Rams Can't Arbitrate Yet With Former Kit Man
(CN) - A longtime equipment manager for the St. Louis Rams should have been granted a stay of arbitration in his age discrimination lawsuit, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled.
Todd Hewitt had worked in the Rams equipment department for 40 years, dating back to their days in Los Angeles. He started working with his father, the team's equipment manager, when he was 11 years old.
After the 2011 season, then-head coach Steve Spagnuolo told Hewitt he was too old for the job, according to the complaint he filed in St. Louis County Court.
Hewitt claimed that his firing violated the Missouri Human Rights Act. He also said Spagnuolo drummed out six other workers on the basis of their age before the coach lost his own job after posting a 10-38 record in three seasons.
The Rams successfully moved to compel arbitration, leading Hewitt to seek dismissal of his case without prejudice so he could seek appellate review of the arbitration agreement. He also asked for a stay of arbitration.
Judge Kristine Kerr granted Hewitt half of what he wanted. He got the dismissal, but not the stay of arbitration. A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed Tuesday.
The lower court's ruling had been "an internally inconsistent judgment because it both dismisses appellant's claim in the trial court while ordering it to arbitration," Judge Sherri Sullivan wrote for the appellate panel.