Thursday, January 27, 2011

Akin Gump: Knowledge of My Consultations with Mental Health Professionals

The following is page 447 of the record on appeal in Freedman v. D.C. Department of Human Rights, D.C.C.A. no. 96-CV-961 (Sept. 1, 1998).

Akin Gump advised the D.C. Department of Human Rights (May 22, 1992) that it had consulted two mental health professionals about my future employment with the firm, in late October 1991.  The firm did not identify the names of the mental health professionals.  The following statement advises the Department of Human Rights of Akin Gump's possible knowledge of the identity of mental health professionals I had consulted during my employment and the possibility that one or more of my therapists divulged confidential information about me in possible violation of the D.C. Mental Health Information Act.  In May 1993 Akin Gump advised the Department of Human Rights that it had consulted Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. (a psychiatrist I had never consulted) and an unnamed employee of the Employee Assistance Provider, Sheppard Pratt.


1.  Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Program: Respondent had probable constructive knowledge based on Complainant's possible entry of notice of consultations on "LMS" computerized attorney time records which are part of Respondent's business records.  Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant's consultation with mental health counselor at Shepard Pratt as of Thursday morning October 24, 1991, at which time Complainant advised Malcolm Lassman and Dennis Race, in response to a question by Malcolm Lassman, that he had visited Sheppard Pratt.

2.  Respondent's communications with a mental health counselor at Sheppard Pratt may have provided Respondent with actual knowledge that I had consulted with Dr. Stein, since Complainant's clinical file at Sheppard Pratt states that Kathleen Kelly of Sheppard Pratt referred me, in September 1989, to Dr. Stein.  Any communication between Respondent and Dr. Stein may have provided Respondent with actual knowledge that I had consulted with Dr. Wilson, since Dr. Stein referred me, on March 16, 1991, to Dr. Wilson.  Also, if Dr. Wilson is in fact the unnamed psychiatrist from whom Respondent obtained a "representation" as to my mental status, that fact would tend to prove that the mental health professional at Sheppard Pratt, with whom Dennis Race consulted, had relied on confidential mental health information concerning Complainant that is on file at Sheppard Pratt.

3. Stanley R. Palombo, M.D.: Respondent had actual knowledge as of about March 1991 when Complainant submitted physician's bills to Respondent's Personnel Department for insurance reimbursement.

4.  Complainant submitted bills to Respondent's Personnel Department for Drs. Winkler, Sack, and Brown after termination of employment.

5.  From about March 1990 until October 8, 1991 Complainant routinely advised supervisor, Chris Robertson, of planned appointments to see mental health professionals prior to weekly visits, but Complainant did not identify the name of the mental health professional to supervisor.  On one occasion during the summer of 1991 Complainant invited supervisor to attend session with psychologist, but Complainant did not identify the name of psychologist.

6.  While working in terrace level Complainant posted on wall of his work cubicle the business cards of Dr. William D. Brown and Dr. Lawrence C. Sack.  Respondent, specifically, Chris Robertson, the Complainant's supervisor, had possible knowledge that Complainant was a patient of Dr. Brown and Dr. Sack.

One of my coworkers at Akin Gump, Pat McNeil, stated that employees were aware of the identity of mental health professionals I was seeing between April and August 1991, while I worked in the firm's terrace level suite.

On the evening of July 1, 1993 I spoke by telephone with a former Akin Gump coworker, Patricia McNeil. Summarized below are selected, material comments made by Pat McNeil. I supplied a copy of the tape recording of the phone call to the DC Corporation Counsel, the U.S. Secret Service, and the D.C. Police (Second District, Officer J.E. Williams, Badge 1226).

1. I thought you were a very professional person, a quiet person, who stayed to himself. I respected that. Some people are just not people-oriented.

2. I never thought you were a violent person.

3. [Noting that I posted therapists' appointment cards at my desk:] I heard people say, "He must be crazy, he's always going to a psychiatrist."

4. [Quoting comments by another coworker, Carletta Diggins, concerning my termination:] Carletta said, "I wonder what they did to Gary? Gary was such a nice person. He was really a quiet person. He didn't bother anyone." I told Carletta, "as good of a person as Gary is -- his work speaks for itself, it couldn't have been his work -- what did he do?" She said, "I don't know, Pat."

5. [States facetiously:] All of a sudden you became this crazy person. When you were hired you weren't crazy. When do you think you became crazy?

6. [Concerning Dennis Race's investigation of my allegation of harassment:] Dennis Race didn't question anybody in the Department. He never talked to me. If he did an investigation, wouldn't you think that he'd have talked to various ones in the Department? I don't know of anyone in the Department he talked to. Maybe he only talked to selected people Chris Robertson picked, Chris' favorites. [Note that Pat McNeil's conjecture suggests a violation by my supervisor, Chris Robertson, of D.C. Code sec. 1-2525(b), prohibiting the aiding or abetting of retaliation.]

7. All I know is that Chris said, "You all know that Gary is gone. And they're coming to change the locks, because we're afraid Gary may come back and he may try to kill me." I never pictured you to be a person who would do something like that.

8. Lutheria Harrison and Sherri Ann Patrick were promoted to paralegals. [Lutheria Harrison and Sherri Ann Patrick fit in the category of "Chris Robertson's favorites."]

Freedman v. D.C. Dept. of Human Rights, Record at 41.

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