3rd Circuit: Age-discrimination appeal against PPG failed to show campaign donations relevant

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A former PPG Auto Glass director who appealed an arbitration ruling against him based on the arbitrator's receipt of campaign contributions from the opposing party saw his claim denied today because his lawyers contributed even more.

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 from the post of director of operations.

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 had received $4,500 in contributions from sources related to PPG, leading to his appeal, the opinion said.

Mr. Freeman in his appeal "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 totaled more than $26,000, they wrote, adding that "campaign contributions are a way of life in many state judicial systems."

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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