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NJSBA President Creates Blue Ribbon Medical Malpractice Task Force

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—NJSBA President Richard J. Badolato established a task force this week to study the critical issues surrounding the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis. The Task Force on Medical Malpractice will consist of NJSBA members with extensive backgrounds and knowledge of medical malpractice, insurance and health and hospital law, in addition to representatives of the civil trial bar, NJSBA board of trustees and others.

“We want to be on top of this perceived crisis on a moment to moment basis so that we can monitor the situation for our members and have a coordinated effort with this Legislature,” said Badolato. “We want to inform the public that the problem is not the result of jury verdicts and that caps on awards are not a solution. Insurance companies are an integral part of the study and the problem, and we need to come up with a comprehensive solution rather than something that is piecemeal. A short-term solution will only leave us with an unsolved problem that will return.”

Badolato testified on Dec. 16 before Senators Joseph F. Vitale and John J. Mattheussen on S-2174, a bill that would assess a $175 fee on doctors and lawyers in an effort to alleviate the situation. In his testimony, Badolato stressed that a study commission, consisting of all interested parties, is needed. He also addressed other important points such as the need to look at the business and financial climate, the health care delivery system, the concerns of specialists and geographic areas, and that capping damages is one sided and hurts the victims.

“The task force will study new bills that come out of the Senate and Assembly and make recommendations to the board of trustees as to what action needs to be taken. Fees on lawyers, caps, changing the statute of limitations and mandatory mediation will not fix the problem. These remedies instead may deny access to justice and access to care, two things that must remain separate and available to New Jersey citizens,” he said.

Members of the Task Force on Medical Malpractice are:

Richard H. Steen of Mercer County will serve as chair of the Task Force on Medical Malpractice.

Benjamin N. Cittadino, of Trenton.

Kenneth S. Javerbaum, of Springfield.

George J. Kenny, of Roseland.

Roy J. Konray, of Rahway.

Joel Korin, of Cherry Hill.

Randolph C. Lafferty, of Pleasantville.

Nielsen V. Lewis, of Princeton.

J. Anthony Manger, of Bridgewater.

NJSBA First Vice President Edwin J. McCreedy, of Cranford.

Lewis Stein, of Succasunna.

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.