NJCJI will participate as amicus curiae in the upcoming New Jersey Supreme Court case, Haviland v. Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, Inc. On September 15, 2021, the Court granted NJCJI’s motion to appear as amicus curiae. The Haviland case will be a landmark decision addressing how the Affidavit of Merit (“AOM”) statute applies to health care facilities defending professional negligence claims. Specifically, it will address the application of the AOM statute when a health care facility’s employee is accused of malpractice but is not themselves a “licensed person” under that statute.
In its amicus brief, NJCJI opposes allowing plaintiffs to circumvent the AOM requirement by accusing a non-“licensed person” under the AOM statute of professional negligence and still reaching the coffers of the true target, the defendant health care facility who is, by way of vicarious liability, an inevitable defendant in the lawsuit. NJCJI urges the Court to restore the plain meaning and purpose of the AOM statute, which is to ensure that only meritorious professional liability cases proceed to trial. Importing new meanings, exceptions and concepts to a well-understood statute will confuse litigants, complicate and protract litigation and completely undermine the statute’s gatekeeping purpose.
It is expected that Haviland will be scheduled for oral argument during the 2021-2022 court term. Kayla E. Rowe, Esq. represents NJCJI in this case. Please click here to review a copy of NJCJI’s brief that was submitted in the matter.