Capehart Scatchard Attorney Speaks on Estate Planning for Special Needs Children

Mt. Laurel, NJ – Capehart Scatchard Shareholder Yasmeen S. Khaleel recently spoke at the “Estate Planning Strategies Regarding Children” seminar sponsored by NJ ICLE.  The seminar took place at the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J.

Ms. Khaleel spoke on special needs children and issues related to divorce, guardianships and trustees.   Her presentation focused on proper planning, goal setting, and the establishment of a special needs trust, whereby parents and other family members can designate money to a family member with special needs without affecting his or her ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other public benefits.

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New Jersey Legislative Update

New Jersey Public Entity Law Monthly – Vol. II, Issue 9

By: Ralph R. Smith, 3rd, Esq.

This past August, Governor Christie signed two bills into law that create additional restrictions for all employers, private and public, operating in the State of New Jersey.

The first enacted law is a pay equity measure that amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The second law places restrictions on an employer’s right to access personal social media accounts of employees and prospective employees. This latter bill was discussed in an earlier edition of this update after that proposed version of the law was conditionally vetoed by the Governor this past May.

Pay Equity

Assembly Bill No. 2648 is a pay equity protection measure that bars employers from retaliating against employees who share information about their job title, occupational category or rate of compensation and/or other employment matters, or the gender, race or other protected characteristic of current or former co-workers when such inquiries are made to assist in investigating the possibility of unlawful discriminatory treatment in pay, compensation, bonuses, compensation or benefits. The law is designed to enable employees to share information about wages and other terms/conditions of employment as a means of ferreting out on-going discriminatory practices and pay inequities while shielded from possible employer retaliation for such efforts. This new provision of the NJLAD took effect immediately upon its enactment by Governor Christie in August.

Social Media Protections

Assembly BillNo. 2878 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting any employee or perspective employee to provide or disclose their user name or password or, in any way, providing the employer access to a personal account through the use of an electronic communication device. Along with prohibiting employers from retaliating or discriminating against persons who refuse to provide access to a personal social media account, the law also protects persons who participate in any complaint, investigation, proceeding or action concerning a violation of the act or otherwise oppose a violation of the act. Employer violations under the Act are enforced not through a private cause of action (a part of the earlier bill that lead to Governor Christie’s veto) but are instead enforced through the Department of Labor and Workplace Development (“DOL”). Civil penalties for violation of the Act to be imposed by the DOL can range up to a maximum of $1,000.00 for the first violation and $2,500.00 for each additional violation. New Jersey has now become the 9th state this year, and the 12th state overall, to enact legislation prohibiting employers from seeking or accessing a current or perspective employee’s personal social media account information.

While this new law bars employers from seeking private information from password protected social media sites, it expressly allows employers to view, access or utilize information about a current or prospective employee that is ordinarily available in the public domain of the Internet. In addition, the law permits employers to access private personal social media accounts if needed by the employer to investigate compliance with applicable laws, regulations or “prohibitions against – work related employee misconduct,” particularly when the employer receives specific information regarding an employee’s wrongful misappropriation of an employer’s proprietary, confidential or other financial data to a personal account.

So What Should Employers Do?

With these recent changes that place additional restrictions upon employers, it is a good time for employers to assess their current employment policies to insure compliance with these new restrictions. In regards to the new social media access restrictions, employers should specifically review all background check policies to confirm that the employer is not requesting such personal information as part of any background checks done on current or prospective employees. And, finally, employers must insure that any existing workplace pay “inequities” are based upon meritorious grounds and not due to the violation of any equal employment opportunity laws.

This past August, Governor Christie signed two bills into law that create additional restrictions for all employers, private and public, operating in the State of New Jersey.

The first enacted law is a pay equity measure that amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). The second law places restrictions on an employer’s right to access personal social media accounts of employees and prospective employees. This latter bill was discussed in an earlier edition of this update after that proposed version of the law was conditionally vetoed by the Governor this past May.

