Case Update: Spring 2012
M&W SUPER LAWYERS AND RISING STARS
Once again, Don Crowley, Ed Thornton, Bill Bloom and Eric Harrison have been selected by their peers as “Super Lawyers.” Don, who is a Partner of Counsel, was previously selected in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Ed was selected previously in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Bill and Eric were selected previously in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Similarly, Leslie Koch has been honored with the designation of “Super Lawyer Rising Star.” Leslie also received this recognition in 2011. Selection as a “Super Lawyer” means recognition by one’s peers, from both the defense and plaintiff s’ bar, of professionalism and the complexity and quality of matters handled. All nominations come from professionals outside the practitioner’s firm.
AFFIDAVIT OF MERIT
As you know, in certain cases of professional malpractice, an Affi davit of Merit is required within 120 days of the defendant’s responsive pleading. The current procedure is for the trial court to conduct a Case Management Conference within 90 days of the answering pleading to resolve any questions about the sufficiency of the affidavit. In Buck v. Henry, the Supreme Court reviewed a case where the trial court failed to hold such a conference until after the 120 day term, later determining on motion that the affidavit submitted by plaintiff did not satisfy the statute, and dismissed the case. The Appellate Division affirmed, stating that the affidavit produced by the plaintiff was not from a practitioner of the same specialty as the defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed as well, ruling that from this time forward a defendant physician who admits treating the plaintiff must include in the answering pleading the medical specialty, if any, in which the defendant physician was involved when rendering treatment to the plaintiff. In other words, the Supreme Court does not want to see cases that may have merit dismissed, especially when parties play “hide-and-seek” with the Affidavit of Merit statute. It has been clear since 1995, when the statute was first enacted, that the Supreme Court has disfavored a hyper-technical application of the statute. [MORE]