Federal appeals court sides with VA in Lafayette doctor's racial discrimination case

By Karen Kidd | Jul 23, 2018

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's decision dismissing a Veterans Administration physician's racial discrimination lawsuit.

In a July 17 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District upheld a lower court's decision dismissing a racial discrimination case filed by a Lafayette doctor.  

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's decision dismissing a Veterans Administration physician's racial discrimination lawsuit.

In a July 17 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District found John Stroy of Lafayette did not sufficiently show the VA discriminated against him when handing down a negative peer review in 2011. 

"The VA's peer review process is not an 'adverse employment action' under Title VII," Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote. "Adverse employment actions are ultimate employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, demoting, promoting, granting leave and compensating."

Judges James Ho and Gregg Costa joined in the decision.


Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  

"Stroy offered no evidence that he suffered a reduction in privileges, job responsibilities, or pay as a result of the peer review process," Elrod wrote in the opinion.

She added that the peer review committee eventually revised its decision and found Stroy did not deviate from norms in his care of a patient later diagnosed with renal failure. Stroy, who is African-American, still filed a discrimination complaint with the state in 2011. He later filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination and retaliation under Civil Rights Act.

The judges also said Stroy prematurely filed a federal lawsuit when there were still administrative options to address his grievances.

Stroy works as a primary care physician at the VA's Lafayette Community Based Outpatient Clinic. 

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