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Armstrong Teasdale has defeated a former equity partner’s age bias lawsuit challenging the firm’s mandatory retirement age, with a Missouri federal judge ruling that the partner couldn’t claim to be an “employee” under a federal anti-discrimination law because he had already made a similar argument in state court and lost.

U.S. District Judge Henry Edward Autrey in St. Louis, who last year denied Armstrong Teasdale’s early attempt to dismiss former partner Joseph von Kaenel’s age bias suit, has now determined that the law firm deserves a judgment on the pleadings. The decision comes in a suit alleging von Kaenel was unfairly pushed out in 2014 under a mandate that partners retire from Armstrong Teasdale at the end of the calendar year in which they turn 70.

Autrey initially granted the Am Law 200 firm’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on Monday, then issued an amended opinion on Tuesday. In the decision, the judge noted that von Kaenel had previously litigated in state court the question of whether he could invoke a Missouri anti-discrimination law. After an evidentiary hearing in state court, a judge eventually ruled that von Kaenel couldn’t continue pressing his state claim because, as an equity partner and part owner of Armstrong Teasdale, he was not an “employee” as defined in the Missouri anti-bias law.

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Scott Flaherty

Scott Flaherty, based in New York, covers the business of law with a focus on legal ethics, lawyer misconduct, conflicts-of-interest and litigation involving law firms. He can be reached at [email protected] On Twitter: @sflaherty18

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