Hawaii Employment Decisions October 16, 2016 to October 22, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court properly granted judgment against long term disability claim.  The court did not err by finding lifting forty to fifty pounds was not substantial and material part of her occupation or by finding fibromyalgia did not totally disable employee from performing substantial and material duties of her usual occupation.  Leslie v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19348 (9th Cir. Oct. 21, 2016).

District court correctly dismissed disability discrimination claim.  Former employee offered no evidence labor relations manager who decided to terminate him knew anything about his medical treatment or nurse case manager who may have perceived him as disabled motivated labor relations manager's decision. Yeager v. Kaiser Aluminum Washington, LLC, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18726 (9th Cir. Oct. 18, 2016).

U.S. District Court

District court enforced arbitration agreement.  Although parties were of unequal bargaining power, their agreement equally covered claims asserted by employer and employee and was silent as to apportionment of arbitration expenses.  Canlas v. Olomana Golf Links, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146754 (D. Haw. Oct. 24, 2016).

Hawaii Supreme Court

State and county retirees not entitled to the same health benefits as active employees.  Retirees entitled to benefits promised when they became members of State's retirement system, subject to legislative changes not necessarily reducing benefits they have accrued, as measured by a flexible standard.  Dannenberg v. State of Hawaii, 2016 Haw. LEXIS 260 (Oct. 21, 2016).

Note: We analyze cases to learn rules the courts will follow or disappoint us if they don't. Rules that the courts follow allow us to behave and provide explanations they accept. But competent advocates may limit the rules to the facts of the case where they are discussed, or expand rules by showing that differences in other cases are irrelevant.