Judge Declares Mistrial in Lederer Will Dispute
CHICAGO (AP) _ A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in a probate court dispute in which the former head of the American Psychiatric Association is accused of exploiting a wealthy patient.
Cook County Judge Frank Petrone ordered the jury excused in the midst of the opening statements by an attorney for Dr. George Pollock, an executor of the estate of Anne P. Lederer, who died in 1984 at age 78.
The legal battle is between Pollock, one of Chicago’s leading psychoanalysts, and Francis L. Lederer II, the only child of Mrs. Lederer.
Mrs. Lederer left most of her estimated $5 million estate to a non-profit institute she established four years earlier to promote psychiatric research and music. None of the money has been paid, however, while her son has contested the case in court.
Mrs. Lederer’s will leaves $200,000 to her son and several thousand dollars to two grandchildren.
In 1976, Mrs. Lederer set up a fund that has paid Pollock $50,000 a year and will continue paying him through 1993. She established a second trust that has paid Pollock’s family $30,000 a year since 1978. Court records are not clear when the second trust expires.
In his opening statement Wednesday, Pollock’s attorney, Robert Tepper, said Mrs. Lederer had previously set up a $2 million irrevocable trust for her son. The trust was not part of the will.
″She later decided it was a mistake to make the trust irrevocable and told people the only thing her son wanted from her was her money,″ Tepper told the jury.
Lederer’s attorney Philip Doran objected to the comment, and after confering with the lawyers, Petrone told the panel that he was declaring a mistrial because the remark was prejudicial. He discharged the jury.
Pollock, who was present in the courtroom, and Tepper made no comment.
Lederer says Pollock improperly used his influence over Mrs. Lederer to urge her to establish the institute, which promotes psychiatric research and music.
Pollock conducted up to five sessions a week with Mrs. Lederer from 1969 to 1980, when he transferred her case to two other psychiatrists, saying he needed more time for other professional duties, court documents show.
Pollock continued prescribing medication for her until 1983, and records show he told the succeeding psychiatrists in a letter: ″Incidentally, I do hope that you are charging her a full fee for your housecalls and visits. She can well afford it.″
In an affidavit Dec. 4, 1986, Pollock denied the allegations against him.
In his opening statement, Richard Phelan, the lawyer for the research institute, said establishing the organization ″is clearly what she (Mrs. Lederer) wanted to do.″
″She wanted to create a foundation and a trust that would bear her name so that people would remember her as a woman who gave her monies to charity,″ he said.
Tepper was the third and last lawyer making an opening statement to the jury, which took four days to be selected.
No date for selecting a new jury in the probate dispute was set. Lawyers were scheduled to meet with Petrone on Thursday.