Age Bias Claims Against Law Schools to Proceed | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Age Bias Claims Against Law Schools to Proceed

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge ruled that a law school professor suing six law schools for employment discrimination based on age must sue each of the schools separately and in their home districts.

Sixty-two-year-old Nicholas Spaeth sued Michigan State University College of Law, the University of Missouri School of law, Hastings College of the Law, University of Iowa College of Law, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and Georgetown University, claiming that the schools passed him up for a tenured teaching position, opting for younger candidates instead.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle denied the schools' motion to dismiss the claims, but agreed that each school had to be sued separately and within their home district.

"[Spaeth] has not alleged that defendants conspired in declining to interview him or offer him a job, nor has he claimed that they acted pursuant to a shared policy," Huvelle wrote. "By a reading of Spaeth's amended complaint, defendants acted independently when they evaluated his candidacy and decided, for whatever reason, against interviewing or hiring him."

Spaeth's argument that separating the schools would result in prejudice by inconsistent judgments was shot down by the judge, who stated inconsistent judgments are "particularly appropriate here."

The judge also agreed to send the individual cases back to each individual school's district, stating that each school made the decision not to hire Spaeth at their campuses and not the conference where Spaeth had applied.

Spaeth, a Missouri resident, applied for teaching positions at the schools while attending the 2010 American Association of Law Schools Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington. He was interviewed by two schools, but was not hired because of his age, he claims. He says the jobs were given to younger, less qualified candidates.

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