Monday, September 5, 2016
RACHEL KRANZ, ET AL. VS. STEVEN SCHUSS, M.D., ET AL. A-4918-13T1
RACHEL KRANZ, ET AL. VS. STEVEN SCHUSS, M.D., ET AL.
Represented by her mother as guardian ad litem, infant-plaintiff settled a malpractice action brought in New York that alleged her attending New York medical providers failed to timely diagnose her hip dysplasia, resulting in subsequent surgeries and the increased risk of arthritis in her hip. The New York court approved a structured settlement of $2 million.
Plaintiff commenced suit in New Jersey, against the pediatrician and his practice group who began treating plaintiff after the family moved to New Jersey, when plaintiff was one-year old. Defendants successfully moved in limine for a pro tanto $2 million credit against any judgment entered in favor of plaintiff in the New Jersey action.
We reversed. Examining the Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Law, and the Comparative Negligence Act, we concluded that even though the settling New York defendants were not, and, because of lack of personal jurisdiction, could not be "parties" to the New Jersey suit, defendants were not entitled to a pro tanto credit. Rather, defendants were only entitled to contribution, i.e., a reduction of any award against them by the amount of fault allocated by the jury to the settling New York defendants.