Wednesday, September 9, 2015
JOHNNY MEDINA VS. CEASAR G. PITTA, M.D., ET AL. A-5023-12T1
JOHNNY MEDINA VS. CEASAR G. PITTA, M.D., ET AL.
In this medical malpractice action, plaintiff retained an expert who was "fully retired" before any of the defendant physicians treated him. Plaintiff appeals from an order granting summary judgment to defendants on the ground that, pursuant to the New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act (PFA), N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-37 to -42, his proposed expert was not qualified to give expert testimony on the appropriate standard of care. He also appeals from the denial of his motion for reconsideration. For the reasons that follow, we conclude the proposed expert did not meet the qualification requirements of the PFA. We further consider plaintiff's argument that the doctrines of substantial compliance and extraordinary circumstances should preclude the dismissal of his complaint. We conclude that these doctrines are inapplicable when summary judgment is sought based upon a plaintiff's failure to secure an expert witness who is "statutorily authorized to testify" about the standard of care in a medical malpractice case. Therefore, a dismissal with prejudice was appropriate.