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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of a motion for leave to amend a complaint after certain court proceedings, holding that the district court was not required to allow leave to amend. Plaintiffs filed suit against a group of healthcare entities alleging that Defendants’ compensation practices violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiffs opposed the motion, including a request to amend should the court grant the motion. The district court ultimately granted Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as to all of Plaintiffs’ claims and noted that Plaintiffs’ counsel had voiced the possibility that Plaintiffs might seek leave to amend but never followed through with a proper motion to amend. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to amend the complaint. View "Hamilton v. Partners Healthcare System, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant Cheryl Price and Greg Lovelace petitioned for mandamus relief. Price was formerly the warden at Donaldson Correctional Facility ("the prison"), which was operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections ("the DOC"). Lovelace was a deputy commissioner of the DOC in charge of construction and maintenance. Plaintiff Marcus Parrish was a correctional officer employed by the DOC. Parrish was supervising inmate showers in a segregation unit in the prison. Parrish left the shower area briefly to retrieve shaving trimmers, and, when he returned, inmate Rashad Byers had already entered a shower cell, which had an exterior lock on it. Byers indicated that he was finished with his shower, and Parrish told him to turn around to be handcuffed, then approached Byers's shower door with the key to the lock on the door in his hand. Byers unexpectedly opened the door, exited the shower cell, and attacked Parrish. During the attack, Byers took Parrish's baton from him and began striking Parrish with it. Parrish was knocked unconscious, and he sustained injuries to his head. Parrish sued Price and Lovelace in their official capacities. Parrish later filed an amended complaint naming Price and Lovelace as defendants in their individual capacities only (thus, it appears that Price and Lovelace were sued only in their individual capacities). Parrish alleged that Price and Lovelace willfully breached their duties by failing to monitor the prison for unsafe conditions and by failing to repair or replace the allegedly defective locks. Price and Lovelace moved for a summary judgment, asserting, among other things, that they are entitled to State-agent immunity. The trial court denied the summary-judgment motion, concluding, without elaboration, that genuine issues of material fact existed to preclude a summary judgment. Price and Lovelace then petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, arguing that they were immune from liability. After review of the trial court record, the Supreme Court concluded Price and Lovelace established they were entitled to State-agent immunity. Accordingly, the Court directed the trial court to enter a summary judgment in their favor. View "Ex parte Cheryl Price & Greg Lovelace." on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's third amended complaint against the Department and others. Plaintiff alleged that he was subjected to discrimination and retaliation after he filed complaints against the Department with OSHA. The court held that the district court erred in holding that administrative exhaustion must be pleaded in the complaint. Rather, administrative exhaustion under Title VII was an affirmative defense. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hardaway v. Hartford Public Works Department" on Justia Law

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Verfuerth, the founder and former CEO of Orion, had disputes with Orion’s board of directors, involving outside counsel's billing practices, potential patent infringement, potential conflicts of interests involving a board member, violations of internal company policy, such as consumption of alcohol at an informal meeting, the board’s handling of a defamation suit by a former employee, and the fact that the chairman of Orion’s audit committee allowed his CPA license to expire. The board ignored his advice to disclose those matters to stockholders. Orion removed Verfuerth as CEO, citing high rates of management turnover. The board conditionally offered Verfuerth emeritus status. Verfeurth declined. The parties were unable to negotiate his severance package. The board fired him for cause, citing misappropriation of company funds in connection with his divorce, disparagement of the new CEO, and attempts to form a dissident shareholder group. Verfuerth filed suit, claiming that his complaints to the board were “whistleblowing” and that, by firing him, Orion violated the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. 1514A(a), and the Dodd‐Frank Act, 15 U.S.C. 78u‐6.e. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Orion. An executive who advises board members to disclose a fact that the board already knows about has not “provide[d] information” about fraud.. Nothing in any federal statute prevents a company from firing its executives over differences of opinion. View "Verfuerth v. Orion Energy Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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Working at Ford’s Twin Cities Plant in 2001, Saunders’s right arm got caught in a machine, causing him to lose almost all use of that arm. Saunders received workers’ compensation. He returned to work with restrictions that prohibited heavy lifting, engaging in repetitive motions, or using his right arm. Ford assigned him to temporary jobs, then to an airbag-installation job, but placed him on “no-work-available” (NWA) status when he developed carpal-tunnel syndrome. Ford assigned Saunders to a torque-inspector job, where Saunders worked for eight years. Ford transferred Saunders to Louisville in 2012, after Twin Cities closed. The Plant, in flux as dozens of Ford plants closed, allowed Saunders to continue working as an inspector for another year, although he lacked the seniority for the position there. After the Plant integrated its new workers, it reopened jobs to the normal bid process. A senior worker displaced Saunders, who was placed in short-term jobs, had periods of medical leave, and was on NWA status. Saunders got a permanent assignment in 2014, which he retains. Before that placement, Saunders filed grievances, then filed suit (Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 185), alleging that Ford breached its collective bargaining unit by placing him on NWA status, retaliated after he reopened his workers’ compensation claim, and that his union failed to fully pursue his grievances. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Ford. Ford had a legitimate, nonretaliatory reason for placing Saunders on NWA status that no reasonable juror could conclude was pretextual. Breach of the duty of fair representation is not established merely by proof that the underlying grievance was meritorious. View "Saunders v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law

