A violinist rejected from a musical competition for being too old, is now suing the judge who dismissed his case against the organizers of the competition for being too old.
Some call it hypocrisy, some call it ironic, but for Martin Stoner, it’s about judicial fairness and skill.
The New York Daily Mail reports that Martin Stoner, 60, entered a competition for budding musicians age 19-26, organized by Young Concert Artists. The competition promises $75,000 in career support and management to several winners.
The prize was appealing for Stoner who lost his job last year at the New York City Ballet Orchestra, where he had been employed for 25 years.
Founder and Director of Young Concert Artists Inc., Susan Wadsworth, told the Daily Mail that he was allowed to perform for the preliminary round, along with 277 others, but she thought she would recommend him to another agency. Though, she said that his performance was ‘less than stellar’. He was rejected from the competition afterward, due to his age.
In March, Stoner formally complained and filed suit against Young Concert Artists for ageism. The case was presided over by 88-year-old Federal Judge Robert Patterson. After finding several mistakes in Stoner’s court papers, Judge Patterson threw out the case.
Stoner re-filed the case, asking for a new judge, stating that Judge Patterson was “slow-witted and unable to function” and bias against him because he was representing himself.
In his judicial complaint, Stoner says that Judge Patterson “could barely see unless he put his face almost on top of a document.” He added, “Judge Patterson should be removed from the bench, both because of his mental and physical limitations. With all due respect, he may have been a very learned jurist in his day.”
While it’s true that Judge Patterson wears a hearing aid, defenders claim that he is “sharp as a tack” and marvel at the fact that in 2009 Patterson stepped in mid-case when a judge became sick, going through a legal transcript of over 2,000 pages in a single weekend and handling the case with ease and composure. Patterson has degrees from both Harvard and Columbia Law. He has refused to comment on the matter.
Stoner admits that it sounds ironic and hypocritical but believes his fight on ageism is too important. Stoner stated, "I know it sounds kind of like hypocrisy. I asked the judge to recuse himself on the grounds that he's too old. Isn't that ironic?”