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Wendell Williamson Sues Former Psychiatrist

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HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — September 10, 1998

It has been three years since a heavily armed and insane Wendell Williamson walked down a Chapel Hill street and opened fire. Two people died.

Now, Williamson is suing his former psychiatrist for poor care.

The former University of North Carolina law student was found not guilty during his criminal trial. In the current civil case there is one fundamental question: Can a psychiatrist be held liable for the actions of his client, after the client leaves his care?

"I believe that it is going," Williamson said.

Williamson thinks that his medical malpractice lawsuit is going well. What he claims did not go well, was his treatment from psychiatrist Dr. Myron Liptzin.

"Thinking back on it overall, I think that I did a good job with Mr. Williamson," Liptzin said. "Even with hindsight, there isn't much that I would do differently, I would say. And I am really just sorry for him, and for the families who have been hurt by this."

Williamson's attorneys say Liptzin failed to make sure that Williamson continue to get the proper psychiatric care after the doctor retired in May of 1994.

Eight months later, Williamson went on the Chapel Hill shooting rampage killing two and seriously wounding a police officer.

"All doctors assume the risk of being sued, and all we can do is do the best job that we can with the information that we have at hand," Liptzin said.

The psychiatrist attorney's say that Williamson ignored all of the doctor's advise, and sought no other medical help.

Williamson is expected to take the stand at some point during the case. His mother said that she looks at the whole matter as a mental health issue.

Apparently, there is not a precedent for this case in North Carolina. However, attorneys are calling in series of outside psychiatrist for their opinions.


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