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Doctor who repeated failed residency exam did not prove discrimination by St. John Hospital

St. John did not allow Rigel Galera to graduate from its surgical residency program after he twice scored below 30% on the ABSITE "core" examination for physicians.  It claimed he was also deficient in other aspects of the residency program. Galera sued, arguing that St. John allowed other non-Filipino doctors to graduate from the residency program, despite similarly low scores and alleged that he was a victim of ethnic discrimination.

The trial court rejected Galera's claim.  On appeal, the higher court pointed out that Galera was unable to document his claim of dissimilar treatment of other ethnics.  Even thought the Hospital had claimed a privilege and refused to allow Galera's attorneys to examine the question of other doctors passing with low scores, the court held that it was Galera's attorneys' duty to challenge this refusal in the lower court.

The Court also pointed out that the Hospital provided alternative bases for the decision, in addition to low test scores (Galera's second attempt achieved only a ten percent score), thus nullifying the claim that disparate treatment of the test score was a mere pretext for discimination.



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