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February 2015 Archives

Fulghum v. Embarq Corp., No. 13-3230 (10th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015)

While ERISA does not provide a limitations period for most claims, it does impose a three-year limitations period after discovery of a breach of fiduciary duty, plus a six-year period of repose. Yet the statute also provides that "in the case of fraud or concealment, such action may be commenced not later than six years after the date of discovery of such breach or violation." The Tenth Circuit examined this quoted language today, and remanded parts of a class action to be reconsidered under this provision.

Soto-Feliciano v. Villa Cofresi Hotels, Inc., No. 13-2296 (1st Cir. Feb. 20, 2015)

Even imperfect employees, we are reminded, are protected by anti-discrimination laws. The First Circuit holds that the district court too quickly credited the employer's reliance on the plaintiff's disciplinary history when it fired him, without looking behind the record to see if the hotel genuinely believed that the offenses were serious enough to warrant termination.

Hilde v. City of Eveleth, No. 14-1016 (8th Cir. Feb. 5, 2015)

The Eighth Circuit reverses summary judgment in this ADEA and Minnesota Human Rights Act case, holding that a jury could find that the city's failure to promote the city's lieutenant to Chief of Police was motivated by age. Importantly, it notes that an employer that assumes that people who are retirement-eligible are "uncommitted" to a promotion are skating on thin-ice.

Etienne v. Spanish Lake Truck & Casino Plaza, LLC, No. 14-30026 (5th Cir. Feb. 3, 2015)

A rare "color" discrimination case under Title VII makes its way up on appeal. The district court, erroneously treating the case as one of race discrimination, granted summary judgment - but the Fifth Circuit reverses in a terse six-page opinion. The evidence included an affidavit from a former employee stating that casino management would not let "a dark skinned black person handle any money," and "that they thought Esma Etienne was too black to do various tasks at the casino."

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