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Committee Proposes Amendments to New Jersey Rules

The Civil Practice Rules Committee has made several recommendations for rule changes in New Jersey, which, if enacted, will affect the way lawsuits are handled in the state.

Two proposed amendments in particular affect pleadings. The first proposal would benefit plaintiffs by requiring the defendant doctor in a medical malpractice action to state his or her specialty in the answer to the complaint to ensure that the plaintiff obtained an affidavit of merit from an appropriate physician. The purpose of this amendment is to prevent plaintiffs from having their case dismissed for an improper affidavit of merit. The second proposed amendment would require personal injury plaintiffs to sign authorizations for the release of treating physicians' medical records at the time of answering discovery. Receiving these authorizations from plaintiffs early in discovery would benefit defendants by relieving them of the burden of seeking signed releases later in the discovery process.

See N.J. Ct. R. 4: 5-3; See also N.J. Ct. R. 4:17-4.

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