General Business Labor & Employment Conflict of Laws

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Complete Versus Conflict Preemption In ERISA Cases

Both state and federal courts have original jurisdiction over ERISA benefits actions. See29 U.S.C. § 1132(e)(1), ERISA § 502(e)(1). But litigants (and defendants in particular) have historically preferred the federal courts,...more

“Loath to create a circuit split,” the Fifth Circuit Overturns NLRB’s D.R. Horton Ruling that Class Arbitration Waivers in...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently rendered its long-awaited decision in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 12-60031 (5th Cir. Dec. 3, 2013), revised December 4, 2013, which reversed the National Labor Relations Board...more

Class Action Waiver in Arbitration Agreement Survives NLRA Challenge

Finding the National Labor Relations Board failed to give appropriate weight to the Federal Arbitration Act, the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Board decision invalidating an arbitration agreement that...more

Sorting Laundry: California Court Reaffirms Scope Of Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Angelica Textile Services, Inc. v. Park, No. D062405 (October 15, 2013): A California Court of Appeal recently held that claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair competition are not “displaced” or...more

Halloween Special: Scary Results If Employers Overreach In Arbitration Clauses

No haunted house can scare general counsel as much as an opinion invalidating their company’s arbitration clause and thereby allowing a class action to proceed. So, here is a Halloween tale for all to keep in mind....more

Did You Know…The Continuing Saga Of Arbitration Agreements & Unconscionability

In light of the United States Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, the California Supreme Court recently reversed its own prior decision where it had held that an arbitration agreement that requires an...more

Through the Lens of Concepcion: California Supreme Court Revisits the Validity of Agreements Requiring Employee Waiver of Wage...

Almost one year after the U.S. Supreme Court summarily vacated the original 2011 Sonic-Calabasas opinion (Sonic I), the California Supreme Court issued its opinion on remand in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (Sonic II)....more

California Supreme Court Clarifies Application Of Supreme Court Arbitration Holdings On State Law

On October 17, the Supreme Court of California held that, while the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts a California state-law rule categorically prohibiting waiver of state pre-arbitration protections in arbitration...more

Arbitration Wars: The California Supreme Court Strikes Back In Sonic II

On October 17, 2013, the California Supreme Court revisited the enforceability of arbitration agreements in California. The Court released its decision Sonic-Calabasas Inc. v. Moreno (Sonic II). In that 5 – 2 ruling, the...more

California Confirms Preemption by FAA Over State Rule Barring Employee Waiver - Mostly

In Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (Sonic II), the California Supreme Court addressed an employee’s waiver of access to an administrative hearing, in this case a Berman hearing, in an arbitration agreement imposed as a...more

The Ninth Circuit Rules Employer’s Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable Under California Law And Cautions Employers To Ensure...

Today, the Ninth Circuit, in Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Company (Case No. 11-56673), issued a decision affirming the denial of Ralphs Grocery Company’s motion to compel arbitration in an action by an employee asserting...more

California Supreme Court Follows Concepcion But Allows Courts To Strike Down Unconscionable Arbitration Agreements

Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, No. S174475, (October 17, 2013): As expected following the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States interpreting the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), the California Supreme...more

Round 2: Arbitration Agreements v. California Supreme Court

Why it matters: Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (“Sonic II”) presents a mixed bag for employers. While the California Supreme Court reversed itself, acknowledging that the waiver of a Berman hearing is not per se...more

Court Says ERISA Plan Custodian Had to Comply with State Order Attaching Plan Assets

A recent decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a reminder to plan custodians that they cannot assume that federal law will always trump state law when it comes to assignment of plan assets. In Johnson...more

California Supreme Court Grants Review in Brown

The impact of the California Court of Appeal’s recent opinion in Brown v. Superior Court, 216 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (Cal. Ct. App. 2013) is on hold, at least for now. Last week, the California Supreme Court indicated it would...more

Massachusetts SJC Holds That Wage Act Does Not Preempt Common Law and Equitable Claims for Unpaid Wages

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has overruled a Superior Court decision holding that a state statute requiring payment of wages preempts common law and equitable causes of action for recovery of unpaid wages....more

Hospital’s State Law Claims against Health Plan Held Preempted by ERISA, Rules NJ Appellate Division

Last month a NJ Appellate Division panel held in three consolidated appeals that a NJ hospital’s state law claims that a health care plan must pay full price for medical services the hospital provided to plan participants are...more

The U.S. Supreme Court Ended the Term with an Exclamation Mark at the End of Its Statement on Class Actions and Arbitration: The...

The Supreme Court’s October 2012 Term could rightly be named “The Year of the Class Action.” The High Court received many petitions for review and ultimately issued more than five decisions that tackled issues impacting the...more

State Law Cannot Reallocate Life Insurance Proceeds That Accrued To Named Beneficiary Under Federal Law

The Supreme Court recently held that federal law pre-empts state law that attempts to reallocate proceeds accruing to the designated beneficiary of a federal life insurance policy. Hillman v. Maretta, 133 S. Ct. 1943 (2013)...more

That's A Spicy Meatball!

As our readers will no doubt recall, the Supreme Court boldly struck a blow for truth, justice and the American Way a few years ago in its approval of class action waivers in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740...more

Buyer Beware of Successor Liability For FLSA Claims

Businesses often acquire other businesses through an asset purchase, rather than a stock purchase, so that the buyer does not inherit the liabilities of the seller. Not all business owners realize that federal labor law...more

U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Plan Terms Trump Equitable Defenses

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen in which the Court unanimously ruled that a clearly drafted reimbursement clause will trump all equitable defenses....more

Creditors Can Reach Benefits under "Top Hat" Plan, United States District Court of Maryland Rules

Executive Summary: ERISA “top hat” plan’s anti-alienation provision does not trump state garnishment laws. A familiar feature of ERISA is its protection of a participant’s retirement savings from creditors; ERISA...more

Buyer Beware: Seventh Circuit Upholds Application of the Federal Common Law Standard of Successor Liability in an Asset Sale

One of the benefits to structuring an acquisition as an asset deal is that the buyer has the ability to choose the liabilities that it will assume and the liabilities that will remain with the seller, including contingent...more

7th Circuit Holds Successor Liable for FLSA Claims, Despite Buyer’s Disclaimer

In Teed v. Thomas & Betts Power Solutions, LLC, the 7th Circuit in an opinion written by Judge Posner held that, absent a good reason to withhold liability, a purchaser of assets was subject to successor liability for Fair...more

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