Pay Equity

Assembly Bill No. 2648 is a pay equity protection measure that bars employers from retaliating against employees who share information about their job title, occupational category or rate of compensation and/or other employment matters, or the gender, race or other protected characteristic of current or former co-workers when such inquiries are made to assist in investigating the possibility of unlawful discriminatory treatment in pay, compensation, bonuses, compensation or benefits. The law is designed to enable employees to share information about wages and other terms/conditions of employment as a means of ferreting out on-going discriminatory practices and pay inequities while shielded from possible employer retaliation for such efforts. This new provision of the NJLAD took effect immediately upon its enactment by Governor Christie in August.

Social Media Protections

Assembly BillNo. 2878 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting any employee or perspective employee to provide or disclose their user name or password or, in any way, providing the employer access to a personal account through the use of an electronic communication device. Along with prohibiting employers from retaliating or discriminating against persons who refuse to provide access to a personal social media account, the law also protects persons who participate in any complaint, investigation, proceeding or action concerning a violation of the act or otherwise oppose a violation of the act. Employer violations under the Act are enforced not through a private cause of action (a part of the earlier bill that lead to Governor Christie’s veto) but are instead enforced through the Department of Labor and Workplace Development (“DOL”). Civil penalties for violation of the Act to be imposed by the DOL can range up to a maximum of $1,000.00 for the first violation and $2,500.00 for each additional violation. New Jersey has now become the 9th state this year, and the 12th state overall, to enact legislation prohibiting employers from seeking or accessing a current or perspective employee’s personal social media account information.

While this new law bars employers from seeking private information from password protected social media sites, it expressly allows employers to view, access or utilize information about a current or prospective employee that is ordinarily available in the public domain of the Internet. In addition, the law permits employers to access private personal social media accounts if needed by the employer to investigate compliance with applicable laws, regulations or “prohibitions against – work related employee misconduct,” particularly when the employer receives specific information regarding an employee’s wrongful misappropriation of an employer’s proprietary, confidential or other financial data to a personal account.

So What Should Employers Do?

With these recent changes that place additional restrictions upon employers, it is a good time for employers to assess their current employment policies to insure compliance with these new restrictions. In regards to the new social media access restrictions, employers should specifically review all background check policies to confirm that the employer is not requesting such personal information as part of any background checks done on current or prospective employees. And, finally, employers must insure that any existing workplace pay “inequities” are based upon meritorious grounds and not due to the violation of any equal employment opportunity laws.

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Lifeguard Travelling Between Job Locations Entitled to Indemnification From Her Public Entity Employer, Sea Isle City

New Jersey Public Entity Law Monthly – Vol. II, Issue 9

By: Betsy G. Ramos, Esq.

In a recent District Court of New Jersey decision, Allard v. Eisenhauer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131078 (Sept. 13, 2013), the court found that a lifeguard who was sued as a result of a car accident should be entitled to indemnification from her public entity employer, Sea Isle City. The plaintiff sued Eisenhauer, the lifeguard, for personal injuries sustained when she was struck by a car driven by Eisenhauer. In turn, Eisenhauer filed a third party complaint against Sea Isle City, claiming that she was entitled to indemnification.

On the day of the accident, Eisenhauer was assigned to one beach in the morning and, then at noon, was scheduled to work a different beach. She was required to use her own transportation from one beach assignment to the next. While en route to the second assignment, she struck plaintiff and knocked her over.

Eisenhauer filed a third party action against her employer Sea Isle City, claiming that as an employee of the Beach Patrol, she was acting as an agent and/or representative of Sea Isle City at the time of the accident. SeaIsleCity moved for summary judgment, contending that she was not acting within the scope of her employment.

Pursuant to the Tort Claims Act, a public entity is liable for injury proximately caused by an act or omission of a public employee within the scope of his employment to the same extent as a private actor in the same circumstances. Further, the Tort Claims Act empowers public entities to indemnify its employees. However, the authority to indemnify stems from acts characterized within the scope of employment.

The court looked at a number of factors to make this determination. First, the court considered whether Eisenhauer’s conduct was “of the kind” that she was employed to perform through her lifeguard duties. SeaIsleCity contended that driving a vehicle was not within her duties. Because of how SeaIsleCity set up Eisenhauer’s schedule, it required her to drive between beach locations so as to execute her duties. Hence, the court found it was closely connected and fairly reasonably incidental to her lifeguard duties to qualify as “of the kind” of conduct she was employed to carry out.

