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Bishop & Associates, LLC (B&A) filed an action against Ameren Corp. and others (collectively, Ameren and the supervisors) alleging wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and other claims after Ameren terminated its relationship with B&A. The circuit court entered summary judgment for Ameren and the supervisors on all counts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Missouri does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy for independent contractors; (2) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment to the defendants on B&A’s claim of breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) Missouri case law does not support breach of contract claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and (4) the circuit court did not err in entering summary judgment on B&A’s tortious interference with a business expectancy claim. View "Bishop & Associates, LLC v. Ameren Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration and dismissing plaintiff's case without prejudice where he alleged violations of minimum wage laws, as well as fraud. In this case, plaintiff signed a Volunteer Release, Waiver and Indemnification Agreement when he volunteered as a concession worker for a fundraiser. The court held that the agreement was not unconscionable under Missouri law because the agreement was easy to understand, with no evidence that it was non-negotiable. Furthermore, the agreement did not lack consideration where the consideration was that plaintiff was giving up his right to sue in return for his opportunity to volunteer and DNCS's contribution to Washington University, something neither was legally bound to do. Finally, the underlying factual allegations were covered by the arbitration provision. View "Leonard v. Delaware North Companies Sport Service, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suits against Hiland Dairy, alleging race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., and Nebraska law. The Eighth Circuit held that, because plaintiffs failed to produce direct evidence of discrimination, the court must apply the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework. Applying the framework, the court held that Hiland Dairy satisfied its burden by articulating and presenting evidence of a legitimate and indiscriminatory reason for firing them. In this case, Hiland Dairy cited "theft of time" and dishonest conduct as reasons for termination. The court rejected plaintiffs' claim that they were disciplined more severely than similarly-situated white employees because the reasons Hiland Dairy gave were significant and sufficient distinctions making the situations not similarly situated in all relevant respects. The court rejected plaintiffs' remaining contentions and affirmed the judgment. View "Edwards v. Hiland Roberts Dairy" on Justia Law

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After her move to Treasury was blocked and her contract work with Fannie Mae was terminated, plaintiff filed suit alleging claims under District of Columbia law and, in the alternative, under Bivens. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Bivens claim because the conservatorship over Fannie Mae did not create the type of permanent government control that is required under Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 513 U.S. 374; affirmed summary judgment on her wrongful termination claim and rejected her request to recognize a public policy exception to the at-will doctrine based on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008; affirmed summary judgment on her tortious interference with prospective contractual relations claim because she failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact as to any valid business expectancy; affirmed summary judgment on the conspiracy claim because she failed to establish a cognizable underlying tort; and rejected her two discovery challenges. View "Herron v. Fannie Mae" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Secretary of Defense alleging discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2000e-17 based on his unsuccessful application for two teaching positions at an elementary school run by the Department of Defense. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to offer any evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Defendant’s proffered reason for not hiring Plaintiff was pretextual, and therefore, Plaintiff could not succeed in his challenge to the district court’s ruling dismissing his claim on summary judgment. View "Cruz v. Mattis" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Neiman Marcus, alleging interference with the exercise of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12203(b). The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order finding this action moot and granting summary judgment to Neiman Marcus. The panel held that section 12203 authorized the district court to award nominal damages as equitable relief to plaintiff. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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Independent contractors are not categorically excluded from Cal. Gov’t Code 1090, which prohibits public officers and employees from making contracts in which they have a financial interest when they act in their official capacities. The prosecution in this case charged Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei with violation of section 1090 for allegedly influencing the hospital where he worked as an independent contractor to hire another doctor and then profiting from that doctor’s contract. The trial court dismissed the 1090 count. The Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal, concluding that because Sahlolbei was not an employee of the hospital section 1090 did not apply. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) liability under the statute can extend to independent contractors who have duties to engage in or advise on public contracting; and (2) Sahlolbei’s duties brought him within the scope of the statute. View "People v. Superior Court of Riverside County" on Justia Law

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In this case, a hearing officer found that claimant Laurie Gomez, who was terminated from her position as public services manager with the Mesa County Public Library District (the “Library”), suffered from acute stress disorder and depression and was mentally unable to perform the work required of her. The hearing officer nevertheless disqualified Gomez from receiving unemployment benefits under section 8-73-108(5)(e)(XX), C.R.S. (2016) because the officer determined that Gomez’s mental condition was caused by her own poor job performance, and therefore, Gomez was ultimately at fault for her separation from employment. Gomez appealed the hearing officer’s decision to the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (“ICAO”), which reversed. The panel adopted the hearing officer’s finding that Gomez was mentally unable to perform her job duties, but concluded that the hearing officer’s findings regarding the etiology of Gomez’s medical condition were too remote from the proximate cause of her separation, and that scant evidence supported the conclusion that Gomez committed a volitional act to cause her mental incapacity. The court of appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed: neither the text of section 8-73-108(4)(j) nor related case law contemplated further inquiry into the origin or root cause of a claimant’s mental condition, and such an inquiry is beyond the scope of the simplified administrative proceedings to determine a claimant’s eligibility for benefits. View "Mesa Cty. Public Library Dist. v. Indus. Claim Appeals Office" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against APS, seeking unpaid overtime wages owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., and the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act (AMWA), Ark. Code Ann. 11-4-201 et seq. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of defendants. Reviewing the trial evidence under a deferential standard, the court applied the economic realities test and held that evidence at trial was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that plaintiff was an independent contractor under the FLSA. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in deciding it would permit questions addressing the nature of the parties' relative investments but would not allow plaintiff to billboard large numbers that would create the danger of unfair prejudice. View "Karlson v. Action Process Service, etc." on Justia Law

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Under Massachusetts law, statutory prejudgment interest pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 6H shall be added to the amount of lost wages and other benefits awarded as damages pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 150 but shall not be added to the additional amount of the award arising from trebling of those damages as liquidated damages. The Supreme Judicial Court answered a question certified to it by the United State District Court for the District of Massachusetts regarding available statutory interest when liquidated treble damages are awarded pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 150. This case was brought by several employees of Defendant in a class action suit against the company and its parent company. The plaintiffs alleged, among other claims, nonpayment of wages in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, 148, 150. The federal district judge granted final approval of a class settlement agreement that resolved all outstanding issues except a question of law necessitating the certified question. View "George v. National Water Main Cleaning Co." on Justia Law