In a recent decision handed down by the New Jersey Supreme Court, Nicholas v. Mynster, A-6/7 September Term 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that plaintiffs in medical malpractice matters cannot establish the required standard of care through an expert who, although credentialed by a hospital to treat the same condition affecting plaintiff, does not practice in the same specialties as the defendant physicians.
Importantly, the court relied upon N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-41 of The New Jersey Medical Care Access and Responsibility and Patients First Act which requires that plaintiffs' medical expert must "have specialized at the time of the occurrence that is the basis for the [malpractice] action in the same specialty or subspecialty" as defendant physicians.
Thus, despite the fact that the plaintiff's expert witness in Nicholas was qualified to treat the plaintiff's carbon monoxide-related injuries due to his training and background, the expert was not board certified in the same specialty areas as the defendant physicians. As a result, the Supreme Court held that plaintiff's expert could not testify as to the standard of care that the defendant physicians were required to abide by in treating the plaintiff.