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June 2021 Case of the Month - New JerseyCourts Shut Down Doctors’ End-Run into NJ Comp

Anesthesia Assocs. of Morristown, PA v. Weinstein Supply Corp.,
2021 NJ LEXIS 286

Facts

This case involves two consolidated matters. In both matters, doctors provided treatment for work-related injuries and the only connection those claims had to New Jersey was that the medical treatment took place in the state. The injuries took place outside of New Jersey, the parties lived outside of New Jersey, and the employers and employees were located outside of New Jersey. However, the doctors filed Medical Provider Applications for Payment or Reimbursement of Medical Payment (Medical Provider Claim Petition or “MCP”) in the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Courts.
    
The workers’ compensation judges dismissed the MCP’s on jurisdictional grounds. Those dismissals were affirmed by the Appellate Division in unreported opinions. The providers then appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

Holding

The Appellate Division had found that there is no jurisdiction for an MCP if New Jersey would not have jurisdiction over the underlying workers’ compensation claim. The mere fact that the treatment took place in New Jersey was insufficient to confer jurisdiction in New Jersey. The New Jersey Supreme Court declined to review that determination, thus leaving the Appellate Division opinions in place. 

Importance

There has been an explosion of MCP’s filed in New Jersey. New Jersey does not have a fee schedule, so providers like to file these Petitions in New Jersey in an attempt to get around the fee schedules in other neighboring states. There are hundreds of MCP’s pending where the only contact with New Jersey is the location of the medical treatment. With the Appellate Division opinions being left to stand, Respondents now have a bolstered jurisdictional defense to these MCP’s. While unreported decisions are technically non-precedential, the fact that the New Jersey Supreme Court is letting them stand lends those opinions a certain amount of weight with workers’ compensation judges. This development will hopefully help Respondents and carriers defend against and counter this growing wave of MCP’s.

Disclaimer: This post does not offer specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should not reach any legal conclusions based on the information contained in this post without first seeking the advice of counsel.

About the Author

Paul L. Jamain is an Associate in the Firm's Workers' Compensation Department and defends employers, insurance providers, and third-party administrators (TPAs) in workers' compensation claims in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey. 

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