A Multnomah County judge dismissed an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit Aug. 15 that was filed against the University of Oregon and then-College of Design Dean Christoph Lindner.
The lawsuit, brought by former architecture professor Donald Genasci, was one of three age discrimination suits brought against the university and Lindner last February.
The suit was dismissed by stipulation, meaning Genasci and the university agreed to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be tried again.
The other two age discrimination lawsuits, filed by architecture professors Gerald Gast and Hajo Neis, remain ongoing. The three were seeking a combined $4.3 million in damages, alleging they were relocated from UO’s Portland campus to Eugene because they were the oldest members of the Portland architecture faculty. Genasci sought $1.2 million in damage.
Kay Jarvis, spokesperson for the university, declined to comment on the lawsuit because of the two ongoing lawsuits. Genasci’s attorney, Craig Crispin, did not return requests for comment.
“As a result of defendants’ wrongful conduct, Professor Genasci had no reasonable alternative but to retire, which he did effective January 1, 2018,” Genasci’s complaint stated.
The university and Lindner denied they discriminated against the professors based on age or retaliated against them, instead alleging that the reassignments were part of a “multi-pronged” approach to improve enrollment at the Portland architecture program.
“These changes were all made with the goal of infusing the Portland program with different courses from a greater variety of backgrounds and perspectives that were informed by current research and to improve connections with the local architectural community,” the university and Lindner wrote in court documents.
UO also alleged in court documents that Genasci’s suit was invalid because he accepted a settlement proposal in March after agreeing to binding arbitration, a mediation process with a third-party mediator whose decision is as final as a judge’s decision would be. UO argued Genasci broke their contract because he “continued to pursue the current lawsuit” after arbitration ended.
However, the court documents didn't mention a settlement or give a reason for the dismissal.
The university and Lindner requested that Genasci pay their “reasonable” court fees and costs, but the dismissal did not award court costs or attorney fees to either side.