Know Your Judge: Nathaniel M. Gorton

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Carmen Castro-Pagan

This week in Know Your Judge, we feature Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Gorton joined the bench in 1992 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

Earlier this year, Gorton blocked Massachusetts’ attempt to stop the Trump administration’s new birth control mandate rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing contraceptive insurance coverage based on their religious beliefs. The new rules have been challenged by several states, including Washington, Pennsylvania, and California. So far federal judges in Pennsylvania and California have issued orders stopping the rules from taking effect nationwide. Massachusetts hasn’t appealed Gorton’s ruling yet.

Gorton is presiding over another case involving the state of Massachusetts. The dispute, which has garnered much attention from the financial industry, involves administrative allegations that Scottrade Inc. violated internal policies designed to comply with the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule. The case is noteworthy for being the first attempt by state regulators to enforce the requirements of the controversial DOL rule. Gorton will rule in the following weeks whether this case must return to the state’s administrative system or remain in federal court.

Statistics & Numbers

Gorton is more likely to dismiss claims involving employment, benefits, and labor matters. He has granted full and partial dismissals in more than 80 percent of the labor, employment discrimination, and benefits cases before him.

Gorton’s rulings on employment and labor disputes have been overwhelmingly affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. His decisions on employee benefits are also likely to be fully or partially affirmed. A little more than a third of his employee benefit rulings have been reversed.

Gorton usually resolves employee benefits cases faster than he does other employment and labor cases. On average he took:

  • 532 days to resolve 532 disability discrimination cases
  • 300 days to close 153 employee benefits disputes
  • 473 days to resolve 84 lawsuits over employment discrimination
  • 473 days to close 32 wage-and-hour disputes
  • 552 days to rule on nine cases over general labor claims

Looking for more analytics on judges? Check back each Wednesday for our Know Your Judge feature, or try Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics. And contact us if there’s a judge you want us to feature.

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