• January 29, 2015

    AutoNation Case Shows High Bar To Undo Arbitrator Awards

    The California Supreme Court held Thursday that an AutoNation Inc. employee fired during medical leave wasn’t deprived of his rights because evidence in arbitration showed he violated a company policy by working elsewhere while on leave, a decision lawyers say ducks questions about employers’ “honest belief” defense while reinforcing that judicial review of arbitration awards is extremely limited.

  • January 29, 2015

    Insurer Needn't Cover Wholesaler's 5-Hour Energy Theft Claim

    An Alabama magistrate judge ruled Thursday that Great American Insurance Co. didn't breach its contract with WL Petrey Wholesale Inc. by refusing to pay the wholesaler's claim for an employee's alleged theft of tens of thousands of bottles of 5-Hour Energy drink, saying an inventory shortage exclusion in the policy precludes coverage.

  • January 29, 2015

    DuPont Wins Jury Verdict In FCA Suit Over Chemical Leaks

    A Louisiana federal jury has sided with DuPont Co. in a False Claims Act suit accusing the company of not telling federal regulators about leaks of carcinogens at one of its plants and retaliating against the whistleblower who reported them.

  • January 29, 2015

    DirecTV Technicians Ask JPML To Consolidate FLSA Actions

    A group of DirecTV Inc. technicians asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Miami on Thursday to consolidate 41 Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits, arguing that their relationship to the satellite provider, which allegedly misclassified them as independent contractors, is the same across all the suits.

  • January 29, 2015

    Muslim Prayer Break Claims Cut From EEOC Suit Against JBS

    A Nebraska federal judge on Wednesday granted JBS USA's motion to dismiss some claims in the second phase of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suit that accuses the meatpacking company of failing to accommodate Muslim workers' requests for prayer breaks, affirming that the requests placed an undue hardship on the company.

  • January 29, 2015

    Employment Laws 'Outdated,' Judge In Lyft Wage Row Says

    The California federal judge overseeing Lyft Inc. drivers' proposed wage-and-hour class action against the ride-hailing company wrestled Thursday with whether to grant the drivers' bid for a ruling that they are full-fledged Lyft employees, calling the laws that distinguish employees from independent contractors “woefully outdated.”

  • January 29, 2015

    Exide Unveils Settlement That Could Speed Ch. 11 Exit

    Exide Technologies Inc. told a Delaware bankruptcy judge Thursday that senior secured and unsecured creditors in the case had come to a settlement over antitrust, intellectual property and pension concerns that appears to end months of wrangling and could hasten and simplify the battery giant's exit from Chapter 11.

  • January 29, 2015

    Market Rumors: Spotify, Aena, Travelex

    Music streaming service Spotify is seeking private funding, a move that could delay its anticipated IPO by another year, while Spanish airport operator Aena may be on track for a bumpy debut, with labor unions calling for a 25-day strike to protest the IPO.

  • January 29, 2015

    NCAA Athletes Should Get Publicity Pay, SAG Tells 9th Circ.

    The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists urged the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday to affirm a ruling that said college athletes must be paid for use of their images, saying attempts to diminish laws protecting an individual’s right of publicity could be “ruinous” to performers’ careers.

  • January 29, 2015

    Calif. Court Says No Proof Company Favored H-1B Workers

    A California appeals court Wednesday affirmed the dismissal of a case accusing Molina Healthcare Inc. of engaging in national origin discrimination by replacing its American workforce with Indian nationals holding H-1B visas, saying the former employee who brought the case offered no evidence that she had been fired.

  • January 29, 2015

    NYC Deli Chain Owner Settles Wage Class Action

    Delivery and cleaning employees of New York City deli chain Guy & Gallard have reached a settlement in a class action suit lobbed against owner Matrat LLC and affiliates, eight months after alleging wage violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a judge's Thursday order.

  • January 29, 2015

    NLRB Defied 5th Circ. In Class Waiver Fight, Murphy Oil Says

    The National Labor Relations Board defied the Fifth Circuit when it held that Murphy Oil USA Inc. arbitration agreements barring workers from pursuing class or collective actions were unlawful and doubled down on the NLRB's “erroneous” findings in D.R. Horton, Murphy Oil said Wednesday.

  • January 29, 2015

    NJ Workers Slap Home Depot, Staples With Wage Class Suits

    Workers have hit cleaning and delivery companies and the retail giants that they respectively service, Home Depot USA Inc. and Staples, with putative class actions in New Jersey claiming that they are employees of those behemoths who have been denied proper wages.

  • January 29, 2015

    False DaVita Testimony Jeopardizing Privilege In FCA Suit

    A Georgia federal judge has ordered the review of communications between defense lawyers and witnesses in a False Claims Act suit against DaVita Inc. for allegedly seeking reimbursement on intentionally overused dialysis drugs, after finding the witnesses may have been coached to change their testimony.

  • January 29, 2015

    McConnell, Alexander Introduce Bill To Reform NLRB

    Senate Republican leaders introduced legislation Wednesday that takes aim at how the National Labor Relations Board operates, with reforms they contend would turn the panel from an advocate to an umpire and prevent the general counsel from operating as an activist.

