Saturday, March 28, 2015
MARTHA C. PTASZYNSKI, ETC. VS. ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEMS, INC., D/B/A MT. KEMBLE REHABILITATION AT MORRISTOWN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL A-0245-12T3
MARTHA C. PTASZYNSKI, ETC. VS. ATLANTIC HEALTH SYSTEMS, INC., D/B/A MT. KEMBLE REHABILITATION AT MORRISTOWN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
A-0245-12T3 We reverse the judgments entered for plaintiff on the claims asserted under the Nursing Home Responsibilities and Residents' Rights Act (the "NHA" or the "Act"), N.J.S.A. 30:13-1 to -17. We conclude that an individual may maintain an action under N.J.S.A. 30:13-8a for a violation of a nursing home resident's "rights" under the Act, but may only assert a cause of action under N.J.S.A. 30:13-4.2 for a violation of the statutory provisions pertaining to security deposits.
We also reverse the judgments entered for plaintiff on her negligence and wrongful death claims. We determine that the trial judge erred by: (1) qualifying plaintiff's witness as an expert in nursing law and allowing the witness to testify as to the meaning of a statute; (2) refusing to provide the jury with an instruction pursuant to Scafidi v. Seiler, 119 N.J. 93 (1990), concerning the decedent's pre-existing conditions; and (3) failing to instruct the jury to avoid the possibility for a double recovery on plaintiff's separate claims, based on the same injuries or harm.