Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Sotera, alleging that the company violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Sotera, holding that the district court correctly rejected plaintiff's legal contention that Sotera interfered with plaintiff's FMLA rights by not restoring him to his pre-leave position; no reasonable factfinder could conclude that Sotera failed to place plaintiff in "an equivalent position" or that the differences between the two jobs at issue were more than merely de minimis; and plaintiff failed to create a genuine issue of material fact as to his termination-related claims. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that Sotera was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim that Sotera interfered with his FMLA rights by reinstating him to a sham position and then firing him at the first opportunity. Finally, plaintiff failed to adduce sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact such that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that the adverse employment action was taken for an impermissible reason, such as retaliation. View "Waag v. Sotera Defense Solutions" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed a petition for the return of her child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, 19 I.L.M. 1501, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001 et seq. The district court denied the petition. The court concluded that the district court did not clearly err in finding that respondent was "more believable" and petitioner did not challenge that determination. The court agreed with the district court that the preponderance of the evidence demonstrated that petitioner consented to respondent's removal of the child to the United States. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Padilla v. Troxell" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against United Airlines for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The district court granted summary judgment for United Airlines. United Airlines had discharged plaintiff for fraudulently taking FMLA leave and for making dishonest representations during the ensuing investigation. The court concluded that, even drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff as the nonmoving party, Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., plaintiff has failed to create an issue of triable fact that the explanation United Airlines provided for his discharge was a pretext for retaliation for taking FMLA leave. In this case, the evidence taken as a whole plainly paints the picture of an employee who used FMLA leave to avoid interrupting his vacation, and then gave a variety of inconsistent explanations for his behavior upon his return. The court explained that to hold otherwise would disable companies from attaching any sanction or consequence to the fraudulent abuse of a statute designed to enable workers to take leave for legitimate family needs and medical reasons. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc." on Justia Law

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After the Court of Appeals of Maryland suspended Michael Tankersley’s law license when he refused to provide his social security number to the Client Protection Fund of the Bar of Maryland, Tankersley filed suit against the trustees of the Fund, and the judges and the clerk of the Court of Appeals. Tankersley filed suit against these defendants in their official capacities, seeking injunctive relief based on his claim that his suspension violated the federal Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. The district court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss. Both the Tax Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 405(c)(2)(C)(i), and the Welfare Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 666(a)(13)(A), allow states to collect individuals’ social security numbers in specific situations. The court held that the district court erred in relying on section 666 of the Welfare Reform Act to dismiss Tankersley’s complaint. In this case, the court agreed with Tankersley that “applicant” cannot properly be read to include a Maryland attorney who must pay an annual fee to maintain his license. However, the court concluded that section 405 of the Tax Reform Act applies to Tankersley, and the state of Maryland may lawfully compel him to provide his social security number to the Fund or consequently have his law license suspended. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Tankersley v. Almand" on Justia Law

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Father petitioned for the return of his children to Mexico pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.I.A.S. No. 11670, 19 I.L.M. 1501. The district court declined to order the children returned, and Father appealed. Reviewing the record facts as a whole, the court agreed with the district court that a preponderance of the facts establishes that Son has significant connections demonstrating a secure, stable, and permanent life in his new environment. Son is therefore “settled” within the meaning of the Convention. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s determination that Son is “settled” within the meaning of the Hague Convention and affirmed its decision not to exercise its discretion to order Son returned. View "Alcala v. Hernandez" on Justia Law