MEDFORD, Ore.– New developments in a case that made national headlines earlier this month.
A Gold Hill resident is taking two major retailers to court – claiming age discrimination after he says they refused to sell him a rifle. Late last week, the man filed motions against both companies demanding they cease their store policies of not selling guns to those under 21 while the case is pending.
Today, attorneys for Dick’s Sporting Goods arrived in court to defend the new store policy against the plaintiff, 20-year-0ld Tyler Watson. Watson himself did not show up to court but his attorneys spoke on his behalf, calling for an end to the stores discriminatory practices.
At the Jackson County Courthouse, the court, however, ruled in favor of Dick’s Sporting Goods over the injunction.
“Well we’re disappointed but I understand what the judge was saying,” said Max Whittington, Watson’s attorney.
Watson’s attorneys filed for the temporary restraining order in hopes that it would require the company to drop it’s policy and prevent further discrimination within the state.
“This policy is still in affect at I believe 11 locations in Oregon and it’s blatantly discriminatory and against the law,” said Whittington. “So this was the manner in which we had the best shot at stopping this discrimination immediately.”
Attorneys for Dick’s denied the claims and said Watson’s attorneys didn’t present evidence he was harmed by it’s policies nor would the store’s policy cause “irreparable harm” if it were to continue. They even argued Watson could easily go to another store to purchase a rifle.
“The store is required by law to follow the policy of the state,” said Whittington. “The electorate of Oregon, through their duly elected legislature, has indicated this type of of discrimination should be illegal and they have to follow that.”
While the policy continues to be in place, attorneys on both sides are gearing up for a long legal battle, this was just the first step.
“Well we’re pleased with the result of the decision obviously,” said Thomas Smith, vice president and associate council for Dick’s Sporting Goods. “The next step will give us the opportunity to explain why we believe our actions are in accordance with the law and it will give us an opportunity to make that argument.”
Whittington believes that his client’s claim still has a very good chance at success.
“The judge indicated that he thinks that we have a very good case on the merits,” said Whittington. “We weren’t able to show irreparable injury at this time which is fine. We’ll move for summary judgement and I’m confident we’ll win at that stage.”
Watson is also filing a similar motion against Walmart in Grants Pass. That case will be set at the Josephine County Circuit Court on April 5.