The issue of proximate causation is often the most difficult challenge to the attorney handling a medical malpractice case. In Scafidi v. Seiler, 119 N.J. 93 (1990), the Supreme Court observed that the concept of causation “is an inscrutably vague notion, susceptible to endless philosophical argument, as well as practical manipulation.” In 2002, as per the instructions of the Supreme Court in in Reynolds v. Gonzales, 172 N.J. 266 (2002), the Civil Model Jury Charge Committee revised MJC 5.50E. The revised charge, which incorporated model jury interrogatories, was approved by the Supreme Court in Verdicchio v. Ricca, 179 N.J. 1 (2004). This seemed to have settled the issue, albeit imperfectly, for a decade or so.
However, the issue became even more confusing as the result of the recent decisions in Koseoglu v. Wry, A-1008-11T4 (App. Div. 2013), and Flood v. Aluri-Vallabhaneni, A-4248-11T2 (App. Div. 2013). In these decisions, both published, the same panel of the appellate court criticized the jury interrogatories incorporated into Civil Model Jury Charge 5.50E.