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Case Summaries

Government Benefits

[08/01] Lamaer v. Berryhill
Reversing the district court judgment affirming the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of a claimant's application for disability benefits because their left hand manipulative limitations did not render them unable to take many kinds of work because the Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles contradicted this assessment.

[07/14] Johnson v. Shulkin
Reversing and remanding a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims case involving a veteran receiving treatment for 'jungle rot,' determining that the treatment impacted only a limited area of his body and was therefore not a 'systemic treatment' as the Court of Appeals had ruled.

[07/10] Trevizio v. Berryhill
Reversing an order affirming the denial of disability benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration and remanding for the calculation and award of benefits to a morbidly obese former security guard who suffered from a wide range of relatively minor illnesses where the court improperly rejected the medical opinion of her treating physician and erroneously discounted her testimony relating to symptoms.

[06/26] Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer
In a case where a preschool and daycare center operated by a church sought a state grant for playground renovations and were denied because of a state policy against providing such funds to any religious organization, it was determined that the refusal of this benefit constituted a violation of the organization's First Amendment rights.

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Labor & Employment Law

[08/15] McNelis v. Pennsylvania Power & Light Company
Affirming the judgment of the District Court holding that a worker, complaining of his termination after failing a fitness for duty examination and averring that his termination was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, because the court found that he was fired because he lacked a legally mandated job requirement, namely unrestricted security access authorization required by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Committee.

[08/14] Hermes of Paris Inc. v. Swain
Affirming the district court's diversity jurisdiction in a discrimination and hostile work environment suit in which a plaintiff argued that the lack of complete diversity in the suit, because the plaintiff and the Hermes employee whose acts gave rise to the suit both resided in the same state, left the court without subject matter jurisdiction to compel arbitration, but the court cited precedent that established that requiring complete diversity would undermine the intent of the Federal Arbitration Act.

[08/10] Shultz v. Congregation Shearith Israel of the City of New York
Vacating and remanding a sex discrimination and retaliation case that was dismissed for failure to state a claim because a Title VII action can still be supported where an employee is given a termination of employment notice that is revoked before it becomes effective.

[08/08] Light v. California Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Reversing summary adjudication of a retaliation claim and a ruling that workers' compensation exclusivity barred claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress but affirming the summary adjudication of a disability discrimination claim and affirming all judgments in favor of one of the defendants in a complicated case involving one employee's complaints about pressure on her to discriminate against a colleague perceived as being gay and the fallout from her unwillingness to participate.

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Workers' Comp

[07/28] Baker v. Workers Compensation Appeals Board
Affirming the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board that the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund benefits commence at the time the employer's obligation to pay permanent disability benefits begin.

[07/21] Chugach Management Services Zurich American Insurance Co. v. Jetnil
Denying the petition for review of the award of disability benefits under the Defense Base Act and the application of a judicially-created 'zone of special danger' doctrine to a local national injured while employed by a government contractor overseas.

[06/20] Zhu v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd.
In a case involving an in-home caretaker injured while traveling between worksites, the court annulled an earlier appeal dismissing the action and remanded for a new decision, where the facts of the case qualified for the required vehicle exception to the going and coming rule.

[05/22] Southern Ins. Co. v. WCAB
In an action involving a workers' compensation insurance policy that was issued based on the express representation that the covered employer's employees did not travel out of state, and after an employee was injured out of state, the insurer notified the employer that it was rescinding the policy because of the employer's misrepresentation and returned the premium, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board's decision affirming an arbitrator's decision that, as a matter of law, the insurer could not rescind the policy and that the policy was in effect, is annulled where: 1) contrary to the arbitrator's ruling, a workers' compensation insurance policy may be rescinded; and 2) the arbitrator and the appeals board did not address and determine whether rescission was a meritorious defense to the employee's claim.

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