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6 posts from June 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How will SCOTUS Obamacare decision affect NJ? Read NJCJI’s op-ed in the Star-Ledger to find out


Later this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare.” The law’s constitutionality has sparked discussions and debate over the past three years as we vet the best way to keep ourselves healthy. But irrespective of your position on the mandates and regulations that comprise it, New Jersey has a health care crisis all its own — one that has the potential to affect how its residents access specialized medical care in the very near future, and one that the court’s decision isn’t likely to affect.

New Jersey’s crisis is a shortage of doctors. And the hemorrhaging will affect us all.

Ask around and you’re likely to hear frustration about the amount of time it takes to schedule a visit with an OB-GYN. Unfortunately, that is becoming the norm. The New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals reports that there is already a 12 percent gap between physician supply and demand. New Jersey’s medical schools graduated 860 newly minted physicians in 2009; only 370 stayed in the state. By 2020, New Jersey is expected to be short an additional 3,000 physicians needed to care for its population.

And these shortages are most profound in obstetrics, cardiovascular specialties and family medicine. In short, women will bear the brunt.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Thanks for saving my life. That’ll cost you $5 million.

One of the comments on NJ.com may have said it best:

“Instead of suing she should be making a huge donation to the PBA for having well trained officers who saved her life. She should be ashamed of herself.” – ireaddaily

Back in March, Carteret resident Ellen Shane was shopping at Woodbridge Center Mall with her husband when she was grabbed by a parolee and taken hostage.  He held a knife to her throat and dragged her by her hair to a nearby department store, in full view of her distraught husband who was unable to free her.  Fortunately a Woodbridge police officer was able to do so, shooting and killing the man who refused to let her go. 

Now comes the afterthought: Shane realizes the potential to profit from the ordeal.  She is suing the Woodbridge Township police department for $5 million, saying that the department “failed to protect public safety” and that she was “injured as a result of the officer’s actions.”

Would she have preferred to be killed?  A commenter named Fallstaff pointed out, “The other option was to have her throat cut, so I believe she got the required police protection.”  

Mayor John McCormac is standing by the officer, calling him a hero.  

And $5 million can’t change that. 

What it can change is morale in the police department, the allocation of crucial tax dollars, and the lives of Shane and her lawyer, who will strike it rich off the backs of a hero and taxpayers and never look back. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

“Ambulance-chaser” bills advance

On Monday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced legislation to prevent accident reports from being made available to the general public for 90 days following an accident.  Such reports are often aggressively sought by trial lawyers, which prompted Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz to dub the legislation, A-801, the “ambulance chaser bill.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a similar measure on Thursday, which would bar solicitation for 30 days following an accident.  S-761 is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari

According to a report by Michael Booth in the New Jersey Law Journal, constituents often expressed concern to the legislators after receiving pieces of mail from attorneys referencing their “upcoming court case.”   The current Assembly version of the bill would require the word “advertisement” to be included on such mailers, in capital letters.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Legislative Alert: Insurance Fraud, False Claims Legislation to be heard on Monday

A-944, which establishes and enhances certain insurance fraud measures, will be heard in the Assembly Financial Institutions Committee on Monday, June 18th
at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 15

NJLRA supports A-944


A-2165, which would change the effective date of the New Jersey False Claims Act, will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on
Monday, June 18th
at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 12

NJLRA opposes A-2165

Please contact Marcus Rayner for more information about either of the above.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Until further notice, the halls of justice will be closed

In the criminal court system, it’s often said that justice delayed is justice denied. 

But for the civil court system in Union County, justice is suspended. 

A political stalemate over judicial vacancies is contributing to a shortage of judges available to hear civil cases, according to a report in the Star-Ledger.  A nearly 40 percent vacancy rate among judges, a backlog of over 800 cases, and four recall justices on vacation beginning July 1st means that the Union County Courthouse will not hear any civil cases during the months of July and August, a spokesperson said.  Civil cases include everything from child custody disputes and divorces to the resource-draining “I-drove-drunk-and-hurt-myself-time-to-sue-the-bar” cases for which New Jersey has become infamous.  

New Jerseyans from all walks of life need access to our civil courts.  Union County taxpayers are no exception.  Once the political stalemates are resolved, the Legislature needs to get serious about keeping frivolous lawsuits of our civil courts, which take scarce time, money, and resources away from disputes which need judicial intervention.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - not the ADA attorney - right?

To the dismay of taxpayers and Americans with actual disabilities everywhere, unfortunately, it appears that the answer is “wrong.”

A University of Texas professor mused in an op-ed in the New York Times last year that affirmative-action like programs for the “ugly” should be in order, giving self-described “ugly” Americans grounds for a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

Lacking a high school diploma, the Department of Justice warned, may also count as a disability under the expanded definition of the ADA, should a potential employer reject an applicant because of it.

The Washington Times points out that the expanded definition of “disability” is consistent with a 2008 Congressional amendment to the Act, following concerns that courts were interpreting the definition too narrowly.  The tide seems to have been reversed and then some, with ADA claims rising by 90 percent in the past five years.  “The flood includes more frivolous claims than ever,” writes Luke Rosiak for the Washington Times.  “Despite the broadened law, the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] saw the highest percentage yet deemed ‘no reasonable cause’ last year.” 

Alas, even with the expanded definition on the plaintiffs’ side, ADA attorneys are still finding ways to te$t the bounds of our taxpayer-funded court system.