The opinion of the court was delivered by: HANNUM
This is an action in which plaintiff Robert W. Moorhouse (Moorhouse), a 55 year old aircraft controls design engineer, alleged that he was illegally demoted, and later laid off, by the defendant Boeing Company (Boeing). The individually named defendants, John Mayer (Mayer), Peter Cross (Cross) and Ray Pearson (Pearson) were alleged to have conspired to take the illegal action on behalf of Boeing.
The Complaint contained four counts. Count One asserted that the actions of Boeing violated the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 (ADEA). Count Two charged that defendants Mayer, Cross and Pearson conspired to violate the ADEA. Count Three sounded in common law breach of contract, and asserted that Boeing's action in laying off plaintiff violated a "working lifetime" provision of the oral employment contract between Boeing and Moorhouse. Count Four alleged that defendants Cross and Pearson conspired to commit the breach of contract set forth in Count Three.
A jury trial commenced on June 11, 1979, and continued through June 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20. At the close of plaintiff's case, defendants moved for a directed verdict pursuant to Rule 50(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. That motion was denied. At the close of all the evidence, defendants renewed their motion for a directed verdict, and after hearing argument, the Court granted the motion as to Counts Two, Three and Four. The motion was denied as to Count One, and the ADEA claim was submitted to the jury with the following special interrogatories:
1. Was age a consideration in Boeing's decision to demote Moorhouse?
2. Was the consideration of age a cause of Boeing's decision to demote Moorhouse?
3. Was age a consideration in Boeing's decision to lay off Moorhouse?
4. Was the consideration of age a cause of Boeing's decision to lay off Moorhouse?
On June 20, 1979, the jury returned negative answers to special interrogatories 1 and 3, and judgment was accordingly entered in favor of defendant. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion For A New Trial Pursuant To Rule 59, Fed.R.Civ.P.
Plaintiff's assignments of error fall into three general categories. First, Moorhouse contends there was error in the Court's refusal to allow certain testimony by five of his witnesses. Second, plaintiff maintains that the Court erred in granting defendants' motion for a directed verdict on the contract claims asserted in Counts Three and Four. Finally, plaintiff suggests that he was prejudiced by the conduct of the trial court towards his counsel. Each contention will be considered separately below.