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No damages awarded for unforeseeable workplace assault, but employer ordered to rewrite harassment policy

The fact that an employee had engaged in harassment did not make it foreseeable that he would assault a coworker, a labour arbitrator has held. However, the company’s harassment policy was deficient and needed to be...more

No Workers' Comp Immunity! No Insurance! Sure Is a Problem

In many states, workers’ compensation benefits are ordinarily the exclusive remedy for an employee injured or killed on the job. In exchange for these benefits, often awarded on a “no fault” basis, the employee generally...more

Florida Court finds Workers' Compensation Statute Unconstitutional

Circuit Judge Jorge E. Cueto of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida has found that Section 440.11 of Florida's Workers' Compensation Act (the "Act"), which makes the Act the "exclusive" remedy...more

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

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

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

North Carolina Court Allows Emotional Distress Damages for Wrongful Discharge Claim

North Carolina courts recognize a limited exception to the normal employment at-will doctrine. If an employee is terminated for reasons that violate state public policy, the plaintiff may pursue a common law tort claim to...more

Civil Liability Act New South Wales (NSW) – most extreme case assessments – determinative, not discretionary

The NSW Court of Appeal’s 19 May decision in Hall v State of New South Wales [2014] NSWCA 154 provides some interesting guidance in respect of appealing the assessment of non-economic loss under the Civil Liability Act. The...more

Employment Law Update: Bullying Not So Fashionable

Sussan: Where tit goes with tat - A recent win for a bullied employee of the Sussan retail chain in the Supreme Court of Queensland shows that it has never been more important for employers to ensure frontline managers...more

Legal Updates for Government Entities Covering March and April 2014

The Gallaghers sued TUSD and a TUSD school employee, Michael Corum, alleging that Corum sexually abused and/or exploited their developmentally challenged daughter at a TUSD school. The Gallaghers claimed that TUSD was...more

Employment Reform Legislation Passes Tennessee Legislature

On April 16, 2014, the Tennessee General Assembly, at the urging of Baker Donelson, passed significant employment litigation reform that will benefit employers throughout Tennessee. The bill places caps on compensatory...more

ERISA (7th Cir.): Beneficiary and Attorney Who Ignore Subrogation Lien for Medical Bills Paid by ERISA Plan “Better Call Saul”

You have seen this one before: The ERISA plan pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and secures an equitable lien. Then, the ERISA plan beneficiary settles a tort claim, but refuses to reimburse the ERISA...more

California Employment Law Notes - March 2014

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed - Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was...more

U.S. Tax Court Decision Shows Importance of Carefully Drafting Settlement Agreements

In Sharp v. Commissioner, the United States Tax Court once again demonstrated the importance of carefully crafting settlement agreements and reaffirmed that emotional distress damages are taxable income to the recipient....more

Part 3 of 3: Biggest Disadvantage to “Opting Out” of Texas Workers’ Compensation System

The biggest reason most employers elect to provide workers’ compensation benefits is to avoid the risk of litigation. An employer who provides workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers cannot be sued by the employee...more

California Employment Law Notes - November 2013

Employer Was Entitled To "Substantial Motivating Factor" Jury Instruction - Alamo v. Practice Mgmt. Info. Corp., 219 Cal. App. 4th 466 (2013) - In one of the first appellate opinions to consider the new jury...more

Indiana Court Clarifies Rights of Volunteer to Bring Claim Outside of Worker’s Compensation & Reach of Equine Activity Statute

This week we examine the issues of whether a volunteer who accepts medical benefits under a worker's compensation policy is bound to the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act for exclusive recovery. We also examine the Indiana...more

New Law on the Horizon for Illinois Employers Settling Tort Claims

On January 1, 2014, a new section of the Civil Practice Law, “Settlement of claims; payment” (735 ILCS § 5/2-2301), will take effect. The Illinois legislature passed the law in an effort to expedite the payment process in...more

The Supreme Court Defers to Plan Language in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen

Summary - In U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen, the US Supreme Court recently considered whether certain equitable defenses override the terms of a welfare plan in a plan fiduciary's suit for reimbursement under §...more

NJ Supreme Court Clarifies Employee “Protected Activity”

The ruling provides guidance as to what employee conduct is protected under the antiretaliation provisions of two key state laws. On July 17, the Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a decision in Battaglia v. United...more

Express Plan Terms Allow Self-Insured Plan to Recover Medical Benefits Paid to Employee Post-McCutchen

In Quest Diagnostics v. Bomani, et al., 11-CV-00951 (D. Conn., June 19, 2013), the court granted Quest Diagnostic’s (“Quest”) motion for summary judgment, ruling that Quest, as the fiduciary to its self-insured medical plan,...more

Imminence of Harm is Not Required for Recovering Pure Economic Loss for Dangerous Defects

Lack of “imminent risk” does not bar recovery for economic loss arising from a dangerously defective structure, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently held. Typically, courts are reluctant to award lost profits or other...more

Group Health Plan Can Enforce Reimbursement Rights Against Trustee

On the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s recent holding in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, where the Court held that a group health plan’s reimbursement rights are not automatically subject to equitable defenses, it...more

ERISA Litigation Alert: Check Your Plan Subrogation and Reimbursement Language to Eliminate “Contractual Gaps”

In U.S. Airways v. McCutchen, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ability of U.S. Airways’ health plan to recover medical expenses that it previously paid to the injured party from a third party settlement, but remanded the...more

High Court Holds Equitable Defenses Do Not Trump ERISA Plan’s Clear Reimbursement Language

The Supreme Court’s April decision in U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen resolves a circuit split on the issue of a medical plan’s right to reimbursement of medical expenses from a plan participant who recovers on a personal...more

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