November 10, 2009
KIMBERLY MAUPIN-BACE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
NEW JERSEY MANUFACTURER'S INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, Monmouth County, Docket No. L-6022-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: October 21, 2009
Before Judges Stern and Newman.
Plaintiff appeals from the grant of summary judgment to defendant New Jersey Manufacturer's Insurance Company (NJM). The case involves an uninsured driver and a UM claim. Plaintiff claims that she presented a question of fact as to whether she suffered the "aggravation of a pre-existing bulge [and] . . . sustained a permanent substantial loss of a bodily function."
Plaintiff had bulging discs at C5-C6 and C6-C7 from a prior accident in 2002. She claims a new MRI after the 2004 accident shows "ridging" at C6-C7 which was not previously there. Dr. David Lessing, an orthopedist, reported that the "ridging [was] a new finding." Dr. Gary Kershner, a chiropractor, summarily stated in a report that plaintiff "had cervical spine bulging discs" which were "aggravated" by the 2004 accident.*fn1 We affirm the judgment substantially for the reasons stated by Judge Jamie S. Perri in her oral opinion of December 19, 2008. See Davidson v. Slater, 189 N.J. 166, 181-84 (2007). See also Pardo v. Dominquez, 382 N.J. Super. 489, 494 (App. Div. 2006) (disc bulge by itself not held to satisfy the verbal threshold); Loftus-Smith v. Henry, 286 N.J. Super. 477, 491 (App. Div. 1996) (pre-AICRA). An MRI for Dr. Lessing indicated "minimal posterior ridging noted at C6-C7" but "no disc herniation [was] demonstrated."