by
The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in an action brought under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA). The court held that plaintiff failed to provide adequate notice of his claim to the relevant agency prior to bringing the lawsuit against his former employer Dunn-Edwards. In this case, because plaintiff failed to give fair notice to the individuals involved, he failed to comply with the administrative requirement and the trial court properly granted summary judgment. View "Khan v. Dunn-Edwards Corp." on Justia Law

by
After complaints about his professionalism, Indiana University Hospital required Dr. Hamdan, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian descent, to participate in a peer-review process, which resulted in disciplinary letters. Hamdan successfully appealed. The hospital ultimately voided the letters. Nonetheless, Hamdan resigned and relinquished his hospital privileges. Hamdan sued the hospital for discriminating against him based on race. Hamdan was not a hospital employee and could not sue under Title VII, so he sued under 42 U.S.C. 1981, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, intended to protect the ability of newly-freed slaves to enter and enforce contracts. Hamdan alleged discrimination in his contractual relationship with the hospital. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a verdict for the hospital, rejecting an argument that the district court erred in allowing the hospital to ask Hamdan impeachment questions relating to his prior work at other hospitals. The court noted Hamdan’s testimony that his reputation was “untarnished” before he received the disciplinary letters. The Seventh Circuit also rejected an argument that the court erred in permitting the hospital to try to impeach him with questions about matters that were confidential under the peer-review statutes of Indiana, Louisiana, and Michigan. Even if the state laws applied, the judge did not abuse his discretion in allowing impeachment questions about incident reports. View "Hamdan v. Indiana University Health North Hospital, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a complaint filed by unions representing the firefighters and police officers employed by the City of Cranston. The Unions filed a complaint claiming that legislation modifying various state-run pension plans for government employees, including a plan that covered municipal firefighters and police officers, unconstitutionally repudiated contractual obligations owed to the City employees. The district court dismissed the complaint. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the complaint failed to allege that the legislation at issue unconstitutionally impaired any contractual rights of the Unions' members; (2) federal court was not the proper forum to litigate the Unions' undeveloped claims that the City was failing to abide by the terms of its ordinances or collective bargaining agreements; and (3) this lawsuit provided no opportunity to challenge the terms of a settlement by other parties in another lawsuit. View "Cranston Firefighters, IAFF v. Raimondo" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court granting the Rhode Island State Board of Election's motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to Plaintiff's claims that his constitutional rights were violated by the manner in which his employment was brought to an end. The district court concluded that Plaintiff, a quondam employee of the Board, had not shown a deprivation of any constitutionally protected interest. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to show a constitutionally protected property interest in his job, and therefore, Plaintiff's loss-of-employment claim failed; and (2) Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to make his claim that the Board stigmatized him plausible. View "Kando v. Rhode Island Board of Elections" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff and the corporate Defendants freely negotiated and entered into a clear and unambiguous contract for Plaintiff to sell their insurance policies. In the contract, Plaintiff consented to a provision allowing Defendants to immediately terminate the contract if he breached it in any one of five different specified ways. Plaintiff breached the contract, and Defendants exercised their right to terminate. Plaintiff sued Defendants under numerous theories of liability for terminating the contract, including under the doctrine of prima facie tort, asserting that Defendants had nefarious reasons for terminating the contract. After review, the New Mexico Supreme Court held that when a contract is clear, unambiguous, and freely entered into, the public policy favoring freedom of contract precludes a cause of action for prima facie tort when the gravamen of the allegedly tortious action was the defendant’s exercise of a contractual right. View "Beaudry v. Farmers Ins. Exch." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court awarding Plaintiff her attorney fees and expenses. In this action alleging wrongful discharge and retaliation, the district court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The district court awarded Plaintiff fees and expenses. After several appeals, the court ultimately awarded Plaintiff a total sum of $223,792. The Supreme Court set the fee award at $241,700 and the expense award at $5664, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion by using Plaintiff’s attorneys’ currently hourly rates or by using the percentage reduction method to reduce the total requested fees and expenses; but (2) the district court abused its discretion in the manner it used the percentage reduction method and by not awarding Plaintiff any of the expenses she requested in her application for fees and expenses. View "Lee v. State" on Justia Law

by
In this employment dispute, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court insofar as it granted the North Kingstown School Committee’s (“school committee”) motion to quash the subpoenas of two attorneys for the school committee, and affirmed the judgment in all other respects. After the school committee voted to terminate Teacher’s employment, Teacher appealed to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education within the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE). At Teacher’s request, the RIDE hearing officer issued three subpoenas addressed to two attorneys for the school committee and a subpoena duces tecum to the North Kingstown School Department. In superior court, the school committee filed a petition to quash the three subpoenas issued by the RIDE hearing officer. The hearing justice granted in part and denied in part the motion. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the superior court’s judgment, holding that the hearing justice applied the attorney-client privilege to the attorneys’ anticipated testimony in an overly broad manner. The court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "North Kingstown School Committee v. Wagner" on Justia Law

by
Although Wis. Stat. 103.465 explicitly refers to a covenant not to compete, the plain meaning of the statute is not limited to covenant in which an employee agrees not to compete with a former employer. Plaintiff imposed a non-solicitation of employees provision as part of Defendant’s employment agreement. The provision prohibited Defendant from soliciting, inducing, or encouraging any employee of Plaintiff to terminate his or her employment or to accept employment with a competitor, supplier or customer of Plaintiff. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant engaged in actions that violated the non-solicitation of employees provision. The circuit court concluded that the provision was reasonable and enforceable under section 103.465. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s non-solicitation of employees provision was a restraint of trade governed by section 103.465 and was unenforceable under the statute because it did not meet the statutory requirement that the restriction be “reasonably necessary for the protection of the employer.” View "Manitowoc Co. v. Lanning" on Justia Law

by
At issue in this appeal was the contours of the proof necessary for an employee to establish an employer’s subjective intent to create a dangerous situation with a “substantial certainty of injury” to the employee for purposes of avoiding application of the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Supreme Court held that, under the circumstances of this case and in the absence of any evidence demonstrating the hallmarks typical of employer misconduct, Plaintiff failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact with respect to whether Defendants subjectively believed that Plaintiff’s injuries from the use of a particular excavator were substantially certain to occur. View "Lucenti v. Laviero" on Justia Law

by
After a previous remand of this case, the First Circuit addressed whether the district court’s ruling in favor of Claimant on her claim for disability benefits based on chronic and severe pain was correct and whether the district court abused its discretion in failing to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On the first appeal, the First Circuit remanded the case for additional administrative proceedings. On remand, Appellant again denied Claimant’s claim. Appellant appealed. The district court ruled in Claimant’s favor. On appeal, Appellant challenged the district court’s view of the expanded administrative record and the district court’s refusal to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On cross-appeal, Claimant challenged the district court’s calculations of prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s rulings on the disability claim and sanctions; but (2) vacated the prejudgment interest award and remanded for consideration of the appropriate rate of interest. View "Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada" on Justia Law