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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.
Capsco Industries, Inc., an Alabama construction company, subcontracted work to another Alabama construction company, Ground Control, to do work on a Mississippi casino. A year later, Ground Control was terminated from the project by the general contractor. Ground Control sued Capsco for payment for its work on the project.
Brandon Tatum sued Southern Company Services, Inc. (SCS), for interference and retaliation in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Tatum’s employment with SCS was littered with performance evaluations that noted he “needed improvement”. Not long afterward a reprimand by the plant manager, Tatum’s doctor instructed him to cease work temporarily due to high blood pressure.
Vacations taken during Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences can be permitted depending on the trip and the reasons for leave. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) believed it acted in good faith after terminating an employee who vacationed during his FMLA leave. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) rejected the claim and awarded liquidated damages pursuant to the FMLA. To avoid a similar scenario requires more than “good faith” by employers.
The Supreme Court of Mississippi rendered summary judgment for Mar-Jac, a chicken processor because an employer’s responsibility for their employee’s actions is limited to the employee’s job responsibilities. Senah Carter, whose primary job responsibilities required him to bring chicken in and out for employees on the line, secured employment at Mar-Jac for two friends. Carter drove these friends to work each day. One morning on the way to work, Carter hit a school bus killing the two co-workers in his vehicle.
Jose Carlos Caycho Melgar attempted to file a retaliation and discrimination complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) following the end of his employment with T.B.B. Printing, Ltd. He failed to provide the requested information before the statute of limitations ran out. TWC forwarded his complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which has a longer statute of limitations.
In June, the United State’s Supreme Court overruled Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U.S.
Gary Netto, an employee of Pearl River County, Mississippi, sustained injuries in a car accident when an alleged uninsured motorist hit the county-owned vehicle in which he was a passenger. As a matter of policy, Pearl River County does not release copies of county insurance policies to employees. As an “unnamed additional insured” on Pearl River County’s policy with Atlantic Specialty Insurance, Netto did not know the policy included a “consent to settle” exclusion.
Mississippi’s Uninsured Motorist (UM) Act includes a section which requires automobile insurers to provide UM coverage to the extent the insured is “legally entitled to recover”. The UM Act goes on to define an “uninsured motor vehicle” to include vehicles “owned or operated by a person protected by immunity under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act” (MTCA). 
In 1980, Phillip Bivens, Bobby Ray Dixon, and Larry Ruffin were wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in Forrest County Mississippi. By the time they were exonerated, they’d served a collective 83 years in prison. Ruffin died in prison while Dixon and Bivens died shortly following their release. Their estates filed suit against Forrest County for the wrongful conviction.
A Texas man learned a $200,000 lesson about following directions when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment awarded to Llyod’s Insurance Company. Ali Ekhlassi purchased a flood insurance policy from Lloyd’s which administered the policy under the National Flood Insurance Program’s Write-Your-Own program. The policy, like policies issued by the Federal Government, included strict instructions about time limitations and jurisdiction.
Juanita Nichol’s job at Peco Foods, Inc. as a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Coordinator exposed her to temperatures around 40 degrees as a routine part of her job in the chicken processing plant. When she developed a circulatory disorder, Raynaud’s phenomenon, she could no longer work in cold environments and filed for long-term disability benefits. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company issued the policy to Peco.
When McDonnel Groups, L.L.C., filed against its insurers for failing to pay on a claim related to covered property in Lousiana the insurers invoked the contract’s arbitration provision. The policy included a “conformity to statute” provision which required the policy terms to conform to the statutes of the jurisdiction where the insured property is located. Lousiana, where the property was located, has a state law which prohibits arbitration agreements in insurance contracts.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals became the fourth appeals court to hold obesity is not an ADA impairment unless there is evidence of an underlying physiological cause. The Second, Sixth and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal have upheld similar dismissals. The Seventh Circuit case involves a 596-pound bus driver who was terminated by the Chicago Transit Authority due to safety issues related to his weight.

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