Emotional & Physical Damages
Forensic psychiatrists evaluate the validity of psychological and emotional
damages by way of providing data for the finder of fact as to causation
and damages across the spectrum of civil litigation ranging from negligence
to employment related issues.
- The Role of a Forensic Psychiatrist
in Legal Proceedings
A description of forensic psychiatry and the in-depth process
that is entailed regarding civil and criminal cases. This process
includes the presentation of the validity of emotional and physical
damages as determined by a forensic evaluation, which differs
significantly from that of a treating clinician.
- New Developments in the Role
of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Civil and Criminal Law
A Case of Medical Malpractice Illustrates the Growing Importance
of Informed Consent
- Supervisory Negligence Litigation
The authors discuss damages which are attributed at least in
part to the negligence of workplace supervisors.
- Article: Kumho
for Clinicians in the Courtroom. Dr. Bursztajn and colleagues
explore the evolving role of the clinical expert post-Kumho.
- U.S. Supreme Court Rules About
Standards In Expert Witness Post-Daubert
- National Certification for Forensic
Psychiatrists: A Preview of the Post-Daubert Expert
An examination of the admissibility of scientific testimony in
court, an important issue in the education of judges and juries
as claims of emotional, medical, and psychological damages may
sound dubious to the non-expert.
- Article: Massachusetts
Federal District Court Applies Kumho Tire to Exclude
Plaintiffs' Expert Testimony on 'Hedonic' Damages
- Case: [Plaintiff]
v. New York City Transit Authority, et al.
Dr. Bursztajn’s testimony regarding a plaintiff’s
malingering and misattribution debunks neuroimaging
gimmickry in a post-concussive disorder claim.
- Case: Carvajal
v. Mihalek, et al. Dr. Bursztajn's reference to an
antisocial history in the course of his examination,
opinion, and testimony was affirmed on appeal by a panel
which included one of the better senior judge writers
in the federal judiciary, Guido
Calabrese, whose book, Tragic
Choices deals with many of the issues of Dr. Bursztajn's
book Medical Choices,
Medical Chances in a legal context. This decision
supports forensic psychiatric approaches to detecting
malingering and misattribution.
- Case: Mayotte
M. Jones v. Metro West, Inc.
- Case: Kumho
Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael
- Case: General
Electric Co. v. Joiner
- Article: Daubert
Without Prejudice: Achieving Relevance and Reliability
- Case: Doe
v. Doe. Expert Testimony & Workman's
Conscious Pain and Suffering
Dr. Bursztajn has more than thirty years of experience as a practicing clinical and forensic neuropsychiatrist with a special interest in the interface between medicine and psychiatry, pain and suffering during coma and the dying process, and the forensic neuropsychiatric autopsy.
Claims of conscious pain and suffering may be difficult to support. The
task of the forensic psychiatrist in such cases is to reconstruct the
state of mind along scientifically acceptable principles. The following
cases demonstrate the forensic psychiatric evaluation of conscious pain
- Case: Nonaka
- Article: In
Treating Patients for Pain, a Racial Gap.
- Article: Persistent
Pain and Well-being. Persistent pain was a commonly reported
health problem among primary care patients and was consistently
associated with psychological illness across centers. Large variation
in frequency and the inconsistent relationship between persistent
pain and disability across centers suggests caution in drawing
conclusions about the role of culture in shaping responses to
persistent pain when comparisons are based on patient samples
drawn from a limited number of health care settings in each culture.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The courts recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a type of damages.
The cause and effects of PTSD must be distinguished from causes and effects
of other symptoms or conditions. Therefore, the presence of PTSD can
be verified or disclaimed only by a trained evaluator. The following
cases used forensic psychiatric testimony to support or refute claims
of PTSD related injury.
- Article: When forensic neuropsychiatric expertise is indicated, early retention is best. Dr. Bursztajn's article with attorney Alex Geiger on why retaining an expert early and involving the expert in all relevant aspects of case preparation can maximize the strategic and tactical effectiveness of the expert's evaluation and testimony in addition to being more cost-effective over the course of the case.
- Article: What Does a Forensic Psychiatrist Need to Find Causation in a Medical Malpractice Action Involving PTSD? [Subscription Required]
- Case: [Plaintiff]
v. United States of America. Dr. Burstajn's evaluation
of a plaintiff claiming traumatic brain injury indicates
a factitious disorder, also known as Munchausen syndrome.
- Interview: Emotional
trauma may have kept Amy Lord from fleeing. Dr. Bursztajn,
as a forensic psychiatric expert with a special interest in head
trauma and PTSD, is interviewed on the brutal kidnapping and
killing of Amy Lord. Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe,
July 26, 2013.
- Interview: The
Sergeant in Question: A Portrait of the Accused Shooter of Kandahar.
Dr. Bursztajn is interviewed on the apparent disconnect between
the prior conduct of the United States soldier accused of shooting
16 Afghani civilians and the details of the incident.
- Case: Vick
v. Northrop Grumman. Neuropsychiatric autopsy
of a suicide in the context of a workers compensation case.
- Case: deVries,
et al. vs Secaucus Fire Department, et al. A landmark civil
rights verdict in a case alleging a town's politicians' failure
to protect a gay couple who were harassed and eventually driven
out of their home next to a fire station in Secaucus. Dr. Bursztajn
served as the plaintiffs' attorneys' retained testifying expert
regarding causation, the nature and extent of the emotional injuries
and standards for reliability and validity for an forensic psychiatric
Independent Medical Examination.
News Articles on the aftermath of the trial and verdict:
- In the last decade, researchers have convincingly demonstrated that
psychological stress can increase vulnerability to disease and have
begun to understand how that might occur in The
Heavy Cost of Chronic Stress. The New York Times, December
- Case: Meador
v. Sidney Stahler, M.D. and Ruben Gheridian, M.D.
- Case: Nonaka
- Case: Loukia
Panas and Nicholas Panas v. John Harakis and K-Mart Corporation.
Dr. Bursztajn's testimony is cited in this New Hampshire
Supreme Court decision from 1987.
- Case: Jamie
Claborn Drewry v. Phillip Harwell, M.D.
- Article: Vinal
v. New England Telephone: Admission of PTSD Psychophysiologic
Test Results in a Civil Trial.
- Article: Melatonin
Therapy: From Benzodiazepine-Dependent Insomnia to Authenticity
- Article: When
Post-Traumatic Stress Grips Youth
- Article: Childhood
Abuse and Adult Stress. A study links trauma, depression
and response to anxiety.
- Article: Low
Cortisol and Risk for PTSD in Adult Offspring of Holocaust Survivors
Society for Traumatic Stress Studies PTSD Treatment Guidelines
- Expert Consensus Guidelines: Treatment
of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Gift from Within is
an International private non-profit organization for survivors dedicated
to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dr. Bursztajn's pro bono work dealing with PTSD
Grief & Mourning
- Article: Calculating
the Benefits of Managing Stress. A Duke University study
followed heart patients for five years and is believed to be
the first to measure the benefits of stress management over a
sustained period and to demonstrate its potential economic benefits.
- Documentary: There's
Something Wrong With Aunt Diane. Dr. Bursztajn participates
in investigating the mysterious tragedy of Diane Schuler. Several
reviews and subsequent interviews with Dr. Bursztajn followed
after the initial airing of the documentary on July 25, 2011.
- Dr. Bursztajn participated in several documentaries produced for
the Discovery Channel by Atlantic Productions where he performs neuropsychiatric
autopsies on famous historical figures.
Dr. Bursztajn has an active patient care practice and consults to physicians,
institutions, judges, and plaintiff and defense counsel nationally.