Thursday, September 29, 2011

GW Psychiatric Treatment: Knowledge of Allegations of Violent Tendencies

I saw Dimitrios Georgopoulos, M.D. in weekly psychotherapy during the period July 1994 through June 1996 at the George Washington University Medical Center.  On several occasions I asked Dr. Georgopoulos to prepare a written statement saying that I did not pose a risk of violence, as had been alleged by my former employer, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.  Dr. Georgopoulos repeatedly refused to sign such a statement although he stated to me his opinion that he did not consider me to be potentially violent.  I prepared several draft statements, each of which Dr. Georgopoulos refused to sign.  The following statement that I prepared dated August 2, 1995 is evidence that the George Washington University Medical Center was fully aware of concerns that I might become violent.  It was not until the fall of 1995, several months later, that I filed a civil action in D.C. Superior Court that appealed the final agency action of the D.C. Department of Human Rights affirming that Akin Gump had genuine concerns about my potential for violence as of late October 1991.

TO:        Dr. Georgopoulos
FROM: Gary Freedman
DATE:  August 2, 1995
RE:       Statement--Potential for Violence

Further to my memo to you dated July 31, 1995, I offer the following alternative statement that you may find more acceptable.


[Background facts relating brief treatment history at GW and relationship with Dr. Georgopoulos.]

Mr. Freedman does not pose a risk of violence.  Mr. Freedman has not threatened to commit an act of violence.

In representing that Mr. Freedman does not pose a risk of violence, I am aware of the following facts or allegations, which I have determined to be nondispositive as to Mr. Freedman’s current potential for violence.

1.  Results of psychological testing prepared by the George Washington University Medical Center in May 1994 under the supervision of William Fabian, Ph.D. state that psychotic decompensation and/or suicide are an ever-present possibility for Mr. Freedman and that Mr. Freedman does not appear to have a good psychological coping mechanism.

2.  Results of psychological testing prepared by the George Washington University Medical Center in May 1994 under the supervision of William Fabian, Ph.D. state that Mr. Freedman may have lied on psychological testing in order to conceal the presence or severity of a delusional (paranoid) disorder.

3.  A chart dated September 13, 1989 by Kathleen Kelley of Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Programs states: “Client described what appear to be paranoid delusions.  Co-workers make comments to trivialize his sense of importance, to insinuate he is insane, and to suggest he is potentially violent and may appear at work with a gun and shoot them.  He reports he does not have this intention and does not have a gun. . . .  Client has paranoid delusions of his co-workers suggesting he is homicidal and planning to shoot them.  Internal and unexpressed rage is projected.”

4.  Mr. Freedman reports that a co-worker at his former place of employment, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (“Akin Gump”), Stacey Schaar, stated to Mr. Freedman in about August 1989: “We’re all afraid of you.  We’re all afraid you’re going to buy a gun, bring it in and shoot everybody.  Even the manager of your apartment building is afraid of you.”

5.  Mr. Freedman reports that on the evening of July 1, 1993 he placed a telephone call to one of his former co-workers at Akin Gump, Mrs. Patricia McNeil.  Mrs. McNeil reportedly advised Mr. Freedman that immediately after his job termination on October 29, 1991, his direct supervisor, Chris Robertson, had all the keys to the office changed because of her fears that Mr. Freedman might be homicidal.  Mrs. McNeil reportedly stated that Chris Robertson, in about late October 1991, warned her employees, including Mrs. McNeil, that Mr. Freedman was potentially homicidal.

Mrs. McNeil reportedly stated: “The only  thing I knew is that Chris [Robertson] sent the E-mail over the system, and she wanted all of us in the office. And the next thing, she said, ‘no, forget about it.’  She said, ‘Well, you all know that Gary, he’s gone, and they’re coming to change the locks because Gary may come back and he may kill me or something.’”

According to Mr. Freedman, his former direct supervisor, Mrs. Robertson, was a senior supervisory employee who reported directly to R. Bruce MacLean, a partner and member of the law firm’s management committee.

6.  A sworn statement made under penalty of perjury, dated May 22, 1992, filed with the District of Columbia Department of Human Rights by two Akin Gump partners, managing partner Laurence J. Hoffman, Esq. and Dennis M. Race, Esq., expressly characterizes Mr. Freedman’s conduct as an employee as “disruptive, with occasional violent outbursts,” “frightening to co-workers,” and states that Mr. Freedman was unable to work with or in close proximity to other legal assistants or litigation support personnel,” that he “engaged in conduct which was detrimental to the firm,” and that his conduct was “bizarre” and “volatile.”

Mr. Race states in a confidential memo, dated October 29, 1991, that the employer determined that Mr. Freedman’s continued presence on the firm’s premises might expose the firm to potential legal liability.

7.  The District of Columbia Department of Human Rights (DHR) made the following finding of fact: “[Akin Gump] also sought outside professional guidance because of the emotional and psychological nature of [Mr. Freedman’s] allegations [of job harassment] and his coworkers responses.  [Akin Gump] contacted an unnamed counselor from its Employee Assistance Program and an outside psychiatrist.  Both agreed that [Mr. Freedman] should seek counseling.  Dr. Gertrude Ticho [M.D.] identified [Mr. Freedman’s] behavior, putting a negative meaning to virtually every event as ‘ideas of reference’ and cautioned that individuals in similar circumstances may become violent. . . .”  DHR Initial Determination, dated June 30, 1993, Finding of Fact No. 6.

Mr. Freedman reports that Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D. denied to him ever having consulted with anyone at Akin Gump concerning Mr. Freedman’s employment.

The George Washington University Medical Center has had no communications whatsoever with any attorney managers or supervisors at Akin Gump concerning Mr. Freedman, and has not sought any additional details regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Freedman’s employment or job termination despite a government agency finding that Mr. Freedman was determined by the employer, reportedly in consultation with a psychiatrist, to be potentially violent and a threat to persons in his environment.  The George Washington University Medical Center is aware that were Mr. Freedman to commit an act of violence consistent with the determinations of attorney managers of Akin Gump and DHR that Mr. Freedman is potentially violent, the prior failure of the George Washington University Medical Center to consult Akin Gump’s attorney managers regarding Mr. Freedman’s violent and/or purportedly homicidal propensities might expose the Medical Center to legal liability to Mr. Freedman’s victims or their survivors.

8.  Mr. Freedman was interrogated in December 1994 by special agents of the U.S. Secret Service as a potential threat to the life of the President of the United States.  In February 1995 the U.S. Secret Service advised the George Washington University Medical Center that the agency would like access to Mr. Freedman’s file of confidential mental health information

Mr. Freedman reports that the U.S. Secret Service advised him, in February 1995, of that agency’s belief that he does not pose a risk of violence to that agency’s protectees.

9.  Mr. Freedman has been determined by the U.S. Social Security Administration to have been continuously unemployable by reason of mental impairment since October 29, 1991, on which date his employment was terminated by his former employer, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

10.  Mr. Freedman continues to believe that he was a victim of harassment and job discrimination at his former place of employment, Akin Gump.  Mr. Freedman continues to express feelings of despair and outrage in connection with his employment experience at Akin Gump, which employment ended on October 29, 1991, nearly four years ago.

According to DHR Mr. Freedmen was not subjected to discrimination or harassment of any kind while employed at Akin Gump.  According to DHR, Mr. Freedman’s belief that he was so treated was the product of a paranoid mental disturbance that rendered him potentially violent.

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