A former Goldman Sachs intern is suing the bank, alleging it condoned a “fraternity culture” that resulted in a traumatic brain injury blamed on one of its wealth advisers.
Patrick Blumenthal served as an intern for Goldman Sachs in San Francisco from September 2017 to February 2018, according to a February 7 court filing originally obtained by CourthouseNews.com. He was assigned to work with a group that called itself “Team 007” and was led by the wealth adviser Julius Erukhimov. Blumenthal began the internship while a student at Drexel University and turned 21 years old during it.
The filing alleges that the bank “fostered a fraternity culture” complete with derogatory name-calling, member composites, physical altercations, and “rampant” drinking. It says Blumenthal was pressured to drink within his first week at Goldman despite being underage and was repeatedly warned early on that he would “take an infinite amount of shit from people.” The filing says Erukhimov called the plaintiff a “pussy” for not drinking enough and even told Blumenthal to take Adderall so he could drink more.
The filing says Blumenthal told Michelle Kelly, the employee who hired him, about the treatment and asked to switch teams but Kelly made no attempt to transfer him.
The incident emphasized in the lawsuit involves one of the bank’s “First Friday” bar events, where it says Blumenthal was “forced to drink by his managers.” The filing accuses Erukhimov of telling the plaintiff he would “teach him how to drink” before punching Blumenthal in his stomach and telling him to punch his manager back.
The filing says that when Blumenthal declined, Erukhimov wrestled with the smaller intern and pushed him from the bar to the outdoor patio. There, it alleges, the adviser choked Blumenthal for so long he passed out, urinated on himself, and smashed his head after Erukhimov threw him to the ground.
In an emailed statement, a representative for the bank said Goldman had “tried unsuccessfully to obtain more information” from Blumenthal about his injuries and was “committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming workplace,” adding that “the alleged behavior does not reflect our values.”
The statement noted that the complaint described an incident between “two former employees,” adding that Erukhimov no longer worked at the bank.
The plaintiff’s lawyers allege numerous Goldman employees witnessed the altercation, including senior managers and managing agents. The bank’s statement said that Goldman quickly looked into the incident and that the witnesses didn’t see the event as an intentional act.
“When it came to our attention we investigated immediately and took action, including to ensure the plaintiff was receiving medical care,” Goldman’s representative wrote, adding that the employees witnessing the event “viewed Patrick’s fall as an accident and offered support, including an offer to seek medical assistance.”
When Blumenthal came to, the present employees let Erukhimov take the intern to his own home. But the filing alleges that at the adviser’s apartment, Erukhimov gave the plaintiff four pain relievers and threatened that, should Blumenthal tell management of the events, a relative would kill him.
The court filing alleges that the adviser had previously boasted that his cousin and uncle were contract killers for Russian oligarchs and had bragged about his personal gun collection.
Erukhimov is also accused of having told Blumenthal stories of his relatives harming others, including an anecdote in which a cousin — who was purportedly visiting San Francisco in a few weeks — put a nightclub bouncer “in a vegetative state” after he asked the cousin to not stand on a table.
Two days after the event, the intern was hospitalized and received a diagnosis of a hemorrhagic stroke, the filing said. The altercation at the bar and subsequent conversation at Erukhimov’s house left Blumenthal with “a traumatic brain injury, extreme mental anguish, PTSD, and physical pain,” the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote.
Blumenthal spent a month “terrified to speak” about the event and was unable to return to school or his internship, the filing said. On March 26, 2018, he emailed Kimberly Vivas, a business-unit manager at the bank and defendant in the case, informing her of the event.
Vivas told the plaintiff to contact Aime Hendricks, a human-resources employee in Goldman’s New York office. Blumenthal claims that he didn’t hear back from Hendricks for nearly a month after emailing her and that when she responded she informed the former intern “we have taken actions we have deemed appropriate.”
The court filing alleges personal injury and calls for damages payments exceeding $25,000. Causes of action cited in the document include assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision, and employer ratification.
Blumenthal is represented by personal-injury attorneys William Green and Kailyn Sharp of Delfino Green & Green.
Source: Markets Insider