Monday, December 14, 2009

Akin Gump: Signs of a Guilty Conscience?

Before he terminated my employment at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld on October 29, 1991, Dennis M. Race, Esq. consulted a practicing psychiatrist about my case, or so he claims, without mentioning my name.

I've never understood the significance of Dennis Race's talking to a psychiatrist about me without mentioning my name. What legal significance did it have whether he mentioned my name or not? Under the rules of medical ethics as particularly applicable to psychiatrists, a psychiatrist may not offer a professional psychiatric opinion about someone the psychiatrist has not personally evaluated in private consultation. The name of the subject is not the issue. The issue is the offering of a clinical assessment about someone whom the psychiatrist has not seen personally. I just don't get the legal or ethical significance of Dennis Race's statement: "We talked about Gary Freedman without mentioning his name."

The fact is that Dennis Race later attached my name to the anonymous clinical assessment of me in the pleadings he submitted to the District of Columbia Department of Human Rights. In so doing, my former employer, Akin Gump, defamed me. The individual named Gary Freedman lost his livelihood despite the fact that a psychiatrist said that an unidentified person was potentially violent. The psychiatrist's assessment, offered about an anonymous person, was attached to the person named "Gary Freedman." In the end, it was Gary Freedman who had the following label attached to him: "paranoid and potentially violent."

The Social Security Administration has paid out about $200,000 to an individual named "Gary Freedman" despite the fact that the characterization "paranoid and potentially violent" was attached by a psychiatrist, Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D., to an anonymous person.

I am truly mystified about the significance of Dennis Race's statement "We talked about Gary Freedman to Dr. Ticho without ever mentioning his name."

Last night I had a peculiar thought. I was thinking of the Nazis and the process they employed to murder people. What the Nazis did was to attach a number to individual prisoners, then gas them. Adolf Eichman, the architect of the Holocaust, could legitimately say: "We didn't kill people with names. We killed people with numbers. The people we killed were anonymous. We didn't know who they were. When we sent, say, Velvel Greenblatt to the gas chamber, we weren't sending Velvel Greenblatt to the gas chamber -- we were sending an anonymous person with the number 89690086 to the gas chamber. We didn't murder Velvel Greenblatt. We exterminated number 89690086."

The fact is that in the end, Velvel Greenblatt was dead, regardless of whether you call him Velvel Greenblatt or No. 89690086.

Am I comparing Dennis Race to the Nazis? No. Nutcases always compare those who have wronged them to the Nazis.

I am intrigued by the psychological meaning of denuding someone of his identity before aggressing on him. What is the psychological significance of that procedure in a case where, as explained above, it has no ethical or legal importance?

The psychoanalyst Bela Grunberger in his trenchant analysis of antisemitism "The Anti-Semite and the Oedipal Conflict" offers insight into the psychoanalytical meaning of taking away someone's identity prior to subjecting that individual to some form of aggression. See The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 380-385 at 381 (1964).

Grunberger writes: "The anti-semite's specific regression is most clearly seen in his representation of the Jew. This follows the line of destroying his individuality. The Jew is denuded of all personal characteristics (the Nazis obliged the Jews to place before their names the epithet 'Jew", and initially in the concentration camps they were designated only by numbers. When the question of destroying some of them arose, the director of the operation merely verified their numbers without any consideration of their identity, a typically anal-sadistic process but serving a purpose opposite to that of the sadist. It is not a question of power, but a means of reducing guilt, though of course, the two may be equally implicated.)"

Did Dennis Race discuss me anonymously with Gertrude Ticho -- thereby denuding me of my identity -- because he knew he was doing something wrong, and he wanted to reduce his guilt feelings? Were Dennis Race's actions the actions of a man with a guilty conscience? Who knows? Of course, we could always telephone Otto Kernberg, M.D., and discuss the case of Dennis Race with him -- without, of course, mentioning Dennis Race's name!

No comments: