Moot Court Competition Tackles Age Discrimination Case
May 20, 2008 — The Earle Mack School of Law concluded its inaugural moot court competition on May 20, resulting in victories for 1Ls Chad Strausbaugh and Christopher Miller.
Strausbaugh, a native of Bristow, Va., effectively defended a department store against claims it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act when it terminated a successful 56-year-old saleswoman.
Appearing before a trio of 7th Circuit judges representing the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, Strausbaugh persuasively argued for summary judgment, contending the store had a legitimate need to downsize its staff to avoid bankruptcy.
Miller, of East Fallowfield, Pa., persuasively argued that his client deserved a day in court, since store personnel who had made disparaging remarks about her age ignored her effectiveness in retail when deciding whom to fire.
He cited a raft of precedents as he argued against summary judgment before a trio of 8th Circuit judges from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Kansas City Division.
Strausbaugh and Miller emerged from a field of more than 50 first-year students who competed in oral arguments after submitting written briefs in their Legal Methods classes during the spring quarter.
Both the winners and their rivals, 1L finalists Peter Kidd, of Philadelphia, and John Dougherty, of Dunmore, Pa., performed admirably, said Judge Mark I. Bernstein of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County and Judge Maurino Rossanese of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, who made guest appearances as jurists in the competition.
“You did as well as most lawyers who come in and get paid,” said Bernstein, who served on the 7th Circuit panel with professors Chapin Cimino Cody and David S. Cohen that heard arguments from Strausbaugh and Kidd.
Rossanese said Miller and Dougherty argued more effectively than some members of the bar.
“Some are not of the caliber you see here today,” said Rossanese, who served on the 8th Circuit panel with Senior Associate Dean Dan Filler and Professor Bret Asbury.
Professor Kevin Oates, faculty advisor to Earle Mack School of Law’s Moot Court Board, said he was pleased by the level of competition.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the students’ performance,” Oates said. “The students took it very seriously and they did a great job.”
Second-year student Jerome Aquino, chief executive officer of the Moot Court Board, said plans are still evolving for competition at the school next year.
In the meantime, Aquino said, he and other board members are preparing for external competitions next year.
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