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Controversy Continues About Teen’s “Affluenza” Diagnosis

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - He popularized the word “affluenza” during the notorious case of a 16-year-old who admitted he was drunk when he crashed his truck and killed four people.

But now there is controversy about whether psychologist Dick Miller can explain his diagnosis in court again.

The parents of one of the teen injured when Ethan Couch crashed his truck want the psychologist to testify again, this time against Couch’s parents.

“Most of the facts here are going to be the facts and we all know the story,” said the plaintiff’s attorney Todd Clement. “It’s just somebody else who’s helping tell the story and he told it quite well in the juvenile trial and we would like him to tell it in the civil trial.”

Miller said chronic neglect by parents who had plenty of money led to a series of alcohol related problems leading up to the deadly crash last June.

But here’s the problem: Couch’s lawyers say the law does NOT allow juvenile court records to be used in lawsuits.  That’s to protect people from being haunted by childhood mistakes when they get older.

And Couch’s attorney says medical information is private and protected by law.

But lawyers for the teen say Miller has been on national TV talking about the case, and there’s no protecting Ethan couch’s information — or reputation — now.

“It’s the classic have your cake and eat it too,” Clement said.  “Once the genie is out of the bottle there’s no way to put it back in.”

A Tarrant County district judge heard arguments from both sides today.  He did not say when he’d make a ruling on the testimony.

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