If you believe an attorney representing the Los Angeles Unified School District, kids with lower IQs or who are developmentally delayed, suffer from less trauma than do so-called normal kids.
The argument used by W. Keith Wyatt, a partner in the law firm of Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, was part of the defense used when he defended the LAUSD in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 9 year old girl. The girl, who is developmentally delayed, had been repeatedly molested by a classmate. Afterwards, she required extensive therapy to overcome her trauma and her parents filed a lawsuit against the school district for their expenses incurred for the daughter’s treatment and for her therapy. The family was represented by attorney David Ring.
At the trial, Wyatt brought in famed psychologist Stan Katz to testify that the girl didn’t suffer as much as a normal kid would because of her disability. According to a report from the trial:
“At trial, Ring asked (celebrity psychologist Stan) Katz what he meant when he had testified that the girl’s disability ‘acts as a protective factor.’ According to the court transcript, Katz answered, ‘There’s a relationship between intelligence and depression. What happens is the more you think about things, you can ruminate, you can focus on things, you can look at the complexities of the matter and become more depressed.’”
“Following up, Ring asked, ‘So because she may be less intelligent than a general education student, she’s going to suffer less depression because of it?’ Katz replied, ‘Very possible, yes,’ KPCC reports.”
“Katz then tried to blame the victim’s emotional distress on her absent father, claiming the girl’s issues are a combination of that reality and her mental disability, not the repeated molestation she endured while attending her LAUSD school.”
Lynn Ponton, a psychiatrist with the University of California in San Francisco reviewed the testimony from the trial and commented:
“I have never seen developmental disability in a child that age used as a protective factor with respect to how they handle trauma.”
“In fact, developmental disability quite often puts them at risk for this type of trauma.”
In his defense of the school district, Wyatt claimed that the girl only needed compensation of $10,000 to $12,500 for therapy sessions and nothing more. However, the jury didn’t buy Wyatt’s defense and awarded the girl’s family $1.4 million. David Ring, attorney for the family, stated:
“The jury was offended, they were disgusted and they thought it was unbelievable that an expert witness could come in and say something like that.”
Wyatt was also representing the school district in 18 other cases, but after what he pulled in this case, the district announced that he had been pulled from 14 of those cases and that the other 4 cases were being assigned to someone else in the same law firm.
It’s pitiful how some attorneys will do everything to vilify a victim just to protect their client. If it wasn’t for the fact that Wyatt is black and I don’t want to be called a racist, I would say that he needs to be censured by the California Bar Association and warned if he ever tries to do anything so unethical again that he will be disbarred.