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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11/29/04
CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Communications and Marketing Manager
732-937-7524

NJSBA To Challenge Constitutionality Of Attorney Assessment For Medical Malpractice Insurance Assistance Fund

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Jersey State Bar Association President Edwin J. McCreedy issued the following statement in response to the $75 assessment that is being charged to attorneys and other professionals in accordance with the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act for the Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Premium Assistance Fund.

“The New Jersey State Bar Association continues to strongly oppose the $75 annual fee that Governor McGreevy and the Legislature have imposed on lawyers, and we will commence an action in Superior Court to challenge its constitutionality. The fee will extract approximately $4 million a year from the pockets of all lawyers, only a few of whom are involved in medical malpractice litigation. This extraction will be squandered on a flawed plan intended to address an unproven medical malpractice insurance “crisis.” Revenue from the fee would reimburse doctors for the cost of medical malpractice insurance, and to help payoff the student loans of OB/GYNs (with some payments obviously being made by young lawyers who are paying off their own tuition bills). We believe it is wholly inappropriate for lawyers as a profession to be targeted in this way. Statistics reveal that the number of medical malpractice cases has dropped, as has the size of settlements and jury verdicts. The Governor and Legislature have failed to address the real problems of bad doctors who should not be licensed, the questionable investment and management practices of the state’s largest malpractice insurer, and the manner in which insurers manipulate the market.”

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.

Note—the $4 million figure derived from an estimate of “active” lawyers (approx. 55,000) x $75

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