Forensic psychologists can significantly increase damages and awards in class-action and mass tort cases. This is an area of damages often ignored by attorneys; there is a sense that it will affect little change in the outcome of the settlement, or that there is no feasible and cost-effective way to evaluate hundreds of plaintiffs in a timely and efficient fashion. At Atrium, we have nearly one hundred psychiatric, psychological and neuropsychological experts. This gives us the capacity to evaluate many plaintiffs over short periods of time, becoming a critical factor to the success of a class-action case.
Attorney Scott Schutzman (http://www.scottschutzman.com) is a leading force in cemetery desecration cases, as well as class action suits and legislative changes. He recently served as legal editor in a new and highly respected cemetery management industry guide, “Traversing The Minefield” by Michael Kubasak.
In the recent California case of Terry Barnes et al. v. Angeles Abbey Memorial Park et al., Mr. Schutzman represented 257 plaintiffs in a $5.1 million dollar award. The average award per plaintiff was $20,000. On average, the plaintiffs who used forensic psychologists doubled their awards.
This was attributable to the fact that the experts were able to flesh out, in vivid detail, the psychological difficulties faced by these plaintiffs. They were also able to point to psychological testing which gave objective support to their opinions and deeply impressed the jury.
Even when the plaintiffs had pre-existing psychological problems, the psychologists were able to specify how and why the cemetery’s negligence caused specific emotional damages.
If you are an attorney developing a mass tort or class-action suit, there could be emotional damages you are not taking into account. We invite you to contact us for an in-depth, complimentary consultation.