Entries by Sky Esser

Sanity Evaluations: The relationship between the mental state and the criminal behavior.

The insanity defense is a traditional affirmative defense that dates back to biblical times with more relevant application dating back to English common law. Simply defined, the insanity defense determines whether a defendant is capable of being held criminally responsible for his or her actions. How sanity is more specifically defined differs between states and in Clark v. Arizona, 548 […]

Virtual Forensic Psychiatric Practice: A Lawyer’s Guide

Just because we’re housebound, ​doesn’t mean we’ve stopped working. Telemedicine and telepsychiatry were growing rapidly, prior to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. A press release published in Marketwatch (October 15, 2019) stated that telepsychiatry was growing at a compound annual growth rate of 22.6% and was expected to reach $300 million per annum by […]

Video: The Criminal Brain

Why do some people live lawful lives, while others gravitate toward repeated criminality? Do people choose to be moral or immoral, or is morality simply a genetically inherited function of the brain, like mathematical ability? Research suggests certain regions of the brain influence moral reasoning. Dr. Octavio Choi explores how emerging neuroscience challenges long-held assumptions underlying the basis—and punishment—of criminal behavior.

Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment of Children and Adolescents

Psychological and neurocognitive assessment can provide empirical data that can be very valuable to the trier of fact in determining the presence, severity, and absence of psychological and neurocognitive damages in children and adolescents. Testing provided by psychologists who are highly trained and experienced with forensic assessment can be extremely helpful for plaintiff and defense […]

What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Answer | Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

We truly live in the golden age of neuroscience. Advances in technology over the past 20 years have given modern neuro-researchers tools of unprecedented power to probe the workings of the most complex machine in the universe (as far as we know).

PTSD Claims Brought by Facebook’s ‘Graphic Content’ Reviewers Goes to ADR, Putting Civil Action on Pause

Facebook can be great fun. How else would I have seen a video of an eight-year-old drummer-girl utterly thrashing Led Zeppelin’s Good Times Bad Times? Or a dog running away with a lit skyrocket as his human friends run, duck and ditch for their lives? Or what your cat looks like in a tuxedo?

Check out the upcoming HB Webinar

Mass Tort Litigation

The Team Approach to Forensic Psychiatric Assessment in Mass Tort or Multi-Plaintiff Complex Litigation There are key advantages to employing a “Single Team Approach” to assessing emotional damages claims in a mass tort population. Whether part of a class action, consolidated individual claims, multi-district litigation, or another procedure, a large population of claimants seeking emotional […]

“I Hurt but They Think I’m Faking!” What Are Somatic Symptom & Related Disorders & What Is Their Importance in Civil Litigation?

A passenger vehicle is rear-ended by a commercial vehicle traveling at 30 mph on a state road. The driver of the passenger vehicle is seat belted. The airbags deployed, and the vehicle suffered moderate rear end damage. Ambulance personnel note that the driver exited the vehicle without assistance, is awake, standing by the roadside and talking […]

6-13-18 NARTC Webinar – mTBI Claims in Litigation

Topics To Be Covered: 1. Asessing Emotional Disorders 1. Definitions – what is a TBI? – what makes a mild TBI “mild?” 2. 3-legged stool assessment: neurology, neuropsychology & psychiatry. 3. Neurology – Imaging Studies and Structural Assessment. • MRI. • DTI. • Tractography. 4. Problems with correlating imaging studies with mTBI studies. 5. Neuropsychology […]

mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and Imaging Studies in Forensic Psychiatry

By Forensic Psychiatrist Mark I Levy, MD, DLFAPA Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (“mTBI” or “concussion”) is a frequent claim in civil litigation where the plaintiff has sustained a head injury. The best evaluation of these claims is performed by a 3-part team of forensic neurologist, neuropsychologist and psychiatrist. The neurologist addresses and structural damage to […]

Addiction and Mental Health

The cannabis landscape changed in 2016 with the passage of Proposition 64 in California, which legalized recreational use of cannabis and possession of less than an ounce, as Prop 215 legalized medicinal use in 1996. Dr. Kan noted that experience has shown that medicinal use of cannabis decreased opioid mortality among patients, dropping by 5% […]

The Problem of Wearing Two Hats: 10 Reasons Why Using the Treating Doctor as a Forensic Psychiatric Expert May Be a Bad Idea

Many attorneys, when working on a case in which the mental health status of one of the parties is a significant issue, consider relying solely on a treating psychiatrist to serve as an independent expert psychiatric witness. Engaging the treating psychiatrist may seem efficient, cost-effective, and simply seeking expertise from the professional who knows the individual […]

Substance Use Disorders: It’s a Tough Row to Hoe

This is a slide show presentation and subsequent webinar presented to NARTC by David Kan, M.D., D.F.A.S.A.M., a Diplomate Am. Bd. Psychiatry & Neurology in Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Associate Clinical Professor Psychiatry, UCSF School of Medicine, an original member of Forensic Psychiatric Associates Medical Corporation and current President of the  California Society of Addiction Medicine. […]

7 Bullet Points to Remember about PTSD Claims in Litigation

1. Authentic PTSD can, and usually does, produce severe disability of a person’s psychological functioning: It is important to remember that “impairment of psychosocial functioning” is a  sine qua non  for every psychiatric diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5 ). Thus, although genuine PTSD is usually severely disabling, in the absence of marked […]

One Force Lacking In Fight Against Opioid Addiction In Rural California: Doctors

fpamed Forensic Psychiatrist and President of the California Society for Addiction Medicine, David Y. Kan, MD DFASAM, was quoted in this recent article published in California Healthline By Pauline Bartolone July 12, 2017 Dr. Mark Satterfield sees a patient in recovery from heroin addiction at the Plumas County public health offices. Local officials say Satterfield […]

U.S. drug crisis is now pushing up death rates for almost all groups of Americans

The Opioid Crisis Continues to Grow by David Kan MD DFASAM (Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine) forensic psychiatrist, fpamed The opioid crisis continues to grow. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control show that overdose death rates have risen in every ethnic group. The most recent CDC data show that […]

David Kan MD Webinar to NARTC on Substance Use Disorders

On January 25, 2017, Forensic Psychiatrist and Substance Abuse Expert, David Kan, MD,DFASAM, the current President-Elect of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, gave a national, interactive webinar to members of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC) on the subject of Substance Use Disorders, focusing particularly on opioid abuse and its place in […]