ASSEMBLY, No. 260

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  DAVID C. RUSSO

District 40 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes a Special Medical Malpractice Part in the Superior Court.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act establishing a Special Medical Malpractice Part in the Superior Court and supplementing Title 2B of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Legislative findings.  The Legislature of the State of New Jersey finds and declares that:

     a.  the quality and consistency of decision-making in the resolution of disputes in medical malpractice cases needs to be improved in order to enhance the fairness of the process; and

     b.  steps should be taken which will improve quality and allocation of judicial resources with regard to medical malpractice cases; and

     c.  a Special Medical Malpractice Part should be created in order to afford accessible and efficient access and allocation of judicial resources throughout the State of New Jersey; and

     d.  the appointment of persons to sit as judges of the Special Medical Malpractice Part should take into account the knowledge of the law governing medical malpractice and experience in medical malpractice matters.

 

     2.  There shall be established in the Law Division of the Superior Court a Special Medical Malpractice Part.

 

     3.  The following matters shall be cognizable in the Special Medical Malpractice Part of the Law Division of the Superior Court:

     a.  any action for injury against a health care provider based on professional negligence, as defined in section 4 of  P.L.  , c.   (C.   )

(now pending before the Legislature as section 4 of this bill);

     b.  any action concerning disputes surrounding medical malpractice liability insurance as defined in subsection d. of section 3 of P.L.1975, c.301 (C.17:30D-3);

     c. medical malpractice disputes where the parties  have agreed in writing that the Special Medical Malpractice Part shall have jurisdiction; and

     d.  any other matters as may be provided by statute.

 

     4.  As used in P.L.  , c.   (C.   )(now pending before this Legislature as this bill):

     "Health care provider" means any person licensed in this State to practice medicine and surgery, chiropractic, podiatry, dentistry, optometry, psychology, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy or as a bioanalytical laboratory director or hospital.

     "Professional negligence" means a negligent act or omission to act by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death, provided that such services are within the scope of services for which the health care provider is licensed and which are not within any restriction imposed by the licensing board or licensed hospital.

 

     5.  Matters cognizable in the Special Medical Malpractice Part shall be heard by a judge without a jury.

 

     6.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey may adopt Rules of Court appropriate or necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     7.  This act shall take effect on the 180th day after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would create a Special Medical Malpractice Part of the Law Division.  The Special Medical Malpractice Part would have jurisdiction with respect to any action for injury against a health care provider based on professional negligence. A "health care provider" is defined as any person licensed in this State to practice medicine and surgery, chiropractic, podiatry, dentistry, optometry, psychology, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy or as a bioanalytical laboratory director or hospital. The bill defines "professional negligence" as a negligent act or omission to act by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death, provided that such services are within the scope of services for which the health care provider is licensed and which are not within any restriction imposed by the licensing board or licensed hospital.  The Special Medical Malpractice Part would also hear any action concerning disputes surrounding medical malpractice liability insurance.  The bill also provides that the Special Medical Malpractice Part would have jurisdiction over disputes where the parties have agreed in writing to such jurisdiction.

     By establishing a separate part within the Law Division of the Superior Court, this bill eliminates the need for a separate clerk, for example, and for separate facilities.

     Matters in the Special Medical Malpractice Part would be heard by a judge sitting without a jury.