Jorden v. Glass, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20073 (D.N.J. Mar. 5, 2010)

The nature of the treatment not the specialty that controls when determining the sufficiency of the affidavit of merit.

The decedent was part of a clinical trial concerning the dosage and food effects of a new medicine for schizophrenic patients. The defendant, a board certified psychiatrist, sought to dismiss the claims because the plaintiff's Affidavits of Merit were not prepared by a doctor who specializes in psychiatry. The plaintiff provided Affidavits of Merit authored by a general internal medicine physician, as well as a board certified internist and cardiologist. The plaintiff argued that his cause of action was not directed to the defendant's specialty in psychiatry but rather to the general treatment of chest pains. The court agreed finding that the defendant's treatment of the decedent's chest pains involved the application of general medical principles, not specialized psychiatric care. When dealing with a specialist, it must be determined whether the specialist was utilizing her special knowledge rather than the general skill and knowledge acquired in medical school when determining the sufficiency of an Affidavit of Merit.

Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2010