Dr. Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and former Yale voluntary professor, attempted to regain her position by filing a lawsuit against the university after her reappointment was denied. Lee was accused of abusing her professional responsibilities by diagnosing former President Donald Trump as "delusional" and stating he was responsible for spreading a "shared psychosis" among his followers.
The Hartford Courant reported on Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam dismissed Lee's lawsuit against Yale University.
Lee's case argued that the university's denial of reappointment violated her free speech rights and professional obligations. The former Yale professor insisted that she was merely trying to caution the general public that the former president's mental condition was contagious. The lawsuit cited her "duty to warn."
Yale University stated the university had denied Lee's reappointment because she had made blanket diagnoses of Trump, his supporters, and administrative officials without ever personally evaluating them. University officials said Lee's actions made them question her judgment and professionalism.
Lee became popular in anti-Trump circles, especially around 2017, when she published a book titled, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President."
Lee and like-minded psychiatrists used their professional positions to persuade the public that the president's mental health directly threatened democracy.
The American Psychiatric Association advises against doctors providing professional diagnoses without conducting proper in-person evaluations first. Lee compared the rule to a "gag order," reported the Hartford Courant.
The former Yale volunteer professor stated that Alan Dershowitz, a former lawyer to Trump and Yale University law graduate, had "wholly taken on Trump's symptoms by contagion" because of the "severity and spread of 'shared psychosis' among just about all of Trump's followers."
After Lee made a diagnosis without personal evaluation of Dershowitz, he reached out to the university about her position. Lee was consequently removed from her role.
Lee's position with Yale University was unpaid. However, Lee claimed in her lawsuit that the role included "thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars" in benefits and exposure.
In a 2020 letter to Lee, Dr. John Krystal, the chair of Yale University's Psychiatry Department, wrote, "I want to emphasize that you did not make these statements as a layperson offering a political judgment; you made them explicitly in your professional capacity as a psychiatrist and on the basis of your psychiatric knowledge and judgment."
"For that reason, the committee decided it was appropriate to consider how these statements reflected your ability to teach trainees," Krystal explained.
Judge Merriam agreed with Yale University that it was not obligated to reappoint Lee to her voluntary position, and her case was dismissed.