Overturning a jury’s verdict of more than $240,000 in an age discrimination suit, a federal magistrate judge has ruled that a plaintiff who was fired at the age of 50 failed to prove an essential element of his case because the four workers who assumed his duties had an average age of less than seven years younger than he was.

In his 60-page opinion in Steward v. Sears Roebuck & Co., U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter concluded that plaintiff Gunnar Steward failed to make out a prima facie case of age discrimination.

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