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JUDGE RULES $140 MILLION, IDS/AMERICAN EXPRESS AGE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT WILL GO TO TRIAL

 JUDGE RULES $140 MILLION, IDS/AMERICAN EXPRESS
 AGE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT WILL GO TO TRIAL
 MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the country's largest age discrimination lawsuits will proceed to trial in 1992 as a result of rulings handed down today by Federal District Judge David S. Doty.
 Judge Doty ruled that all 32 private plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against IDS Financial Services will be allowed a jury trial on their claims that IDS/American Express practiced systematic age discrimination. IDS Financial Services, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a subsidiary of American Express.
 "Plaintiffs proffer significant evidence that they were injured as a result of the same deliberate pattern or practice of age discrimination," Judge Doty wrote.
 The private plaintiffs in the case were all terminated by IDS in the years following American Express' 1984 acquisition of IDS. The plaintiffs, who are represented by the St. Paul law firm of Winthrop & Weinstine, seek compensatory damages of approximately $140 million.
 Judge Doty denied IDS/American Express' motion that sought to have the 32 plaintiffs' cases litigated separately, thereby allowing all plaintiffs' age discrimination claims to be tried together in a class action trial.
 "IDS/American Express sought to avoid a jury trial with these motions," said Stephen J. Snyder, attorney for the plaintiffs. "The plaintiffs have suffered greatly as a result of losing their jobs, and they are pleased that they will have the opportunity to present their case to a jury."
 IDS/American Express had claimed that some of the plaintiffs had voluntarily resigned, Snyder said. In his ruling, Judge Doty wrote: "Plaintiffs present significant evidence that IDS had a policy and practice of age discrimination involving a strategy to either terminate or force older division managers to retire, therby calling into question that alledged voluntariness of any plaintiff's retirement or resignation."
 The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are supported by the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which joined the lawsuit on their behalf in May 1990. Judge Doty denied IDS' motion that sought to dismiss the EEOC from the case or limit its participation.
 "This ruling will be of enormous benefit to all persons affected by patterns of classwide age discrimination," said Lloyd B. Zimmerman, a senior trial attorney for the EEOC. "We believe this case has the potential to produce the largest verdict in the history of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act."
 The plaintiffs, who were employed between 15 and 35 years at the time of their terminations, were replaced with generally much younger and less experienced people. Among the plaintiffs are some of IDS/American Express' most successful and profitable division sales managers.
 -0- 11/22/91
 /CONTACT: Stephen J. Snyder of Winthrop & Weinstine, 612-290-8496, or 612-929-6294, or Wendy Burt of Himle Horner 612-893-0641/ CO: Winthrop & Weinstine ST: Minnesota IN: SU:


AL-DS -- MN013 -- 6506 11/22/91 16:14 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1991
Words:475
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