The jury will decide whether Juan Alonzo-Miranda needed a dog at work to deal with his PTSD. The testimony wrapped up yesterday in the trial regarding his request for an accommodation. Schlumberger hired a psychiatrist to testify. Dr. Seth Silverman never examined Mr. Alonzo-Miranda. All he knows is what he learned by reading documents. But, he decided that Mr. Alonzo-Miranda is narcissistic and has histrionic traits. He described the mechanic as having a “Cluster B” personality disorder. The doctor also said Mr. Alonzo-Miranda is someone who likes “to beat the system” and believes he is smarter and better than others. Dr. Silverman said a dog would not have done the veteran any good at work. That does seem like a sharp observation for a doctor who has never met this patient.
The parties made closing arguments yesterday. The lawyer for Schlumberger, William Davis, said the employer provided various accommodations for the veteran, such as allowing him to work only on the day shift. He said there was no dispute that the dog made Mr. Alonzo-Miranda feel better. But, there was no clear recommendation that he must have this dog at work. See San Antonio Express-News report.
The dog is with the plaintiff everyday at trial. As most service dogs do, “Goldie” is probably quiet and remains in place for hours at a time. I would expect Goldie’s behavior in trial to be quite apparent to the jury. If Goldie was not necessary, why would the plaintiff bring it to the courthouse everyday?
The employer spent $30,000 on the psychiatrist. They could have spent one percent of that simply to arrive at an effective accommodation for the young veteran.