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John Buckley started working for Labor Ready, Inc., a temporary employment service, in 2009. He was injured on assignment for a shipping company. At the time of injury he was performing a task prohibited by the contract between the temporary employment service and the shipping company. The injury resulted in loss of the worker’s hand and part of his arm. After getting workers’ compensation benefits from the temporary employment service, the worker brought a negligence action against the shipping company and one shipping company employee. The superior court decided on cross-motions for summary judgment that the exclusive liability provision of the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) barred the action. The Alaska Supreme Court reverse, finding material issues of fact precluded disposition by summary judgment. View "Buckley v. American Fast Freight, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case was an estate-administration case that was only partially before the Alabama Supreme Court. Perry Eugene Cox, Jr. ("Cox"), appealed a judgment made final by the Shelby Circuit Court ("the trial court") under Rule 54(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. Specifically, the trial court held that Cox's counterclaim against his sisters, Jennie Jo Cox Parrish, Debra Cox McCurdy, and Shirley Cox Wise, as coexecutors of the estate of their father, Perry Eugene Cox, Sr., was time-barred by Alabama's nonclaims statute, 43-2-350, Ala. Code 1975. The trial court dismissed Cox's counterclaim and certified its judgment as final and appealable, and Cox appealed. Because the trial court exceeded its discretion in certifying its dismissal of Cox's counterclaim under Rule 54(b), the Supreme Court determined no final judgment existed and the Court lacked jurisdiction to decide this appeal. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed. View "Cox, Jr. v. Parrish" on Justia Law

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Several former employees of Alabama Psychiatric Services, P.C. ("APS"), filed a putative class action against APS and Managed Health Care Administration, Inc. ("MHCA"), an affiliate of APS, alleging APS had not paid the former employees for unused vacation time after they lost their jobs when APS went out of business. APS and MHCA moved the circuit court to compel arbitration pursuant to arbitration agreements the plaintiffs had entered into with APS. APS and MHCA asked the circuit court to determine, as a threshold question, whether class arbitration was available in this case because the arbitration agreements at issue did not expressly mention class arbitration. The circuit court issued an order granting the motion to compel arbitration, declining to decide whether class arbitration was available, concluding that that issue was to be decided by the arbitrator. The case proceeded to arbitration. The arbitrator issued a clause-construction award ("the award"), concluding that the relevant arbitration agreements authorized class arbitration in this case. APS and MHCA sought review of the award by the circuit court, which denied the motion to vacate the arbitrator’s award. The parties then applied to the Alabama Supreme Court, which noted multiple procedural irregularities in the circuit court’s order. The issue of whether the circuit court erred regarding its order not vacating the arbitration agreement was not properly before the Supreme Court. APS and MHCA attempted to challenge that part of the order compelling arbitration in which the circuit court declined to decide the availability of class arbitration. However, to properly challenge that aspect of the earlier order, APS and MHCA should have appealed the order. APS and MHCA also argued the circuit court erred by failing to apply a de novo standard of review of the arbitrator’s award. The Supreme Court determined the circuit court did not err in this respect. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the circuit court in denying the motion to vacate the arbitrator’s award, and dismissed appeal 1171150 as redundant. View "Alabama Psychiatric Services, P.C. v. Lazenby et al." on Justia Law

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Scott Township passed an ordinance requiring that “[a]ll cemeteries . . . be kept open and accessible to the general public during daylight hours.” Knick, whose 90-acre rural property has a small family graveyard, was notified that she was violating the ordinance. Knick sought declaratory relief, arguing that the ordinance caused a taking of her property, but did not bring an inverse condemnation action. The Township withdrew the violation notice and stayed enforcement of the ordinance. The state court declined to rule on Knick’s suit. Knick filed a federal action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the ordinance violated the Takings Clause. The Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of her claim, citing Supreme Court precedent (Williamson County) that property owners must seek just compensation under state law in state court before bringing a federal claim under section 1983. The Supreme Court reversed. A government violates the Takings Clause when it takes property without compensation; a property owner may bring a Fifth Amendment claim under section 1983 at that time. The Court noted that two years after the Williamson County decision, it returned to its traditional understanding of the Fifth Amendment in deciding First English Evangelical Lutheran Church. A property owner acquires a right to compensation immediately upon an uncompensated taking because the taking itself violates the Fifth Amendment. The Court expressly overruled the state-litigation requirement as "poor reasoning" resulting from the circumstances in which the issue reached the Court. The requirement was unworkable in practice because the “preclusion trap” prevented takings plaintiffs from ever bringing their claims in federal court. There are no reliance interests on the state-litigation requirement. If post-taking compensation remedies are available, governments need not fear that federal courts will invalidate their regulations as unconstitutional. View "Knick v. Township of Scott" on Justia Law

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These consolidated appeals stemmed from the cyberattack of multiple OPM databases that resulted in the data breach of sensitive personal information from more than 21 million people. Plaintiffs alleged that OPM's cybersecurity practices were inadequate, enabling the hackers to gain access to the agency's database of employee information, in turn exposing plaintiffs to heightened risks of identity theft and other injuries. The district court dismissed the complaints based on lack of Article III standing and failure to state a claim. The DC Circuit held that both sets of plaintiffs have alleged facts sufficient to satisfy Article III standing requirements; the Arnold Plaintiffs have stated a claim for damages under the Privacy Act, and have unlocked OPM's waiver of sovereign immunity, by alleging OPM's knowing refusal to establish appropriate information security safeguards; KeyPoint was not entitled to derivative sovereign immunity because it has not shown that its alleged security faults were directed by the government, and it is alleged to have violated the Privacy Act standards incorporated into its contract with OPM; and, assuming a constitutional right to informational privacy, NTEU Plaintiffs have not alleged any violation of such a right. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re: U.S. Office of Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation" on Justia Law

