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Copano Energy’s representative exchanged emails with the attorney of several landowners to discuss the sale of a second easement. When Copano refused to honor the terms agreed to via email, the landowners sued for breach of contract. Copano argued the emails did not satisfy the statute of frauds, while the Texas Court of Appeals disagreed. Two questions remained from the case: whether the Copano representative meant to sign the emails and whether the two parties agreed to conduct the transactions electronically. The Texas Supreme Court has entertained oral arguments in the case.
Over an eight-year period, a City of Mongomery employee was denied a promotion to the position of Revenue Examiner three times. The job description required applicants to be able to walk over rough terrain, which the Plaintiff could not do. While the City claimed this act was an essential function of the job, a federal court found evidence to the contrary. Two individuals in the same position had not conducted site visits at all in the past 11 months.
As the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) pursues new discrimination suits moving into 2020, employers must be aware of misconduct and harassment initiated by customers and vendors as well as co-workers. While employers are not responsible for the actions of customers or vendors, they are responsible for protecting their employees from alleged harassment by these third parties. This begins by ensuring company policies cover customer-based harassment and may include banning the customer from the premises.
Recognizing Supreme Court precedent, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed course, allowing arbitration of claims concerning an ERISA 401(k) plan in Dorman v. Charles Schwab Corp., No. 18-15281, 934 F.3d 1107 and 2019 WL 3939644 (Aug. 20, 2019). In 1984, the Ninth Circuit held that ERISA claims were not subject to arbitration in Amaro v. Continental Can Co. The United States Supreme Court later held in American Express Co. v.
The Department of Labor (DOL) formally rescinded it’s 2016 Final Rule, which was blocked by a federal judge before implementation. In its place, the DOL issued new regulations to increase the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions to $684 per week ($35,568 annually) and for highly compensated employees to $107,432 annually. The new Final Rule includes provisions for nondiscretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and “catch up” payments. Employers should take note of this Final Rule and take steps to ensure compliance.
ClarkDietrich, a steel producer, sued CSSA, a trade association of three competitors, for publishing false statements regarding its material quality. When the jury returned a verdict against CSSA for $43 million, the association’s E&O insurer, Evanston Insurance Company, declared it had no obligation to indemnify. Evanston claimed CSSA’s publication of false statements fell under the dishonest conduct exclusion.
Many errors and omissions (E&O) and similar malpractice insurance policies include a breach of contract exclusion. Insureds who purchase these policies often work from contracts, which can leave the door open for their insurance company to refuse to defend lawsuits based on work related to those contracts. Courts’ decisions on whether the insurers must provide coverage vary based on the essence of the claim against the policyholder.
H.S., who participated in an employee health plan governed by ERISA and administered by Community Health Systems, Inc., began receiving hemodialysis treatment in 2012. His chosen healthcare provider, Dialysis Newco, Inc.,was out-of-network for the plan. Initially, the plan covered 100% of the provider’s billed amount but changed course after three months. H.S. executed an “Assignment of Benefits” allowing the provider to sue his plan for the more than $800K in unpaid healthcare costs.
Two years ago a 10-year-old boy died in an ATV accident while playing at his grandparents’ house. The boy’s mother sued the grandparents who in turn asked their insurer, State Farm, to defend them. State Farm denied their request and asked the court to rule that it had no duty to defend or indemnify.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a question to the Washington Supreme Court about whether obesity is an impairment under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The court ruled that obesity “always” qualifies as an impairment under WLAD. This ruling departs from decisions made in other circuit courts addressing such claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The high profile case of Anthony Levandowski, a Silicon Valley engineer, demonstrates the federal government’s goal to prosecute “priority trade secret theft cases.” Levandowski worked with Google’s self-driving technology company Waymo for seven years. When he left, he reportedly downloaded 14,000 documents related to the secret technology the company had developed.
Mississippi is the latest state to enact laws limiting what foods may be labeled as “meat.” Senate Bill 2922, codified in Mississippi Code Section 75-35-15 makes it a misdemeanor to
A school event took a damaging turn when Salvador Reyes, an 18-year-old high school senior, crashed into another student during a bubble soccer game. Reyes’s school Campbell High School hired Game Truck Georgia, LLC, to oversee the event. Game Truck provided the “bubble suits” that extended above students’ heads and below their waists. Reyes suffered a fractured skull which left him with brain damage when he rushed another student.
Last month we reported about the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in State of Texas v.
After ten years of work with Professional Contract Services, Inc., Esteban Garcia stepped forward as a whistleblower to reveal allegations against his employer. Two months later the company terminated Garcia for failing to service the jobs to which he was assigned. Garcia sued for retaliation under the False Claims Act. The district court granted summary judgment to the company due to Garcia’s lack of a prima facie case.
In the first half of 2019, nearly 50 cases report emojis being entered as evidence. The three most common cases to include emojis are sexual harassment cases, criminal cases, and workplace lawsuits. With more than 2800 emojis available and a variety of forms and interpretations for many of them, the courts have struggled with the best way to present them in court.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed an interlocutory appeal to ask how the Supreme Court of Mississippi would interpret the subrogation waiver in the American Institute of Architects Document A201-2007. The waiver, which intends to limit litigation, generates much litigation not just in Mississippi but around the country. The specific case in question involves a fire that broke out during construction at a Chickasaw County School.
In 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on using arrest and conviction records in hiring decisions and prohibited the use of no-felony rules. When a former Texas state job applicant filed a complaint with the EEOC based on Texas’s no-felon hiring policy, the state of Texas sued the EEOC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
A California company learned the importance of documentation when an employee filed a lawsuit alleging she was fired in retaliation for not signing an affidavit. While the employee’s termination came on the heels of her refusal to sign the paperwork, the company had detailed memos dated prior to the incident regarding the planned reorganization and the employee’s termination.

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