Legal Roundup: U.S. Soccer Pay Disparity, Wrongful Death Suit Over Train Derailment and More

The latest court happenings that could impact the insurance and risk management space.
By: | March 7, 2022

Equal Pay for Men’s and Women’s U.S. Soccer Teams

The case: Twenty-eight players on the U.S. Women’s National Team sued the United States Soccer Federation in 2019 alleging gender discrimination, according to The New York Times.

The World Cup-winning women’s team said that discrimination “affects not only their paychecks but also where they play and how often, how they train, the medical treatment and coaching they receive, and even how they travel to matches,” according to the Times.

Scorecard: The soccer federation has settled the case for $24 million, to be shared among the plaintiffs, reported the Times.

Takeaway: The battle for equal pay and conditions in the workplace found perhaps its greatest stage with this case. Stadium crowds chanted “equal pay,” media attention was widespread, and it even led to a documentary film playing on HBO Max.

In the settlement, U.S. Soccer pledges “to equalize pay between the men’s and women’s national teams in all competitions, including the World Cup, in the teams’ next collective bargaining agreements.”

Most of that $24 million settlement is “back pay, a tacit admission that compensation for the men’s and women’s teams had been unequal for years,” reported the Times.

Amazon’s Rapid Delivery Requirement Leads to Negligence Claim

The case: A motorcyclist who required a leg amputation in the aftermath of a crash with an Amazon delivery truck has taken the retail giant to court in Norfolk, Virginia Circuit Court.

According to the suit, Justin Hartley was on the road in Virginia Beach “when a rented truck with an Amazon logo turned directly into his lane,” according to ABC News.

Hartley alleges that unrealistic expectations placed on delivery drivers led to the incident. According to the filing, the driver admitted to authorities that he was checking his Amazon-supplied navigation device when the collision occurred.

Scorecard: The case has just been filed and has not reached a resolution.

Takeaway: In its response to the lawsuit, Amazon “denied all allegations and stated that the lawsuit failed to ‘implicate a legal or contractual responsibility owed on behalf of Amazon,’ ” according to ABC.

Amazon is hardly new to negligence suits as it has been sued at least 119 times over motor vehicle injuries.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Amtrak Following Derailment

The case: Amtrak and BNSF Railway are facing a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a Georgia couple who died in a September 2021 train derailment.

The case, filed in Illinois federal court, places blame on the transportation companies for the accident that left three dead and 44 injured. The deceased couple, Donald and Marjorie Varnadoe, were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Amtrak’s Empire Builder when the train derailed near Joplin, Montana, according to the Associated Press.

BNSF owns the tracks. “The complaint seeks damages for the deaths of Donald and Marjorie Varnadoe and for their pain and suffering. The family is also seeking damages for loss of income, emotional support and companionship along with funeral costs and attorneys fees,” reported the AP.

Scorecard: The case has just been filed and has not reached a resolution.

Takeaway: The incident is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. According to the AP, the widow of the third victim, 28-year-old Zach Schneider, “has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Amtrak and BNSF Railway.”

Rebecca Schneider was also onboard but was in a sleeper car. Her husband, like the Varnadoes, was in the viewing car when the train slid off its tracks, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Supreme Court Asks Solicitor General to Weigh in on Apple/Qualcomm case

The case: Since 2017, Apple and Qualcomm have been battling a variety of patent infringement cases, beginning in San Diego federal court.

Qualcomm alleged Apple’s “iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches infringed a variety of patents, as part of a broad dispute between the two companies over smartphone technology,” according to Reuters.

The case went through a series of appeals, despite a multi-billion dollar settlement in 2019, and Apple escalated the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Scorecard: SCOTUS has requested the opinion of the U.S. Solicitor General, after which it will express its own opinion.

Takeaway: Disputes between Apple and Qualcomm have been going on for years, with Intel a third party as the two chip manufacturers competed to maintain Apple contracts.

In 2019, Qualcomm reached a multi-billion dollar settlement with Apple “that called for the iPhone to once again use Qualcomm modem chips,” reported Reuters. “Apple said that it faces the threat of more litigation from Qualcomm after their agreement ends, and that the decision could block it from challenging the patents in a new case.” &

Jared Shelly is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He can be reached at [email protected].

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