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NYC Man Suing for Age Bias Says Judge Too Old

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on October 26, 2011 6:48 AM

Martin Stoner, 60, is a musician. He's also in the midst of suing the non-profit organization Young Concert Artists for age bias.

But Stoner is now embarking down a path that some might call ironic. He is arguing that the judge presiding over his case, 88-year-old Manhattan judicial veteran Robert Patterson, is "too old."

Stoner alleges that Judge Patterson is "slow-witted and unable to function." He also says the judge can "barely see unless he put his face almost on top of a document."

Perhaps Stoner simply doesn't get along with the Judge Patterson. In fact, Judge Patterson recently threw out Stoner's case after finding several legal mistakes, reports The Daily Mail.

Stoner had recently re-filed the case, only to get reassigned to the aging judge.

The crux of Stoner's case is that the Young Concert Artists discriminates on the basis of age. The non-profit organizes a competition where winners receive $75,000 in career support and management.

Given the organization's moniker, it's unsurprising that the "Young Concert Artists" have an age restriction. The competition is meant for musicians between the ages of 19-26.

Stoner, aged 60, clearly does not fall within their normal age parameters. But he was allowed to participate in preliminary auditions after he threatened to sue.

Will Martin Stoner prevail against Young Concert Artists? Traditionally, laws prohibit discriminating against potential job applicants or employees on the basis of age.

But Stoner wasn't applying for a job at the non-profit; he was entering into a contest. And it seems that his suit could open the door for lots of other litigation. Should adults be allowed to participate in youth sports? Is the age limit there also discriminatory? What about for singing contests that are only open to certain ages, such as American Idol?

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