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Jane Norcia v. High Point Insurance Company

December 23, 2011

JANE NORCIA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
HIGH POINT INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. L-4554-10.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 20, 2011

Before Judges Messano and Espinosa.

Plaintiff Jane Norcia appeals from the Law Division's order dismissing her verified complaint against defendant, High Point Insurance Company (High Point). Plaintiff sought to vacate or modify an earlier PIP arbitration award that denied her claim for full reimbursement of medical treatment following a motor vehicle accident on August 28, 2007. Plaintiff raises the following points on appeal:

POINT I

THE COURT BELOW ERRED BY NOT ADDRESSING ALL OF THE ISSUES PRESENTED IN THE APPEAL

POINT II

THE COURT BELOW ERRED IN NOT APPLYING THE CORRECT STANDARD OF REVIEW OF A PIP ARBITRATION DECISION

POINT III

THE LEGAL ERRORS CLAIMED, REGARDING THE SCOPE AND INTERPRETATION OF N.J.A.C. 11:3-4.2, AN ISSUE OF FIRST IMPRESSION, RISE TO THE LEVEL OF PUBLIC POLICY REQUIRING FURTHER JUDICIAL REVIEW

POINT IV

THE COURT'S CONCLUSORY REVIEW OF THE DRP'S DECISION REQUIRES AN EXERCISE OF THE COURT'S SUPERVISORY AUTHORITY

High Point counters by arguing both that the judge considered all the issues and properly applied the applicable law, and also that we lack jurisdiction to review the Law Division's order pursuant to the New Jersey Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act (APDRA), N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-1 to -19.

We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We conclude that pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:23A-18, we lack jurisdiction and dismiss the appeal.

I.

To place the matter in proper context, we set forth the factual allegations and findings contained in the dispute resolution professional's (DRP) arbitration award of July 19, 2010.

On August 28, 2007, while driving her car insured by High Point, plaintiff, then 68-years old, lost consciousness and struck a parked car. She was taken to Christ Hospital by emergency medical personnel, initially treated in the emergency room, and subsequently admitted to the hospital where she stayed until September 5, when she was discharged.

The admitting diagnosis was "Hypernatremia/New Onset Seizures."*fn1 Dr. Bookbinder noted plaintiff had no prior history of seizure disorder. However, he "was unable to determine the cause of the illness [and] wished to rule out Sepsis." He admitted plaintiff for further evaluation.

Plaintiff's EEG was normal. Her medical history revealed that she suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and admitted "to taking diuretic medications." The endocrinologist concluded that she suffered from a "new onset of seizure," and diagnosed plaintiff with "symptomatic hyponetremia, confusion and loss of memory." The Intensive Care Specialist concluded that plaintiff might be suffering from "so-called diuretic induced hyponatremia and hypokalemia," however, she wanted to "exclude other more remote hormonal diagnostic ...


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