A federal jury in Reno awarded nearly $3.8 million Friday to a Las Vegas man who was terminated from his sales job in 1999 because of his age.
According to court records, Larry Dillon worked for The West Group and its corporate predecessors for about five years before he was fired from his position as a senior sales representative at the age of 53. At the time, he was earning an annual salary of about $280,000.
Dillon said The West Group was a division of Thomson Legal Publishing, which was based in Eagan, Minn. He filed his lawsuit against West Publishing, The West Group, Thompson Legal Publishing and The Thomson Corp.
The jury awarded Dillon nearly $1.9 million in back pay, which was automatically doubled because the panel found that his termination involved a willful violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
“I’m not foolish enough to say that the amount of the award is not important or significant to me, but more important is the vindication,” Dillon said Friday in a phone interview from Reno.
The defendants’ attorneys could not be reached for comment, but Dillon said he expects them to appeal.
Senior U.S. District Judge Edward Reed presided over the trial, which began Tuesday. Dillon was represented by attorney Randall Rumph.
“It was acknowledged by everyone that he was a very, very successful salesperson,” Rumph said of his client. “We alleged and proved that he was terminated because of infighting between company divisions, and his age was a reason for him being chosen to be terminated.”
Dillon, now 61, has lived in Las Vegas since 1978. He said he now works as a national sales manager for Tardus Financial Group.