A judge in Florida has quashed a jury’s ruling that awarded Kenyan-born doctor Baiywo Rop $2.75 million in a racial discrimination suit.
Dr. Rop pursued his radiology residency at Florida Hospital, which is run by the state’s largest employer – Adventist Health System hospital. He graduated from medical school in 2012 and was accepted for a radiology residency the following year. During his third year in the program, Rop fell sick and was diagnosed with severe pernicious anemia, and he says that his employer would not accommodate his condition.
Further to this, Rop says his superiors falsely accused him of laziness and smoking weed, through racial stereotypes.
“Apparently, they made an assumption that I smoked weed, and I overheard an attending saying, ‘Oh, he needs to stop smoking weed,’” Rop said.
“So here am I, I am having a disease that could easily kill me—it’s a cheap disease to diagnose, it’s very cheap to treat—but it kills people.”
In 2017, Rop sued the Adventist Health System in the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Orange County, Florida. Following a weeklong trial last month, a jury on May 21st ruled in Rop’s favor after finding his termination from AdventHealth’s radiology residency program in 2017 was racially motivated.
But on May 28th, Circuit Judge Kevin Weiss ruled that Rop did not provide reasonable evidence that his race played a role in his firing from AdventHealth.
Judge Weiss stated that AdventHealth provided “legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons” for dismissing Rop from the program and that the petitioner did not provide sufficient evidence of racial discrimination on behalf of AdventHealth.
As a result, Weiss ruled that Rop will not be awarded the $2.75 million awarded to him by the jury.
Rop’s attorney Jerry Girley termed the ruling as a “manifest injustice” that disregarded the just verdict of the six-person jury.
“We believe that the court overstepped its bounds. My client is ready to continue his fight for justice and ask the community to join with him in his pursuit of justice,” he said in a statement.
Dr. Rop and his lawyer have appealed against the ruling, and want the verdict that the judge vacated reinstated.