Medical malpractice law is one of the leading areas of appellate-tort litigation. Our attorneys are experienced in bringing matters up on appeal or defending appeals filed by other parties on issues specific to medical malpractice law, as well as those applicable to general litigation. The following cases represent some of the matters our attorneys have addressed on appeal.
Blum v. Goldstein, Docket No. A-711-10T1 (NJ App. Div., Aug. 16, 2012)
Plaintiff alleged the defendant physician negligently decided to perform a colonoscopy. It was undisputed a perforation occurred during the colonoscopy leading to the patient’s death. A defense verdict was rendered at trial and plaintiff appealed claiming the jury charge and jury interrogatories were misleading and confusing, and that informed consent should have been charged to the jury. The Appellate Division, in an unpublished opinion, upheld the verdict at trial noting there was no evidence of confusion as a result of the jury charge and interrogatories, and that plaintiff had voluntarily released the claim for informed consent.
C.A. v. Bentolila, 219 N.J. 449 (2014)
This matter, and the underlying Appellate Division litigation, dealt with the scope of protection granted to hospitals and other facilities for investigations done pursuant to the Patient Safety Act. The Patient Safety Act created a blanket protection for all information and documents learned of or produced pursuant to a required Patient Safety Act investigation. The New Jersey Supreme Court upheld this protection and forbade disclosure of protected documents to the plaintiff in this matter. Our firm was active in this case throughout the appellate process.
Geler v. Akawie, 358 N.J. Super. 437 (App. Div. 2003)
This appeal dealt not only with the underlying issues of a wrongful birth claim but also with misconduct of plaintiff counsel during closing arguments. In this complex wrongful birth allegation involving multiple defendants, a new trial was granted to our client following an unfavorable verdict due to the unethical behavior of the plaintiff’s attorney.
Ginsberg v. Quest Diagnostics, 224 N.J. 242
The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court’s decision that a defendant-by-defendant choice-of-law analysis must be undertaken when defendants are domiciled in different states. In Ginsberg our firm challenged the trial Court’s holding that New Jersey law applied to all defendants, some domiciled in New York and the others in New Jersey. A conflict of law arose between New Jersey and New York laws regarding damages recoverable in Wrongful Birth Cases. As such, we argued that New Jersey law should not apply as the primary contacts were in New York. The Appellate and Supreme Courts held that a defendant-by-defendant analysis must be done to determine what law applies to each defendant.
L.A. v. DYFS, A-55/56-12 (NJ Sup. Ct., Apr. 23, 2014)
We were successful in obtaining summary judgment for our emergency physician client based on plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to prove that our client deviated by not recognizing child abuse and thereby not reporting it to DYFS. The Appellate Division initially overturned this ruling by retrospectively instituting a new, enhanced standard for child abuse reporting for physicians versus the general population. The Supreme Court reversed, upholding the trial court’s decision that there was not sufficient evidence during the presentation of the child to our client so that a reasonable person would not suspect abuse and therefore not requiring a report DYFS. This matter was tried against DYFS resulting in a multimillion dollar verdict for the plaintiff.
Nicholas v. Mynster, 213 N.J. 463 (2013)
The New Jersey Supreme Court reevaluated the qualifications necessary for an expert to opine against a defendant physician according to the Patient’s First Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-27. In Nicholas, our firm challenged the qualifications of Plaintiff’s expert who was not practicing in the same specialty as our client at the time of the allegations. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court and granted the Motion to Bar Plaintiff’s Expert and granted Summary Judgment. The Supreme Court recognized that pursuant to the Patient’s First Act an expert must practice the same specialty and have comparable credentials to the defendant physician to offer standard of care opinions.
Scafidi v. Seiler, 119 N.J. 93 (1990)
The litigation changed the burden of proof on the issue of causation in numerous medical malpractice matters. This iconic case deals with the burden of proof for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case when the patient was allegedly harmed by failure to appropriately treat an underlying medical condition. The question in such cases is always how much damage is due to the alleged malpractice and how much is attributable to the underlying disease. The Scafidi Court lays out the test, still used today, of lost chance of cure.
Tynes v. St. Peter’s University Medical Center, 408 N.J. Super. 159 (App. Div. 2009)
In this case, all defendants were granted Summary Judgment after motions made at the trial court due to the plaintiff’s failure to provide expert reports prior to the discovery end date. The plaintiff appealed claiming discovery should have been extended. The Appellate Division upheld Summary Judgment in favor of all defendants finding that plaintiff had failed to comply with Best Practices and her discovery obligations, and made no showing of good cause as to why another extension should be granted after over four years of litigation.
Williamson v. Waldman, 150 N.J. 232 (1997). Plaintiff who suffered a puncture
wound from a lancet while cleaning medical offices brought a claim for emotional
distress against the physicians who owned the office based on a fear that she would
contract acquired immune deficiency syndrome (“AIDS”), although she did not
test positive for the disease. The New Jersey Supreme Court established precedent
for a “fear of AIDS” claim while also establishing significant parameters to this type of claim. The claimant must demonstrate that the negligence caused a
“genuine and substantial” emotional distress that would be experienced by a
reasonable person of ordinary experience who has a level of knowledge that
coincides with then-current, accurate, and generally available public information
about the transmission of AIDS and the distress must be with an “window of
anxiety” for it to be deemed reasonable and compensable. A plaintiff with
continued distress after repeatedly testing negative would be deemed idiosyncratic
and not compensable, and a plaintiff would not be able to recover damages for
emotional distress attributable to her treating physicians’ bad advice.