Taylor v. Burlington Northern – Employment
Washington Supreme Court
The NFIB Legal Center joined with other business groups to argue that the state’s disability law does not provide for obesity as a qualified disability.
Weaver v. City of Everett – Employment
Washington Supreme Court – request for review
The NFIB Legal Center filed a brief in this workers’ compensation matter and argued that the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata apply in administrative proceedings. A court of appeals held there was no estoppel from a prior proceeding.
Boeing v. International Association of Machinists – Labor
National Labor Relations Board
In this labor dispute, the Boeing Co. asked the National Labor Relations Board to clarify how its regional officials should apply a revamped test for settling disputes over bargaining unit scope, and urged the board to review a recent decision letting some workers who build the jet maker’s flagship 787 Dreamliners organize separately from others. The NFIB Legal Center joined an amicus brief arguing against application of the Specialty Healthcare micro unit standard.
Chamber of Commerce v. Seattle – Employment and Labor
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The Chamber of Commerce filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in March 2017, challenging a Seattle city ordinance that would allow for-hire drivers classified as independent contractors – like those who drive for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft – to unionize and collectively bargain. The lawsuit argued that the ordinance is preempted by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that independent contractors have no protected right to organize or collectively bargain. The district court ruled in favor of the city of Seattle and the Chamber appealed where NFIB filed an amicus brief supporting the Chamber’s arguments.
Becera v. Fred Meyer – Employment
Washington Supreme Court
Fred Meyer and Expert Janitorial are seeking review by the Washington Supreme Court in a case involving their contracts with third party janitorial firms for cleaning Fred Meyer stores. A handful of janitors sued their janitorial employers as well as Fred Meyer and Expert alleging minimum wage, overtime, and meal and rest break violations. The Superior Court agreed, dismissing Fred Meyer and Expert. However, using a very complicated and novel legal analysis, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Fred Meyer and Expert were joint employers of the janitors because of the degree of supervision and control the court thought Fred Meyer and Expert had over the janitors’ work.
Common Sense Alliance v. San Juan County – Property Rights
U.S. Supreme Court – cert petition
Once again, NFIB Legal Center has joined in calling on the Supreme Court to resolve an important question left open in the wake of Koontz v. St. Johns River Management District. That decision reaffirmed, in 2013, the principle that the Constitution forbids government from imposing conditions requiring dedication of private property for public use—except where such a condition is reasonably necessary to mitigate anticipated harms. But many courts continue to assume a glaring exception for conditions expressly imposed by legislative enactments. We argue that this exception is no longer tenable in light Koontz—which strongly suggests that there can be no “legislative exception” to the general rule that government is foreclosed from imposing unconstitutional conditions.
Haberman v. State of Washington – Regulatory Reform
Washington Kittitas Cnty. Ct.
NFIB recently joined with other industry groups in Washington State to challenge the constitutionality of a recently adopted state initiative. Although approved by the voters, we maintain that 1-1443 was fatally flawed under Washington’s requirement that legislative proposals must address only a single subject at a time. Specifically, the contested initiative both raises minimum wage and imposes paid sick leave requirements on employers. And though the State will inevitably argue that both regulatory subjects should be viewed under the general umbrella labor law—the reality is that they raise distinctly different issues, which have traditionally been treated as separate regulatory subjects. Accordingly, NFIB and its allies argue that, to comply with the State Constitution, proponents should have submitted two separate initiatives. That would have allowed voters to choose whether they support or oppose each, without having to compromise their conscience if they should be inclined to split their votes.
Microsoft v. Baker – Legal Reform
U.S. Supreme Court
In this case plaintiffs sought to certify a class action; however, the District Court ruled that the class could not be certified under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff then sought to appeal, but the Ninth Circuit would not take the case because the standard for granting review of an interlocutory judgement is quite stringent. Accordingly, plaintiffs sought to have the district court issue an order dismissing their case, which would allow them to present an appeal to the Ninth Circuit from the final order—which would not be viewed as an interlocutory appeal. The question presented in this case is whether this sort of procedure should be allowed to enable plaintiffs to seek appeal of a decision denying class action certification. NFIB Small Business Legal Center joined with the Washington Legal Foundation in arguing that the controversy became moot when plaintiffs sought to dismiss their own case.
Street v. Weyerhaeuser – Employment (Workers compensation)
Washington Supreme Court
Under Washington law an employee is entitled to workers compensation if a condition arises “naturally and proximately” out of distinctive employment conditions. But, in this case the Washington Supreme Court is set to decide whether that may be demonstrated without expert medical testimony speaking specifically to the question of causality. NFIB Legal Center joined with other concerned industry groups arguing that expert medical testimony is essential for the substantiation of any legitimate claim.
Wal-Mart v. NLRB – Labor (In-store protest)
Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeal
In this case, NFIB Legal Center filed an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to affirm the long and well-established rule that the National Labor Relations Act prohibits in-store strikes and protests.
Walston v. Boeing – Labor
Washington Supreme Court
Washington law provides a form of immunity for employers for potential lawsuits stemming from workplace injuries. Under the state’s statutory regime, employees must pursue such claims through workers compensation insurance, and can only advance a lawsuit where the employer intentionally caused his or her injuries. But in this case, a former employee seeks to upset this long-settled understanding—arguing that he can advance an asbestos lawsuit because the employer knew that there was a chance that, when he was exposed to certain chemicals, the employee might have suffered injuries on the molecular level. NFIB Legal joined with other industry groups in rebuffing this theory—as it would open employers to a new round of asbestos lawsuits.
If you have a case that impacts small business, please contact us at 1-800-552-NFIB as we are actively looking for opportunities to weigh in on important issues in this state. NFIB Small Business Legal Center is involved in many cases that impact this state and others; to see our complete list of Supreme Court cases click on Washington, DC on the interactive map.