Next, the court considered whether her conduct occurred substantially within the authorized time and space limits of her duties as a lifeguard. SeaIsleCity contended that her duties only encompassed the beach and the water. Because Eisenhauer was still on duty when she was travelling to her next assignment, the court found that she was acting within the authorized time limits of her employment when the accident occurred.

Finally, the court assessed whether Eisenhauer’s conduct was done, at least in part, to serve her employer. Again, because SeaIsleCity set up her assignments requiring her to travel between beaches to guard at the second beach, this act of travelling was found to be within her duties as lifeguard.

Thus, SeaIsleCity’s motion for summary judgment was denied. Although Eisenhauer did not cross-move for summary judgment, the court sua sponte contemplated granting Eisenhauer summary judgment on the indemnification issue and gave Sea Isle City 14 days to respond why an order for indemnification should not be granted.

This case shows the broad interpretation of the courts in finding employees to be acting within the scope of employment. Under those circumstances, employers will be vicariously liable for their employees’ acts and public entity employers should indemnify them for their negligent acts.

Capehart Scatchard Attorney Appointed To Executive Committee of Family Law Section of the NJ State Bar

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Capehart Scatchard Associate Melissa L. Mignogna, Esq. was recently appointed to the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA).

Ms. Mignogna will support the committee in strengthening and improving the quality of legal services through communication, outreach, relationships and education.   The mission of the committee is to maintain and improve the practice of family law through effective interaction with the New Jersey court system and through legislation.

Employer May Have Violated ADA and FMLA Rights of Employee in Terminating Her Under Discipline Policy

Nancy Haley worked as a Registered Nurse for Community Mercy Health Partners doing business as Springfield Regional Medical Center (hereinafter SRMC).  She began there in June of 1978.  In November 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent two surgical procedures.  She took approximately five and a half weeks of FMLA leave during this time period and returned to work on January 18, 2010.

SRMC had a progressive discipline policy which involved discipline pursuant to “Corrective Action.”  There were four steps in the Corrective Action process, the first of which was an oral warning.  The second step involved a written warning, the third a “final warning,” and the last led to termination.

In the summer of 2009, SRMC issued a written warning because Haley missed pages while she was on call.  She did not initially respond to the hospital’s page, was called at home, and arrived at the hospital 37 minutes after the initial page on June 2, 2009.  A similar incident occurred a month later.

SRMC placed Haley on level three discipline on November 9, 2009 for two incidents involving patient “site marking,” which required marking the site of surgery for the surgeon.  On October 9, 2009, Haley took an unmarked patient in the operating room.

Haley used several FMLA days in 2010 for her serious health condition.  The last FMLA day was April 16, 2010.

On February 12, 2010, Haley’s husband was transported to SRMC with a serious heart condition.  Haley contacted SRMC regarding her inability to work her shift that day and the next two days. SMRC marked her absence on February 12, 2010 as unexcused.

Three days after returning from her April 16, 2010 FMLA leave, SRMC terminated her employment.  Haley’s absence on February 12, 2010, when she was with her husband, was listed as one of the three unexcused absences on the Corrective Action form completed in support of her termination.  Her three unexcused absences along with 11 instances of tardiness were listed as the reasons for placing her at the final termination stage.

Haley sued for violations of her FMLA and ADA rights.  She argued that her cancer condition was covered under the ADA. The court said, “Haley’s cancer was a physiological condition affecting multiple body systems and was treated by a mastectomy, resulting in an anatomical loss.  It unquestionably qualifies as an impairment under the ADA.”

Next, the court considered whether that impairment substantially limited a major life activity with reference to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Acts of 2008.  “A major life activity may also include ‘the operation of a major bodily function’ such as ‘’normal cell growth.’” The court added:

A reasonable jury could conclude that Haley was disabled under the ADA, and therefore fulfills the first element of her prima facie claim  She was obviously disabled when the cancer was active, as it substantially limited the major life activity of normal cell growth.  In addition, the cancer substantially limited the major life activity of her work.  Haley took extensive time off for surgery and recuperation between the end of November 2009 and January 18, 2010, during which time she could not work at all.

