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MASON CITY | A Mason City jury has ruled against four former employees of the Second Judicial Department of Correctional Services, who all claimed they were denied a higher-ranking position because of their ages. 

Scott Lovik, 47, Rudd; Heather Coombs, 41, Northwood; Leslie Coe, 39, Mason City; and Michele Gordon, 54, Mason City, filed a civil lawsuit in Cerro Gordo County District Court in March 2016 against both the department and Michael McGuire, Ventura, supervisor in the department’s Mason City office.

All four worked as residential officers and applied for the position of community program monitor in 2014. According to court documents, they argued younger people with less experience were always chosen above them for the open positions.

The trial began last Tuesday, and continued until Jan. 26. A jury deliberated for about two hours before determining McGuire and the Second Judicial Department of Correctional Services was not guilty of age discrimination.

The amount of compensation the four individuals sought was not specified in court documents. Jurors upon determining a guilty verdict were instructed to determine the amount of financial damages. 

Iowa Assistant Attorney General Molly Weber — who represented McGuire and the Department of Correctional Services — declined comment Tuesday through Geoff Greenwood, communications director for the Iowa Attorney General. 

Mark Sherinian, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs, sent the following statement via email regarding the verdict.

"My clients are disappointed in the verdict," Sherinian wrote. "They believe that the numerous contradictions in Mike McGuire's explanations for these decisions showed that age was a factor in who he chose for the positions.  They are considering an appeal."

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Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.



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