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Court Lets Solicitor General Chime In

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The U.S. Supreme Court says the Obama administration can share its views on a suit filed by a man who has accused a financial services company of age discrimination.

Earlier, the court granted a writ of certiorari to Jack Gross vs. FBL Financial Services Inc.

The court ruled Monday that the acting solicitor general can join in the oral arguments as a friend of the court.

Jack Gross, the plaintiff in the case, was born in 1948. He began working for the defendant in the case, FBL Financial Group Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1987. In 1999, he became claims administration vice president. In 2001, he became claims administration director, and then, in 2003, he became claims project coordinator and some of his duties were assigned to a younger worker, according to a summary of the case included in an opinion prepared by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gross sued in April 2004, contending that the shift amounted to an age-related demotion.

A jury ruled in favor of Gross.

FBL appealed, contending that the court had incorrectly overruled FBL objections about the jury instructions and had erred by excluding testimony from an FBL executive about Gross’s performance.

Gross appealed a trial court order denying him attorney’s fees.

In May 2008, a 3-judge appeals court panel concluded that the jury instructions were flawed and ordered a new trial.

FBL representatives were not immediately available to comment on the court order permitting the acting solicitor general to participate in oral arguments concerning the case.


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