Representative Cases

Judicial Acceptance of Psychemedics Hair Analysis

Federal Employment Decisions

Loiacano v. DISA Global Solutions, Inc. et al., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147987 (E.D. La. 2014). The state court dismissed the employee’s claims that unreasonable and unreliable drug screening resulted in his termination, finding that he failed to state a claim for negligence.

Stewart v. International Truck and Engine Corp., Case No. 01 C 2756, (U.S.D.C., Northern Dist. IL, July 2, 2002). The plaintiff alleged that hair drug testing had an adverse impact on African Americans. The court granted summary judgment for the employer and dismissed the case, finding that the absence of statistical evidence was fatal to the disparate impact claim.

Scott v. The City of New York, et al., Civil Action No. 98-CV-1902 (ERK), (U.S.D.C., Eastern Dist. NY, March 21, 2001). The plaintiff’s claim of constructive discharge based on race and gender. The court granted summary judgment for the City and dismissed the case, relying on the plaintiff’s marijuana-positive hair test result and his prior admission of use.

Jones et al. v. City of Chicago, Civil Action No. 99 C 8201, (U.S.D.C., Northern Dist. IL, November 28, 2000). The case involved claims of racial bias in hair testing. The court granted summary judgment for the City and dismissed the case, finding that not only was some of the evidence inadmissible, but also that “the remaining admissible evidence would be insufficient for a trier of fact to find that the [Psychemedics] hair test is more likely to result in false positive results for African-American applicants than for white applicants…”

Cruse v. Whirlpool Corp., Civil Action No. 99-2129, (U.S.D.C., Dist. AR, June 23, 2000). The case involved claims that the Psychemedics radioimmunoassay test was racially biased against African Americans. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, stating that “summary judgment is not appropriate unless all the evidence points toward one conclusion…” (citing Hardin v. Hussman Corp., 45 F. 3d 262 (8th Cir. 1995)), and finding that the plaintiff failed to offer any statistical evidence supporting her claim of racial bias.

Administrative Agency Decisions

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided February 2018). The employee was terminated for a methamphetamine-positive Psychemedics test result. The judge rejected the employee’s claim that environmental contamination and the use of over-the-counter medication caused his positive result, finding that the testimony and documentation provided by Psychemedics disproved these claims.

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided June 2015). The employee was terminated for a marijuana-positive Psychemedics test result.

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided May 2015). The employee was terminated for a cocaine-positive Psychemedics test result. The judge rejected his assertion that environmental contamination cause his positive result, finding that the testimony and documentation provided by Psychemedics disproved that claim.

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided 2015). The employee was terminated for a marijuana-positive Psychemedics hair test. The judge rejected his claim that the positive test was caused by green tea, or his negative nail test result.

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided 2015). The employee was terminated for cocaine use.

New York Police Department Disciplinary Trial (decided 2014). The employee claimed that an over-the-counter dietary supplement and weight loss aid caused his positive amphetamine Psychemedics hair test result. However, the test result was upheld and the employee was terminated.

In the Matter of New York Police Department Disciplinary Trials, Case Nos. 82337/06; 82251/06; 82184/06; 82283/06; 83905/08 (2008) and Case Nos. 83711/08 and 84301/08 (2009). The judges found that New York City police personnel ingested illegal drugs based on Psychemedics’ U.S. FDA-cleared test methods, laboratory certifications and licenses, as well as peer-reviewed publications.

City of New York Civil Service Commission Action Item No. C06-865-A (December 6, 2006). The commission affirmed the New York Police Department’s determination that an applicant was not qualified for the police officer position based on his Psychemedics cocaine-positive hair test result. The commission found that Psychemedics’ wash procedures made it possible to distinguish between cocaine ingestion versus external contamination.

City of New York Disciplinary Proceedings, Case No. 79863/04 (July 2006). The trial commissioner ruled that a police officer had ingested cocaine, and rejected his theory that an antibiotic caused the positive result, because that theory relates to certain urine screen tests, and not to Psychemedics’ FDA-cleared screen tests. The commissioner also found that Psychemedics’ five-step wash process negated the possibility that external cocaine exposure could cause a positive hair test result.

City of New York Civil Service Commission Action, Item No. C06-529-A (2006), a police applicant was disqualified because of his Psychemedics cocaine-positive hair test result.

Military Court Decisions

U.S. v. Lewis, CG S&R 2015-0330 (decided April 11, 2016). The administrative law judge revoked the mariner’s credentials, finding that he had used cocaine as demonstrated by the Psychemedics random hair test, and that his positive result could not have been caused by innocent ingestion. The judge also stated, “evidence regarding allegations of dangerous drug use is not limited to urinalysis conducted pursuant to 5 Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations . . . . I considered the evidence of subsequent drug tests, but I find they do not outweigh the evidence presented from the initial drug test by [the] Psychemedics Lab.”

