Justice 4 All or “Just-Us Who Can Afford It”?
Justice 4 All or “Just-Us Who Can Afford It”?
The following is a true story about how the Department of Justice, (DOJ), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), Law Firms, Public Officials, Large Agencies, & Employee Unions all “perfectly” align to Derail Justice for the Good of the Public and effectively Oppress especially People of Color and Limited Financial Resources while ensuring that “Justice” remains Just for a Selected Few.
Luis Ángel Pérez
Bachelors in Psychology & Behavioral Science,
Masters in Science Education,
Advocate for the Human Condition
Working in an inpatient psychiatric facility is no easy task. Workers and patients are often presented with seemingly unpredictable and dangerous behaviors from “unstable” humans. Effective work in such area requires special skills in the art of observation, attention to detail, and relating to people. Effective work in this area also requires a passion for safety & improvements, as well as special skills everywhere between some of the least invasive forms of crisis intervention techniques, such as “verbal de-escalation”, all the way to, (when all
other tactics fail), far more invasive but safely executed “physical take downs”; which may be necessary in order to physically subdue a person proven to be a danger to the self and/or others. Physical take downs may be followed-up with other forms of restraints, such as a “four point restraint” to a hospital bed and/or “chemical restraint”, such as intravenous medication, (IM), of strong sedatives, just to mention a few.
Mr. Luis Ángel Pérez harbors many of these skills - nurtured from prior training and experience working for many years as a Mental Health Counselor & Educator in the Queens College Office of Counseling & Advisement, in
a Shelter for Run-Away At-risk Adolescents, and in several Group Home Organizations, (in several different capacities), serving people with Unique Developmental Abilities. In this field, Mr. Pérez also attained much experience Conducting Thorough Investigations concerning agency wide Allegations of Abuse & Forwarding
Fact-Findings, Conclusions, and Plan Of Corrective Actions, (POCA), of any findings to several State Government Agencies that provided oversight to such group homes. In this field, Mr. Pérez also faithfully engaged in Promoting Quality Assurance and Fair & Equal Treatment for all Clients and Employees.
Mr. Pérez’ qualifications were furthered strengthened by his Passion to Help Others, his Passion to Help Make the World a Better Place for the Human Condition, his College Education in the Science of Psychology & Human Behavior, Science Research Background, as well as Life Experiences growing up in Dangerously At-risk Urban Communities.
Such great fund of education, training, skills, passion, and experience all distinguished Mr. Pérez as a highly qualified person to work in an inpatient psychiatric facility.
Mental Health Services & Treatment of
Low Income Latino Spanish-Speaking People
The New York-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Allen Pavilion
Inpatient Psychiatric Unit
From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Pérez worked as a Mental Health Worker, (MHW), at the New York-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Allen Pavilion, Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Here he proudly provided Mental Health Services to a mix population of patients struggling with mental illnesses as well as, what are referred to as, Dual Diagnostic: “Mentally Ill & Chemical Abuse” (MICA) patients; (essentially, people who struggle with mental illnesses comorbid with a substance abuse of some kind).
Mental Health Worker Pérez performed patients’ vital signs, heights, weights, provided patient counseling, education, behavioral assessments, cognitive interviews & assessments, coordinated and facilitated therapeutic discussion groups and recreational therapy groups; all of which he was responsible to document into patient medical records, in order for other clinicians to understand and thus better service patients.
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez was a strong advocate for patients’ rights & staff rights and in ensuring, “that all patients, visitors, and guests, as well as co-workers, …”, were always, “… treated with receptiveness, dignity and respect, …”, as clearly spelled-out on his job description.
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez was a strong advocate in identifying critical unit safety matters and patient care problems, he participated in important problem solving approaches, and he always advocated and supported high quality nursing care for patients and their families.
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez also participated in assisting and educating patients about self-care activities such as personal hygiene, room care, clothing care and the like. At times he would assist in performing safety room searches for contraband. At times he would accompany patients individually or in groups throughout the hospital where he would have the opportunity to learn more about the patients and further build rapport so that the hospital community can better serve their needs. Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez would at times supervise highly at-risk patients whom required 1:1 observations. Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez also effectively provided a range of crisis intervention techniques, (from verbal de-escalation techniques to physical intervention techniques), as needed.
