Other Resources

This page lists links to other important Forensic Psychiatric and Forensic Psychological resources relevant to the topics of Forensic Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Head Trauma & TBI, Probate Litigation, Forensic Psychiatric Landmark Cases and Forensic Neuropsychology & Neuropsychiatry.

These other psychological resources can help plaintiff and defense litigators find important information concerning how forensic psychological experts can help them by providing evidence-based forensic psychiatric opinion and testimony regarding civil and criminal matters they may be handling. Getting an expert opinion from an authoritative, articulate but non-jargonized source can help ensure juries and judges accurately understand the psychiatric basis for your opinions so that they can make decisions based upon medical facts, rather than mere theory.

Expert Witness/Testimony

fpamed offers expert witness testimony in litigation where human behavior and/or emotional issues are a focus of attention. Our forensic psychiatrists and forensic neuropsychologists have both the scientific background and the communication skills to provide authoritative and articulate expert witness testimony.

When your case needs a psychiatrist expert witness, we can provide professionals capable of addressing a number of topics, including assessment of emotional damages in multi-party litigation,   emotional trauma, child and adolescent psychology, psychopharmacology, the impact of head injuries and the potential for traumatic brain injury (TBI) intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc. We also specialize in “the team approach” to assessing whole populations of litigants for emotional damages claim in mass tort litigation.

For plaintiffs or defendants needing expert witness opinions and testimony, fpamed can provide professionals capable of providing objective, evidence-based, expert testimony.

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What is Forensic Child & Adolescent Psychiatry?

Forensic psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry are both subspecialties of Psychiatry. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) offers board certification in both of these subspecialties. There are only a few forensic psychiatric experts in the United States who are trained and board certified in both forensic and adolescent and child psychiatry. They focus on medical-legal behavioral issues that involve children that arise in family law, personal injury and juvenile adjudication. We are proud to have Anlee Kuo, JD, MD as a member of our fpamed team for forensic psychiatric and psychological experts. Dr. Kuo has ABPN board certification in adult, child, adolescent and forensic psychiatry (in addition to a JD from New York University).

Dr. Kuo is well qualified to provide expert child custody evaluations and expert testimony in other matters where forensic child psychology expertise is needed.

Listed below are a number of Dr. Kuo’s articles and presentations, including a chapter she wrote for the Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Third Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2004. The chapter includes the following sections and topics:

  • The Changing Status of Children’s Rights
  • Overview of the Legal System
  • The Forensic Evaluation
  • Ethical Issues in the Clinician’s Practice
  • Legal Issues in the Clinician’s Practice, including Confidentiality, Privilege, and Duty; Informed Consent & Competence; Civil Commitment; Professional Liability; Child Custody and Divorce; Child Abuse and Neglect;
  • The Child as Witness
  • Youth Violence
  • Dependency, Delinquency, and the Juvenile Court
  • School-Related Legal Issues
  • References

Download a copy of Dr. Kuo’s chapter.

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Head Trauma / TBI

What is the Role of Forensic Psychiatry and Neuropsychology in the Assessment of Head Trauma and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)? 

TBI’s are best assessed for medical-legal purposes by a team of experts including a forensic psychiatrist, neuropsychologist and neurologist. The focus of the forensic psychiatric and neuropsychological evaluations is how a TBI may affect behavior, personality and cognitive functioning since all three of these areas are controlled by the brain and can be profoundly affected by a traumatic brain injury. Our fpamed team includes five forensic psychiatrists all trained and experienced in the psychiatric assessment of TBI’s and two forensic neuropsychologists (one  is a pediatric neuropsychologist) also highly trained and experienced in the assessment of cognitive functioning or any impairment thereof.

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Probate Litigation

What is the Role of Forensic Psychiatry and Neuropsychology in Probate Litigation (Will Contests) Including Allegations of Lack of Testamentary Capacity and/or Undue Influence?

Forensic psychiatrists and neuropsychologists have an important role in probate law, both during the phase of estate planning, as well as in the circumstances in which the Will or Trust of a decedent is contested through litigation. These professionals can help determine the testamentary capacity of the person creating a will, and also help determine whether undue influence was exerted by family members, legal counsel, or others.

A forensic psychiatrist and neuropsychologist are often called upon before and after wills are made. A forensic psychiatrist and neuropsychologist are often called upon when wills are being drafted, to assess the testamentary capacity of testator, in order to document the capacity of the individual to create a will or trust that will be used to execute plans for their estate after death.

Similarly, when the will or trust of a decedent is contested after death, a forensic psychiatrist is often called upon to offer post-mortem opinions about the decedent’s testamentary capacity at the time when the relevant documents were executed, as well as to assess what influences, both due and/or undue, may have affected the decedent’s decision-making processes.

These latter opinions, of necessity, cannot include a psychiatric examination of the decedent. Nevertheless, through a careful review of medical records and witness deposition testimony, an accurate picture can usually be developed of the decedent’s functioning at the time the wills and/or trusts at issue were executed.

Testamentary capacity and undue influence are major factors in resolving legal challenges to wills, so getting an expert opinion from qualified professionals regarding these issues can greatly help in defeating a challenge or helping it succeed.

Below is a link to a PowerPoint slide presentation given to the Probate Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco:

The Last Dance – Testamentary Capacity Undue Influence Will Contests Compatibility Mode (PDF)

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Forensic Psychiatric Landmark Cases & Summaries

The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) identifies landmark decisions that are particularly relevant to aspects of forensic psychiatry and forensic psychology. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology administers the board certification examination in Forensic Psychiatry. This examination includes questions about the Landmark Cases. Below is a listing of the Landmark Cases identified by AAPL as well as summaries of these Landmark Cases from Stanford University, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry as well as by James Hooper, MD, Department of Psychiatry & Neurology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Medicine:

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What is Neuropsychology?

Neuropsychologist measure aspects of voluntary cognitive, or brain functioning through the use of a variety of objective standardized tests. The use of such tests makes it possible to compare the individual’s functioning in specific areas statistically to that of other individuals of similar age and educational levels.

The Neuropsychological Assessment

The analysis of the pattern of test data provided by neuropsychological assessment can provide evidence of abnormal functioning, or deficits that may be due to brain damage due to injury or disease, and/or that may be related to personality traits and psychiatric disorders.

An analysis of the ways in which an individual’s pattern of test findings are similar or dissimilar to those of other persons who have suffered comparable injuries, disabilities or diagnoses, makes it is possible to draw conclusions about the likelihood of the plaintiff’s claims about loss of cognitive functioning and emotional distress, or fitness to function at work or in legal proceedings.

The domains that may be assessed in a neuropsychological assessment include intellectual ability (I.Q.), executive functioning (higher order problem solving, concept formation, planning and organization, mental flexibility, focused attention, inhibition or filtering of responses and impulse control), memory, academic skills, visual-motor, sensory motor and fine motor skills, as well as adaptive functioning, or daily living skills and competency. In addition, neuropsychologists typically assess personality and psychological functioning and include measures that provide evidence of atypical responses, degree of effort in responding and malingering of symptoms or memory functioning.

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