Feb 27 (Reuters) - An Iowa jury has found against a lawyer who sued the University of Iowa College of Law for age discrimination after the school failed to offer him a position as a law professor.
The eight-member jury gave its verdict against Donald Dobkin, 59, in state court in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday.
Dobkin sued the University of Iowa College of Law in 2009. The previous year, Dobkin, then 55 years old, had responded to an advertisement from the law school, which was seeking professors with experience in administrative law, immigration and other practice areas.
Although Dobkin, a graduate of Northwestern University Law School, had handled thousands of immigration cases and written articles on immigration law and administrative law, he was not offered an interview, according to the lawsuit.
Instead, the law school offered law professor positions to two candidates under age 40 who had "no legal private practice experience" and "no or limited experience in the area of immigration law or administrative law," the lawsuit said.
"We're very disappointed," Dobkin said of the jury verdict.
Dobkin added that he did not believe his case was given a fair trial. "All the older male jurors who would have been most sensitive to an age discrimination claim were excluded," said Dobkin. "No decisions have been made, but I think an appeal is very likely."
Maria Lukas, deputy general counsel for the University of Iowa, said the university is "very pleased" with the verdict.
Two other employment-related lawsuits are pending against the University of Iowa College of Law. One is an age bias suit filed by Nicholas Spaeth, a former North Dakota attorney general. Spaeth is suing the University of Iowa College of Law along with five other law schools, alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act after they did not offer him tenure-track teaching jobs.
In another case, instructor Teresa Wagner claims she was rejected for two legal writing positions because of her conservative political beliefs. A lower court originally dismissed Wagner's lawsuit, but a federal appeals court ruled in December that the case could go forward.
Lukas, of the University of Iowa, declined comment on the ongoing cases.
The case is Dobkin v. University of Iowa, Iowa District Court of Johnson Couty, No. LACV071377.
For the plaintiffs: Donald Dobkin, and Stephen Fieweger of Katz, Huntoon & Fieweger
For the defendant: Office of the Iowa Attorney General
(Reporting by Moira Herbst)
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