OTHER ACTION BY THE COURT

Friday, June 19, 2009

In other action yesterday, the Supreme Court:

Gross v. FBL Financial Services Made it harder for older workers who are laid off or demoted to win age-discrimination suits. In a 5 to 4 decision, the justices rejected a formula used by some courts that shifted the burden to companies if the employee could show that age was one of the reasons for the job action. Instead, the majority said the employee must prove that age was the key factor in the demotion or firing.

Yeager v. United States Sided with former Enron executive F. Scott Yeager and made it unlikely he can be tried again on charges of financial fraud. The justices threw out a lower-court decision that Yeager, who sold more than $54 million of Enron stock before the company tanked, could be retried on charges on which a jury failed to reach a verdict at his first trial. Because he was acquitted of five counts, the court said he could not be retried on other charges that relied on "essential elements" contained in those acquittals. Travelers Indemnity Co.

v. Bailey Ruled in favor of the insurance company Travelers and revived a plan to pay $500 million to settle claims against a company it insured, Johns Manville, once the largest maker of asbestos. The justices overturned a lower-court decision that would have allowed additional suits, which Travelers said would have undermined a 1986 bankruptcy plan by Manville.


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