Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Opinions from last week in the Fourth Circuit

In McCoy v. Holland, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Karen Williams, joined by Judges Niemeyer and Gregory, reversed Judge Glen Williams of the W.D. Va. and sided with the trustees and against the claimant in a UMWA pension eligibility case.

On the same day in a different case involving District Judge Williams, a different panel including District Judge Bennett, Judge Niemeyer, and Judge Traxler in Lone Mountain Processing, Inc. v. Bowser-Morner, Inc., where Lone Mountain was claiming against a design firm for work done on its coal slurry impoundment area for the operation near St. Charles in Lee County. Judge Williams threw the case out on the 5-year statute of limitations for written contract claims in Virginia. Final payment to the design firm was in 1995, the big accident was in 1996, and the lawsuit was filed in 2000. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the claims for bad work were time-barred, but there was a contractual claim for indemnification that was not time-barred. Judge Traxler dissented on the point that the bad work claims were untimely, concluding that the claim did not accrue until sometime after final payment.

In EEOC v. Warfield-Rohr Casket Company, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Chief Judge Wilkins, joined by Judge Michael and Judge Hamilton, reversed the district court's summary judgment for the employer in an age discrimination case, concluding that there was a material dispute of fact on the issue of whether the employee would have been terminated even if age had not been considered.

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