Sam Harding Law Firm

Fake Bad Scale

Fake Bad Scale

Psychology's most commonly used personality test, the MMPI, leaped into the national spotlight today in a compelling David and Goliath embroilment pitting corporate interests such as Halliburton against the proverbial little guy.

At the center of this debate is the "Fake Bad Scale" that was incorporated into the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory last year for specific use in personal injury litigation.

Although many forensic neuropsychologists use the scale, critics suggest it labels too many people especially women as liars. Research finding shows an unacceptably large false positive rate which also includes a large scale study done by MMPI expert James Butcher, who found that the scale grouped high percentages of actual psychiatric inpatients as fakers.

The controversial debate came to a head in two Florida courtrooms, where judges banned the use of the scale after a series of special hearings on its scientific substance. In a particular case being brought against a petroleum company, a judge decided that there was "no hard medical scientific evidence to support the use of this scale to predict the truthfulness of it's participants." Other cases in which the scale has been argued include one against Halliburton brought by a former truck driver located in Iraq.

One possible reason for this is that the scale admits many items that people with real pain or trauma induced injuries might back, such as "My sleep is fitful and interrupted" and "I have nightmares several nights a week." Yet hearing the phrase "Fake Bad" will most likely trigger a prejudicial impact on some jurors even if they hear it from opposing experts who say a plaintiff is truly not faking.

The scale was not formally incorporated into the MMPI until, after a group of renowned experts convened by the University of Minnesota Press reported it was by a "preponderance of the present literature." Critics stand by the fact that the review process was prejudice: At least 10 of the 19 studies that were accepted were done by Lees Haley or other insurance defense expert psychologists, while 21 other studies done - including Butcher's - were supposedly excluded from being considered.

The American Psychological Association's committee on disabilities challenged the publisher, stating that the scale had been added to the MMPI to early.

Lees Haley, meanwhile, upholds the scale as empirically correct and says criticism is being arranged by plaintiff's attorneys such as Dorothy Clay Sims, who has written guides on how to dispute the Fake Bad scale in a court of law.

Even if the scale had been valid before today, it is almost certain that questions will arise about the extent to which it will remain valid once trial attorneys start studying for it by using today's publication of all 43 items encompassed with the scoring key.

The lesson for forensic practitioners: Be aware of critical literature and controversy surrounding any test that you use in a forensic context, and be prepared to defend your use of the test in court.

At Sam Harding Law Firm, we understand the problems suffered by people who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries. We know that insurance companies often try to take advantage of unrepresented clients. We work hard for our clients to get them the money they deserve without their having to go to court. We work to get medical bills, lost income and money for pain and suffering. However, should your case require litigation, we are prepared to take your case to court. We are an ABOTA and AV rated Martindale Hubbel law firm. We understand how insurance companies try to use the Fake Bad Scale to undermine a legitimate person's claim of brain injury.


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Sam Harding


Sam Harding
Caring, Dedicated and Committed to Justice

Since 1975, Mr. Harding has practiced in the area of personal injury litigation in Nevada. He has represented clients in personal injury cases including but not limited to wrongful death cases, brain injury cases, product liability cases, automobile accident cases, aircraft crash cases, dog bite cases, slip and fall cases, nursing home abuse cases and defamation cases.


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About Sam Harding

Mr. Harding is a member of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and the American Bar Association. He has been lead trial counsel in over one hundred jury trials. Mr. Harding is a member of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocacy). Mr. Harding is an AV rated attorney in Martindale-Hubble.

Nevada Auto Accidents

The Sam Harding Law Firm knows Nevada motor vehicle law. Our proven track record of court settlements is one of the best of any firm representing the injured from car crashes, motorcycle accidents, trucking and big-rig accidents and other motor vehicle related accident related injuries.

Catastrophic Injury Cases

For over three decades The Sam Harding Law Firm has been helping victims of serious injury in Nevada. From nursing home abuse and neglect to serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injuries and more. Let Sam Harding go to work for you. We handle all cases on a personal level. We are caring, dedicated and committed to justice.

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Sam Harding Law Firm

500 South 8th Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 89101

tel 702.333.7777 fax 702.384.5731