Recent Court Decisions

Labor & Employment Law Section

By Joseph S. Murray IV

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the N.C. Court of Appeals issued the following employment law opinions in the past several weeks:

Rittelmeyer v. Univ. of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill , No. 15-1228 (N.C Ct. App. Mar. 21, 2017): The Court of Appeals discusses at length reasonable accommodations and the interactive process under the ADA in a case where UNC provided numerous accommodations to an employee who has light sensitivity.

Grutzmacher v. Howard County, No. 15-2066 (4th Cir. Mar. 20, 2017): The 4th Circuit delves into what constitutes speech of public concern and when a governmental employer’s interests in providing services or acting as an employer outweigh an employee’s right to free speech under the First Amendment.

United States ex rel. Carson v. Manor Care, Inc., No. 16-1035 (4th Cir. Mar. 16, 2017): The 4th Circuit finds that the False Claims Act’s first-to-file rule does not prohibit retaliation claims by plaintiffs who did not win the race to the courthouse.

Hurst v. D.C., No. 15-1410 (4th Cir. Mar. 7, 2017) (unpublished): In a Title VII race claim, the plaintiff failed to identify any valid comparators.

Roundtree v. Chowan County, No. COA16-555 (N.C Ct. App. Mar. 7, 2017): In finding that the economic loss rule prevents a claim for negligent misrepresentation, the Court of Appeals states that an employer does not have an independent duty to a prospective employee when the employer does not have exclusive control on the relevant information—in fact, the employer has “no legal duty to provide accurate information.” Alternatively, the employee lacked justifiable reliance when he cannot show reasonable inquiry, lack of opportunity to investigate, or reasonable diligence.

Susan Abeles v. Metropolitan Washington Airports Auth., No. 16-1330 (4th Cir. Jan. 26, 2017) (unpublished): Title VII religious disparate treatment and accommodation claims.