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The Home Depot Cobra Lawsuit Transferred To Georgia

Why was the Case Transferred?

A recent Home Depot Cobra class action lawsuit alleges that the company did not provide their employees the full details needed to ensure employee’s post-termination health insurance options are still open and available when they are asked to leave the company. 

Recently, however, the case was transferred from a Florida federal court to the retailer’s home state of Georgia.

A Tampa-based US District Judge made the transfer possible for a former Home Depot employee, Travis Mendiola, as the allegations included violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to the Northern District of Georgia, as per the company’s request.

US District Judge Thomas Barber cited case law that says forum selection causes are presumably valid, and if a valid clause is available, the courts must not consider the plaintiff’s choice of forum or arguments about the parties’ private interests about the convenience of one venue over another.

Judge Barber also stated that if a party mocks a forum selection clause and files in a different location, the original venue’s choice-of-law rules do not follow the case to the new forum.

Home depot also argued in a motion that the Northern District of Georgia would be a better venue, according to the judge’s order.

Although Mendiola claimed that the forum selection clause in the plan was invalid, and that it does not apply to these specific claims, adding that the Middle District of Florida would be more convenient.

In a previous suit, Travis Mendiola claimed that Home Depot’s deficient notice about his options to get insurance coverage under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act program, or COBRA. 

After his termination last year, he ended up making an abrupt decision about his health insurance. He suffered economic injuries because he lost his health coverage and he incurred out-of-pocket medical expenses because of this.

Travis mentioned he worked at Home Depot for 19 years, and he criticized the company for not following the US Department of Labor’s model notice about COBRA. He also suggested that the company did not follow the government’s model as to presumably save Home Depot money by making terminated employees not go for COBRA.

Mendiola is looking to represent a class of all participants and beneficiaries in Home Depot’s health and dental plan, those who were sent a COBRA notice during the time of the applicable statute of limitations period and did not go for continued coverage, a description he estimates covers a lot of potential class members.

Editor’s note on The Home Depot COBRA Lawsuit:

If you feel what is outlined above affects you, feel free to contact us today!

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