Our experts have been retained by defense or plaintiff attorneys in over 300 legal actions in which we gave testimony. Included are multi-plaintiff, class action and individual plaintiff suits alleging psychological damage caused by negligence of corporations, governmental agencies, foster care institutions, private and public schools, treatment and residential facilities, hospitals, medical practitioners and individuals. Outstanding situational examples include:
Sexual molestations at the Archdiocese of Dallas (attorney for the plaintiffs was Windle Turley), and a similar situation at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (attorney for the plaintiffs was Ray Boucher) — both cases resulting in record-making awards to the many plaintiffs we evaluated.
School district negligence regarding an affair between a vice-principal and a minor student, resulting in a California record-making settlement for the child we evaluated, Zoyly D vs. L.A. U.S.D., (attorney was Gordon G. Phillips).
Residential facility negligence regarding brutality of residents toward each other (Does vs. OK Boys’ Ranch, John Connelly Jr., was plaintiffs’ attorney)
Residential facility allegedly abusive of many children. We were retained by defense, evaluated 85 children, found them not to have been abused and helped obtain an injunction in Federal court, Heartland Academy v. Michael Waddle, et al. (Timothy Belz was defense attorney)
M.F. et al v. County of Santa Barbara, et al.
We confer with potential retaining attorneys, and if an agreement is reached, we proceed to examine and assess plaintiffs. Whenever permitted, our examinations are videotaped and extensive. Board Certified child, adolescent psychiatrists or appropriate psychologists perform the evaluations. We take history from collaterals, perform psychological tests, review relevant documents, study and critique the work of opposing experts, create rehabilitative psychiatric life care plans with cost estimates, confer with retaining attorneys, produce written reports of our findings and opinion. Once our reports are ready we confer if requested with economists and vocational experts, then testify at depositions and trials. We may create trial exhibits, with the agreement of the retaining attorneys.
Content of our assessment includes the plaintiff’s developmental and social history, other potentially traumatic experiences, presenting problems and complaints. We take a history of the alleged trauma. Often there are other medical, social service, academic and clinical reports we study and may rely upon. If permitted to videotape, we may transcribe the contents.
In complex or document-heavy matters, our document review usually results in a “Meyerian Chart” or complex timeline of historical, developmental, family, medical, academic, vocational, psychological and legal information.
Our evaluations include diagnoses, usually reached and presented in a DSM IV TR format, in which there are five aspects, including the primary disorder, personality disorders, medical disorders, current or recent stressors, and a global assessment of mental health function score. Among children we make a records and history based retrospective assessment of pre-event global function, per the method used by Shaffer and Gould (Archives of General Psychiatry, 1984).
If requested, we create a set of recommendations to rehabilitate a plaintiff whom we believe was harmed. These are complex multi-modal treatments in most cases, and costs are estimated for a lifetime. Included are estimates of the increased physical medical costs which research supported by the Centers for Disease Control shows are usual psychosomatic consequences of traumatic experiences.