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Respondent Denise Duncan sued Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) for personal injuries she sustained at one of Wal-Mart’s stores while acting within the course and scope of her employment with Acosta, Inc. (Acosta). The trial court entered judgment finding Wal-Mart liable for Duncan’s injuries. Under Labor Code sections 3852 and 3856, appellant Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company (Hartford) applied for a lien on Duncan’s judgment to obtain reimbursement for the workers’ compensation benefits it paid Duncan, including medical expenses and temporary disability payments for lost wages. Although the judgment included compensation for Duncan’s medical expenses, it did not include compensation for Duncan’s lost wages because she did not seek those damages at trial. The court granted Hartford a lien on Duncan’s judgment, but reduced the lien amount to exclude the indemnity payments for lost wages. Hartford appealed the trial court’s postjudgment order, arguing the court exceeded its authority by reducing the lien amount for any item other than reasonable attorney fees and costs. The Court of Appeal agreed because section 3856’s plain language and the case law applying it granted Hartford a first lien on the judgment in the amount it paid Duncan for worker’s compensation benefits. Duncan’s choice not to seek lost wages at trial did not diminish Hartford’s lien rights under the workers’ compensation statutory scheme. View "Duncan v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act, part of ERISA, a construction industry employer who withdraws from a multiemployer pension plan owes liability to that plan if the employer conducts work “in the jurisdiction of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) of the type for which contributions were previously required,” 29 U.S.C. 1383(b)(2)(B)(i). The Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund assessed pension liability against Stevens Engineers claiming that Stevens’s activities on a certain construction project involved such work within the jurisdiction of their previous CBA. An arbitrator, the district court, and the Sixth Circuit found that Stevens did not owe pension liability to the Fund because the work identified by Local 17 did not fall within the jurisdiction of the relevant CBA, and did not otherwise require contributions by Stevens. The CBA instead allowed Stevens to assign jobs like the ones at issue to other trade unions, and a job did not trigger pension liability to the Fund if, as here, it was properly assigned to a different union. View "Stevens Engineers & Constructors, Inc. v. Local 17 Iron Workers Pension Fund" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division affirming the hearing officer’s decree denying Appellant’s petition for award. On appeal, Appellant claimed that he was an employee of Regional Transportation Program (RTP), and therefore, he was entitled to receive benefits for a work-related injury. The hearing officer determined that Appellant was not an RTP employee for purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) it was not unreasonable for the Appellate Division to conclude that the reimbursement provided to Appellant did not constitute payment for his services; and (2) therefore, the Appellate Division properly found that Appellant was not an employee for purposes of the Act. View "Huff v. Regional Transportation Program" on Justia Law

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Lentz entered federal service in 2002. He had no disciplinary record until May 2014, when his supervisor issued a reprimand based on his authorization of grazing on public lands, without prior approval. In November, Lentz’s supervisor proposed a 14-day suspension, citing his management of interns, behavior toward supervisors, and interaction with outsiders. Lentz then went on medical leave. The proposed suspension was sustained, to commence on February 15, 2015. Lentz resigned on February 13, citing harassment and a hostile work environment that aggravated an illness and his veterans disability. He claimed to have filed complaints under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. 4301–4335, and that the reprimands were retaliatory. Before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Lentz asserted constructive discharge, discrimination on the basis of his status as a disabled veteran, and retaliation for filing a complaint. The Administrative Judge dismissed the involuntary resignation claim under 5 U.S.C. 75, and held that Lentz was collaterally estopped from raising in the USERRA proceeding the evidence and issues assigned to the involuntary resignation proceeding. The AJ later dismissed the discrimination charges, stating that Lentz failed to make non-frivolous allegations that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign due to discrimination or reprisal. The Board affirmed. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding that the dismissal was based on incorrect evidentiary procedures including the inappropriate application of collateral estoppel, and remanded the issue of constructive discharge. View "Lentz v. Merit Systems Protection Board" on Justia Law

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Claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201, are subject to arbitration. In this case, plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging that he was denied overtime pay in violation of the FLSA. Plaintiff's employment contract contained a clause requiring arbitration of any dispute arising out of the contract. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration of a claim under the FLSA and dismissing the complaint for violations of the Act. The court held that plaintiff's remaining contentions lacked merit. View "Rodriguez-Depena v. Parts Authority, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Morgan Stanely in a civil rights action. Plaintiff alleged that she was terminated on the basis of her sex and that Morgan Stanley allowed her coworkers to create a hostile work environment. The court held that plaintiff was not entitled to a trial on her discrimination claim because she presented no evidence that her sex influenced the decision to terminate her and she presented no evidence of discrimination based on the cat's paw theory. The court also held that plaintiff was not entitled to a trial on her hostile work environment claim because the statute of limitations restricted the allegations that the court could consider as part of her claim and the remaining conduct did not create a hostile work environment. View "Milligan-Grimstad v. Morgan Stanley" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs-respondents Virgil and Glenda Jensen contended they suffered damages caused by a negligently maintained rental truck, rented by his supervisor, Charles Scannell, which blew a tire while Virgil was driving it. Defendant-appellant U-Haul Co. of California (UHCA) appealed the trial court’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration. UHCA contended plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration agreement in the rental contract, even though neither plaintiff was a party to that contract. The Court of Appeal’s review of plaintiffs’ complaint showed that plaintiffs did not rely or depend on the terms of the rental in asserting their claims, and none of their allegations were in any way founded in or bound up with the terms or obligations of that agreement. UHCA, citing to general principles and cases that it contended were analogous, argued that plaintiffs were bound to arbitrate their claims, even though they are not signatories to the agreement between Scannell and UHCA, on any of three theories: third-party beneficiary, agency, or estoppel. The Court of Appeal was not persuaded and affirmed the trial court. View "Jensen v. U-Haul Co. of California" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation challenging its decision to terminate his employment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court concluded that Plaintiff did not have a “mixed” case because of his failure to reinstate or prosecute his associational disability discrimination before the Merit Systems Protection Board, despite being given the right to do so, after expressly withdrawing the claim with prejudice. The First Circuit held (1) Plaintiff’s original complaint, which alleged a claim of discrimination that was later withdrawn, was not sufficient to create a mixed case, and therefore, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) the district court did not err in denying Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. View "Jonson v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s decision to award Plaintiff benefits arising out of a 2009 automobile accident. The court of appeals concluded that Plaintiff was barred from pursuing compensation for his personal injury claim under the Workers’ Compensation Act because he had elected to settle his claim against the third-party tortfeasor without the consent of Defendant, the City of Charlotte, and had received disbursement of the settlement proceedings. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the Act protects both the employer’s lien against third-party proceeds and the employee’s right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits under these circumstances; and (2) therefore, the Commission correctly concluded that Plaintiff had not waived his right to compensation under the Act. View "Easter-Rozzelle v. City of Charlotte" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in district court, alleging sex, race, and age discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The Eighth Circuit found that plaintiff likely adequately exhausted her remedies, and her pleadings indicated this prerequisite, especially on a motion to dismiss. Even if the lack of an initial verified charge would have indicated lack of exhaustion, the documents plaintiff supplied with her objections, including a copy of the verified charge mailed on July 28 and received by the EEOC, plus the Notice of Right to Sue, indicated she had cured any deficiency in the exhaustion requirements. Finally, the district court's failure to conduct a de novo review after plaintiff filed timely and specific objections was reversible error. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with directions to allow plaintiff to amend her pleadings. View "Rush v. Arkansas DWS" on Justia Law