By: Camille Pfister
The US Federal Courthouse, where the Appellate Court was held, was full of young men and women working diligently on their case. All of the delegates are working on the same case, but different sides. The sides were assigned and the delegates are memorizing and discussing how to best defend their side. After their first session, they will switch sides. The case for this year’s conference is a civil case, different than past years. This case includes age discrimination and suing. Ageism is the unfair treatment of someone based on age. It is mostly placed against teenagers and older people. In this case, a past employee of a company is suing that company for wrongful termination based off of allegations of ageism.
“I will make three points. One, that O’Callahan [The Defendant] was not performing well. Two, that due to restructuring, O’Callahan’s job was eliminated and the statements made by Mr. Williams are irrelevant in this case. […] There was no job available and so he was eliminated.” One of the Petition attorneys, Adelaide Zink of the Fort Worth YMCA Delegation, said in her opening statement.
The Judge of the case asks questions and makes the attorneys clarify the statements they made. The attorneys are quick on their feet and respond within a few seconds of the question proposed. Each attorney has 15 minutes to state their point, including responding to any questions the Judge may ask. After both attorneys speak on the Petition side, the Respondent side has their chance to state their case with 15 minutes per attorney.
“At the time of O’Callahan’s termination, Mr. O’Callahan was 56, Mr. Kizer was 35, and Mr. Jones, 30. This proves that Mr. O’Callahan was replaced by someone of a younger age. They were both under the age of 40 while he was over the age of 40. Even if they had to terminate O’Callahan’s position, they could have trained him in another position.” Jessie Garcia of the Dallas Delegation, an attorney for the Respondent side said in her defense.
After both sides state their case, the Judge calls a recess and reviews the case. There is a few minutes before the Judge returns and the verdict is called. In this case, the verdict went in favor of the Petition. This case includes a topic that has been a hot-button issue in recent years, ageism. The side of the defendant, Mr. O’Callahan, is trying to prove that the company fired him because he reached a certain age. While the company is saying there was a real reason to fire him and the claim isn’t valid.