Hawaii Employment Decisions October 23, 2016 to October 29, 2016 – Jeffrey S. Harris

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

District court properly granted summary judgment against claim long term benefits wrongfully terminated and employment terminated in retaliation for exercising rights under ERISA.  Former employee's refusal to attend IME was sufficient cause to terminate benefits, no matter what standard of review applied to benefit decision.  Employee filed his retaliatory discharge claim outside the statute of limitations, which started when employee became aware of possible claim.  Lee v. Ing Groep, N.V., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19513 (9th Cir. Oct. 28, 2016).

District court improperly granted summary judgment against claim union breached duty of fair representation.  Hospital breached collective bargaining agreement by laying off employee and employee offered evidence union processed her grievance in a perfunctory manner.  Union never seriously considered her rights under the agreement, improperly lumped her with non-similarly situated employees and provided factually contested reasons for rejecting her grievance.  Rollins v. Community Hospital of San Bernardino, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 19317 (9th Cir. Oct. 26, 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.