Many Eyes on the Vergara Appeal

  • March 11, 2016

The California Court of Appeals, Second District, heard oral arguments in Vergara v. California on Thursday, February 25, 2016.  Originally tried in 2014, a California Superior Court judge ruled that California’s teacher tenure and last-in-first-out layoff policies are unconstitutional.  The case was originally brought by reformers who would get rid of job protections which have been in place for decades on the grounds that they prevent the free hiring and (mostly) firing of teachers.  The reformers argue that on account…

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The Supreme Court Nullifies State’s Data Collection Law for Self-Funded Health Plans

  • March 11, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a majority ruling holding Vermont cannot require self-funded health plans to release data on the costs of medical claims.  The Vermont law in question, required health insurers and other entities to provide the State with reports containing claims data and other health care information.  The court held that ERISA preempted the operation of these requirements in the context of self-funded health plans.  The majority held that the law intruded on plan administration and would potentially…

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Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split With Big Consequences for ERISA Plans with Subrogation/Reimbursement Clauses

  • February 10, 2016

Montanile v. Bd. of Trustees of Nat. Elevator Indus. Health Benefit Plan, No. 14-723, 2016 WL 228344 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2016). The terms of ERISA plans often contain a clause requiring a participant to reimburse the plan if the participant later recovers money from a third party for her/his injuries. Under ERISA § 502(a)(3), 29 U.S.C. 1132(a)(3), plan fiduciaries can file civil suits to obtain “appropriate equitable relief” to enforce the plan terms.  At issue in Montanile is an ERISA…

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9th Circuit Panel Hears Living Wage Argument

  • February 10, 2016

A federal appellate panel recently heard oral argument in an action brought by associations of hotel owners challenging the City of Los Angeles’ hotel worker minimum wage ordinance. In American Hotel & Lodging Association, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, CV 14-09603-AB (SSX) (C.D. Cal. May 13, 2015), the Plaintiffs sought an injunction staying the effective date and enjoining the enforcement of Los Angeles Ordinance No. 183241, Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance, which the City passed in October…

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Federal Court Limits Employers’ Ability to “Unfriend” Employees

  • December 15, 2015

The Second Circuit recently upheld an NLRB decision that found an employer acted illegally when it terminated an employee for “liking” another employee’s Facebook post regarding the employer’s alleged mishandling of tax withholdings.  In the case, Three D, LLC d/b/a Triple Play Sports Bar and Grille v. NLRB (Case No. 34-CA-012915), the Court upheld the NLRB’s decision on the grounds that the employees’ Facebook posts were protected under Article 7 of the NLRA as “other concerted activities for the purpose of…mutual…

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments Regarding Subrogation

  • December 15, 2015

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments regarding a plan's right to recover medical reimbursement costs.  At issue is whether the remedy is considered "legal" or "equitable."  The Court has previously held that actions for damages are prohibited, but has allowed the enforcement of equitable liens.  For a summary of the issues involved, see SCOTUS blog's coverage of Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan  

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NLRB Rules that Companies Can be Held Liable for the Labor Violations of their Contractors

  • November 4, 2015

The NLRB recently considered whether a waste management firm could be held liable for the treatment of contracted employees hired by a separate staffing agency. The NLRB determined the waste management firm should be considered a “joint employer” with the staffing agency, and was therefore pulled into the collective bargaining negotiations with those employees and held liable for any labor violations committed against them.

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