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New H-1B Rules Struck Down

On December 1, Judge Jeffrey White of the US District Court for the Northern District of California invalidated two new regulations that raised prevailing wages and eligibility criteria for foreign workers to receive H-1B visas. "This decision ensures the continued viability of the H-1B program, which supplies work authorization to more than 580,000 individuals in the United States," Paul Hughes, partner at McDermott Will & Emery, said in a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management. Access the article.

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SCOTUS Refuses to Review Ninth Circuit Ruling on ACA Birth Control Rules

The US Supreme Court declined to review a recent Ninth Circuit decision, blocking the interim rules that exempted employers with religious or moral objections from providing birth control coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Until such time as this issue is clarified, it is prudent for employers with employees in certain states to comply with the ACA mandate and to cover contraceptives under their health plans. Access the full article. Teal Trujillo, a summer associate in our Chicago office, also contributed to this article.

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US Supreme Court to Review Unusual Second Circuit Decision in Stock Drop Case Against IBM

On Monday, the US Supreme Court agreed to review the Second Circuit’s decision in Jander v. Retirement Plans Committee of IBM, a “stock drop” lawsuit against IBM’s benefit plan fiduciaries. The Second Circuit’s decision marked one of the few times a federal court permitted a “stock drop” lawsuit to survive dismissal since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Fifth Third Bank v. Dudenhoeffer (2012) and Harris v. Amgen (2016). Together, the Dudenhoeffer and Amgen decisions set a high pleading bar for plaintiffs who file “stock drop” claims. These lawsuits involve employee stock ownership plans, in which the plan includes employer stock as an investment option, and a subsequent drop in that stock’s price. Plaintiffs allege that by failing to remove the stock from the plan or take other corrective action (such as disclosing information), fiduciaries breached the prudent person standard of care that ERISA imposes on fiduciaries. Dudenhoeffer requires plaintiffs to...

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Worker Classification: Complications Beyond the Front Page

When California’s Dynamex decision rolled out the “ABC test”, it placed the burden on the employer to prove independent contractor (IC) status. In a presentation at the Employment and Employee Benefits Forum in California, McDermott’s lawyers discussed the implications of Dynamex, as it applies to various types of employers as well as those using staffing companies. Additionally, they cover Dynamex’s impact on worker classification and employee benefits plans, particularly under ERISA. Lastly, they provide best practices that employers can do now to prevent litigation. View the full presentation.

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First Circuit Holds Defendants Have Burden to Negate Loss Causation in ERISA Fiduciary Duty Cases

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has solidified a circuit split on who has burden of proving loss causation in ERISA breach of fiduciary duty cases. The First Circuit joined the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Circuits holding that once a plaintiff demonstrates a fiduciary breach, the defendant has the burden to negate loss causation. Other circuits, including the Sixth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, have held that a plaintiff bears to burden to establish loss causation. This issue is ripe for Supreme Court review. Access the full article.

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ERISA Preempts State Regulation of PBM–Pharmacy Pricing Agreements

ERISA broadly preempts state laws that “relate to” ERISA-governed employee benefit plans to ensure a uniform federal regulatory scheme and to relieve ERISA plans from the burdens of satisfying a patchwork of state laws. Recently, however, several states have enacted legislation designed to regulate the prices that pharmacy benefit managers, as third-party administrators for ERISA-governed plans, agree to reimburse pharmacies for dispensing prescription drugs to ERISA plan members. These regulations run afoul of ERISA, as the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has twice held. Access the full article.

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Sharp Questions Dominate Supreme Court Oral Arguments Regarding the Challenge to the Availability of ACA Premium Tax Credits

On March 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the highest profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision to uphold the law.  The oral arguments featured sharp questioning of both sides.  A decision is anticipated in June to determine whether the high court will maintain the status quo with respect to the availability of premium tax credits to lower-income exchange customers in all states. Read the full article.

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