U.S. v. Sullivan, USCA Dkt. No. 15-0186/CG, Crim. App. No. 001-69-13 (decided August 19, 2015). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upheld the courtmartial conviction of a captain for use of cocaine, as demonstrated by Psychemedics’ hair drug test results.

U.S. v. Sewell, United States Coast Guard, Atlantic Area (Virginia, October 2012). The defendant was found to have wrongfully ingested cocaine, and the board voted to separate him from the Coast Guard.

U.S. v. Redmond, Offutt AFB (April 2009). The defendant was convicted of marijuana use and discharged based on a Psychemedics drug test.

U.S. v. Yox, Andrews AFB (July 2008). The defendant admitted and plead guilty to cocaine use after taking a Psychemedics hair drug test.

Unemployment Insurance Appeals/Administrative Law Judge Decisions

In the Matter of Claimant, Texas Workforce Commission Appeal Tribunal, Appeal No. 2158048-1-1 (2016). The appeals tribunal affirmed the prior determination that the claimant was disqualified for unemployment insurance benefits after being terminated based on a Psychemedics cocaine-positive hair drug test.

In the Matter of Claimant, Kansas Department of Labor Office of Appeals, Docket No. 607533 (2016). The appeals referee affirmed the Department of Labor examiner’s determination that the claimant was disqualified for unemployment insurance benefits after being terminated based on Psychemedics marijuana-positive hair drug test, which constitutes discharge from employment due to gross misconduct under Kansas law.

In the Matter of Claimant, Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Appeal 10-09-F-9637 (2011) and In the Matter of Claimant, Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, Appeal 10-09-F-A579 (2011). The claimants tested positive for marijuana, and the referee found credible the testimony about Psychemedics’ chain of custody and testing procedures.

In the Matter of Claimant, Louisiana Appeals Tribunal Docket No. C01016 AT 2008 (7/11/08). The tribunal concluded that the claimant was terminated after testing positive for methamphetamine in a Psychemedics pre-employment drug test. The tribunal found that the claimant was “well aware that the conditions of his employment depended on his passing a drug test [and] concluded that his actions were . . . [in] deliberate violation of the drug policy.” Citing R.S. 23; 1601(10).

In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, A.L.J. Case No. 305-06949 (10/19/05). The appeal board affirmed the Department of Labor’s disqualification of the claimant from benefits based on his cocaine-positive Psychemedics hair test result, which violated the employer’s drug policy.

In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, A.L.J. Case No. 105-03225 (5/09/05). The board affirmed the Department of Labor’s decision that the claimant was discharged for misconduct for failing a reasonable suspicion drug test. The board relied on his cocaine-positive Psychemedics hair test, finding there was no compelling evidence of a false positive from other substances he ingested.

In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, A.L.J. Case No. 005-03930 (3/11/05). The board found that the claimant was properly discharged for misconduct, and that Psychemedics followed the proper chain of custody, decontamination, and testing procedures to confirm the presence of cocaine and its metabolites.

In the Matter of Claimant, Louisiana Appeals Tribunal Docket No. N02312 AT 2004 (2/14/05). The tribunal affirmed the claimant’s discharge for misconduct for failing a random drug test, relying on his cocaine-positive Psychemedics drug test.

In the Matter of Claimant, New York Appeal Board No. 477610 (4/7/00). The appeal board upheld a probationary police officer’s disqualification from benefits because he was terminated for willful misconduct (A.L.J. Case No. 097-08521). He argued that his cocaine-positive drug test results were caused by either contamination due to his exposure to crack cocaine vapors, or his “passive ingestion” of small amounts of cocaine. However, the board found that cocaine was present at 4-8 times the cutoff level, and that the presence of the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine made it unlikely that the claimant “passively ingested” cocaine. The board also noted that it had been demonstrated previously that Psychemedics’ wash techniques eliminated the issue of external contamination.

In re Claim of Claimant, B 95-02542-000 (1996), the State of Ohio Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. The board overturned the hearing officer’s ruling that the claimant was discharged without just cause and was entitled to benefits. Expert testimony demonstrated the reliability of the Psychemedics hair test, which had detected marijuana in the claimant’s hair.

In the Matter of Claimant, Nevada Appeal Case No. R7-1908 (1997). The claimant was ineligible for benefits after testing positive for marijuana. The Nevada Office of Appeals, citing Holmes and Medina, found that Psychemedics’ radioimmunoassay screen was a valid drug testing methodology and, when coupled with a confirmatory test, was an accepted and reliable scientific methodology for detecting illicit drug use. 7

Psychemedics hair test results have also been upheld in the following employment matters: In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York, A.L.J. Case No. 006-07163 (2006); In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York, A.L.J. Case No. 099-17766 (1999); In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York, S.S.A. No. 120-42-0562 (1998); In the Matter of Claimant, State of Indiana, Case No. 93-1BA-110B (1994); and In the Matter of Claimant, State of New York, Index No. 121899 (1998).

Why add Psychemedics hair testing to your drug panel?

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Deterring a user may literally be saving a life.

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