Supreme Court decision ends U discrimination suit

Shira Kantor

The University’s first appearance in the nation’s highest court proved victorious Wednesday, when a 6-3 ruling in favor of the Board of Regents ended a nearly decade-long age discrimination suit.

Former University Media Resources employees Lance Raygor and James Goodchild claimed they were forced to retire in 1994 under the veil of a tightened department budget. The pair, who were in their early 50s, said they were targeted because of their age.

After their claim was dismissed in federal court, Raygor and Goodchild took their case to state court in hopes of a more favorable decision.

But University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg argued the 30-day time limit on bringing a state discrimination claim had expired.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case not on its merits but to determine whether federal law took precedence over the state time limit on discrimination claims, as Raygor and Goodchild argued.

Rotenberg said the decision clearly supported “the basic principles of federalism in our Constitution.”

“This is a solid victory,” Rotenberg said in a written statement Wednesday. “The court clearly agreed with the University that Congress did not, and cannot, dictate to the states time periods for filing claims in state courts.”

The University received support from several organizations, including the U.S. Justice Department, the National Governor’s Association, the National League of Cities, 24 states, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislators.

Ragor said he was extremely disappointed by the ruling.

“Everybody is supposed to get their day in court, but I was denied mine over constitutional technicalities,” Raygor said. “It’s a real crime is what it is.”