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Plaintiff Jesus Garcia filed a wage and hour lawsuit against Border Transportation Group, LLC (BTG), its owner Erik Ortega, and BTG employee Martha Ortega. Some of Garcia's claims were based on Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage orders; others were not. The trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on all eight causes of action on the basis that Garcia was an independent contractor, not an employee. After Garcia's appeal was fully briefed, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018), clarifying the employee-independent contractor question as to wage order claims. The Court of Appeal concluded Dynamex compelled the conclusion that defendants did not meet their burden on summary judgment to show no triable issue of material fact as to Garcia's wage order claims. As to those claims discussed in the nonpublished portion of the Court’s opinion, Garcia forfeited appellate review of the trial court's decision that he was not an employee under the standard articulated in S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, 48 Cal.3d 341 (1989). Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment and remanded with instructions to enter a new order denying summary adjudication of the wage order causes of action and granting summary adjudication as to the non-wage-order causes of action. View "Garcia v. Border Transportation Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2016, the California Legislature created two new statutes to address a financial crisis plaguing the workers’ compensation system, however, the remedy came at a significant cost to all participating medical providers and related entities. Specifically, the new anti-fraud scheme cast a very broad net to halt all proceedings relating to any workers’ compensation liens filed by criminally charged medical providers, as well as any entities “controlled” by the charged provider (noncharged entities). The Legislature created this new scheme because existing laws permitted charged providers to collect on liens while defending their criminal cases, allowing continued funding of fraudulent practices. Pursuant to these two new statutes, the Government gained authority to automatically stay liens filed by charged providers and noncharged entities, without considering if the liens were actually tainted by the alleged illegal misconduct. Michael Barri, Tristar Medical Group (Tristar), and Coalition for Sensible Workers’ Compensation Reform (CSWCR) petitioned the Court of Appeal seeking a peremptory or alternative writ of mandate, prohibition, or other appropriate relief directing the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) to perform its duties and adjudicate Tristar’s lien claims and not enforce certain unconstitutional provisions contained in newly enacted anti-fraud legislation. The Court of Appeal declined petitioner’s request to issue a peremptory or alternative writ of mandate, prohibition, or other relief directing the WCAB to adjudicate the stayed liens and not enforce the newly enacted anti-fraud legislation. The Court rejected Barri’s assertion the suspension and special lien hearing were really criminal proceedings hidden under a “civil label.” The Legislature clearly stated its intention was to enact a civil regulatory scheme and remedy; the Court determined the Legislature exerted its plenary power to create a civil regulatory scheme designed to prevent the unnecessary processing and payment on liens tainted by fraud and other misconduct. “[T]he anti-fraud legislation at issue may have some punitive aspects, but it primarily serves important nonpunitive goals.” View "Barri v. WCAB" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action filed by plaintiff pro se, alleging claims for wage and sex discrimination based on the Equal Protection Clause and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and retaliation based on her gender in violation of the EPA, as incorporated into the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court held that plaintiff failed to point to any evidence in the record that tended to demonstrate that the interim county manager's stated reasons for denying her higher salary request were false and a pretext for racial or gender discrimination; plaintiff failed to point to any affirmative evidence establishing that his proffered reasons were false or a pretext for unlawful sex discrimination; and plaintiff failed to establish a pretext for retaliation. In this case, the direct supervisor's reason for terminating plaintiff was because she was no longer a "good fit" and lacked the leadership skills necessary to implement successfully many of the proposed changes in the Clerk's office of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. View "Hornsby-Culpepper v. Ware" on Justia Law

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Saybolt LP, a petroleum products company, used the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method to calculate overtime compensation for some of its oil and gas inspectors who worked radically varying hours each week. Plaintiffs, oil and gas inspectors, filed suit against Saybolt, alleging that the incentive payments precluded use of the FWW method and placed their employer in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Fifth Circuit held that Saybolt failed to comply with the FWW method, and thus its use of that method to calculate the FWW inspectors' overtime premiums was erroneous; plaintiffs have not created an issue of disputed fact regarding Saybolt's willfulness; the district court erred in holding that Saybolt was judicially estopped from challenging plaintiffs' damages model; plaintiffs were entitled to an award of one and one-half times the "regular rate" instead of using the one-half multiplier that Saybolt claimed was appropriate; and the district court erred in adopting plaintiffs' damages methodology. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Dacar v. Saybolt L.P." on Justia Law

