ERISA class action settlements reached nearly $1 billion in 2017, a record year for class-action lawsuits with over $2 billion paid by employers for litigation involving employment discrimination. Seyfarth Shaw’s Workplace Action Litigation Report for 2018 reports a cool $2.72 billion as the actual total spent by employers in employment discrimination suits.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. determined in late December 2017 the EEOC’s Workplace Wellness Program rules will be vacated effective January 1, 2019. The judge cited the EEOC’s failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the rules as a factor in his decision.
A ruling in a duty to defend case involving a construction company and their insurer is likely to have major impact in future similar cases. Altman Contractors, Inc. filed a summary judgment against their insurer, Crum and Forster Specialty Insurance, regarding the issue of Crum and Forster’s duty to defend and indemnity to Altman. Altman was involved in a suit for construction defects and property damage under Florida Statutes, Chapter 558. Crum and Forster claimed the suit brought against Altman was not covered their policy.
Durham School Services, the company that supplied bus services to a Chattanooga school district involved in a fatal bus crash in 2016, has agreed to pay $250,000 plus $73,000 in medical expenses to a nine-year-old survivor of the crash who suffered a concussion, cuts to his liver, and permanent scarring on his arm during the accident. Read more details here.
In 2011, Specialty Rental Tools & Supplies, LLC employee, Peter Savoie, was injured on the job at an offshore oil drill site when a crane owned and operated by Larry Doiron, Inc.(LDI) struck Savoie. In anticipation of a claim filed against them by Savoie, LDI filed a limitation of liability proceeding as the owner of the crane barge used when the incident injuring Savoie occurred.
Between December 2010 and May 2012, employees of Empire Scaffold, LLC worked on an oil refinery operated by Motiva Enterprises during Motiva’s Crude Expansion Project. During their time on the refinery, Empire employees were required to ride a bus from a parking lot to the refinery. The buses ran between 5:00 and 6:15 am. If an employee missed the last bus at 6:15, they were not allowed to work that day.
Despite certain evidence in her favor, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a summary judgment by a district court dismissing former employee Kristin Phillips’s complaints against Caris Life Sciences. Phillips cited sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment in her suit against Caris, but the courts said she failed to properly exhaust necessary administrative remedies and that her allegations did not match the claims made with the EEOC. Learn more here.
In the latest of a series of moves to dismantle their insurance operations, Wells Fargo recently announced plans to discontinue their personal insurance business. The Wall Street giant expects to complete their exit from the personal insurance field by the end of 2018’s first quarter. Read more about their exit from the insurance field here.
In one of the largest healthcare mergers of the past decade, CVS is set to acquire Aetna Insurance, the third largest health insurer in America. The price is hefty--CVS is expected to pay an estimated $67.5 billion for the merger, but the largest drugstore chain in the country believes their decision will pay off in the end. Learn how CVS plans to use the merger to increase long-term profit.
A recent report by the New York Times reveals global transportation giant, Uber, paid a $100,000 ransom to hackers who stole around 57 million user records from the company in 2016. Uber execs then attempted to make the ransom payout appear as a “bug bounty,” a common practice by technology companies in which they pay hackers to attack their software to test for problem areas.
A Massachusetts plaintiff representing himself filed a complaint with the courts against USAA alleging breach of contract, negligence, and breach of the covenant of good faith after the plaintiff felt compensation for his losses due to a house fire was not satisfactory. Though the estimated cost of repairs valued at around $249,450, the plaintiff was only awarded around $183,700 for the damage. Read why the court said USAA has paid enough to the plaintiff here.
As we head into the holidays, the Insurance Fraud Committee announces a few changes in leadership. Effective immediately, Gene Weisberg, founding principal of California’s GladstoneWeisberg, ALC, will serve as lead chair for the IFC alongside newly elected co-chairs, Cathy Gicker, Michael Markey, Adam Featherling, and Gina Smith. Each new chair has proven leadership abilities the committee needs for another productive year of fighting insurance fraud. Congratulations to all.  
In 2015, Altoona, PA resident Bonnie F. Kaite was fired from her position as a school bus driver with Altoona Student Transportation, Inc. after Ms. Kaite refused to be fingerprinted for a newly required background check, citing her devout religious beliefs as the reason for her refusal. Ms.
In September 2013, Olive Street Bistro, owned by Maldonado Investments, in Shreveport, LA caught fire. The fire was allegedly set by an employee, Carl Dollar, who later entered an Alford plea in a Louisiana state court in an answer to charges of arson with intent to defraud.
After falling victim to a Ponzi scheme, Cooper Industries won’t recover with help from their insurer, National Union Fire Insurance Company.
Amid the sudden rush of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood big shots, U.S legislators, and other people in power, sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer a subject taken lightly.
Actor Chuck Norris is taking on a different kind of fight these days as he and his wife, Gena, prepare to take on seven pharmaceutical companies in a suit filed to force the companies to increase warnings about a drug used as an aid during MRIs. Mrs. Norris claims she endured decreased kidney function and debilitating pain throughout her body that resulted in multiple hospital stays following MRI scans performed to examine rheumatoid arthritis.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is upholding a district court’s dismissal of a discrimination suit filed against the City of Hattiesburg by an employee. Sharon Bolton cited age, sex, and race as reasons why she was not offered a job promotion.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2018, American International Group, Inc. will expand commercial casualty policies to include cyber coverage. This decision comes after the now infamous Equifax breach that affected millions of customers, along with an ever-increasing number of similar cyber crimes across the globe.
Indiana’s Department of Labor is charging $28,000 worth of safety violation fines to Amazon after a warehouse worker in the state died on the job in September.