  • January 29, 2015

    Calif. Lawmaker’s New Bill Tackles Cheerleader Exploitation

    California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez on Thursday proposed a bill that would make professional sports cheerleaders employees under state law, tackling sub-minimum wage pay and other conditions that landed the Oakland Raiders and other National Football League teams in court last year.

  • January 29, 2015

    Calif. Anti-Bullying Law To Add Fuel To Worker Litigation

    A California law took effect this month requiring company supervisors to undergo anti-bullying training, a statute that management-side lawyers see as the beginning of broader efforts by state legislators to ban “abusive conduct” in the workplace that will open up a whole new area of employment litigation.

  • January 29, 2015

    TPG Accuses Ex-Spokesman Of Stealing Info, Extortion

    Private equity group TPG Capital this week sued its former spokesman — a former George W. Bush deputy press secretary — in Texas federal court alleging he stole confidential material from the buyout shop and, in some cases, gave that information to the media before he was ultimately fired.

  • January 28, 2015

    CBS Faces Intern Class Action After Aborted 'Late Show' Suit

    A former CBS Corp. intern has filed a class action in New York state court alleging the media giant cheated interns out of wages, five months after an ex-“Late Show” intern represented by the same law firm dropped similar claims against the broadcaster amid allegations the firm had coerced her into suing.

  • January 28, 2015

    Houston Energy Co. Wins $8.5M In Ex-Employee Fraud Dispute

    A Texas judge has affirmed a jury’s $8.5 million award to Houston-based Smith Energy Co. in its suit accusing a former employee of fraud and theft in connection with oil and gas leases in West Texas, Smith Energy’s attorneys at Rusty Hardin & Associates announced Wednesday.

Expert Analysis

  • Time For Calif. Employers To Check Hours Worked Policies

    Karen Reinhold

    Following the California Supreme Court's analysis in Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions Inc., employers would be wise to review any standby, on-call or pager practices used with nonexempt workers. Whether on-call or standby time should be treated as compensable hours worked will involve a factual analysis of the degree of control exercised by the employer, say Karen Reinhold and Daniel Pyne of Hopkins & Carley.

  • M&G Polymers May Impact Private And Public Sector

    Frances Rogers

    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent demand that ordinary principles of contract law apply in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett over whether retiree medical benefits in a collective bargaining agreement are per se vested has implications for both private and public sector employers, despite the latter being guided by other legal strictures and public policy considerations, says Frances Rogers of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

  • Key Questions When Selecting E-Discovery Vendors

    David Houlihan

    While e-discovery remains a critical pain point in litigation, the "solutions" supporting its processes continue to evolve. In order to help organizations navigate the sea of options, we conducted research with 21 organizations across e-discovery market segments to understand the factors involved in successful e-discovery investments, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.

  • Iskanian V. CLS Will Continue To Divide Calif. Courts

    Regina Silva

    The U.S. Supreme Court's recent denial to hear Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC means it remains good law and is binding on all state courts. However, since California federal courts appear to have no intention of following the opinion, legal observers should expect significant forum-shopping by litigants going forward, says Regina Silva, senior counsel at Tyson & Mendes LLP and a former prosecutor.

  • Looking At Angles Of Liability After A Cyberattack

    Thomas B. Caswell III

    Individual or class claims from employees against their employers after a cyberattack could be based on state or federal statutes and might include common law claims of negligence, invasion of privacy, breach of express or implied contract or misrepresentation. As this area of litigation expands we are likely to see additional causes of action develop, say Thomas Caswell and Judith Langevin of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

  • Should You Be Withholding On Per Diems Paid To Employees?

    Jennifer A. Ray

    Two Tax Court cases released last week highlight the importance — and the difficulty — of determining where a traveling worker “lives” for tax purposes, and the stakes are magnified for employers that provide cash allowances for travel expenses or per diem amounts to their traveling employees, says Jennifer Ray of Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • How To Fix College Football's Legal Issues

    James Gulotta Jr.

    Baseball and basketball players have professional employment opportunities at an early age — there is no reason why football players should not have similar opportunities. If the National Football League's three-season waiting rule were lifted, much of the confusion affecting college football resolves into clarity, says James Gulotta Jr. of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC.

  • Who Owns Your Company Facebook Account? #unclear

    Nary Kim

    Over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies now maintain a Twitter or Facebook account. Like their human counterparts, companies are actively blogging, tweeting, updating their Facebook pages, and posting videos and comments on YouTube. But who owns these social media accounts, employee or employer? Turns out, it's not so clear, say attorneys with Jenner & Block LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: 2014 JPML Practice Trends

    Alan E. Rothman

    At its December session, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation considered the second attempt by a distributor of dietary supplements to create an MDL proceeding, raising the prospect of the first Hawaii MDL proceeding in nearly 20 years. But as we gear up for the panel hearing on Thursday, let's also consider how JPML trends of 2014 compare with prior years, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • Normal Contract Rules Apply For E-Signing In Calif.

    Alan S. Kaplinsky

    A California appellate court's recent ruling in Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group Inc. shows that, even though nearly all jurisdictions recognize the legal effect of electronic signatures, employers must be able to establish that the electronic signature was the act of the employee, say attorneys at Ballard Spahr LLP.