Des Moines Register columnist Marc Hansen writes about an interview he had with Jack Gross, the plaintiff in Gross v. FBL Financial, Inc., decided by the U.S. Supreme Court last June. Mr. Gross was in Washinton, DC last week to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee that is considering amendments to the ADEA that would effectively overrule the Gross decision.
Lawyers and judges think and talk about cases in terms of how the "law" applies to the "facts." It is easy to forget these controversies involve real people with interesting backgrounds, stories, and motives. Any good trial lawyer knows the likelihood of success in a lawsuit often depends more on the people involved and how they present themselves, rather than obscure legal rules or abstract "facts."
Jack Gross’ case is now back in the Southern District of Iowa, waiting for a new trial. The jury instructions will be slightly different this time around (assuming Congress has not changed the law by then). It will be interesting to see if it makes any difference in the outcome.