and thereafter for yearly periods unless revoked by certified mail during a 15- day window. Plaintiffs joined the union and signed the authorization forms. Three years later, they resigned their membership but sent their permission revocations by regular, not certified, mail, outside of the 15-day window. The union refused to accept the revocations. The company continued to deduct dues. Plaintiffs filed a class action, claiming violation of the Labor Management Relations Act by imposing conditions on their ability to revoke their authorizations and by violation of its duty of fair representation. The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the complaint, noting that one plaintiff had quit and the other had successfully revoked his membership. The Act makes it a crime for an employer to willfully give money to a labor union, 29 U.S.C. 186(a,b), and for a union to willfully accept money from an employer, except money deducted from the wages for dues if the employer has received a written assignment. This criminal provision creates no civil cause of action; the union did not act arbitrarily or in bad faith. View "Ohlendorf v. United Food & Commerical Workers International Union, Local 876" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from a state employee grievance proceeding, a hearing officer’s decision upholding the termination of Nathan Osborn, a special agent with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), was not contrary to law. ABC terminated Osburn’s employment after receiving a complaint that Osburn rummaged, without permission, through the business records of a business owner who had applied for a retail alcohol license. A hearing officer upheld Osburn’s termination, concluding that the warrantless search was not permissible, resulting in a violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights. The circuit court upheld the hearing officer’s determination. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court’s determination that Osborn violated the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Osburn’s warrantless inspection of the office of the applicant’s business was not permissible under the highly regulated industry exception to the warrant requirement and that the business owner did not consent to Osburn’s warrantless search of the office. View "Osburn v. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff's discrimination claims against Manheim, her employer. Plaintiff alleged that the employer discriminated against her by paying her less than her male predecessor. The court held that, taking the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, she was entitled to proceed to trial on her Equal Pay Act and Title VII claims. In this case, a jury could conclude that plaintiff was entitled to relief under the Equal Pay Act because the evidence supported a finding that she has made a prima facie case and that Manheim failed to establish an affirmative defense in response, and that plaintiff was entitled to relief under Title VII because the evidence supported a finding that her sex "was a motivating factor for" the pay disparity between her and her male predecessor. View "Bowen v. Manheim Remarketing, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Delane Hurley appealed a judgment in her action against defendants California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Leda Seals (together Defendants) that alleged, inter alia, causes of action for sexual orientation discrimination, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, all in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), and a cause of action for violation of the Information Practices Act (“IPA”) and additionally alleged causes of action against Seals only for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). Following trial, the jury returned verdicts in favor of Defendants on the FEHA causes of action, against Defendants on the IPA cause of action, and against Seals on the IIED and NIED causes of action. The jury awarded Hurley $19,200 for past economic damages and $19,200 for past noneconomic losses against both Defendants, and $28,800 in punitive damages against Seals only. The court denied Defendants' motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). On appeal, Hurley contended trial court erred by excluding evidence that was relevant to her FEHA causes of action. DPR and Seals challenged the judgment against them on the IPA cause of action and the trial court's denial of their JNOV motions. DPR contended: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the finding it violated the IPA; and (2) the litigation privilege under Civil Code section 47(b), barred the IPA cause of action against it. Seals contended: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the finding she violated the IPA; (2) the litigation privilege barred the IPA cause of action against her; (3) the IPA cause of action was alleged under, and the jury was instructed on, a statute that was inapplicable to her; (4) there was insufficient evidence to support the findings against her on the IIED and NIED causes of action; (5) the workers' compensation exclusivity doctrine barred the IIED and NIED causes of action against her; and (6) the punitive damages award against her must be reversed for, inter alia, instructional error and insufficiency of the evidence to support it. After review, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment, except for the award of economic damages against DPR, and modified the judgment accordingly. View "Hurley v. California Dept. of Parks and Recreation" on Justia Law

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Mosby-Meachem, an in-house attorney for Memphis Light, Gas & Water, was denied a request to work from home for 10 weeks while she was on bedrest due to complications from pregnancy. MLG&W unsuccessfully argued that precedent precluded any reasonable jury from determining that Mosby-Meachem was a qualified individual while on bedrest because in-person attendance was an essential function of her job. A jury found in favor of Mosby-Meachem on her claim for disability discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act and awarded her compensatory damages. The district court also granted Mosby-Meachem’s motion for equitable relief and awarded her backpay for the period in which MLG&W did not permit her to telework. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Mosby-Meachem produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that in-person attendance was not an essential function of her job for the 10-week period in which she requested to telework. View "Mosby-Meachem v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division" on Justia Law