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The patent, entitled “Full Duplex Single Clip Video Codec” lists co-inventors, Woo, Li, and Hsiun, and was created while they were Infochips employees. Infochips’ “receivables,” pledged as security, were seized by LM when Infochips went out of business in 1993; in 1995, LM sold Infochips’s assets to Woo. Woo assigned his interest in the patent to AVC. In 1995, AVC filed the patent's parent application. Woo and Li assigned their interests to AVC. Hsiun refused to do so. The PTO permitted AVC to prosecute the application without that assignment. AVC claimed that it obtained Hsiun’s interests by Hsiun's 1992 Employment Agreement with Infochips. The patent was issued to AVC, which later dissolved, after purporting to transfer its assets to its successors (Advanced Video). In 2011, Advanced Video filed patent infringement lawsuits. The district court found that AVC had not complied with Delaware statutes governing dissolved corporations and that no patent rights had transferred to Advanced Video. The cases were dismissed. The state court appointed a Receiver to transfer AVC's patent rights to Advanced Video. After the transfer, Advanced Video filed new infringement lawsuits, arguing that its acquisition of Hsiun’s interest was effected by the Employment Agreement’s “will assign,” trust and quitclaim provisions. The court rejected the argument and, because Hsiun was not a party to the suit, dismissed for lack of standing. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Hsiun never actually assigned her rights, despite her promises to do so. View "Advanced Video Technologies, LLC v. HTC Corp." on Justia Law

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ABM, a facility services company with employees throughout the U.S., has thousands of janitorial workers at hundreds of California job sites. Plaintiffs, present or former ABM employees, on behalf of themselves and similarly situated Californians, filed suit in 2007, alleging that ABM violated California labor laws by failing to properly record and compensate employees for meal breaks; requiring employees to work split shifts without appropriate compensation; and failing to ensure that employees were reimbursed for expenses incurred when traveling between work sites. In 2010, plaintiffs moved for class certification of a general class of ABM workers and subclasses of such workers who had been subjected to particular violations. The court found plaintiffs’ expert evidence inadmissible, denied the class certification motion, and denied plaintiffs’ motion under Code of Civil Procedure 473(b), to supplement the evidence concerning the expert's qualifications. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that materials submitted before the class certification hearing were sufficient to qualify plaintiffs’ expert in database management and analysis; it was error for the court to completely disregard plaintiffs’ proffered expert evidence of common practice, rather than accepting it for what it was and weighing it against any individualized inquiries that might properly have defeated plaintiffs’ request for class certification. The proposed classes were ascertainable and plaintiffs’ allegations presented predominantly common questions. View "ABM Industries Overtime Cases" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning the application and operation of Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the First Circuit held that the exclusionary remedy limned in Article 31(d) applies to evidence offered in a trial by court-martial but not in a non-judicial punishment proceeding. Petitioner, a petty officer in the United States Navy, received a non-judicial punishment, rescission of his recommendation for promotion, and an adverse employment evaluation. Petitioner appealed, alleging, inter alia, that his waiver of Article 31 rights was involuntary. The Board of Correction of Naval Records upheld the adverse employment consequences. Petitioner sought judicial review. The district court refused to set aside the Board’s decision. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the Board’s determination of voluntariness and its approval of the adverse employment consequences were in accordance with law. View "Sasen v. Spencer" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Rock-Tenn in a civil rights action alleging religion and sex discrimination. The Eighth Circuit held that Title VII did not impose a legal obligation to provide an employee an articulated basis for dismissal at the time of firing, and an employer was certainly not bound as a matter of law to whatever reasons might have been provided; rather, it was well-established that a employer may elaborate on its explanation for an employment decision; and, in this case, there was no contradiction between the explanation given to plaintiff at the time of his termination and the non-discriminatory reasons for termination that Rock-Tenn articulated during this litigation. The court also held that plaintiff failed to show sufficient evidence that Rock-Tenn's proffered reasons for firing him -- poor performance -- were pretexts for discrimination. View "Rooney v. Rock-Tenn Converting Co." on Justia Law

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Governor Brown—faced with a statewide crisis involving the significant underfunding of public pension systems—signed into law the Public Employee Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) in an attempt to curb what were seen as pervasive abuses in public pension systems, including those governed by the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 (CERL), Gov. Code 31450. Public employees and public employee organizations in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Merced Counties challenged the constitutionality of PEPRA as applied to certain CERL plan members who were hired before PEPRA’s effective date (legacy members). The court of appeal rejected an argument that the pension boards possess the ability to include additional pay items in compensation earnable, unmoored by the language of CERL, then remanded for determinations of the reasonableness of PEPRA’s detrimental changes when applied to the vested rights of legacy members. The court examined statutory amendments with respect to in-service leave cash-outs; express exclusion of so-called terminal pay from compensation earnable; express exclusion or payments for additional services rendered outside of normal working hours, whether paid in a lump sum or otherwise, from compensation earnable; and exclusion from compensation earnable “[a]ny compensation determined by the board to have been paid to enhance a member’s retirement benefit.” View "Alameda County Deputy Sheriff's Association. v. Alameda County Employees Retirement Association" on Justia Law