The Court noted that it does not matter that the cancer was in remission at the time her employment was terminated.  She was still covered under the ADA.

SRMC argued that Haley said in her deposition before trial that she did not consider herself disabled.  The court said that Haley’s own statements “are not particularly probative of the determination of whether she is disabled under the ADA, which is a legal definition quite distinct from the colloquial meaning of ‘disabled.’”  The Court held that Haley made out a prima facie case and therefore denied SRMC’s motion for summary judgment, leaving the matter for the jury to decide.

On the FMLA issue, the court held that a jury “could reasonably conclude that Haley gave sufficient and timely notice that FMLA leave might apply to her absence on February 12, 2010, because SRMC knew of it the day it occurred and it concerned her husband’s serious medical condition.”  The court said that a reasonable jury could conclude that SRMC denied her FMLA leave by categorizing her February 12, 2010 absence as unexcused.

This case is a reminder to employers to fully analyze FMLA and ADA considerations before making termination decisions, even if there is a specific step-plan of discipline in place. The case may be found at Haley v. Community Mercy Health Partners, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11193 (January 28, 2013).

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This blog article was researched and written by John H. Geaney, a member of the executive committee and equity partner at the law firm of Capehart Scatchard. The content of the this article is intended to provide general information on the topic presented, and is offered with the understanding that the author is not rendering any legal or professional services or advice. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require such services, retain competent legal counsel.

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Employer May Have Violated ADA and FMLA Rights of Employee in Terminating Her Under Discipline Policy

Capehart Scatchard Scoops to Fight Leukemia

Mt. Laurel, NJ – –  Employees of Capehart Scatchard, led by Family Lawyer Amy Goldstein, Esq., scooped ice cream at the 15th  Annual Super Scooper event to raise money for The Joshua Kahan Fund  to support the fight against pediatric leukemia for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  The “all-you-can-eat” ice cream Super Scooper event was held on June 29th and June 30that Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.

Capehart Scatchard Attorneys Address Claims Association

Mt. Laurel, NJ – –  Capehart Scatchard Executive Committee Member, Betsy G. Ramos, Esq. and shareholder, Michelle L. Corea, Esq. spoke on “Hold Harmless and Indemnity Agreements” at a recent CLE seminar sponsored by the South Jersey Claims Association.   Their presentation focused on New Jersey cases and statutes pertaining to these types of agreements.

Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney, Ms. Ramos, a Mansfield resident, is a Shareholder of Capehart Scatchard’s Litigation Department  in its Mt. Laurel office.  She is a seasoned litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters and concentrates her practice in business litigation,  estate litigation, tort defense, employment litigation, insurance coverage,  and general litigation. .

Michelle L.  Corea, a previous Camden County Assistant Prosecutor, and current resident of Cherry Hill, is a shareholder of Capehart Scatchard’s Litigation Department.  She focuses her practice in the areas of insurance defense and construction litigation  representing governmental  entities, specifically under New Jersey Statute Title 59 and Civil Rights Litigation brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983,  as well as insured parties, including self insured and insurance companies in the federal and state courts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Capehart Scatchard Transportation Chair Appointed Receiver of Historical Rail Equipment

Mt. Laurel, NJ – – Transportation Department Chairman, John K. Fiorilla Esq., was recently appointed by Judge Karen Suter, Chancery Division, Burlington County as receiver of the historic rail equipment owned by the Pemberton Township Historic Trust.  As receiver, he is charged with auctioning off and finding new locations for the rail equipment currently stored on Pemberton Township property.

Mr. Fiorilla, a Cinnaminson resident, focuses his practice in the railroad industry. He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1974 and is a former Senior General Attorney for the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail).  For more than thirty-nine years he has been helping to create and present railroad management policy and positions with diversified management and litigation experience as both in-house counsel and local counsel for Class I, Class II, and Short Line Railroads. He has specific experience in presenting finance, real estate, operations, engineering, government affairs, and customer service positions.

