The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reynolds, Chief Judge, Sitting by Designation.
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER
In this action under the United States Constitution and
various federal statutes, the plaintiff charges that his
statutory termination at age 60 from his position as an
Illinois State Trooper constitutes illegal age discrimination
and violates his right to equal protection. A bench trial
before the Honorable J. Waldo Ackermann was held on September
26, 1984. Judge Ackerman passed away prior to filing findings
of fact and conclusions of law, and consequently, the parties
are entitled to a new trial pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 63.
Arrow-Hart, Inc. v. Philip Carey Co., 552 F.2d 711 (6th Cir.
1977). The parties have agreed, however, to submit the entire
transcript of proceedings held on September 26, 1984, to this
Court for the issuance of findings of fact and conclusions of
law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52. By the same written
stipulation, the parties have waived oral argument.
1. Robert J. Popkins was born June 24, 1923. He was hired by
the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement, Division of State
Police, on December 15, 1957, and served as a trooper until he
was forced to retire on June 24, 1983, his sixtieth birthday.
2. The Illinois Department of Law Enforcement, Division of
State Police, forced Popkins to retire pursuant to
Ill.Rev.Stat. 1983, ch. 121, § 307.12-1, which provides: "No
person may be retained in service as a state policeman after he
has reached 60 year of age."
3. Illinois State Troopers are responsible for the patrol of
highways, regulation, and enforcement of vehicle and criminal
laws, accident and criminal investigations, arrests, searches,
and the provision of first aid to ill/injured persons. A
trooper must perform these duties in all types of weather
conditions, and the working conditions include responding to
hazardous situations, accident scenes, and service calls, some
of which require physical effort in lifting and handling heavy
materials, and in subduing or pursuing individuals who resist
4. At the time of his retirement, Popkins held the position
of Public Information Officer for District Number 1. A Public
Information Officer is required to be a state trooper and wear
the uniform, including a weapon, but does not work as a
highway patrol officer. A Public Information Officer releases
news items and makes public appearances before school and
5. Public Information Officers are required to carry out the
responsibilities of the Department of Law Enforcement,
including enforcement of traffic laws and responding to
accidents as they travel throughout their district, and they
must make themselves immediately available to the District
Commander in emergency or disaster situations. The Department
retains discretion to transfer Public Information Officers
into any other position.
6. Popkins served as Public Information Officer for over six
years, and was never called upon to respond to an emergency or
7. Prior to his forced retirement, Popkins was required to
take, and passed, a physical examination on June 22, 1983. The
test was administered by the Department of Law Enforcement and
included various physical tests such as touching one's toes,
picking up a person off the floor, and walking or running a
mile and a half. A medical examination is not required.
8. The purpose of the Illinois statute requiring state
police to retire at age 60 is to protect the public by
assuring the physical preparedness of its uniformed police.
9. An individual's physical ability declines with age. One
measure of an individual's physical ability is their aerobic
capacity, which measures the amount of oxygen a body can
absorb. Based upon the most strenuous aspects of a state
trooper's job, a trooper should have an aerobic capacity of
3.0 liters of oxygen per minute. Aerobic capacity decreases
with age, and the average 60 year old has an aerobic capacity
of 2.1 or 2.2 liters per minute. Regular, vigorous exercise
can only inprove aerobic capacity by 10 to 15%.
10. Coronary artery occlusion, which restricts the flow of
blood to the heart, could cause an individual exposed to high
levels of physical exertion to suffer a heart attack. By age
60, approximately 70% of men have significant coronary artery
disease in the form of obstruction of at least one coronary
artery to a degree of at least 50%. There is no practicable
means to detect the presence of coronary artery occlusion in
asymptomatic individuals. At age 55 and over, age is the most
significant factor in predicting the presence or absence of
coronary artery occlusion.
11. Robert J. Popkins filed this lawsuit on June 16, 1983.
He notified the Secretary of Labor of his intent to file suit
by filing a complaint with the Equal ...