News

The U.S. Supreme Court recently gave their final ruling on whether or not employers can force individual arbitration in employee legal claims. In a highly controversial move, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of employers allowing them to force individual arbitration and, at the same time, limit class-action moves by employees. Learn more about the ruling and what it means for the future of employee legal claims here.
American drone company, AeroVironment allegedly transported a bomb on a commercial flight and then fired employee Mark Anderson to cover it up, according to a wrongful termination claim filed by Anderson. The claim alleges that Anderson, who was head of security efforts for company government programs, learned of the bomb incident about a month after it happened and promptly reported the incident to the heads of AeroVironment and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians can finally put a wrongful termination suit behind them long after the case was settled in late 2015. The Tribal Council requested an outside party investigation to determine if Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed complied with the requirements of the settlement payout. Sneed was cleared of any wrongdoing in May.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Texas district court that equipment lease company, Sierra Equipment, Inc. doesn’t have a leg to stand on in their suit brought against Lexington Insurance. Sierra alleged that Lexington was obligated to cover damages to Sierra-owned equipment leased to LWL Management, who was insured by Lexington, despite there being no coverage agreement between LWL and Lexington that included Sierra as a party to LWL’s policy with Lexington.
In the wake of a series of fatal and non-fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles, many Americans say they don’t feel safe sharing the roads with driverless cars, according to a recent survey brought by the American Automobile Association, better known as AAA. Learn more.
A Texas restaurateur’s hopes of opening a real-life Krusty Krab restaurant were dashed after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the rights to the name “The Krusty Krab” belonged to Spongebob Squarepants and his creators at Viacom. Though Viacom had not registered “The Krusty Krab” with The U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the name was important enough to the Spongebob series to deserve trademark protection.
A South Carolina judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial in Bostic v. 3M Co., a suit brought against Johnson & Johnson by the husband of Bertila Boyd-Bostic after Boyd-Bostic died from mesothelioma. After her death, Boyd-Bostic’s husband filed the suit against 3M and Johnson & Johnson alleging the talc powder in Boyd-Bostic’s favorite baby powder made by J&J contained trace amounts of asbestos, a mineral linked to mesothelioma.
A Mississippi-based offshore oil rig worker has filed a federal lawsuit in New Orleans against his employer, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, alleging racial bias and intimidation from supervisors. Maurice Wilson of Morton, Mississippi, who is African-American, claims he was subjected to intimidation on multiple occasions by supervisors, including an incident involving a picture drawn by a supervisor depicting Wilson hanging from a rig structure surround by KKK members.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta accuses retirement plan services provider, Invesco, of a series of allegations, including breaching their fiduciary duties. The plaintiffs in the case surmised that Invesco’s alleged actions show the company did not have its plan participants’ best interests in mind, but rather their own.
The former owner of Florida-based public adjuster company, Nationwide Adjusters, LLC., Jorge Fausto Espinosa, Sr. has been sentenced to 20 years for intentionally setting fires and causing water damage to multiple homes in order to file false or fraudulent insurance claims. Espinosa, Sr. was charged with more than 28 counts of arson, along with a host of grand theft auto and insurance fraud charges. Read more.
Jamba Juice parent company, Whirl Colorado, LLC, has filed a suit against its insurer, Houston Casualty Insurance Co., for refusing coverage in a sexual assault suit brought against Jamba Juice by a former juvenile employee who alleged sexual assault by a former manager at a Colorado location. Whirl alleges Houston Casualty offered a “temporary defense coverage” to Whirl, but also implemented a series of “impermissible conditions and limitations” regarding defense.
Though the decision handed down by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a case brought by a disabled Burger King employee may seem harsh, the First Circuit stands firm in the judgment because, as stated in court documents, “the law is the law.” After Burger King employee Victor Sepulveda-Vargas was traumatized from a late-night robbery at the restaurant, Sepulveda-Vargas was found to qualify as a disabled individual under the American Disabilities Act.
A recent report published by The Tennessean stated that 2016 and 2017 saw more construction worker deaths in the Nashville metro area than it had in 30 years. The number of random site inspections has also declined since 2008, according to the report. Read more on the story here.  
A bill proposed by Georgia lawmakers that would make unauthorized computer access unlawful has been vetoed by Georgia governor, Nathan Deal. The decision came after more than 50 cyber experts wrote the governor with urges to veto the bill due to potential unintended consequences. Learn more.  
A California jury recently awarded former Chipotle manager, Jeannette Ortiz, around $8 million in damages for wrongful termination.
Arbitration cases can be quite tricky, particularly when the case involves multiple defendants, some of whom were not signatories to the arbitration agreement, nor in existence at the time the agreement was made. Henry House and Linda Murrell filed suit against Green Tree Servicing and a number of other entities in related action. The Green Tree Parties filed a motion to compel arbitration, which was granted by the district court.
After a jury ruled in favor of defendant Tyson Foods in a 2016 disability claims case, plaintiff Vanity Benson and her attorney filed motions in early 2017 for a new trial, under the argument that the trial jury had not recognized evidence that could have proven her disability claims.
Florida-based insurer Main Street America group will soon merge with Wisconsin-based insurer, American Family group. The merger echos past mergers between American Family and two other insurance groups, The General and Homesite, that still operate as stand-alone brands. Main Street America will keep its brand name, but will now be able to offer broader product packages and promote geographical growth through the merger.
  The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, handed down the attached decision in Grain Dealers v. Cooley, addressing obligations of an insurer to provide independent counsel.  We view this case as an expansion of the obligation that was created by the Moeller case. Under Cooley,  an insurer is required to provide independent counsel if it either defends claims under a reservation of rights or defends less than all claims without a reservation of rights.    
Louisiana property owners will not receive any payment for flood damages during Hurricane Katrina. Various Louisiana property owners alleged that poor maintenance and construction of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet channel was to blame for catastrophic flooding during the devastating 2005 hurricane. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims originally ruled in favor of the property owners, however the U.S.

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