Among his professional activities, Mr. Fiorilla is a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel; the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association; the Association of Transportation Professionals; the Conference of Freight Counsel and the  New Jersey State (Federal Practice and Procedure Section) Bar Association.

Termination of Correctional Counselor Upheld

Employers cannot always make accommodations to persons with disabilities, and the obligation only arises if the employee can show that he or she is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.

In the case of Atkins v. Eric Holder, Attorney General, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 12340 (4th Cir. 2013), the plaintiff was a Correctional Counselor for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  He suffered from a disability due to polyarthropathy of the right  knee and degenerative disc disease.  As a result of his medical conditions, he had significant restrictions limiting the amount of time he could walk or stand.  In fact, he utilized two metal canes and stated that sometimes he was afraid for his safety in working.  His doctors indicated that his restrictions were permanent in nature.

The Bureau of Prisons terminated Atkins’s employment because it concluded that there was no way for him to safely perform his job.  Atkins sued and argued that he was discriminated against on the basis of his disability.  The federal district court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his law suit.  It laid out the requirements for Atkins to prove his case:  “(1) that he has a disability; (2) that he is otherwise qualified for the employment or benefit in question; and (3) that he was excluded from the employment or benefit due to discrimination solely on the basis of the disability.”

The Court ruled in favor of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on the ground that Atkins could not show he was otherwise qualified:

 There is no dispute that Atkins was disabled at the time of his termination.  However, we conclude that the district court did not err when it held that Atkins was not otherwise qualified for his position.  Only persons who are ‘qualified’ for the position in question may state a claim for disability discrimination.

The Court went on to explain that the plaintiff has to show that he can perform the essential functions of the employment position that he holds or desires.  42 U.S.C. § 12111(8) (2006). See also 29 C.F.R. § 1630.(m) (2012).  It further held:

At the time of his termination, Atkins was under several medical restrictions that significantly curtailed the time he was allowed to walk or stand.  Prior to being barred from the institution, Atkins was assisted by two metal canes with forearm braces and stated that he was afraid for his safety.  Because the correctional counselor position was a law enforcement position that required Atkins to physically restrain and control inmates, and no accommodation could be made to alleviate his restrictions, we conclude that Atkins did not make a prima facie claim for disability discrimination.

The case is helpful in showing the burden that a plaintiff bears in a disability discrimination suit.  What made the defense easier than many other disability discrimination cases is the very physical nature of plaintiff’s job, namely having to potentially physically restrain and control inmates.  An employer does not have to create a light duty job or remove essential job functions as an accommodation, and there was simply no way for the plaintiff in this case to do his job under the circumstances.

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This blog article was researched and written by John H. Geaney, a member of the executive committee and equity partner at the law firm of Capehart Scatchard. The content of the this article is intended to provide general information on the topic presented, and is offered with the understanding that the author is not rendering any legal or professional services or advice. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require such services, retain competent legal counsel.

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Termination of Correctional Counselor Upheld

Appellate Division Affirms Decision of Judge of Compensation on Making an Adverse Inference From Failure of Petitioner to Produce Treating Cardiologist in Case

Of what significance is it when a claimant who has been treating with a cardiologist for decades files a pulmonary claim but never produces the cardiologist to testify? That was the key issue in Donato v. Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority, A-5984-11T4 (App. Div. August 21, 2013).

John Donato worked for the JCMUA from 1961 to 1974 and again from 1986 to 1999.  He worked both as a clerk and a vehicle maintenance supervisor, supervising the maintenance of cars, trucks, dump trucks, and vacuum trucks.  He was exposed to soot and whatever else workers brought back from the sewer plant, as well as diesel fumes and dust.  In addition, the property where petitioner worked had apparently been contaminated with chromium during the ownership of a prior owner and was now being monitored by the Department of Environmental Protection.

In 2004, petitioner was diagnosed with pulmonary disease.  He produced an expert, Dr. Malcolm Hermele, who said petitioner had a 75% partial permanent disability for probable bronchitis, restrictive pulmonary disease, small airways disease and COPD.  He said overall petitioner was totally disabled.  He could not distinguish whether petitioner’s breathing problems were due to pulmonary or cardiac causes.