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In this appeal of a $1.4 million sanction levied to compensate Respondents, the prevailing parties, for their attorney's fees in defending against a frivolous lawsuit, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' judgment affirming the sanctions award and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that the standard for fee-shifting awards in Cf. Rohrmoos Venture v. UTSW DVA Healthcare, LLP, __ S.W.3d __ (Tex.2019), likewise applies to fee-shifting sanctions. In the first appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that Petitioner's pleadings were groundless and sanctionable and remanded for the trial court to reassess its award of attorney's fees. On remand, the trial court reassessed the same $1.4 million sanction originally granted for attorney's fees. On appeal, Petitioner argued that Respondents' affidavits were insufficient to prove that the $1.4 million sanction was a reasonable and necessary attorney's fee. In response, Respondents argued that a different standard of proof applies for attorney's fees awarded as sanctions because the purpose of sanctions is to punish violators and deter misconduct. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that all fee-shifting situations require reasonableness and that conclusory affidavits containing mere generalities about the fees for working on Petitioner's frivolous claims are legally insufficient to justify the sanction awarded in this case. View "Nath v. Texas Children's Hospital" on Justia Law

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Manish and Priyanka married in 2014. Manish filed a petition for nullity of marriage in December 2015, alleging that the marriage was voidable based on fraud. Priyanka filed a response, denying the allegations but requesting a dissolution of the marriage due to irreconcilable differences. In May 2016, Priyanka filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO). In September 2016, the trial court denied both Manish’s petition and Priyanka's request for a DVRO. In February 2017, Priyanka filed a new DVRO request, which was granted with a five-year duration. The next day, Manish sought a DVRO against Priyanka. Priyanka denied the allegations but did not file a separate request for another DVRO against Manish. Manish denied committing any acts of domestic violence but admitted sending a letter to Priyanka’s employer. Priyanka denied ever hitting Manish but admitted that on two occasions she pushed him away because he was too close to her. The court made a finding under Family Code Section 6305 that each party has committed acts of domestic violence and entered a mutual restraining order. The court of appeal concluded that the trial court lacked authority to impose a mutual restraining order because Priyanka had not filed a separate written request for such an order as required by section 6305(a)(1). View "Marriage of Ankola" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs-appellants Glenn Moss, Jeri Moss, and Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc. (collectively, Moss) filed a complaint against defendants-respondents Dale Duncan, CPA, and Rogers, Clem & Company, an accountancy organization (collectively, Duncan), alleging professional negligence and unfair business practices. The trial court ruled that these claims were barred by the statute of limitations, resulting in a judgment in favor of defendants. The Moss plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeal agreed with Moss that the applicable statute of limitations did not begin to run until Moss settled the tax deficiency claim with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB). The complaint was therefore timely. The trial court was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Moss v. Duncan" on Justia Law

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Christopher Ross appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of the County of Riverside on Ross's claims for violation of Labor Code section 1102.5 and for violation of the provisions in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, sec. 12900 et seq.; FEHA) prohibiting disability discrimination, failure to reasonably accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, and failure to prevent disability discrimination. Ross worked for the County as a deputy district attorney. He was assigned to the homicide prosecution unit and was "responsible for however many cases were assigned to [him] by [his] supervisor." In May 2013, Ross learned he was exhibiting neurological symptoms that required evaluation and testing to determine whether he had a serious neurological condition, and told his supervisor he might be very seriously ill with a neurodegenerative disease and needed to undergo medical testing. He requested a transfer to another assignment during the testing. His supervisor declined his request, telling him the district attorney's office would worry about his cases and transferring him if and when he found out he could not continue in his position. Ross also asked not to be assigned any new cases until after he completed the medical testing. His supervisor declined this request without explanation. In late September 2013, Ross met with his supervisor, the chief deputy district attorney, and the assistant district attorney to discuss transferring him from the Homicide Unit to the Filing Unit for the next three months because he was not able to go to trial or accept new cases. In the assistant district attorney's view, Ross's inability to accept new cases or go to trial in the near term made him insufficiently productive to be a member of the Homicide Unit. By April 2014, the County wrote Ross explaining that for the County to engage in a good faith interactive process and to evaluate his request for accommodation the County needed medical documentation from an appropriate healthcare professional or from the board-certified specialist selected to perform the fitness-for-duty examination. Through counsel, Ross deemed himself constructively terminated as of the date of the letter. By June 2014, the County considered Ross to have abandoned his job. The Court of Appeal concluded there were triable issues of material fact on the questions of whether Ross engaged in protected activity under Labor Code section 1102.5 and whether Ross had a physical disability under the FEHA. The Court therefore reversed judgment as to these claims and remanded the matter for further proceedings. View "Ross v. County of Riverside" on Justia Law

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The trial court in its role as an independent factfinder had the authority to condition a denial of a new trial motion asserting excessive damages on plaintiff's acceptance of a reduced award in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 662.5. After a jury awarded plaintiff past and future noneconomic damages in his employment action, plaintiff agreed to a remittitur reducing past economic damages, and the trial court denied the city's new trial motion, entering an amended judgment. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's judgment and held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in conditionally granting the new trial motion on plaintiff's acceptance of a reduction in damages. View "Pearl v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law