Capehart Scatchard Healthcare Attorney Addresses National Medical Association

Capehart Scatchard Healthcare Law attorney, Sheila M. Mints presented a seminar on October 28, 2016 entitled, “Legal Issues in Medical Practice Management.” The seminar took place at the Annual Convention of the American College of Osteopathic Internists in Palm Desert, CA.

In her presentation, Ms. Mints addressed legal issues pertaining to accountable care organizations and independent practice associations.  Additionally, she spoke on recent regulations issued under the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act.

Ms. Mints, a resident of Riverton, Co-chairs the Healthcare Law Group. She specializes in healthcare transactional matters, including shareholder and employment agreements, purchases and sales of medical practices, including ACO transactions, and practice mergers. Ms. Mints acts as general counsel to many large practices and ambulatory care facilities, assisting with transactional, tax, human resources mattes and negotiation with payors and vendors. An experienced tax lawyer, Ms. Mints represents her clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the federal Tax Court and state taxation departments in a variety of tax matters.

Plaintiff Asserting a Bystander Liability Claim against Public Entity Required to Comply with Notice Requirements of Tort Claims Act

Plaintiff Linda Alberts claimed that she suffered personal injuries when she fell from a bicycle while operating her bicycle on a bike path owned by defendant County of Atlantic. She alleged that the bike path was in a dangerous condition and sought compensation for her injuries. Her husband Randy Alberts (“Randy”), who witnessed her accident, attempted to assert an indirect claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (Portee v. Jaffee claim). The issue in Alberts v. Gaeckler, 446 N.J. Super. 551 (Law Div. 2014)(approved for publication August 18, 2016) was whether her husband was required to file his own Tort Claims Act (“TCA”) notice before he could pursue the claim and, if a separate TCA notice was not required, does the 2 year statute of limitation bar his claim if filed after the expiration of the limitations period.

When plaintiff filed her TCA notice, she listed her husband as a witness but it did not contain any information that could be construed as Randy suffering injuries as a result of him being an eyewitness to her injuries. Randy did not file a separate TCA notice.

Shortly after filing the complaint, but more than 2 years after the accident, plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint to add a count alleging that Randy was entitled to compensation for the emotional injury he suffered in witnessing the injury to his wife. While the court granted the motion, it did not preclude any defenses to the amended complaint. Thereafter, the first amended complaint was filed, adding a claim for Randy based upon bystander liability. Defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the bystander liability claim for failure to state a claim.

Plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that Randy had substantially complied with the TCA notification requirements because there had been general compliance with the notice requirements and defendant would not be prejudiced by the presentation of a Portee claim. The plaintiff relied up case law holding that, for a husband’s per quod claim, a separate TCA notice was not required.

The court rejected the argument that the TCA notice filed on behalf of plaintiff Linda Alberts substantially complied with the notice requirements of the TCA for the purpose of asserting a bystander liability claim. The court noted that there was nothing that would alert the defendant to the fact that Randy was making his own claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The court distinguished a Portee claim from a claim filed by the injured party. A different investigation would be needed to determine whether a contemporaneous observation was made and whether the bystander required medical or psychological treatment due to witnessing the injury. Thus, the court found that, to pursue a Portee claim, Randy was required to file his own TCA notice. To rule otherwise would require a public entity to spend taxpayer funds to investigate every time a spouse was a potential witness just because there was a possibility a claim for bystander liability would be asserted.

As for the statute of limitations issue, the court determined that a Portee claim was a separate cause of action and not derivative of the underlying personal injury claim. This type of claim is different than a loss of consortium claim that is derivative of the claim of the injured spouse. Because this claim is an independent claim, the statute was not tolled by the lawsuit filed by his wife Linda. It did not relate back to the date of the filing of the original complaint. Thus, the court ruled that Randy’s claim was time barred by the failure to file it within the 2 year statute of limitations. Hence, for both of the above reasons, the court dismissed the count filed by Randy Alberts as to his Portee claim with prejudice.

Mary Ellen Rose To Receive Alice Paul Equality Award

Capehart Scatchard is pleased to announce that Managing Shareholder, Mary Ellen Rose, Esq., will be a 2017 recipient of the Alice Paul Equality Award.  The annual award is given by the Alice Paul Institute located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

The award is named in memory of Alice Stokes Paul who was born in Mount Laurel in 1885.  Alice Paul was a women’s rights activist who played a key role in the women’s suffrage movement that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.  After the passage of the 19th Amendment, she continued to fight for women’s equality and was active in the movement until her death in 1977.

The Alice Paul Equality Award is given to individuals from any industry or field who capture the spirit of Alice Paul, and as a consequence, either directly or indirectly, continue Alice’s mission of advancing women’s equality in America.

Ms. Rose, a lifelong resident of New Jersey, focuses her practice in the areas of commercial and business law, transportation, and franchise law.  She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from West Virginia University and her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden.  She is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Capehart Scatchard’s Workers’ Compensation Department Continues To Grow

Capehart Scatchard is pleased to announce that Joseph A. Acosta, Esq., Caitlin C. Harney, Esq., and Linda M. Payne, Esq. have recently joined the Firm’s Workers’ Compensation Department in its Mount Laurel office.

Mr. Acosta, a Voorhees resident, Ms. Harney, a Philadelphia resident, and Ms. Payne, a Cherry Hill resident, represent insurance carriers and employers in the defense of workers’ compensation claims at all stages of litigation.

Mr. Acosta received his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden and his B.A. degrees in English and Philosophy from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Upon law school graduation, he worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard J. Geiger, J.S.C. in the New Jersey Superior Court, Cumberland County.  He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Ms. Harney received her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden and her B.S. degree in Finance from Lehigh University. Upon law school graduation, she worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy W. Chell, in the New Jersey Superior Court, Gloucester County. She is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Ms. Payne received her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden and her B.A. degree in History from Rutgers University in New Brunswick.  Upon law school graduation, she worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Harold U. Johnson, Jr., P.J.F.P. in the New Jersey Superior Court, Cumberland County.  Ms. Payne was an associate with Smedley & Lis, LLC prior to joining Capehart Scatchard. She is admitted to practice in New Jersey.

Capehart Scatchard Builds Litigation Practice

Capehart Scatchard is pleased to announce that Joseph F. Kampherstein, III, Esq. has recently joined its Litigation Department as an associate in the Mt. Laurel office.

Mr. Kampherstein, a Warrington, PA resident, focuses his practice in general litigation throughout the courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with a concentration on tort defense matters.

Mr. Kampherstein received his law degree from Temple University, Beasley School of Law and his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Scranton.  He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.