The American Psychological Association presents firm lawyers with an award

Dr. Gerald Koocher, President of the American Psychological Association, presented the law firm of Bernabei & Katz, PLLC, including Lynne Bernabei, who served as lead-counsel, Debra S. Katz, Ari Wilkenfeld, and Alan Kabat, with a Presidential Citation for their work in representing Dr. Susan Lerner. Dr. Lerner served as John Hinckley, Jr.'s Clinical Psychologist at St. Elizabeth's Hospital for several years in the 1980s. When Dr. Lerner and her team of mental health professionals concluded that Mr. Hinckley had improved enough to warrant incremental privileges, she was pressured by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Secret Service, and her supervisors to "alter" her opinion and to perjure herself if she was called to testify. When Dr. Lerner refused, she was subjected to a campaign of retaliation by four of her supervisors. In 2000, the law firm of Bernabei & Katz, PLLC (Katz and Wilkenfeld's former law firm), filed suit on Dr. Lerner's behalf against the District of Columbia, including First Amendment and whistleblower claims. Five years later, after Dr. Lerner's attorneys fended off two motions to dismiss and one motion for summary judgment, the District was forced to settle the case for $800,000. The Citation commends Bernabei, Katz, Wilkenfeld and Kabat for their "commitment to fighting on behalf of psychologists and others who have faced unjust discrimination, sexual harassment, and psychological intimidation in corporate, educational, and governmental settings." The Citation continues that the recipients of the Citation are "among the best employment lawyers in the nation." Related Links: