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Eleventh Circuit Sustains Award To Employer In Whistleblower Case

In a warning to plaintiffs’ counsel who seek emotional distress damages for alleged whistleblower retaliation under Florida law, the Eleventh Circuit in Smith v. Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., 750 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. May 6,...more

When Numbers Lie: The Limits of Statistical Methodology in California Class Action Management

Courts that oversee class actions can use class sampling and other statistical methods to manage litigation involving large numbers of plaintiffs and the vast amount of data associated with them. In California, however, those...more

The Mistaken Fiduciary: Can You Correct Overpayments to U.S. Retirees?

Even the best run pension plans occasionally pay retirees the wrong amount due to errors in employee classification, or calculating participant service or compensation. Correcting underpayments is easy enough – though it is...more

Duran v. U.S. Bank: When Class Certification Goes Wrong

The California Supreme Court recently handed down a landmark decision on class actions. The trial judge lost control of the certification and evidentiary presentation of the case resulting in a $15 million verdict against...more

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal on Enforceability of FLSA Collective Action Waivers

Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied a request to review the issue of whether the Fair Labor Standards Act grants employees a non-waivable right to bring a collective action and thus, renders arbitration agreements with...more

Employers Fight Back Against Whistleblowers

In 2013, the federal government recovered $3.8 billion from settlements and judgments under the False Claims Act (FCA). Whistleblowers—also called “relators”—can recover up to 30 percent of whatever a defendant pays in a...more

Ninth Circuit Holds that Monetary “Make-Whole” Relief Is Not Available Absent Loss to Plan or Unjust Enrichment for Defendant...

A Ninth Circuit panel recognized that reformation, equitable estoppel and surcharge were among the “appropriate equitable relief” potentially available under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA (following dictum in CIGNA Corp. v....more

Plaintiff’s Trade Secret Lawsuit Backfires!

We recently reported on good things (big verdicts) coming to trade secret plaintiffs that endure lengthy lawsuits. But good things don’t always come to those who wait. ...more

Court Awards Fees And Costs Against USDOL

A Texas federal court has ordered the U.S. Labor Department to pay more than $560,000 in attorney's fees, paralegal fees, and travel expenses growing out of litigation under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. USDOL...more

Developments in Tennessee, Alabama, and Federal Employment Law

Effective July 1, 2014, a new law (T.C.A. § 29-39-104) changes the exposure for Tennessee employers subject to the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”) and the Tennessee Public Protection Act (“TPPA”). The law limits...more

Court Sanctions Employer $25K for Failing to Preserve Email After Notice of EEOC Charge

In Knickerbocker v. Corinthian Colleges, a trial court in Washington state sanctioned an employer because it failed to preserve evidence and issued an insufficient litigation hold after the employer received notice of EEOC...more

$15M Judgment Reversed Due to Flawed Statistical Sampling Approach to Class Action

In a significant victory for California employers, the California Supreme Court threw out a $15 million judgment in favor of allegedly misclassified employees. In Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association, a putative class of...more

SEC's Enforcement Action Against Hedge Fund Adviser for Retaliation Against a Whistleblower Highlights Challenges Employers Face

After repeated warnings over the last few years that it had both the authority and willingness to do so, on June 16, 2014, the SEC brought its first enforcement action for retaliation against a whistleblower under the...more

SEC Charges Hedge Fund Adviser with Whistleblower Retaliation under Dodd-Frank

On June 16, 2014, the SEC issued its first-ever charge of whistleblower retaliation under section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act, charging a hedge fund advisor and its owner with “engaging in prohibited principal transactions and...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - June 2014

No Liability for Off-the-Clock Work Absent Employer Knowledge - A California appeals court refused to hold Kaiser Foundation Health Plan liable for alleged off-the-clock overtime about which it lacked knowledge. In...more

Appelate Court Notes

AC35823 - Stratford v. Wilson - When Mayor allegedly overpaid a departing employee as he was leaving office himself, the town sued the former employee under the action of “indebitatus assumpsit for money had &...more

Ninth Circuit Takes Narrow View of ERISA Surcharge Remedy

In Gabriel v. Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, the Ninth Circuit ruled that a pension plan participant could not be “made whole” by using the equitable remedy of surcharge to recover pension benefits he was erroneously told he...more

Lack of Full Disclosure: Special Costs in Failed Anton Piller Order

In recent years, employers have increasingly sought and obtained Anton Piller Orders (“APO”) where a departing employee leaves with confidential information. The strategy is often extremely effective...more

Plaintiff’s Claim for Estoppel, Reformation and Surcharge Strikes Out

A divided panel of the Ninth Circuit recently held that plaintiff Gregory Gabriel could not recover, as “appropriate equitable relief,” pension benefits he thought he was owed from the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund, after...more

Ninth Circuit Narrowly Upholds Class Settlement In Misclassification Case

We’ve commented several times recently on the increasing scrutiny courts are giving to class action settlements generally, and to attorney fee awards in particular. A recent decision from the Ninth Circuit, although it...more

Illinois Supreme Court to Decide Whether State Treasurer Needs an Appeal Bond to Challenge Workers Comp Award

Although Illinois courts are courts of general jurisdiction presumed to have subject matter jurisdiction, this presumption doesn’t apply to workers’ compensation proceedings. Pursuant to Section 19(f)(2) of the Workers’...more

Sanity Prevails: The Tale of a 90% Reduction to a Punitive Damages Award

In the May 2014 Ontario Court of Appeal decision in the case of Boucher v. Wal-Mart, the $1,150,000 in punitive damages previously awarded to Boucher by a jury was reduced to $110,000. The decision represents a good monetary...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether a Motion for Setoff Stops the Time to Appeal From Running

It’s one of the most fundamental rules of appellate practice: the notice of appeal has to be timely filed, or the appellate court is without jurisdiction to do anything other than dismiss the appeal. In the closing days of...more

No Lawsuit for You! When Subcontractors Cannot Sue the General Contractor

Can a subcontractor sue a general contractor over a work site accident? A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court loudly and clearly said, "NO." Why not? The court ruled in Patton v. Worthington Associations, Inc....more

A New Dawn for California Class Actions

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” The California Supreme Court could have been channeling Mark Twain when it rejected, emphatically, the unbridled use of statistical sampling to prove...more

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