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Longtime Law Prof Sues U of Pittsburgh for Age Discrimination

Posted Aug 24, 2011 2:45 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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After 30 years at the University of Pittsburgh, longtime tenured tax law professor William Brown moved to Duquesne University in 2000, where he served as director of the business school's graduate tax program.

Then, in 2006, he was recruited back to Pittsburgh and won the law school's Excellence in Teaching award for his work during 2007-2008. When he sought another tenured position the next year, however, the school instead hired a relatively inexperienced woman in her 30s, Brown contends in a discrimination suit he filed today in federal court.

Offered a lesser job as an adjunct, he returned to teach part-time at Duquesne but is seeking a full professor's position at the University of Pittsburgh's law school, his lawyer, Samuel Cordes, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"By all objective qualifications, he's extremely qualified," says Cordes of his 73-year-old client. "He's written books. He's testified before Congress. This is a person who enhances the reputation of the law school."

Cordes told the National Law Journal that his client has a strong case. "They're not going to be able to objectively offer a reason that he was let go, other than that he was getting old," the attorney states. " There's this feeling that they just didn't want an older person on their tenure track."

Neither publication could immediately reach representatives of the law school for comment.

Brown is seeking reinstatement at Pittsburgh and unspecified damages.

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