Forensic Psychology: Civil Litigation
- For the last thirty-three years, Dr.
LaCalle has been retained in over a thousand cases involving
civil litigation, including personal injury, wrongful death, Workers'
Compensation, third party liability, immigration evaluations, Social
Security evaluations, probates, etc. Both plaintiff and defense
litigating parties, have retained him. In his early years of practice,
plaintiffs or applicants retained him more often, while in recent years,
defense attorneys and insurance companies have retained him quite
frequently. Dr. LaCalle does not accept liens or contingency fees.
- In his evaluations, Dr. LaCalle conducts thorough
clinical interviews; reviews records; holds collateral interviews with
significant witnesses; conducts socio-cultural investigations, when
appropriate; and administers psychological tests, if needed. In some
cases he has traveled to Mexico and other Latino-American countries, to
obtain relevant bio-psycho-cultural information not otherwise available
and information that, at times , is indispensable to the outcome of the
- He pays close attention to the referral issues,
which, over the years, have usually included assessment of emotional
damages, review of previous psychiatric-psychological evaluations,
assessment of need for treatment and appropriateness of the previously
provided treatment, evaluation of pre-existent psychiatric conditions,
malingering, false identities and psychological autopsies.
- Dr. LaCalle has been retained in several wrongful
death cases involving Hispanic victims to assess the emotional damages,
future economic damages, and deprivation of future care of the parents
of the victim, within a specific cultural framework.
- In the majority of these cases, litigation is
resolved without trial. In those cases, Dr. LaCalle prepares timely
forensic reports addressing the referral questions. In quite a few
instances, he has been called for consultations with attorneys,
participation in "round table" preparation of cases, consultation for
jury selection, witness assessment and preparation, depositions, and
Frequently, the work of Dr. LaCalle is
confidential, and unless called upon
to testify or otherwise make his testimony public, his work remains
confidential after the settlement. The following are few sample cases.
All are public record:
A wrongful death case. On Christmas Day
2000, the toddler Amezcua fell from the 7th floor of his apartment
building into the well of a malfunctioning elevator and was found dead
several hours later, after a frantic search for the child throughout San
Francisco that attracted the attention of the media. It became known as
"the tragedy of the Chrismas baby." The Amezcua family sued the
apartment complex owner and the elevator's manufacturer.
Dr. LaCalle clinically evaluated the
members of the Amezcua family to assess their emotional damage and, if
any, their pain and suffering. He also conducted a socio-cultural
investigation and assessment. In his detailed report, he dealt with an
important cultural issue: the primary role the oldest son plays in a
typical working class Mexican family: the son is considered the
"retirement security" of his parents, since he is the oldest son who is
principally responsible for caring for his aging parents. This cultural
difference became a very relevant issue in the Amezcuas' damage claims
and significantly affected the sizeable amount of the negotiated
- Iyola vs
Arnette, Los Angeles, Ca.
Mr Iyola, an African native, was involved in a car
accident. His claims of
injuries were well beyond what could be expected of an otherwise minor
rear- end collision. Claiming that his life was ruined, as well as were
chances of becoming a medical doctor in the USA, he demanded a very
substantial compensation in accordance with his claims. A highly
questionable Psychological Report by a "Beverly Hills " psychologist,
retained by the plaintiff's attorney, attempted to give credibility to
Mr. Iyola's claims.
Dr. LaCalle was retained by the Defense to evaluate Mr. Iyola, review
the large dossier of records, and asses the validity of the plaintiff
psychologist's findings. In trial, all the claims were disallowed.,
the exception of some reasonable initial medical bills.
vs. Pajara Valley School District, California
Dr. LaCalle was retained as Independent Medical
Examiner, to asses
emotional damages to a minor and her parents. A six year old
Hispanic girl was sexually assaulted by an
allegedly deranged man
on the school grounds during school time. The child was evaluated,
mostly in regard to lasting emotional damages, the parents were
interviewed and an extensive report was issued.
The case was settled
out of court.
vs. City of Los Angeles
A Mexican-American male sued L.A. Police for an
of his civil rights, false arrest, and physical assault by the police
resulted in severe injuries requiring
hospitalization. After L.A. Police
learned of the suit, they filed felony assault charges against Mr.
Dr. LaCalle was retained by plaintiff to asses
- Galan vs.
A Salvadorian female was repeatedly sexually harassed at work by
co-workers, Mexican nationals. She reported the harassment on several
occasions without results. Dr. LaCalle was retained by the plaintiff
to assess emotional damages and the need for treatment.
vs. University of California
A 4-year-old, Salvadorian-American minor was
evaluated and tested,
twice in the span of two years, to assess damages and report progress
if any. Dr. LaCalle was retained by defendants, to review and assess
evaluations made by the plaintiff's mental health experts. The
parents filed a malpractice suit against the UC Hospital where the
was born, claiming that their child was permanently damaged by the
deficient medical care he received in the hospital neo-natal center.
claims included Organic Brain Syndrome, Mental Retardation,
Developmental and learning deficiencies. The case settled just before