Psychiatric Medical-Legal Assessment
Complex Medical Questions
At the Interface of Law, Psychiatry, and Medicine
Leonard J. Weiss, M.D. is Board-Certified in Medical Specialties of the Body, Brain, and Behavior Applied to Legal Questions
- Forensic Psychiatry
- Addiction Psychiatry
- Internal Medicine
- Clinical Nutrition Fellowship
Forensic Evaluation and Medical Specialization
Dr. Weiss draws on specialization in distinct psychiatric concerns as well as the overlap between emotional, mental health, and other diseases of the body.
He holds excellent credentials in Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Internal Medicine. He is also trained in Clinical Nutrition and is an expert about meidcal considerations in the use or misuse of vitamin supplements.
His forensic practice focuses on one or more of these specialties.
Dr. Weiss has been in medical practice as an internist for more than 35 years and Board-Certified in Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry for more than 20 years.
He has conducted thousands of psychiatric and medical assessments at some of the most respected institutions in medicine.
Objective Medical-Legal Findings Grounded in Rigorous Assessment and Medical Science
Proper diagnosis and treatment can be effective. However, if medical malpractice or negligence occurs, the results can be serious and damaging. Dr. Weiss makes no assumptions. He considers all possibilities and renders an objective opinion.
He is retained by both plaintiff and defense.
Medically Complex Cases: Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
Dr. Weiss is uniquely qualified to render knowledgeable and thoughtful medical-legal opinions by report and testimony. He applies perspective about complex cases that involve psychiatric conditions or allegations of disabling conditions. He is also qualified to address interacting medical and mental conditions.
Examples include co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and Bipolar Disorder, organ failure and drug addiction, Traumatic Stress and conditions worsened by stress, prescribed pain medication, alcoholism, untreated and undertreated depression, COVID recovery, and/or mental illness. Malingering is always a consideration.
The background of an individual’s medical condition can be disregarded or missed by psychiatrists unfamiliar or insufficiently trained in physical and organic disciplines.
Assessment – IME – Records
Report of Findings
Consultant as an Unretained Expert
Disclosed Expert Witness
Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction
Dr. Weiss’ forensic practice does not always address addiction, but if it does, he is Board-Certified in Addiction Psychiatry and has been treating substance abuse disorders for more than 3 decades.
Some cases are complicated by a Substance Abuse Disorder (e.g. drugs, alcohol, prescription medication) or Process/Behavioral Addictions (e.g., gambling, overeating.)
An addiction can impact judgment and behavior, which may be a factor in a lawsuit or criminal case.
Dr. Weiss has also assessed addiction at the request of Licensing Boards in Texas where practitioner impairment is at issue.
Speaking with Dr. Weiss is the best way to find out if his background is relevant to a case.
Experience: A Physician’s Analysis of the Co-Existing Body, Brain and Behavior
Dr. Weiss’ Background
Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. Dr. Weiss began his medical career as an internist in Michigan, treating diseases of the body and mind in clinical practice. He then turned his focus to a long-standing interest in psychiatry more than 20 years ago.
The relationship between elements of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine are a powerful and compelling focus of his medical practice.
In 1993, Dr. Weiss pursued his interest in Psychiatry and became Board-Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, with complementary Board-Certification in Addiction Psychiatry the following year.
Judicial System: the Role of an Expert Witness in Forensic Psychiatry. As a psychiatrist and internist, Dr. Weiss is sought to opine in legal matters, which has been the case for more than 2 decades. Dr. Weiss has always been interested in the application of psychiatry/medicine to adjudicated matters. A portion of his time is now applied to Forensic Psychiatric cases, though his clinical practice remains his primary commitment.
Dr. Weiss was one of the first Psychiatrists to qualify for and achieve the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology’s Board-Certification in Forensic Psychiatry in 1999.
Nutrition. Dr. Weiss has a career-long interest in nutrition and completed a Fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at Memorial Sloan-Kettering/Cornell some decades ago while a practicing internist. Before that, he minored in Nutrition at MIT and did bench nutritional research there as well as in medical school. After his Fellowship he sat for and passed the written and oral Boards for the American Board of Nutrition. Diseases (both psychiatric and physical), mood, efficacy of medications may all be impacted by diet, malnourishment (inadequate nourishment), sugar intake, and even the use and misuse of dietary supplements. In medical-legal matters, this training is relevant if the case includes one or more of these factors.
In addition to patient care, Dr. Weiss has served on the faculties of renowned medical schools and Fellowships. At Rush University Hospital/Rush Medical College he was an instructor in Clinical Psychiatry, and to Fellows in Geriatric Medicine. He taught senior Psychiatric Residents about Addictionology (now referred to as Addiction Psychiatry) at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He has served on the faculty at Texas A&M Health & Science University in Austin.
Dr. Weiss has treated patients in private practice in Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. In 2013 he opened Psychiatry Austin in Austin, Texas, where he has an active clinical practice.
MIT to Medicine. Dr. Weiss received his medical training after achieving a degree in Mathematics at MIT. It became apparent to him that he found medicine to be the more interesting field, though his mathematics background underscores Dr. Weiss’ interests in evaluating research and statistical medical findings of other experts in medicine.
Dr. Weiss’ Medical Specialties Explained
Internal Medicine is the treatment of medical conditions, including diseases affecting the heart, blood, kidneys, joints, digestive systems, respiratory symptoms, vascular systems, substance abuse, and mental health.
American Board of Internal Medicine, ABIM (adaptation)
Psychiatry“Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders…A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. American Psychiatric Association (APA).
“Addiction Psychiatry is a subspecialty that involves focusing on evaluation and treatment of individuals with alcohol, drug, or other substance-related disorders, and of individuals with dual diagnosis of substance-related and other psychiatric disorders.” American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology ABPN
“We won on key aspects of the case. Your work was invaluable. Thank you.“
- Private attorneys (please ask for references)
- Texas Physician Health Program
- Professional Recovery Network
- Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP)
- Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE)
- Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME), and the
- Texas Optometry Board (TOB)
Consulting to attorneys about psychiatric and medical factors relevant to a case; conducting evaluations as a disclosed Expert Witness or undisclosed medical-legal consultant.
Independent Medical Examination (IME) of a party to the action, face to face, or by video. Collateral Interviews of relevant informants such as family members, medical staff, co-workers, depending on the case.
- Affidavits and Declarations
- Written or verbal reports
Reviewing Medical and Legal Records
Reviewing records sounds mundane but it is not. Records can contain valuable information and clues about a person’s health and mental state. Legal records reveal still more about the “story” painted by the examinee and others.
Records Dr. Weiss routinely reviews:
- Treatment and diagnostic notes
- Hospital, physician, specialists
- Labs, radiology (MRI, CT), toxicology. As a Board-Certified Internist and Addiction Psychiatry specialist, Dr. Weiss is uniquely qualified to interpret these records
- Reports by other Expert Witnesses
Areas of Concentration
Psychiatric Disorders | Addiction | Internal Medicine | Complex Medical Interactions
- Medical Malpractice | Standard of Care | Hospitals and Rehab
- Brain Injuries (TBI) | Brain Diseases (Dementia, Alzheimer’s)
- Psychiatric Disability
- Testamentary Capacity | Competency to Enter into a Contract
- Competency and Incompetency
- Geriatric Psychiatry | Dementia | Diseases of the Elderly
- Criminal Responsibility
- Fraud: elder abuse, undue influence
- Psychiatric factors in behavior
- Competency to stand trial
Figure, top of page: Inspired by Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” ca. 1490. Licensed adaptation, Adobe Stock Images.