New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/04/05
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Communications and Marketing Manager
732-937-7524

NJSBA Files Action Against State Of New Jersey For Attorney Assessment to Pay Physician's Insurance Premiums

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Jan. 3, 2005, New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) President Edwin J. McCreedy filed a complaint and brief on behalf of the NJSBA in Union County Superior Court (Chancery Division) challenging the constitutionality of the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act, P.L. 2004, c. 17 (the “Act”).

The complaint charges that the $75 attorney assessment prescribed by Section 27 of the Act to pay for the Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Premium Assistance Fund violates the rights of individuals licensed to practice law in New Jersey. It alleges that the imposition of the assessment denies equal protection under the law, impinges substantive due process rights under both the federal and state Constitutions, is special legislation prohibited by the New Jersey Constitution, and amounts to using public money for a private purpose. The complaint further alleges that the Act infringes on the ability of attorneys and clients to pursue meritorious claims through the judicial system by interfering with the New Jersey Supreme Court’s exclusive authority to promulgate rules governing practice and procedure in the courts of the state.

Named defendants are the State of New Jersey, Treasurer John E. McCormac, Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance Holly C. Bakke and Acting Commissioner of Health and Senior Services Fred M. Jacobs, M.D.

Bergen County attorney Peggy Sheahan Knee is named as an individual plaintiff in the action, along with the NJSBA.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.

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