Legionella Researcher Loses Appeal in firing,Researcher Loses Appeal in Firing

Article excerpt

A prominent Legionella researcher fired in 2006 by the VA Pittsburgh Health System should have taken his complaints to a review board instead of court, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly's ruling on July 5, 2011, that the Department of Veterans Affairs didn't violate Dr. Victor Yu's due process rights when it fired him, closed a laboratory and destroyed samples representing nearly 30 years of medical research into Legionnaires' disease.

Kelly dismissed Yu's other claims because they fell under federal civil service laws that give the Merit Systems Protection Board, rather than federal courts, jurisdiction over VA personnel disputes.

The appellate panel agreed, saying that Yu's firing and the "VA's subsequent decisions to retain possession of the equipment and funds and to destroy the samples obtained by Yu are also personnel decisions because they centrally relate to Yu's employment relationship with the VA. …