Judge rules against grocer's claims that employee forged doctor's note

By Payton Kuhn | May 27, 2019

NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has ruled against Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) regarding the company's claims that plaintiff Michael Piazza perjured himself.

Piazza had originally filed a lawsuit against AWG “contending that his employer violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and the American Disabilities Act when they refused to allow him time off for his lung condition,” and furthermore alleged that AWG had threatened him with termination if he took time off. AWG alleged that Piazza had attempted to return to work using a forged physician’s note, which the plaintiff denied, citing that “the document is not relevant to his claims because it was not used by AWG in its decision to terminate him.”

Judge Karen W. Roby, in a statement filed on May 13, agreed in favor of Piazza, finding that the “the evidence submitted by AWG does not clearly establish that he lied or committed perjury,” even if questions about the plaintiff’s credibility remain. The question of fact was mainly regarding a note from Dr. Michael Knower that the plaintiff submitted to AWG on October 13, 2016, that he could return to work on light duty. 

AWG claimed that the note was forged, as it learned through deposition hearings that Knower claims not to have seen Piazza on the day Piazza claimed the note was written. Although these facts offered questions of credibility regarding Piazza’s lawsuit, Roby found that it does not conclude that he purposely lied or presented false statements, and she offered AWG the ability to prove such in future hearings.


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