An intermediate appellate court has affirmed dismissal of an age discrimination suit against the University of Baltimore School of Law, marking the latest legal loss for Michigan immigration attorney Donald Dobkin.
In February 2012, a Iowa jury reached a similar conclusion in February 2012 in Dobkin’s nearly identical lawsuit against the University of Iowa College of Law.
"On the record before us, we conclude that U.B. had presented a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its refusal to hire appellate," the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland ruled on March 22. "Appellant further failed to adduce sufficient evidence to meet his burden of establishing that U.B.’s reasons were pretextual, and its motives were discriminatory."
Dobkin applied for a teaching position in 2009 when he was 56, according to court records. He was one of 833 applicants for three spots, including a professorship in immigration.
The hiring committee did not select Dobkin for one of the 56 first-round interviews and ultimately hired three people aged 40 or younger. One of the successful applicants was a 32-year-old woman who had graduated from Yale Law School, served as a faculty fellow at Seton Hall University School of Law’s immigration and civil rights clinic, clerked for three years for U.S. district and appeals courts judges, and was a clinical teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center.
Dobkin obtained his law degree at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, and earned an LL.M. from Northwestern University School of Law in 1976. He handled more than 7,000 immigration cases during the ensuring years and had published several law review articles.
Dobkin sued the law school in 2010, alleging it hired someone with less experience who was less qualified. The school responded that it passed on Dobkin because he lacked teaching experience and because his academic credentials did not stack up. The trial judge granted the law school’s motion for summary judgment in December 2011, citing lack of evidence of age bias.
Dobkin appealed, arguing that his qualifications were demonstrably superior to the candidate who was hired, and because the evidence showed that the law school has never hired an entry level candidate older than 40.
The appeals court found that the law school’s stated reasons for not interviewing Dobkin—that he had no clinical teaching experience, never served a clerkship and did not graduate from a top 10 law schools—were valid.
Contact Karen Sloan at firstname.lastname@example.org.