Thursday, December 6, 2018

Public Employment Relations Board v. Bellflower Unified School District

When it is undisputed that the Public Employment Relations Board followed its procedures prior to issuing a decision, substantial evidence necessarily supports a trial court's finding that the decision was issued pursuant to the board's established procedures. The PERB's general counsel's post-decision actions cannot be raised as a defense to an enforcement action.

Public Employment Relations Board v. Bellflower Unified School District - filed Dec. 4, 2018, Second District, Div. Four
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5789

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Acosta v. Brain

An attorney's participation in a Department of Labor investigation of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act trust fund trustee constituted a protected activity for purposes of 29 U.S.C. Sec. 1140. The fact that an individual defendant was not the ultimate decision maker for a retaliatory action does not immunize him under a cat's-paw theory of liability. Pursuant to ERISA Sec. 404 a court must distinguish between actions a fiduciary took in connection with its fiduciary responsibilities to the plan and those that actions taken as an individual or entity acting in its corporate capacity. ERISA Sec. 502(a)(5) does not provide a basis for a permanent injunction where no aspect of the injunction redressed or enforced a violation of ERISA Sec. 510.

Acosta v. Brain - filed Dec. 4, 2018 
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 16-56529 

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ASARCO, LLC v. United Steel, Paper and Forest

An arbitrator did not exceed his authority in reforming a collective bargaining agreement upon finding that the parties were mutually mistaken as to its terms when they agreed to it, even though the agreement contained a "no-add" provision.

ASARCO, LLC v. United Steel, Paper and Forest - filed Dec. 4, 2018 
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 16-16363 

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

City of Oakland v. Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System

Following this court’s published decision in City of Oakland v. Oakland Police & Fire Retirement System (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 210 (OPFRS)—which involved the legitimacy of certain retirement benefits regularly paid by the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement Board (Board) to members and beneficiaries of the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS)—the Retired Oakland Police Officers Association, along with several individual PFRS pensioners (collectively, the “Association”) sought attorney fees in the trial court.  Specifically, the Association—interveners in the underlying action—claimed an entitlement to fees under both California’s private attorney general statute, Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 (section 1021.5), and section 1988 of the federal Civil Rights Attorneys’ Fees Award Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988 (section 1988).  After considering the matter at some length, the trial court determined that fees were not warranted under either statute.  On appeal, many of the trial court’s numerous conclusions made in connection with its denial of fees are disputed either by the Association or by respondent City of Oakland (City).  We have considered the arguments raised by both parties, and deem an award of attorney fees under section 1021.5 to be proper.  We therefore reverse and remand the matter so that the trial court can determine the appropriate amount of such an award, consistent with our conclusions herein.

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Sulyma v. Intel Corp. Inv. Policy Comm.

The panel reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants in an ERISA action on the ground that the limitations period had expired.

A former employee and participant in Intel’s retirement plans sued the company for allegedly investing retirement funds in violation of ERISA section 1104. The district court concluded that the employee had the requisite “actual knowledge” to trigger ERISA’s three-year limitations period, 29 U.S.C. § 1113(2).

The panel held that a two-step process is followed in determining whether a claim is barred by section 1113(2). First, the court isolates and defines the underlying violation on which the plaintiff’s claim is founded. Second, the court inquires whether the plaintiff had “actual knowledge” of the alleged breach or violation. The panel held that actual knowledge does not mean that a plaintiff had knowledge that the underlying action violated ERISA, nor does it merely mean that a plaintiff had knowledge that the underlying action occurred. Rather, the defendant must show that the plaintiff was actually aware of the nature of the alleged breach more than three years before the plaintiff’s action was filed. In an ERISA section 1104 case, the plaintiff must have been aware that the defendant had acted and that those acts were imprudent. Disagreeing with the Sixth Circuit, the panel held that the plaintiff must have actual knowledge, rather than constructive knowledge.

The panel concluded that disputes of material fact as to the plaintiff’s actual knowledge precluded summary judgment, and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company

Workers are not entitled to be compensated for time spent traveling in employer-provided vehicles between their homes and worksites under an optional and voluntary home dispatch program. Simply transporting tools and equipment during commute time is not compensable work where no effort or extra time is required to effectuate the transport.

Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company - filed Nov. 15, 2018, Third District 
Cite as 2018 S.O.S. 5415 

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G.R.P. Mechanical Company, Inc.

G.R.P. Mechanical Company, Inc.  (14-CA-211817)  Bethalto, IL, November 6, 2018.  No exceptions having been filed to the September 24, 2018 decision of Administrative Law Judge Charles J. Muhl’s finding that the Respondent had engaged in certain unfair labor practices, the Board adopted the judge’s findings and conclusions, and ordered the Respondent to take the action set forth in the recommended Order.  Charge filed by an individual. 

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