Supreme Court Holds Hospital Facility Only Entitled to Limited Charitable Immunity, but not Absolute Immunity for Fall Down Injury on Premises – Kuchera v. Jersey Shore Family Health Center, 221 N.J. 239 (March 31, 2015)
This is a premises liability case wherein Plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet spot on a floor in an outpatient health care facility, Jersey Shore Family Health Center (Family Health Center), owned and operated by a nonprofit hospital. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the hospital pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7, which grants immunity from negligence actions to nonprofit entities organized exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious purposes. The Appellate Division affirmed, holding that “the parent-hospital’s provision of charity care and medical education rendered the hospital a hybrid nonprofit institution organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes . . .” and was, therefore, immune from liability pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7 to -11. Read the rest »
No Cause Verdict Reversed Where Trial Court Improperly Excluded Defendant Surgeon’s Statements Against Self Interest – Parker v. Poole A-1874-12T$ (Decided March 2, 2015)
The Plaintiff, after a biopsy of a tumor, was diagnosed with invasive adenocarcinoma of the colon, and was referred to the defendant surgeon to undergo an operation to remove the tumor. A transverse colon resection and open anastomosis was performed. Three days later, the plaintiff developed a dehiscence. The next day, the defendant performed a second surgery to investigate whether there was an anastomotic leak. Defendant testified “[w]e never saw a hole, we never saw a perforation,” yet he decided to remove the anastomosis, explaining that the anastomosis was not perfect. Approximately two days later, Mr. Parker had a cataclysmic rapid demise caused by sepsis. The parties disputed the source of the sepsis at trial. Central to the dispute was the defendant’s deposition testimony wherein he stated, “I have to assume [the sepsis] was related to the anastomotic leak.” Read the rest »
Case against orthodontist dismissed with prejudice claim for failure to timely serve an appropriate Affidavit of Merit; Trial Court decision upheld –Meehan v. Antonellis, A-0140-13T4 decided August 21, 2014 (Appellate Div.)
Plaintiff’s complaint alleged that Dr. Antonellis fitted plaintiff with a “positioner” for use while sleeping, to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Dr. Antonellis assured plaintiff that the “positioner” would not cause his teeth to shift. However, his teeth did shift, causing him to incur more dental work, including a crown, and symptoms such as chronic muscle pain and headaches.
Infant plaintiff escapes with prejudice dismissal of malpractice claim for failing to timely serve an Affidavit of Merit – Cooper v. Russo, ESX-L-1507-14, decided Sept. 19, 2014 (Law Div.)
In this medical malpractice action, the infant plaintiff’s parents filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their minor son. As the plaintiffs’ counsel could not secure a timely Affidavit of Merit, he sought a voluntary dismissal of the child’s claim without prejudice and dismissal of the parents claim with prejudice. After a “Ferreira” conference, the Court granted plaintiffs’ dismissal requests. The defendants sought reconsideration of the Court’s Order, arguing that the ruling created an impermissible exception to the Affidavit of Merit statute, in that it allowed the infant plaintiff the opportunity to serve an Affidavit outside of the statutory period. Read the rest »