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$241,119 awarded in age bias suit

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Associated Press / February 4, 2008

BURLINGTON, Vt. - A Topsham man has won an age discrimination lawsuit in which he said he was passed up for a job as the town road foreman.

An Orange County Superior Court jury has awarded James "Bucky" Spooner $241,119. Spooner was 60 years old and had worked for 15 years in road maintenance when he applied to become Topsham's road foreman in 2001.

According to court papers, the Selectboard hired a 32-year-old man who had less experience after two board members decided Spooner was "too old" and could retire in a few years. After three days of testimony, the jury reached a verdict on Jan. 25.

The award represents the salary Spooner would have made since 2001 if he had been hired for the job. The town is considering whether to appeal the verdict.

Edwin Hobson, Spooner's Burlington lawyer, said he thinks his client would rather have been road foreman than have won the award.

The town is considering whether to appeal the verdict.

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