Third District Court of Appeals Upholds Freeman Decision
March 7, 2013

by Jennifer Reed,

The Third U.S. District Court of Appeals has denied the claim of a former PPG Auto Glass employee who had alleged that the arbitrator in his age discrimination case against Pittsburgh Glass Works (formerly PPG Auto Glass) was biased.

James Freeman's attorneys filed the appeal after learning a source related to PPG had donated campaign funds to the arbitrator, Maureen Lally-Green, in her unsuccessful bid for Supreme Court. The court discovered that Freeman's own attorneys had contributed even more funds.

Freeman was a director of operations at PPG Auto Glass until he was let go in 2008. He originally sued PGW in the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleging that his firing amounted to age discrimination since he was 60. In a settlement conference, the parties entered into a biding arbitration agreement.

In its opinion, the appeals court says, "James Freeman recently lost an arbitration dispute. Soon thereafter, he discovered that the arbitrator had received contributions for a judicial campaign from PPG Industries, the defendants' minority owner.

"Freeman filed a motion to vacate the arbitration award, but he conveniently failed to mention that the law firm representing him had contributed a far greater amount to the same campaign. The District Court denied the motion and we will affirm," the court states.

In August of 2011, when both parties first talked with arbitrator Lally-Green, she told them, "You all know that it's a small legal community here." She acknowledged that she "knew some people at PPG" and revealed she taught a seminar with Joseph Mack, PPG Industries' senior employment attorney.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
Subscribe to receive the free e-newsletter.