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Court Denies Tobacco Giants' Motions to Dismiss Claims Alleging Explicit Age Discrimination and Retaliation
Date:2/27/2008

U.S. District Court Allows Claims Brought by Swiss-Based In-House Counsel To Proceed against Altria Group, Inc. and Phillip Morris International,

Inc.

NEW YORK, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Broach & Stulberg, LLP announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has denied motions to dismiss age discrimination and retaliation claims brought by a Swiss-based former in-house counsel against Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) and Philip Morris International, Inc. (collectively "Phillip Morris"). The motions sought to dismiss the claims on the ground that the U.S. court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the allegations brought under the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

Applying a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling to a case claiming extra-territorial application of the federal age discrimination law, the District Judge ruled that "defendants have failed to raise a meritorious issue as to lack of subject matter jurisdiction" pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1).

The plaintiff, D'Arcy Quinn, a U.S. citizen, has alleged that his employer in Switzerland was an American corporation or an American-controlled corporation subject to the ADEA. In their motions, Altria and PMI both contended that the District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Mr. Quinn's claims because he was employed by a "foreign" employer not subject to the ADEA. The District Court rejected the defendants' motions on the ground that the extra-territorial provisions of the ADEA do not restrict the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. In so holding, the Court relied upon the U.S. Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Arbaugh v. Y&H Corporation, which had not previously been applied to the extra-territorial provisions of the ADEA.

"We are gratified that the Court has denied Altria's and PMI's motions to dismiss," said Robert B. Stulberg, Esq., partner at Broach & Stulberg, LLP, which is representing Mr. Quinn. "We can now address the merits of Mr. Quinn's claims, and we look forward to the opportunity to prove that these companies routinely and systematically violated the U.S. age discrimination law."

Mr. Quinn, 52, served successfully as Phillip Morris Brand Integrity Director and in-house counsel for international anti-counterfeiting and anti-smuggling matters concerning Marlboro and L&M cigarettes. The complaint alleges that firings, hirings and promotions within Philip Morris illegally considered the ages of candidates and employees. Among other actions alleged in the complaint, at meetings convened to consider career development, Philip Morris' Human Resources department presented PowerPoint slides listing individual employees' birthdates and showing graphs that compared the average age of the Brand Integrity department workforce with the average age of other Philip Morris employees. The complaint also alleges that senior management explicitly expressed its decision to not hire, to not promote, and to fire particular employees because they were "too old," and referred to these older employees as "blockers."

Background on Broach & Stulberg, LLP

Broach & Stulberg, LLP is a labor, employment and civil rights law firm dedicated to providing expert legal counsel to individual employees, public- and private-sector labor unions and employee benefit plans. Founded in 1985, the New York-based firm offers a wealth of experience in all aspects of labor and employment law. The firm has earned a reputation among clients for its knowledgeable and responsive service, and has won respect within the labor and employment bar for careful selection of cases, meticulous preparation and the highest quality of work. The firm also serves as counsel to individuals and organizations in efforts to protect the civil rights of the disabled. For more information, please visit http://www.brostul.com.


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SOURCE Broach & Stulberg, LLP
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