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Texas Supreme Court Disputes Reach of Obergefell in Employee Benefits Case

Seyfarth Synopisis: The Texas Supreme Court held that the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, did not dispositively address how far government employers must go in providing...more

Texas Supreme Court Disputes Reach of Obergefell in Employee Benefits Case

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Texas Supreme Court held that the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, did not dispositively address how far government employers must go in providing benefits...more

Seventh Circuit Affirms Likelihood of Success that School’s Bathroom Policy Violates Title IX and Equal Protection Clause

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Seventh Circuit affirmed that a transgender student demonstrated a likelihood of success on claims that his school district’s decision to prohibit him from using the boys’ restroom violated both Title...more

Eighth Circuit Grants Slight Reprieve To Mother Of Transgender Son In ACA Discrimination Suit

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Eighth Circuit upheld dismissal of Title VII claims challenging an employee benefit plan’s blanket transgender exclusion because the exclusion impacted the employee’s transgender son, not the employee....more

Grounding Deferential Review in California – No Preemption for Discretionary Clause Ban

Seyfarth Synopsis: In a decision with wide ranging implications, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a discretionary clause in an employer drafted plan document is subject to, and invalidated by, California’s insurance...more

Eighth Circuit Jimmies The Lid On Pandora’s Box

Seyfarth Synopsis: In an opinion that may result in increasingly complex ERISA benefits litigation, the Eighth Circuit has allowed a breach of fiduciary duty claim premised on alleged faulty claims handling practices to...more

Fifth Circuit: Discretionary Ban Does Not Mandate De Novo Review

In Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas, Inc., No. 16-20174 (5th Cir. Apr. 21, 2017), the Firth Circuit concluded that Texas’ ban on discretionary clauses in certain insurance policies did not require a de novo review of...more

Seventh Circuit Finds Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation Prohibited by the Civil Rights Act

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Seventh Circuit becomes the first appellate court to hold that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited as sex discrimination under Title VII. The decision establishes a circuit...more

Administrative Exhaustion As a Defense to Statutory ERISA Claims?  Not So Much

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Sixth Circuit becomes the seventh circuit court to not require administrative exhaustion for statutory ERISA claims (as opposed to denial of benefit claims), while two circuit courts still do. In...more

Supreme Court Remands Transgender Rights Case to Court of Appeals After Trump Administration Withdraws Obama Era Guidance

Seyfarth Synopsis: On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court remanded a highly anticipated transgender rights case back to the Court of Appeals after the Trump Administration withdrew Obama era guidance regarding the rights of...more

Despite New Administration, EEOC Maintains Position that Title VII Prohibits Gender Identity Discrimination

Seyfarth Synopsis: To the surprise of many, the EEOC is not retreating from the argument first made by the Obama administration that Title VII forbids employment discrimination based on gender identity. In EEOC v. R.G....more

Does the Fiduciary Exception Apply to Legal Advice Received By Insurers During the Claims Process

Seyfarth Synopsis: Adding to the body of conflicting authority on the scope of the attorney-client privilege in ERISA lawsuits, a district court has found that the fiduciary exception to attorney-client privilege applies to...more

Trump Administration Withdraws Prior Department of Education Interpretations Regarding Title IX Protections Afforded to...

Seyfarth Synopsis: The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education jointly issued a “Dear Colleague” letter yesterday withdrawing and rescinding the Obama Administration’s prior guidance letters which instructed schools that...more

Courts Say Title VII Forbids Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Seyfarth Synopsis: Increasingly, courts have held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity violates Title VII. Federal district courts in Nevada and Pennsylvania have recently joined their...more

Supreme Court to Rule on Case Addressing Bathroom Access Based on Gender Identity

On October 28, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal in the matter of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which asks the Court to weigh in on the issue of restroom access for transgender students. The...more

Court Smacks Down Plaintiff’s “[But Mom…] Everyone Else Is Doing It” Public Policy Argument To Void Illegal Exclusions Provisions

Seyfarth Synopsis: A Court ruled that under the Affordable Care Act, an ERISA governed plan exclusion cannot unequivocally bar emergency medical care related to injuries sustained in a fireworks explosion. Recently, a...more

Evidence From LinkedIn, IMDB Used to Support Denial of Benefits

Be careful what you ask for. The Plaintiff in a recent case from the Central District of California learned that lesson when the Plan’s re-evaluation of her claim for benefits revealed that she was apparently working as a...more

Seventh Circuit to Re-Hear Case Determining Whether Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Covered By Title VII

Seyfarth Synopsis: A Seventh Circuit panel’s ruling that Title VII does not cover claims of sexual orientation discrimination will be heard en banc by the Circuit. Whether an en banc ruling affirms or reverses the panel’s...more

A Question of Timing – Social Security Disability Determinations and the Administrative Record

Seyfarth Synopsis: Court excludes evidence of Social Security disability award issued after the final decision issued on plaintiff’s claim for plan disability benefits. The decision accentuates the importance of fighting to...more

Watching SCOTUS – ERISA Church-Plan Exemption Revisited

Seyfarth Synopsis: Currently before the Supreme Court are two petitions regarding the thorny legal question of which organizations can qualify for ERISA’s Church-plan exemption. If the Supreme Court grants certiorari and...more

Texas District Court Enjoins Federal Gender Identity Protection Of Students

Seyfarth Synopsis: In State of Texas v. United States, a District Court issued a nationwide injunction to enjoin the Department of Education and Department of Justice from enforcing their guidelines on accommodations for...more

Don’t Be a Menace to South Central (Houston Action Council) When Your ERISA Claim Is No Good

Seyfarth Synopsis: A recent decision district court ruling affirms that in a benefit discrimination claim, just as in a typical claim of employment discrimination, to survive summary judgment a plaintiff must demonstrate that...more

Suing Not Too Wisely

Seyfarth Synopsis: A district court in Minnesota recently found an employee could not challenge a plan’s blanket transgender exclusion under Title VII, when the employee was not transgender but her son was. The Court went on...more

Fourth Circuit Holds that “Sex” Under Title IX Incorporates Gender Identity

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Fourth Circuit in a case of first impression held that Title IX entitles transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Though that ruling only discusses Title IX, the...more

Fourth Circuit Holds that Title IX Protects Transgender Student’s Right to Use Men’s Restroom Consistent With the Student's Gender...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holds that Title IX protects a transgender student’s right to use the restroom that aligns with the student’s gender identity. The Fourth Circuit has become the first...more

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