NJ Supreme Court Requires Same Specialty Expert in Medical Liability Lawsuits- Position Urged by MSNJ

Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in Nicholas v. Mynster, a medical liability lawsuit, in which MSNJ and AMA filed an amicus–friends of the court-brief. The high court agreed with our position that a challenging expert must be board certified in the same specialty as a board certified defendant. In doing so, the court adopted a ” kind-for-kind” specialty requirement. According to Melinda Martinson, General Counsel of MSNJ, “physicians can now be assured that an expert testifying against them in a medical malpractice case will be qualified on the applicable standard of care and whether there was a deviation from the standard resulting in injury.”
The court recognized that competency to treat a condition is not the same as the qualifications required by statute to testify to the applicable standard of care.The court interpreted the plain language of the statute that specifies the qualifications of a testifying expert necessary to carry out the clear intent of the Legislature when it enacted the “New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act” in 2004. MSNJ worked hard to pass the legislation that included the standards for experts testifying in medical malpractice cases. Our efforts were necessary to address sky-rocketing professional liability premiums driven by lawsuits that were without merit. Read the court’s opinion.MSNJ appreciates the support of the AMA Litigation Center in joining our brief written by John Zen Jackson and Cecylia K. Hahn of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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