Willful Misconduct

News & Analysis as of

California Court Holds An Adjuster May Be Personally Liable For Misrepresentations Made To The Insured

Earlier this month, an intermediate level California court rejected arguments that an insurance company’s adjuster owes no independent duty to the policyholders and cannot be liable even for “appalling” misconduct if he is...more

Ethics at Work: 2013 Survey Finds Positive Trends; Some Troubling Findings

Last month, the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) released its biennial National Business Ethics Survey (NBES). I was honored to serve on the NBES Advisory Panel this year, particularly given its reputation as a definitive...more

Calling Your Boss A Clown: No Laughing Matter

A Pennsylvania man lost his job in September 2012 and is now without unemployment compensation. Why? He called his boss a "clown."...more

Federal court confirms broad reading of “willfully” in health care false statements cases: Ignorance of the law is no defense

In Brief - The First Circuit recently confirmed that in prosecutions for false statements in health care matters, a defendant does not have to know that making the statement is illegal to be found to have acted...more

But I’m Not Dead Yet! Punitive Damages For Unseaworthiness Claims Live On

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that Jones Act seamen can recover punitive damages for their employer’s willful and wanton breach of the general maritime duty to provide a seaworthy vessel, in...more

Investigating Alleged Board Member Misconduct

Let us start our discussion with an area of broad consensus: A company’s board of directors has a duty of care to respond to and investigate allegations of wrongdoing by officers and employees of the company. But what happens...more

Eleventh Circuit Declines to Impute Supervisor's Knowledge of Misconduct to the Employer

On July 24, 2013, the Eleventh Circuit joined several other courts of appeal in declining to allow the Secretary of Labor to lay blame for a supervisor's knowledge of his own misconduct to his employer in establishing a prima...more

When is a "Whistleblower" Not Really a "Whistleblower"?

Question: When is a “whistleblower” not really a “whistleblower”? Answer: When an employee reports potential misconduct only to his or her employer and that employer happens to be located in the Fifth Circuit....more

Federal Circuit Review - Volume 3 | Issue 7 July 2013

In This Issue: • Isolated DNA not Patent Eligible • Appeals Before Damages and Willfulness Determination OK • Reverse Payment Settlement Agreements May be Invalid - Excerpt from Isolated DNA not Patent...more

United States Supreme Court Issues Two Employer-Friendly Decisions With Far-Reaching Impact in Employee Harassment Cases

On June 24, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued two employer-friendly opinions that substantially narrow potential liability for claims of supervisor misconduct and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act...more

Retail Industry Update, No. 2, June 2013: Handling Misconduct By (Someone Else's) Employees

In “Legally Blonde,” Reese Witherspoon’s hairdresser catches the eye of her crush, the sexy delivery driver. In spite of starting with an awkward misfire with the hairdresser smacking the delivery driver in the nose, the...more

Arizona Court Of Appeals Decision Highlights Employer’s Burden Of Proving Disqualification From Unemployment Benefits

The Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion overturning the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board’s denial of unemployment benefits to an employee who was terminated for excessive tardiness. ...more

Illinois Not Liable for Elected Officials' Attorney Fees for Intentional, Willful or Wanton Misconduct

Does the State of Illinois have to pay elected officials' attorney fees when the underlying complaint alleges that the official committed "intentional, willful or wanton misconduct"? Earlier this month, a unanimous Illinois...more

Third Department Affirms Unemployment Insurance Appeal’s Board Finding Of No Misconduct Due To Unintentional Internet Usage

In the Matter of the Claim of Jay Osborne, 102 A.D.3d 1048 (3d Dep’t Jan. 24, 2013): In this case, the plaintiff was terminated for violating his employer’s policy against personal use of the Internet during work hours...more

Employee's History Of Absenteeism Sufficient To Deny UC Benefits Even If Final Incident Justified

Historically, in determining whether an employee discharged for absenteeism and tardiness was eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, the court’s analysis had focused on the final incident that led to termination....more

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