Goldman Sachs Settles Case Over Alleged Abuse of Intern
(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reached a settlement with a former intern who alleged the company fostered a culture of hazing that included physical violence, embarrassing nicknames and forced drinking bouts.
The settlement with Patrick Blumenthal, who was a Drexel University student when he went to work for Goldman Sachs in 2017, came a week before a hearing on the investment bank’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. Terms of the accord weren’t disclosed in a filing in San Francisco Superior Court.
The company claimed it isn’t legally responsible for Blumenthal’s injuries, saying that because he was hurt during an after-hours work event, any compensation he’s entitled to should come from the state workers compensation system.
“Goldman Sachs has no comment on this matter,” said Maeve DuVally, a spokeswoman for the bank.
Photos of the staff and interns were exhibited on a plaque on the wall with the employees’ nicknames underneath, according to Blumenthal’s complaint, which says that his nickname was “Bloomy” and was pronounced derisively.
The drinking culture at the office was rampant and “clearly a job requirement,” according to the complaint. He said he was pressured to consume alcohol and when he didn’t drink fast he was mocked.
The most serious allegation involved a happy hour event at a San Francisco bar. Blumenthal said one of his supervisors was angry with him about a joke he had made and punched him in the stomach and started wrestling with him. Then the supervisor put him in a headlock until he passed out and urinated on himself, according to Blumenthal’s complaint.
Two days later, Blumenthal, having not fully recovered, went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with bleeding to the brain, according to the complaint.
At least seven other Goldman Sachs employees, including a vice president, were at the bar and saw what happened, according to the complaint. Rather than call an ambulance, they let the supervisor drive the intern home, according to Blumenthal.
“He is still receiving treatment for his injuries,” his lawyer, Dan Schaar, said Friday. Schaar said the terms of the settlement prohibit him from disclosing any details about it.
Lawyers for Goldman Sachs argued in court filings that the company wasn’t liable for the intern’s injuries.
“That evening, Mr. Blumenthal went out drinking with some of his co-workers from Goldman Sachs after attending an in-office happy hour,” they wrote. “While out, he was ‘playing around’ and ‘wrestling’ -- his words, immediately after -- with one of his colleagues when he fell and hit his head.”
The case is Blumenthal v. Goldman Sachs & Co., CGC-20-582812, California Superior Court, San Francisco County (San Francisco).
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