January 31, 2012
ESTATE OF PATRICIA GILMORE, BY HER EXECUTOR, DOUGLAS KITCHELL AND DOUGLAS KITCHELL, INDIVIDUALLY, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
ANNA DE DONA, D.O., JOHN P. SALISBURY, M.D., MARY C. WAGENHOFFER, A.P.N.C., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS, AND BUTLER PHARMACY AND PERDUE PHARMA, L.P., DEFENDANTS.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, Docket No. L-2435-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued January 23, 2012
Before Judges Parrillo and Skillman.
Plaintiffs appeal from orders for summary judgment entered on December 3, 2010, which dismissed their claims against defendants DeDona, Salisbury and Wagenhoffer.*fn1 These dismissals were based on plaintiffs' failure to produce one of their originally identified medical malpractice experts, Dr. Paul DiLorenzo, for depositions, their failure to produce their other medical malpractice expert, Jeanette Seggebrush, a registered nurse, for the continuation of her deposition, and their failure to submit a report from a proposed substitute expert, Dr. Gil Roter, until after the deadline for the submission of expert reports had expired.
Plaintiffs' attempt to name Dr. Roter as a substitute expert required them to amend their answers to interrogatories. By the time they attempted to do this, the discovery end date had expired, and a trial date had been fixed. Consequently, the court was only permitted to grant the extension if plaintiff made a showing of "exceptional circumstances." R. 4:24-1(c). The trial court determined that plaintiffs had not made this showing. Our review of that determination is limited to deciding whether it constituted an abuse of discretion. Bender v. Adelson, 187 N.J. 411, 428 (2006).
There is no basis for us finding such an abuse of discretion. Before plaintiffs sought a further extension of the discovery end date to name Dr. Roter as their expert, they had previously obtained seven extensions of discovery deadlines to obtain their original expert reports and numerous adjournments of the trial date. Furthermore, plaintiffs are responsible for failing to resolve the issues as to Dr. DiLorenzo's fees that resulted in him refusing to appear for a deposition.*fn2 Therefore, the trial court properly exercised its discretion in denying plaintiffs' application for a further extension of the discovery end date to name Dr. Roter as a substitute expert.