All of these services and responsibilities are clearly depicted in the Mental Health Worker Job Description & on the Charting On Psychiatric Units protocol, exhibited below, (see Job Description exhibited below).
The good quality of Mr. Pérez’ work is clearly depicted in the many favorable evaluations & endorsements he earned from highly qualified supervisors, (see Evaluations & Endorsements exhibited below).
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez provided much Spanish/English Language Translation Services at the desperate requests of Doctors, Nurses, and other Staff members - in a work environment where, sadly, Latino Spanish-speaking people were disproportionately outnumbered by non-Latino monolingual English-speaking workers.
Such disparity existed together with an overt hostility and racial repugnancy toward Latinos, by especially non-Latino monolingual English speaking workers. Such attitude, along with the fact that it was completely considered taboo to even mention the disparity, explained the overall resistance to fairly address and help ameliorating the language problem. The irony is that the hospital is located in a predominantly Latino Spanish-speaking community; at the very brink of the Bronx.
What is worst, Mr. Pérez recognized such significant language barrier even prior to getting hired as a Mental Health Worker. Eight (8) year prior to being hired as a Mental Health Worker, toward the end of his Undergraduate Work, (studying the Science of Psychology & Human Behavior in the City College of New York), Mr. Pérez Worked & Volunteered his Services in this same Hospital and In-patient Psychiatric Unit, (from 1994 to 1996). Back then Mr. Pérez was a “Patient Advisor” and provided Individual & Group Counseling to especially Spanish-speaking patients, worked closely with Recreational Therapists, and because of the existing language barrier, he also provided a great deal of Spanish/English Language Translation Services for monolingual English-speaking Doctors, Nurses, and other Staff Members.
Ironically, despite the shortage of Spanish-speaking workers and favorable work evaluations maintained, Mr. Pérez was repeatedly informed by Officers of the Hospital’s Human Resources Department that they were not hiring at the time.
The Hypocrisy in the Slogan:
“If You See Something, Say Something”?
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez consistently received favorable work evaluations and endorsements from his supervisors, from both time periods which he worked at the New York - Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Allen Pavilion, Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, (see Work Evaluations & Endorsements for both time periods exhibited below).
However, the favorable work evaluations and endorsements from his supervisors abruptly ended, and instead methodically replaced with deceptive reports depicting the complete opposite of a model worker, the explicit moment Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez began advocating against, (and including high ranking officers into the conversation about), the persistent language barrier, significant racial disparities, and racial discrimination which were impossible and even dangerous to ignore.
After such advocacy, Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez was rigorously isolated from his colleagues and became the target of a harassment campaign which resulted in the decline of his health and eventually the demise of his employment at the Hospital; not to mention the great impact all this had on his family.
Union 1199/SEIU, AFL-CIO Officials, whom siphon union member’s checks for union dues for allege representation against such type of injustices, actually condoned the Hospital’s language barrier, racial disparities, racial discriminatory practices, and completely failed to fairly and properly represent Mr. Pérez who was a union member.
Union Officials had previously warned Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez of the dangers of even mentioning the word “discrimination” when complaining about the hospital. Union Officers always resisted, evaded, and belittled complaints related to discrimination.
Justice Is Blind Butt Toward Those
Of Color & Who Cannot Afford It
The “Perfect” Alignment
to Derail Justice for the Good of the Public &
Effectively Oppress Especially People of Color & Limited Financial Resources.
Mental Health Worker Mr. Pérez filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), prior to July 13, 2004. The EEOC issued “A Right To Sue Letter” over six (6) months later, (dated January 24, 2005). A right to sue letter was required in order to file suit in Court against the Hospital and Union, (see EEOC Related Documentation exhibited below).
March 17, 2005, Mr. Pérez filed suit against the Hospital and the Union, (Case Number: 05CV5749 - Luis Ángel Pérez v. New York Presbyterian Hospital and Union 1199/SEIU, AFL-CIO), in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Pro-se Office, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007, (see Court Related Documentation exhibited below).
Mr. Pérez filed the complaints through the Pro-se Office of the Court because as a Family Man, College Student, and Low Income Employee Serving the Community, he was unable to financially afford the cost of legal representation, especially against such a lucrative and prestigious hospital and union.
