I am the attorney who filed the lawsuit against Stephen Doyne, Ph.D., which was covered in your article “The American Board of Nonexistence” (“City Lights,” July 2). I am writing to respond to the false and misleading statements by Doyne’s attorney, Christopher Zopatti. (“Not Overtly Psychotic,” Letters, July 23.)
Just to recap, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Emad Tadros, M.D., and alleges that Doyne, a prominent San Diego child custody evaluator whom I have seen family law judges recommend, uses false and misleading credentials in his CV, such as claiming he taught at USD School of Law and other universities that deny in writing any record of Doyne, and claiming he is a “Diplomate” of organizations like the American College of Forensic Examiners (ACFE) that have been exposed as internet certification mills.
Zopatti’s letter demanded that the Reader retract its article on the lawsuit. In defense of Doyne, Zopatti claims he filed a declaration from a USD law educator named Rodney Jones that “confirms the employment of Dr. Doyne at USD.” That is absolutely false. The declaration never says Doyne taught at USD. It says Doyne took one of Jones’s classes with the stated intent of later teaching at USD. That is all. As a member of the state bar, Zopatti knows better than to make false statements like that.
Maybe the reason Zopatti had to distort the truth is that he had nothing else. On the one hand, we filed two letters from USD that flatly deny any record of Doyne even after an extensive search. On the other hand, all Doyne was able to produce was that declaration from Jones stating Doyne took Jones’s class. Nothing else. If Doyne did teach at USD he should be able to find a faculty member or former student who remembers him teaching (most of them are on the state bar website), or even an old course outline, pay stub, employment record, photo, yearbook, or some other record.
Zopatti also claims he filed a course catalog that identifies Doyne as an instructor at another university, UCSD, where Doyne also claims he taught but which also denies any record of him. What Zopatti does not mention is that the catalog lists Doyne as an instructor of a one-day seminar. This lawsuit is not just about lies but also about misleading claims, and I consider it unethically misleading for a professional custody evaluator to claim he was a UCSD instructor when he only taught a one-day seminar.
Regarding the credentials issued to a cat, Zopatti correctly claims Dr. Steve Eichel’s article states it was the American Psychotherapy Association/APA, not ACFE, that issued the cat credentials and that Dr. Eichel never says how APA is associated with ACFE. But Zopatti does not mention that I filed a Scientific Evidence Review article by Professor Carol Henderson (“Admissibility and Use of Expert Evidence in the Courtroom”) which explains that ACFE formed APA and has the same owner. That article, and a Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth MacDonald that I filed (“The Making of an Expert Witness,” February 8, 1999), together expose ACFE as a certification mill. Both of those articles along with the university letters mentioned above and other documents on the publiccourt.com
Lastly, Zopatti claims that I filed this lawsuit for publicity. Wrong. I filed it because I do not like seeing professionals lie or mislead people, and also because I find it hypocritical that family law courts, which make fathers jump through hoops to prove their “fitness,” are not themselves “fit” enough to check the credentials of experts they recommend.
I recently withdrew from the case because I moved to Los Angeles and took new employment after a family member became ill. But I stand by the case, and if the court decides Doyne is immune from responsibility due to the litigation privilege or some other legal immunity then I will gladly assist with an appeal. Regardless of what happens, at least the public is now aware and can check Doyne’s credentials, and hopefully the courts will do their job and check the credentials of experts they recommend people to.
Marc E. Angelucci, Esq.