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Professor to Appeal Decision on Legal Fees in Age Bias Case

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Chicano studies professor Rodolfo Acuna, who won $326,000 in an age discrimination lawsuit against the University of California, said Tuesday he will appeal a federal judge’s decision to cut by about 80% the fees and expenses sought by his lawyers.

Lawyers for Acuna, a longtime professor at Cal State Northridge, sought $2.4 million after he won his case against the university in 1995. U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins cut the amount that UC must pay to $500,000, ruling that Acuna’s legal team was overstaffed and was not successful on the lawsuit’s other major claims, Acuna attorney Moises Vazquez said.

Speaking at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles, Acuna repeated his charge that the judge’s decision to reduce the fees and expenses to his lawyer was part of her “anti-Mexican bias,” which he said was evident during the three-week trial. Asked for a comment on Tuesday, the judge declined.

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After being turned down for a Chicano studies position at UC Santa Barbara, Acuna sued the university system, blaming age, race and political bias for the decision. Collins dismissed the race and politics charges and let the trial proceed on age discrimination. A jury decided in favor of Acuna. The judge awarded him $326,000, but also ruled that he was not entitled to teach at the Santa Barbara campus.


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