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Case Summaries

Labor & Employment Law

[07/30] Dunn v. Trustees of Boston University
Summary judgment in favor of defendant employer on plaintiff's claims that defendant discharged him because of his age in violation of the Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act, is affirmed, where even assuming that plaintiff made a prima facie showing of age discrimination, he failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant's stated reasons for discharging him, as part of a reorganization of its information technology department, were pretextual.

[07/30] Stampf v. Trigg
The district court's denial of defendant's post-trial motions following judgment awarding plaintiff damages on her claim of malicious prosecution, is: 1) affirmed in part, where the district court did not err in denying defendant's motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial on liability; but 2) reversed in part unless plaintiff accepts a remittitur reducing her award, where the jury's award of damages is excessive.

[07/30] Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16
Dismissal of plaintiff's claim that she was entitled to notice and a hearing prior to defendant-school district reduction of her teaching position to half time is affirmed, where, because plaintiff was not "terminated" under Connecticut law, she was not deprived of any due process right.

[07/30] Opalinski v. Robert Half International Inc.
The availability of classwide arbitration is a substantive "question of arbitrability" to be decided by a court absent clear agreement otherwise. Here, the employment agreements are silent as to the availability of classwide arbitration or whether the question should be submitted to the arbitrator, so the district court therefore erred in ruling that the availability of classwide arbitration is a question for the arbitrator.

[07/28] New Jersey Carpenters and Trustrees Thereof v. Tishman Construction Corp of N.J.
Dismissal of plaintiffs' complaint seeking unpaid prevailing wages, is vacated and remanded, where: 1) the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA), which provides that laborers on certain public works projects are to be paid the prevailing wage, is not completely preempted by either the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), or the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA); and therefore, 2) the district court was without jurisdiction to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint.

[07/28] Ramirez v. Carolina Dream, Inc.
Summary judgment for defendant-employer in a personal injury action seeking a remedy under the Jones Act and general maritime law is vacated and remanded, where the record would permit a factfinder to find that plaintiff is entitled to maintenance and cure.

[07/25] Kirkland v. Cablevision Systems
Summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer on plaintiff's Title VII discrimination claims is vacated and remanded, where plaintiff proffered adequate evidence that, if credited by a jury, could support a favorable verdict on his Title VII discrimination and retaliation claims.

[07/25] Moore v. DOJ
In an action seeking survivors' benefits under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act, brought by petitioners, survivors of eight firefighters who died in a car crash after returning from work fighting wildfires, the denial of the claims by the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Office and the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is affirmed, where: 1) decedents worked for a private company that works with governmental and private entities to help suppress wildfires; and 2) the BJA did not err in concluding that the firefighters were not public safety officers within the meaning of the Benefits Act.

[07/24] Moll v. Telesector Resources Group, Inc.
In an action in which plaintiff-employee alleges that defendant-employer discriminated against her, subjected her to a sexually hostile work environment, retaliated against her for complaints of discrimination and harassment and paid her less than her male colleagues for equal work, the district court's decisions granting in part defendant's motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, and denying plaintiff's motion to compel production of documents, are: 1) vacated in part, insofar as the district court granted in part defendant's motion to dismiss, where the district court erred when it refused to consider all allegations in the Complaint in their totality, including those that were not sexually offensive in nature; and 2) vacated in part, insofar as the district court granted in part defendant's motion for summary judgment, where the district court erred when it denied plaintiff's motion to compel documents, and when it disregarded a witness's affidavit because it contradicted the witness's prior deposition testimony.

[07/23] Cox v. Onondaga County Sheriff's Department
Summary judgment in favor of defendant-employer on plaintiffs' Title VII retaliation claims is affirmed, where: 1) defendant-employer's investigation into plaintiffs' claims of racial harassment was not an adverse employment action; and 2) while plaintiffs have established a prima facie case of retaliation based on threats of discipline against plaintiffs for filing a false report with the EEOC, defendant-employer has demonstrated a non-retaliatory purpose as a matter of law.

[07/22] Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive
In a class action alleging violations of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Unfair Competition Law, the trial court's order dismissing all class claims, is reversed and remanded, where: 1) the trial court erred by deciding the issue whether the parties agreed to class arbitration; and 2) the trial court should have submitted the issue to the arbitrator.

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