US Supreme Court Watch

Decisions during 2015-2016 session:

  • Heffernan v. City of Paterson – The First Amendment bars the government from demoting a public employee based on a supervisor’s perception that the employee supports a political candidate. April 26, 2016. [Blog]
  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association – The Court split 4-4, thus affirming the 9th Circuit decision which followed Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Public-sector “agency shop” arrangements do not violate the First Amendment. The 4-4 decision does not set a precedent, so the issue can return to the Court in a later case. March 29, 2016. [Blog]
  • Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo – A class or collective action can be certified where liability and damages will be determined with statistical techniques that presume all class members are identical to the average observed in a sample, and the class contains members who were not injured. March 22, 2016. [Syllabus] [Blog]
  • Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company – ERISA preempts a Vermont statute that requires health insurers to report payments and other information relating to health care services to a state agency for compilation in an all-inclusive health care database. March 1, 2016. [Blog]

Pending cases at the US Supreme Court:

  • CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC – Whether a dismissal of a Title VII case, based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s total failure to satisfy its pre-suit investigation, reasonable cause, and conciliation obligations, can form the basis of a attorney’s fee award to the defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k). [Opinion below] [Briefs] [Blog] [Blog] [Blog] [ Oral argument March 28, 2016.  [Transcript]  [Audio]

Note: SCOTUSblog has published my pre-argument article SCOTUSblog Argument preview: Does the EEOC owe $4.7 million in attorney’s fees? and “Argument analysis: The EEOC’s new theory of attorney’s fees liability” on CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC. SCOTUSblog will also publish my opinion analysis once the case is decided.

  • Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro – Whether “service advisors” at car dealerships are exempt under 29 U.S.C. §213(b)(10)(A) from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime-pay requirements. Oral argument April 20, 2016. [Opinion below] [Briefs]  [Blog] [Casetext] [Blog] [Blog]
  • Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw IndiansWhether Indian tribal court has jurisdiction over an intern’s claim that the manager of a store on tribal land sexually molested him while he was working there.  [Opinion below] [Briefs] [Blog] Oral argument December 7, 2015. [Transcript]  [Audio]
  • Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez – Whether an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy an individual plaintiff’s claim moots that claim, and also moots a class action.  [Opinion below] [Briefs]  [Blog] [Transcript]  [Audio] Oral argument October 14, 2015.  [Transcript]  [Audio]
  • Green v. Brennan – Whether, under federal employment discrimination law, the filing period for a constructive discharge claim begins to run when an employee resigns, or at the time of an employer’s last allegedly discriminatory act giving rise to the resignation.  [Opinion below] [Briefs] [Blog] Oral argument November 30, 2015.   [Transcript]  [Audio]
  • Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan – Does a lawsuit by an ERISA fiduciary against a participant to recover an alleged overpayment by the plan seek “equitable relief” within the meaning of ERISA section 502(a)(3), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3), if the fiduciary has not identified a particular fund that is in the participant’s possession and control at the time the fiduciary asserts its claim?  [Opinion below] [Briefs]  [Blog] Oral argument November 9, 2015. [Transcript]  [Audio]

MHN Government Services, Inc. v. Zaborowski – Whether California’s arbitration-only severability rule is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.  [Opinion below] [Briefs] Oral argument was removed from the Court’s schedule because the parties are in the process of settling.

Decisions during 2014-2015 session:

  • EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores – An employer can be liable under Title VII  for refusing to hire an applicant based on a “religious observance and practice” even if the employer lacks actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required, so long as the need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision. June 1, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Tibble v. Edison International – ERISA trustee’s continuing duty to monitor investments determines when statute of limitations begins to run. May 18, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Mach Mining v. EEOC – Courts may enforce the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mandatory duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit, yet the scope of review is deferential. April 29, 2015.  [Blog]
  • Young v. United Parcel Service – If a pregnant woman can’t do her regular job and asks for a light duty assignment, and many (but not all) other workers get light duty as an accommodation for a disability or on-the-job injury, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may require that the employer also accommodate the pregnant woman. March 25, 2015. [Blog]
  • Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc – A federal agency [Department of Labor] need not engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act before it significantly alters an interpretive rule that articulates an interpretation of an agency regulation. March 9, 2015. [Blog]
  • M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett – When a collective bargaining agreement is silent concerning the duration of retiree health-care benefits, courts should apply ordinary contract principles, and not presume that silence means the parties intended those benefits to vest. January 26, 2015.
  • Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean – Whistleblower’s disclosures, which were contrary to TSA’s regulations
    on sensitive security information, were not “specifically prohibited by law,” because regulations do not qualify as “law” under the whistleblower statute.  January 21, 2015.
  • Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk – Time spent in post-shift security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act. December 9, 2014. [Blog]