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In this public records request matter, the Supreme Court held that the Nevada Public Records Act requires the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada (PERS) to disclose certain employment and pension payment information held in its computer database about its government retirees where the requested information merely requires searching a database for existing information, is readily accessible and not confidential, and the alleged risks posed by disclosure do not outweigh the benefits of the public’s interest in access to the records. In the instant matter, the district court required disclosure of the requested information. The Supreme Court held (1) PERS failed to demonstrate the requested information was confidential by statute; (2) the risks posed by the disclosure did not clearly outweigh the benefits of the public’s interest in access to the records; and (3) the requested information did not require the creation of a new record. The Court remanded for the district court to determine an appropriate way for PERS to comply with the request where the computer database may no longer be able to produce the information as it existed when the public records request was made. View "Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada v. Nevada Policy Research Institute, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the interpretation of New York’s constitutional prevailing wage requirement, the Court of Appeals upheld the New York State Department of Labor’s statute-based policy limiting the payment of apprentice wages on public work projects to apprentices who are performing tasks within the respective trade classifications of the approved apprenticeship programs in which they are enrolled, holding that the Department’s interpretation of the relevant statute was rational. Plaintiffs brought this declaratory judgment action asserting that the Department’s interpretation of N.Y. Labor Law 220(3-3) violates the plain meaning of the law and that the statute permits contractors on public works to pay apprentices the posted apprentice rates provided that they are registered in any Department-certified apprenticeship program. Supreme Court granted summary judgment for Defendants, concluding that the Department’s analysis was an arbitrary and irrational interpretation of the statute. The Appellate Division reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Department’s interpretation of the statute was eminently reasonable. View "International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, District Council No. 4 v. New York State Department of Labor" on Justia Law

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted discretionary review to address two issues associated with workers’ compensation claims by firefighters suffering from cancer. First, the Court had to determine the evidentiary requirements for a claimant to demonstrate that he or she has an “occupational disease,” as that term is defined in Section 108(r) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”). Second, the Court had to decide whether epidemiological evidence may be used by an employer to rebut the evidentiary presumption that the claimant’s cancer is compensable as set forth in Section 301(f) of the Act. With respect to the first issue, the Supreme Court concluded that pursuant to Section 108(r), the claimant has an initial burden to establish that his or her cancer is a type of cancer that is capable of being caused by exposure to a known IARC Group 1 carcinogen. With respect to the second, the Court concluded that epidemiological evidence was not sufficient to rebut the evidentiary presumption under Section 301(f). View "City of Phila. FD v. WCAB; Appeal of: Sladek, S." on Justia Law

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After correcting one aspect of the judgment, the Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint stemming from a hospital’s decision not to employ her, holding that the superior court correctly granted the hospital's and a physician's separate motions to dismiss the complaint for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted because some counts failed due to the absolute immunity provisions of the Maine Health Security Act, Me. Rev. Stat. 24, 2501-2988, and other counts were legally insufficient. Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint against a physician and a hospital, asserting various claims. The superior court dismissed the counts against the physician, determining he was entitled to immunity pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 24, 2511, and dismissed the claims against the hospital for failure to state claims upon which relief could be granted. On appeal, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the superior court correctly dismissed all claims against the physician because he was immune from civil liability, but the judgment dismissing the claims against the physician for defamation, slander per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress was corrected as dismissals with prejudice. View "Argereow v. Weisberg" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of the termination of petitioner James Cole by the New Hampshire Department of Information Technology (DOIT). One of Cole’s initial assignments was overhauling an Account Security Form (ASF). This was intended to be a short-term project. Although some aspects of Cole’s work on this project were satisfactory, his incorrect processing of other aspects of the overhaul resulted in audits being conducted on the forms to ensure accuracy. Cole was also initially assigned a “Wireless Access Point” Project (WAP). This project required communication with customers who were requesting installation of a WAP, and coordination with the persons who were to install the WAPs. However, Cole’s communications were inadequate. This resulted in customers not knowing how to use the WAPs after they were installed, or even that the WAPs had been installed. Cole was given three warnings over the course of his employment. The New Hampshire Personnel Appeals Board (PAB) upheld Cole’s termination. On appeal, Cole argued his termination did not comply with New Hampshire Administrative Rules, Per 1002.08 because he did not receive the three letters in accordance with New Hampshire Administrative Rules, Per 1002.04 for the same or substantially similar conduct or offense. DOIT argued the New Hampshire Supreme Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to decide this case, and, in the alternative, that Cole’s termination complied with Per 1002.08 and Per 1002.04. Finding that it had jurisdiction, the Supreme Court affirmed the PAB’s decision. View "Appeal of James Cole" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court in part ruling in favor of Putnam Investments, LLC and other fiduciaries of Putnam’s defined-contribution 401(k) retirement plan on Plaintiffs’ lawsuit claiming that Defendants breached fiduciary duties to the plan's participants, clarifying several principles for the district court that should guide its subsequent rulings on remand. Plaintiffs, two former Putnam employees who participated in the Plan, brought this lawsuit on behalf of a now-certified class of other participants in the Plan and on behalf of the Plan itself pursuant to the civil enforcement provision of ERISA, see 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(2), arguing that Defendants offered a range of mutual investments, including Putnam’s mutual funds, without regard to whether such funds were prudent investment options and that Defendants treated Plan participants worse than other investors in Putnam mutual funds. The district court ruled in favor of Defendants. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ prohibited transaction claim under 1106(a)(1)(C), breach of loyalty claim, and disgorgement claim; (2) vacated the court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ prohibited transaction claim under 1106(b)(3) and the finding that Plaintiffs failed as a matter of law to show loss; and (3) remanded for further proceedings. View "Brotherston v. Putnam Investments, LLC" on Justia Law