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June 17, 2018
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Ninth Circuit Champions Wrongly Denied Disability Claimant
Ninth Circuit Champions Wrongly Denied Disability Claimant
In Bowlin v. The Prudential Life Insurance Company of America, the United States District Court for the Central District of California overruled Prudential’s decision to deny long term disability benefits to a worker who gave evidence of many physical and psychological ailments. Bowlin is something of a rarity in long term denied disability lawsuits because the plaintiff won. Maybe it’s a trend in California, though.

Potential H&M Class Action Lawsuit Over Unpaid Security Bag Checks
Potential H&M Class Action Lawsuit Over Unpaid Security Bag Checks
A former H&M employee, Ser Lao, has sued fashion retailer H&M in federal court for allegedly failing to provide employees with correctly itemized wage statements, and failing to pay employees minimum wage, overtime, and premium pay for missed meal and rest periods. Lao’s California unpaid wages lawsuit also alleges that H&M violated California Labor Code by refusing to pay employees for the time they spent after clocking out while having their bags checked to make sure that they were not stealing merchandise. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, has now been asked to certify the class to proceed as a class action. Meanwhile, the State Supreme Court is poised to issue an epic decision on the exact same issue in Troester v. Starbucks.

After $7.9 Million Jury Verdict, Chipotle Settles California Labor Lawsuit To Avoid Punitive Damages
After $7.9 Million Jury Verdict, Chipotle Settles California Labor Lawsuit To Avoid Punitive Damages
Long-time valued Chipotle General Manager Jeanette Ortiz was accused of stealing $626 dollars from her employer, but when she asked to see the surveillance footage of the alleged incident, her supervisors refused and destroyed the footage. Subsequently, she went out on medical leave for a work-related injury, and was terminated while out on leave. The pretext for her firing was the alleged theft. After a jury found Ortiz’s account of retaliatory termination persuasive, awarding her $7.9 million in damages, Chipotle Mexican Grill quickly settled the California labor lawsuit for an undisclosed amount to avoid what likely would have been a punitive damages award up to nine times as much as the $7.9 million compensatory damages award.

Study Further Links Proton Pump Inhibitors to Gastric Cancer and Conflicts with FDA study, Lawsuits to Follow
Study Further Links Proton Pump Inhibitors to Gastric Cancer and Conflicts with FDA study, Lawsuits to Follow
A link between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and high risk of gastric cancer isn’t new, but the results of a new study conflicts with the FDA’s mandated PPI study.

US DOT: Your Car and Where You Live May Increase Defective Airbag Risk
US DOT: Your Car and Where You Live May Increase Defective Airbag Risk
Of about 50 million Takata defective airbags being recalled, some vehicles are more dangerous than others, according to the US. Department of Transportation. And some places have a greater potential to cause inflator ruptures—heat and humidity are risk factors.

Federal Government Discourages Penalties for Nursing Home Abuse Despite Report Calling for More Oversight
Federal Government Discourages Penalties for Nursing Home Abuse Despite Report Calling for More Oversight
Since 2017, the Trump administration has been rolling back Obama-era rules intended to protect patients from elder care neglect. Since 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, has been making rules that prevent victims of nursing home injury from bringing civil lawsuits to recover damages for neglect and abuse. Then in 2017, CMS discouraged its regional offices from fining care centers for one-time violations and issued a memo discouraging directors of state agencies from issuing daily fines for certain violations.

CA Top Court Makes it Harder for Employers to Deny Overtime by Designating Workers as Independent
CA Top Court Makes it Harder for Employers to Deny Overtime by Designating Workers as Independent
A groundbreaking decision has been issued in Dynamex v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. The Court adopted a three-part test that applies to any alleged misclassification under a California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage order. The IWC regulates wages, hours, and working conditions, and requires “employees” to be paid minimum wage, receive meal and rest breaks, and overtime pay. Now that the highest court in the state has ruled on this issue, there is a rebuttable presumption that all workers are “employees” and must be paid overtime accordingly. Workers who have been misclassified may now be more likely to prevail in a California unpaid wages lawsuit.

Death by Delay – CFPB Defers Credit Union Overdraft Regulations into Indefinite Future
Death by Delay – CFPB Defers Credit Union Overdraft Regulations into Indefinite Future
On May 10, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) quietly scuttled proposed consumer overdraft protection regulations, moving them to the inactive list until some undefined, unknown day in the future when a permanent director is named. Meanwhile, banks and credit unions continue to rake in fees through questionable practices, including some arguably strained definitions of phrases like “not enough money.” Fortunately for consumers, the plaintiffs’ bar soldiers on, pursuing excessive overdraft fees lawsuits on their behalf.

Wells Fargo to Pay $97M to Commissioned Brokers for Rest Breaks
Wells Fargo to Pay $97M to Commissioned Brokers for Rest Breaks
A Wells Fargo mortgage broker last year filed a wage and hour lawsuit alleging the bank failed to provide rest breaks, among other violations. The bank said it owed employees $25 million, but last week a federal judge agreed with its bankers and consultants: the money they were entitled to for unpaid rest breaks should be based on their commissions as well as their hourly pay, and Wells Fargo is now on the hook for $97 million.

Unum Insurance Lawsuits Gain Momentum
Unum Insurance Lawsuits Gain Momentum
A former Maryland project manager for a real estate company has accused the Unum Group of suspending her monthly disability payments after 26 years of payments when she was elected to serve part-time on the Howard County Board of Education. Five years after notifying Unum life insurance that she had been elected to the Board of Education position, her benefits were terminated and she does not know why.

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