Appeals court denies claim: Your lawyers gave money, too

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Appeals judges Wednesday have denied the claim of a former PPG Auto Glass operations director who questioned campaign contributions to their arbitrator -- because his own lawyers had contributed even more to the same cause.

James Freeman sued PPG Auto Glass, a division of PPG Industries, for age discrimination in U.S. District Court after he was fired at the age of 60. The case went to binding arbitration. The mutually agreed-upon arbitrator, Maureen Lally-Green, ruled in favor of the company.

Ms. Lally-Green, a former Pennsylvania Superior Court judge who ran unsuccessfully for Supreme Court in 2009, revealed at the start of the arbitration that she was co-teaching a seminar with PPG's senior employment attorney, according to the precedential opinion by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Freeman later learned that the former judge's Supreme Court campaign got $4,500 in contributions from sources related to PPG, leading to his appeal.

Mr. Freeman "conveniently failed to mention that the law firm representing him had contributed a far greater amount to the same campaign," the appeals judges wrote. Contributions associated with that firm, Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, exceeded $26,000, they wrote.

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