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A 59-year-old engineer who accused Boeing Co. of age discrimination has won a $2.5 million verdict in a federal lawsuit claiming he was wrongly denied assignment as a test pilot three years ago. Mario Goico, a veteran pilot who has worked at Chicago-based Boeing’s Wichita plant for more than 20 years, argued that bias against his Cuban heritage also contributed to his being passed over for the higher-paying job. The verdict, returned Wednesday by a U.S. District Court jury, includes $1.5 million in punitive damages intended to deter similar behavior. The jury awarded Goico $370,000 in what he would have been paid as a test pilot, $31,000 in back pay and $625,000 for pain and suffering. U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown could lower the award under laws that limit liability. Company spokesman Dick Ziegler said Boeing was “very disappointed” with the verdict. The company has not decided whether it will appeal. Goico, who is also a Republican state lawmaker representing Wichita, said justice had prevailed. “I’m glad I went over there and I showed the facts of the case and the jurors saw the truth of what had occurred,” he said. Goico applied for the higher-paying position in 2001, but was told that the company wanted to hire younger pilots, according to testimony about why he was passed over for the assignment. After he complained of discrimination, Goico said he began receiving bad performance reviews. “He has a high amount of respect for Boeing, but he thought they did the wrong thing in this instance, and the jury agreed,” said Jeff Spahn, one of Goico’s lawyers. On Thursday, Boeing shares rose 10 cents to close at $54.85 on the New York Stock Exchange. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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