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Vol. 3 No. 173 Decisions Released Sept. 13, 1995 STATE COURT CASES FAMILY LAW 20-2-6511 Deborah L. Sprague v. Joseph Baez, App. Div. (2 pp.) Where defendant’s wife was adjudicated an incompetent as a result of medical malpractice, the defendant’s monthly structured settlement payments clearly were intended for the benefit of the couple’s minor children, and, therefore, the payments should not be considered income when computing defendant’s child support obligation to a child conceived with plaintiff. 20-4-6512 Mary White v. Robert White, Chancery Div. (8 pp.) Where husband, a federal employee, did not participate in Social Security, he is entitled to an offset on the equitable distribution of his pension for the amount of the benefits his wife will receive, however, since there are variables that could change the amount’s computation, an immediate offset would be unfair, and is deferred. [Approved for publication Sept. 11, 1995.] INSURANCE — VERBAL THRESHOLD 23-2-6513 Desiree Spivey v. Arlene Burke, et al., App. Div. (4 pp.) Although plaintiff’s medical proofs reveal seven months of post-accident treatment with some objective signs of injury, since there is no indication that these findings persisted for any appreciable time during the two years of litigation, summary judgment was properly granted to defendants. PHYSICIAN/PATIENT 29-2-6514 Sandra Long, etc., et al. v. Barnert Hosp., et al., App. Div. (7 pp.) Where plaintiff had a gangrenous appendix removed when she was three years old, and suffered with abdominal pain for 30 years before discovering that her appendix had only been partially removed, summary judgment on her malpractice case was properly entered in favor of the hospital, but is reversed against the doctor, because a jury could believe that the doctor knew or should have known of, and should have informed his patient of, the incomplete procedure. CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 14-3-6515 State v. Peggy Ehrenberg, Law Div. (11 pp.) The municipal judge erred when he did not appoint an attorney to represent defendant on her disorderly persons charge, despite the fact that defendant was not faced with “consequences of magnitude,” since defendant’s conduct at the hearing cast a bona fide doubt as to her competency to proceed pro se. [Approved for publication Sept. 11, 1995.] FEDERAL COURT CASES CONSTITUTIONAL LAW — MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES — FREE SPEECH 10-7-6516 Joseph Pica v. Morris Sarno, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (24 pp.) Zoning officer’s summary judgment motion is denied, since the municipal ordinance which prevented plaintiff from placing signs in his window violated his First Amendment right of free speech, and therefore plaintiff may recover for injuries proximately caused by the violation, including emotional distress, but not punitive damages. [For publication.] INSURANCE — MEDICAL BENEFITS 23-7-6517 Jacqueline Munro v. Employee Benefit Plans, Inc., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (23 pp.) In case where plaintiff, who was seriously injured by medical malpractice, settled her case (which included a medical expenses recovery) and then filed suit against her medical insurers for additional medical benefits, (1) magistrate’s decision denying plaintiff leave to amend her complaint was neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law, since the proposed amendments would expand the allegations against the original defendants, who would be prejudiced, and (2) summary judgment is granted to the insurers since plaintiff’s settlement fully compensated her and bound and prejudiced her medical insurers as successors to her rights, therefore foreclosing insurers’ right to seek subrogation from the malpractice defendants for medical benefits paid to plaintiff. LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT — DISCRIMINATION 25-7-6518 Victoria DeLoughy v. University of Medicine and Dentistry of N.J., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (12 pp.) (1) Although plaintiff had a property right in her continued UMDNJ employment, she cannot claim that she was deprived of a fair hearing when she willfully failed to participate in the arbitration process that she initiated, and her due process claims are dismissed. (2) Plaintiff’s claims that defendants retaliated against her for exercising her First Amendment rights (by filing a grievance) are dismissed, because plaintiff failed to allege any speech which, on its face, implicates a public concern. (3) Plaintiff’s allegation that she was terminated in retaliation for filing the grievance is viable. (4) Plaintiff’s Title VII claim is dismissed because of plaintiff’s failure to first file an EEOC claim. (5) Plaintiff’s various state law claims are dismissed for failure to comply with the notice requirements of the Contractual Liability Act and the N.J. Tort Claims Act. (6) Plaintiff’s estoppel claim is dismissed because plaintiff failed to allege facts to support those claims.

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