Expert Testimony at Focus of Current Dispute in Age Discrimination Suit Against PGW
January 12, 2012

by Penny Stacey,

Several former Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) employees who filed suit against the company last year alleging that they were released as the result of age discrimination are requesting that the U.S. District for the Western District of Pennsylvania make a ruling on their request for conditional class certification without the use of expert testimony.

The ongoing dispute stems from a previous filing in which the plaintiffs argued that PGW's statistical analysis expert who alleges that there is "no scientifically significant indication of age discrimination" is "a former businessman and present 'jack of all trades' expert with little or no relevant experience or demonstrated expertise."

In the latest request to the court to rule on class certification, the plaintiffs write, "The proposed expert testimony does not address whether the plaintiffs are similarly situated, but rather, focuses entirely upon the ultimate issue, going to the merits, of whether the RIF had an adverse impact upon older employees. It is therefore, wholly unnecessary to resolution of the threshold issue of whether plaintiffs are similarly situated, and should not be entertained by the court."

The plaintiffs, all of whom were released from the company in March 2009, go on to say that they have not yet completed discovery and have not "had the opportunity to take depositions from any of the managers involved in the restructuring at PGW to confirm the assumptions that have been made in the preliminary report."

In response, PGW has filed documents with the court arguing that the plaintiffs' motion for conditional certification was premature, and that it was made "without even attempting to compare the terminated and retained populations of employees."

Company representatives further argue that "statistical evidence is appropriate if it demonstrates that formation of the proposed class would be futile."

PGW also claims that expert testimony would show that there isn’t "statistical evidence of a disparate impact on the PGW terminated employees over age 40."

At press time, the court had not yet ruled on the issue.

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