Attorneys representing both sides agreed to a dismissal of the lawsuit by Dr. Gregory Gormanous that alleged the state psychology board, on which he serves, was failing to provide accommodations for his disability by denying him the opportunity to attend through virtual sessions.
A Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice was filed on July 29, closing the proceedings after Judge Terry Doughty, United States District Court, denied Dr. Gormanous’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
In Judge Doughty’s analysis, he wrote: “This Court agrees with Judge Drell that the ADA would supersede Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law but denies Gormanous’ request for preliminary injunction in this case for other reasons. This Court finds that the accommodations offered by LSBEP to Gormanous were reasonable. The Governor’s emergency COVID-19 order expired on March 16, 2022. LSBEP offered accommodations recommending social distancing and masks, a reserved table with a single seat at least six feet away from others only for Gormanous, and/or one-way broadcasting of meetings. These are reasonable accommodations that would protect Gormanous and allow him to attend the meetings in a manner that would not impede on his health issues. […]”
“Additionally, LSBEP has valid due process concerns with respect to applicants and/or persons undergoing disciplinary procedures. LSBEP’s powers include the power to examine for, deny, approve, revoke, suspend, and renew the licenses of applicants, candidates, and psychologists. Conducting hearings by Zoom raises due process concerns for applicants, candidates, and psychologists. These important due process protections of applicants, candidates, and psychologists appearing before LSBEP shows a very valid concern by LSBEP of Gormanous’ request.
In his June 6 filing in the United States District Court Western District of Louisiana, Dr. Gormanous asked for a Preliminary Injunction in his favor against defendants Jaime T. Monic, in her official capacity as Executive Director of the LSBEP, and the LSBEP as a political entity. He alleged that Ms. Monic and the LSBEP have unlawfully discriminated against Dr. Gormanous by (1) failing to provide a reasonable accommodation and (2) using eligibility criteria that tends to screen out people with disabilities.
Dr. Gormanous is 74 years old and has various medical conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a pacemaker, that make him highly susceptible to COVID-19, noted authors of the June 6 Motion.
In a June email to colleagues, Dr. Gormanous wrote, “Supporting discrimination does not align with the ideals of psychology. Throughout this ordeal, I have unsuccessfully tried to minimize LSBEP’s expenditures of scarce limited human & financial resources. I tried to resolve issues with a civil inquiry beginning in JUN 2020. During the FEB 22, 2022 meeting, I was met with cognitively rigid replies. Statements like I was asking the ED to break the law by attending by Zoom. As a result, LSBEP’s flawed decision-making process necessitated litigation that continues to result in their spending unnecessary legal fees.”