April, 2011, No. 3

Can A Plaintiff Sue A Rescue Squad For Delaying Transportation To A Hospital? As usual, the answer is it depends, but generally speaking, the answer is NO. In Murray v. Plainfield Rescue Squad, 2011 N.J. Super. LEXIS 53 (App. Div. 2011), the Appellate Division held that pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:2K-29, medical responders, including, but not limited to, first aid, ambulance, and rescue squads, are immune from suit when they provide intermediate life support unless the individuals do not act in good faith. In Murray, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claims where the rescue squad responded after the deceased had been shot because the squad members provided intermediate life support. Bottom line: cases against first responders are very tough as you need to prove that either they failed to provide intermediate life support or that they did not act in good faith. Very hard to do.

Federal Practice Tip. Despite our efforts to stay in state court, many of us often find our cases in federal court. If you do not practice regularly in federal court, be careful, very careful because the rules are not the same as state court. For example, if a motion for summary judgment is denied, how does one perfect the issue for appeal after a trial? For those of you saying, file an appeal under collateral order doctrine, you are part right. For those of you saying, what the $%^& is the collateral order doctrine, read the Federal Rules. If one does not file an appeal under the collateral order doctrine, you must move for a judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and if denied, you must renew the motion under Rule 50(b) after the verdict. See Ortiz v. Jordan, 131 S. Ct. 884 (2011). However, there is one wrinkle because once the trial occurs, the denial of the motion for summary judgment is superseded, and the issue on appeal is the denial of the motion under Rule 50(b). If this seems strange, I agree and think that the US Supremes are promoting form over substance. That said, the US Supremes sing their own tune, and do what they want to do regardless of the implications for the practitioner. The bottom line is that if you are in federal court, get a treatise and be very careful.

Abbreviated Update. Sorry for the short update. Rather than skip the month, we thought it best to give you what we had. We currently feel like a photographer shooting incompetent models. We cannot work with the current material!

Happy Holidays. Happy Passover and Easter to everyone.

Contributions. If you have an interesting case, rule interpretation, ethics issue, or civil related story, please contact me at (201) 918-3560, (f) (201) 845-5973, or e-mail [email protected].