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|Companion suit against ULM awaits trial date|
No trial date has been set in an age discrimination lawsuit filed in 4th Judicial District Court by two former employees of the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Former business professor Van McGraw and former university president Dwight Vines sued the University of Louisiana System in state court in 2005, alleging a pattern of discriminatory acts against the two men dating to 2001. ULM is a ULS institution.
McGraw and Vines also are parties to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the University of Louisiana System. The EEOC lawsuit in U.S. District Court concerns allegations of discrimination at ULM as well. That lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next year.
Documents on file at 4th Judicial District Court in Monroe state McGraw and Vines filed applications for employment for positions in ULM's College of Business Administration in September, 2001.
ULM declined to hire either man for the jobs to which they applied.
McGraw and Vines continued to express interest in numerous jobs with the College of Business Administration but no jobs ever materialized, despite numerous openings for which the men were qualified, according to the lawsuit.
"It is a long standing practice of ULM, in particular the College of Business Administration, to retain applications on file for future positions and that it is not necessary to reapply in order to be considered for a subsequent vacancy," the lawsuit states.
That meant McGraw and Vines should have been considered for other job openings in the following years but neither man was considered, according to the lawsuit.
However, no such consideration was given, the lawsuit says.
Attorney Johnny Dollar, who represents McGraw and Vines, contended the reason they have been denied employment stemmed from a 1997 lawsuit in which the men sued the university for age discrimination. That suit was dismissed in 1999 because of procedural issues, according to court records.
"They each stated their willingness to be considered for either teaching or administrative positions," the lawsuit states.
Winston DeCuir, an attorney from Baton Rouge who represents the ULS, denied the allegations.
Also, DeCuir said the lawsuit should be dismissed because the ULS is a state agency.
"The actions of the ULM and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System are discretionary acts of public employees and as such these actions are immune from suit," DeCuir wrote in his response.
In responding to the EEOC lawsuit in U.S. District Court, DeCuir contends the ULS is immune from prosecution in federal court under the 11th Amendment.
A trial date for the lawsuit in 4th Judicial District Court lawsuit was originally set for early 2008. However, a series of procedural motions and appeals to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal delayed action on the case.
The most recent date set for court was May 19.
DeCuir petitioned for and received a continuance on that court date as well. No new trial date was set, according to the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Courts' office.