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June 2012 Archives

Vance v. Ball State University, No. 11-556 (U.S.S.Ct.); Hernandez v. Valley View Hospital Association, No. 11-1244 (10th Cir. June 26, 2012)

The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take a look at a long-standing circuit split under Title VII, about how much authority an agent of an employer must exercise over an employee to be deemed a "supervisor" for purposes of vicarious liability for sex or other harassment. The Tenth Circuit, meanwhile, remands a race harassment case for trial, finding sufficient evidence that the harassment was severe.

Jones v. UPS Group Freight, No. 11-10416 (11th Cir. June 11, 2012)

When did the Eleventh Circuit suddenly become one of the most progressive circuits in the country on employment discrimination? In the past several months, the court has issued several excellent decisions enforcing civil rights, and this latest - reversing summary judgment in a race harassment case - has the potential of helping many more such claimants by setting a reasonable bar for proving severity.

Gowski v. Peake, No. 09-16371 (11th Cir. June 4, 2012)

The Eleventh Circuit joins There federal courts of appeals in holding that Title VII supports a claim of a retaliatory hostile work environment, substantially upholding a jury award to two plaintiff Veterans Administration doctors who were reportedly hounded by their colleagues after filing EEO complaints. The decision also discusses application of mixed-motives analysis to a Title VII retaliation/harassment claim.

Koehler v. Aetna Health Inc., No. 11-10458 (5th Cir. May 31, 2012)

In the ERISA field, here's a lifeline to all of those challenging "pre-authorization" denials of benefit claims. The Fifth Circuit re-animates a case challenging an HMO denial of Therapy for sleep apnea, based on a supposed "pre-authorization" requirement that the panel finds at-best ambiguous.

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