On several different occasions, Mr. Pérez filled-out and submitted request forms pleading for the Court to assign him Legal Counsel in order to help him navigate these cases through the complex sticky webs of our Judicial System. Unfortunately, all such requests fell on death ears and Mr. Pérez had no choice but to attempt to represent himself before the Court.
Additionally, Mr. Pérez independently and vigorously searched for legal counsel and, after a while, learned that no one seemed to want to take on these cases. Mr. Pérez also notified several Public Officials but no one responded to his pleas for assistance, (see Reaching Out Attempts section exhibited below).
Shortly after the case was submitted into the Court, the case against Union 1199/SEIU, AFL-CIO was dismissed on grounds of exceeding a statue of limitations, [which, in retrospect, could have been caused by the length of time it took the EEOC to issue “A Right To Sue Letter” – took them over six (6) months].
However, the case against the hospital spiraled into a vortex of excessive paper and procedural blindedness which lasted for over six (6) years. Initially the case was handled by Judge Michael B. Mukasey, then passed on to Judge Gerard E. Lynch, then finally to Judge Leonard B. Sand. New York - Columbia Presbyterian Hospital also changed their, quite lucrative and prestigious, legal firm/team. Such changes prolonged the case, supposedly, until the new entities involved received all the “proper” paperwork and became newly aquatinted with the merits of the case.
The Law Firm That Could Have Been
May 22, 2007, Mr. Perez put together every little penny that he had and managed to retain the legal services of Attorney Mr. Marshall B. Bellovin from Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C.
Despite (1) the fact that by this point in time, Mr. Pérez, on his own, had already authored all complaints, gathered all critical evidence to the cases, and submitted said documentation over to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), & later to the Court; despite (2) the fact that Mr. Perez had already paid thousands and thousands of dollars to this law firm; & despite (3) the fact that Mr. Pérez pleaded for this law firm to remain with the case, in the name of justice, on a contingency basis or on a Pro bono publico basis, (meaning: without payment for the good of the public) - Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C. filed permission from the Court to withdraw from representing him, (February 06, 2009), because Mr. Pérez could no longer afford their legal services.
March 05, 2009, Judge Sand granted and ordered for Ballon Stoll Bader & Nadler, P.C., to be relieved as attorneys from the case, (see Retainer Law Firm Related Documentation & Judge Sand’s Order exhibited below).
Despite all the credible evidence on the record, the very last Judge assigned to handle the case, Judge Leonard B. Sand, botched the merits of the case with inaccuracies, misrepresentations of facts, omissions of significant pieces of evidence, and the like. Conclusively, Judge Sand granted the Hospital’s motion for summary judgment on all claims, (see Judge Sand’s Memorandum & Order dated November 03, 2009 exhibited below).
This decision placed me in a position of having to appeal Judge Sands’ decision but in a completely different Court, (at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, United States Courthouse, Foley Square, New York, NY 10007), and of course, once again, to a different Judge, [now altogether- four (4) Judges].
Mr. Pérez filed the appeal on December 29, 2009 but then learned that such an appeal required some expensive legal fees which he was unable to afford. Despite writing to the Court requesting for such Court fees to be waved because of financial hardship, his letter was ignored and consequently the appeal & thus the entire case were dismissed by the Court early during the year 2010. Check-Mate!
Making Racism Practical by
Using Our Own
As a Solid Buffer Against Allegations of Racial Discrimination
During a depositions hearing in 2007, Attorney James S. Frank, from Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., (250 Park Avenue), representing New York- Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, mockingly yet adamantly argued, several times, to their defense, that it is ridiculous for Mr. Pérez to argue and even impossible for him to prove that he or any Latino person in the unit were victims of racial discrimination because the supervisor disciplining him, who is also the head of the Psychiatric Unit, is a Latina herself, of Cuban descent; Dr. Lourdes M. Dominguez.
For educational purposes, to push for Transparency, Accountability, meaningful Training, and unbiased/ independent Oversight (TATO) of those that elect to “serve” the public, to facilitate fairness for all within our Department of Justice, and for the betterment of the human condition.
Justice or Just-Ice Cold Deception?