Petitioner had been treating with a cardiologist for 23 years.  He himself testified that he thought his breathing difficulties were related to his heart condition.  He admitted that he had never treated with a pulmonary doctor even though he noticed that his breathing problems were worsening since 1988.

Dr. William Kritzberg testified for respondent.  He said that the pulmonary function testing he performed on petitioner did not reveal a mild obstruction in pulmonary capacity.  He felt that petitioner’s pulmonary symptoms were due to heart surgery, drugs used for his heart, and his body weight.  He also said that any chromium exposure would not affect pulmonary performance.

The Judge of Compensation noted that respondent’s expert was board certified in internal medicine but petitioner’s expert held no board certifications.  She also said that she drew an adverse inference from the failure of petitioner to produce the certified copy of the records of the treating cardiologist, have Dr. Hermele review them, or produce the cardiologist to testify.

Said records would have reflected any complaints petitioner had concerning his breathing.  It is quite simply implausible that petitioner has the conditions Dr. Hermele diagnosed and that petitioner’s treating cardiologist never referred petitioner to a pulmonologist for treatment (petitioner repeatedly testified that he never received any pulmonary treatment).  Certainly, petitioner’s treating cardiologist of 23 years was in the best position to opine as to whether Donato’s symptoms were due to his severe heart condition or due to a pulmonary condition.  That petitioner’s cardiologist never referred petitioner for pulmonary treatment or prescribed pulmonary medicine leads the court to conclude that petitioner’s complaints are not ‘due in a material degree’ to his occupational exposure at the JCMUA.  He was sent to Dr. Hermele by his attorney for a permanency evaluation, not for treatment.

The Appellate Division agreed.  It said,

Given petitioner’s more than two-decade history of heart disease, those records and the opinions of the treating cardiologist in relation to petitioner’s claim that his pulmonary condition was causally related to the workplace, rather than his heart disease, were highly relevant and probative.  It was petitioner who bore the burden of presenting the requisite proofs to establish his claim. . . Thus, the fact that petitioner’s treating cardiologist, as a witness, or his cardiologist’s treatment records may have been equally available to both parties did not preclude the judge from ‘making a negative inference from the fact that petitioner never produced a certified copy of the records from his treating cardiologist or had Dr. Hermele review said records as part of his evaluation.’

On a separate, but equally important issue, the Appellate Division disagreed with the petitioner’s argument that respondent violated N.J.S.A. 34:15-64 by compensating Dr. Kritzberg far in excess of the statutory maximum of $400 for his evaluation and $400 for his trial testimony.

We construe the language of the statute as limiting the fees that may be charged by an evaluating or treating physician in order to maximize the recovery on behalf of an injured worker.  Therefore, the limitation on chargeable fees is intended to protect petitioners.  Moreover, even if we were to construe the statute as limiting fees chargeable by medical experts as applying to respondents’ experts, as well as petitioners’ experts, any violation should not result in the exclusion of the report on that basis alone.  Petitioner presented absolutely no evidence before the compensation judge to support his contention that if there are no limitations placed upon fees charged by respondents’ experts, respondents will be able ‘to afford to bring a more qualified expert to court to offer opinions.’

 This case is one that practitioners should turn to when trying occupational disease claims.  The rules for discovery in the Division of Workers’ Compensation are somewhat lacking, and this case points out the importance of getting prior treating records, even if there is no particular rule that requires prior records to be produced. The outcome of this case turned on a complete failure of discovery in obtaining prior cardiology records and forwarding them to the experts.

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This blog article was researched and written by John H. Geaney, a member of the executive committee and equity partner at the law firm of Capehart Scatchard. The content of the this article is intended to provide general information on the topic presented, and is offered with the understanding that the author is not rendering any legal or professional services or advice. This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require such services, retain competent legal counsel.

Appellate Division Affirms Decision of Judge of Compensation on Making an Adverse Inference From Failure of Petitioner to Produce Treating Cardiologist in Case