Friday, December 04, 2009

Akin Gump -- A Reasonable Resolution?

November 12, 1998
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
Washington, DC 20008-4530

Dennis M. Race, Esq.
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. Race:

I am a former employee of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where I was employed as a legal assistant from June 1988 until October 29, 1991.

You will recall that my employment was terminated because of the firm's concerns about my mental health and stability, concerns that arose after I lodged a harassment complaint against several coworkers. As you know, my personnel records reflect an exemplary job performance and the absence of any disciplinary action or reprimands.

My appeal of a long-standing unlawful job termination complaint that I had filed against the firm in early 1992 was dismissed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in September 1998, thereby foreclosing the possibility of an order reinstating my employment with back-pay.

I would like to take this opportunity to request that the firm consider the matter of my employment as a new hire (without back-pay), at a competitive salary commensurate with my background and experience. I believe I have still much to offer the firm.

I enclose a signed release of information form that will permit you to review with my treating psychiatrist, Albert H. Taub, M.D., any concerns you may have about my current mental status and suitability for employment. Dr. Taub is employed by the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health Services. From a legal standpoint, I believe that your consultation with Dr. Taub would relieve Akin Gump of tort liability in connection with a decision by the firm to extend an offer of employment to an individual previously determined to be not suitable for employment by reason of mental instability. Dr. Taub can be reached at telephone no. 282-2229.

I thank you in advance for considering this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman


November 12, 1998
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
#136
Washington, DC 20008-4530

Albert H. Taub, M.D.
Community Mental Health Center (North)
3246 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

RE: Social Security Disability Claim xxx xx xxxx

Dear Dr. Taub:

I enclose a letter dated November 12, 1998 addressed to my former employer (the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld) together with a copy of a signed release of information form. The documents are self-explanatory.

We can discuss this matter at our next consultation. You can reach me at telephone no. (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Sincerely,

Gary Freedman

cc: U.S. Social Security Administration, Charles L. Reischel, Esq., Deputy Corporation Counsel (D.C.), (202) 727-6252

AUTHORIZATION FOR DISCLOSURE

(District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act)

I, GARY FREEDMAN (born xx/xx/xx), residing at 3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008, hereby request that Albert H. Taub, M.D. (3246 P Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone no. 202 282-2229) disclose the following information to the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (Dennis M. Race, Esq.), 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036; telephone no. (202) 887-4028:

Your assessment of Mr. Freedman's current suitability for employment, particularly in regard to a prior determination made by the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in late October 1991, that Mr. Freedman's perceptions of his workplace (the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld) appeared to be the product of a psychiatric symptom ("ideas of reference") (prominent in the psychotic disorders), which is typically associated with a risk of violent conduct. See Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C. Superior Court no. MPA 95-14 (final order issued June 10, 1996) (affirming that the employer's concerns regarding Mr. Freedman's mental health and potential for violence were genuine, worthy of credence, and based on the advice of a psychiatric consultant, Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D.).

In authorizing this disclosure, I understand this information will be used solely for the purpose of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in any future inquiry into my fitness for employment and the firm's assessment of possible future tort liability.

I understand that I have the right to inspect my record of mental health information.

I further understand that this information cannot be redisclosed without my authorization and that the law requires this notice:

The unauthorized disclosure of mental health information violates the provisions of the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978. Disclosures may only be made pursuant to a valid authorization by the client or as provided in titles III or IV of that act. The act provides for civil damages and criminal penalties for violation.

This consent is subject to revocation in writing at any time.

/s/____________________ 11-12-98________
GARY FREEDMAN (DATE)

1 comment:

Gary Freedman said...

I was not on any medication when I wrote this letter, which seems eminently reasonable.

I had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in February 1996 by Dimitrios Georgopoulos, MD, at the George Washington University Medical Center.

Three months after I wrote the letter to Dennis Race inquiring into employment at Akin Gump, Albert H. Taub, MD diagnosed me with paranoid schizophrenia once again, in writing under penalty of making false statements to a DC agency:

February 22, 1999

Mr. James R. Granger, Jr.
Executive Director
Government of the District of Columbia
Board of Medicine
Dept. of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Occupational and Professional Licensing Administration
614 H Street N.W., Room #108
Washington, D.C. 20001

Re: Mr. Gary Freedman: your letter of January 6, 1999

Dear Mr. Granger:

This is not an issue of quality of care. Appropriate medication has been offered to Mr. Freedman who refuses to take the medicine (an antipsychotic). He is insisting that I absolve him of any mental illness in 1988 when he was in a struggle with his law firm. The letter is not possible since I only have been meeting with him since August of 1998 and can make no statement about his mental status in 1988.

My first direct contact with Mr. Gary Freedman occurred last summer [Friday August 7, 1998] when I became his psychiatrist for the purpose of prescribing medication. Ms. Lisa Osborne, a psychology intern at that time, started to see him in weekly psychotherapy.

In view of Mr. Freedman's long record of mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia) I recommended antipsychotic medication which he refused. At first I saw him weekly and subsequently I have been seeing him monthly. He has always refused medication. One week he tentatively agreed to try medication, but changed his mind. At the time he said he might try medication, if I were to sign the letter of August 17, 1998 (revised 8/22/98) vindicating him in his legal struggles with his former law firm which took place approximately ten years ago.

I didn't sign his manifesto since I could make no judgments about events that occurred ten years ago. He didn't seem surprised at my refusal to sign and I don't believe he really expected me to sign. However, it did give him a face saving reason to refuse medication. He has never agreed to take medication that I suggested. Ms. Osborne, the rest of the clinical staff, and I did not feel he was at that time imminently homicidal or suicidal.

Subsequently, he has settled down into his usual lifestyle which includes prolific letter writing. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Albert H. Taub, M.D.
Faculty Member
Department of Psychiatry
Residency Training Program
St. Elizabeths/CMHS

[Docket no. 99-198]