LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On Friday, October 28, 2022, in a victory for Dr. Aysha Khoury, the Los Angeles County Superior Court rejected the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine’s (KPSOM) efforts to keep secret and prevent public scrutiny of its investigation of Dr. Khoury, which KPSOM claims justified its decision to terminate her employment. In doing so, the Court denied two sealing motions filed by KPSOM and ordered publicly filed the School’s December 2020 investigative report into Dr. Khoury and letters of support authored by every student who participated in Dr. Khoury’s class. The Court found that the public’s interest in these documents outweighs any interest in keeping them private.
On August 28, 2020, Dr. Khoury facilitated a small group session on racially disparate treatment of black patients in medicine and spoke from the heart about her own experiences with bias. Nine hours later the KPSOM administration discharged her from her teaching duties and told her they did not want to see her, pending an investigation into her classroom activities. She was replaced with a white male instructor. Dr. Khoury’s small group students wrote letters to KPSOM’s administration reporting that none of them complained to the school, that the class represented the most enlightening hour of their medical school education – one that would resonate with them throughout their medical careers, and that Dr. Khoury’s participation was critical to achieving KPSOM’s stated DEI mission.
Although the KPSOM investigation found that Dr. Khoury did nothing wrong in the classroom, leading to her reinstatement with the Kaiser Medical Group as a clinical physician, KPSOM refused to reinstate her to the faculty. To the contrary, after Dr. Khoury reported and publicly complained of KPSOM’s discrimination, retaliation and lack of due process, KPSOM further retaliated against her by reversing its offer to extend her contract and permanently discharging her. Scores of leaders in the medical field and thousands of individuals across the country have submitted petitions to KPSOM demanding Dr. Khoury’s reinstatement. Also, prospective students are rejecting KPSOM’s offers of tuition-free matriculation to protest the school’s discrimination.
KPSOM finally disclosed the December 2020 investigative report to Dr. Khoury’s lawyers on October 7, 2022, after eighteen months of litigation and only under the strictest confidentiality protections (until rejected by the judge on Friday) Among the important disclosures the School sought to keep secret:
- Students reported that the August 28 discussion was appropriate and would help them become better physicians.
- Dr. Khoury’s co-facilitator acted inappropriately in the class but was not disciplined or investigated and was instead soon promoted to serve on the faculty conduct committee.
- The School used the investigation to attempt to generate unwarranted criticism of Dr. Khoury and justify the School’s actions after the fact. The School’s efforts included investigating Dr. Khoury for the purported offenses of being “difficult” with certain colleagues; attending an orientation session virtually rather than in person in July 2020; allegedly “ignoring” a Department Chair one morning at school; and for “mak[ing] mistakes” in lectures.
Dr. Khoury is represented by Lisa Holder, Esq., Law Offices of Lisa Holder, Esq. and Nathan Smith and Anita Wu of Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP.
The case is Khoury v. Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 21STCV08383). Trial is scheduled for March 13, 2023.
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SOURCE Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP