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Small v. The Memorial Hospital of Salem County

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 16, 2018

ADA SMALL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL OF SALEM COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          MARTIN T. McDONOUGH, ESQ. 13 West Avenue, Suite A Woodstown, New Jersey 08098 Attorney for Plaintiff

          BLUMBERG & WOLK, LLC Jay J. Blumberg, Esq Erika L. Mohr, Esq. 158 Delaware Street P.O. Box 68 Woodbury, New Jersey 08096 Attorneys for Defendant Jay Morros, M.D.

          OPINION

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This suit arises out of the alleged misdiagnosis of Plaintiff Ada Small when she went to the emergency room of Defendant The Memorial Hospital of Salem County (hereafter “the Hospital”). Defendant Dr. Jay Morros, one of the emergency room doctors, moves for summary judgment. Small has filed no opposition to the motion.[1] For the reasons stated herein, the motion will be granted.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On March 28, 2015, Plaintiff Ada Small presented to the Hospital's emergency room complaining of intermittent sharp, tight chest and shoulder pain which reportedly began approximately twelve hours prior. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts[2], “SMF, ” ¶ 1) Small was eventually examined by Defendant Dr. Jimenez, an Emergency Department attending physician. (Id. ¶ 8)

         Dr. Jimenez conducted a review of Small's symptoms and a physical examination. (SMF ¶¶ 9-10) Small was then treated for anxiety and pain. (Id. ¶ 11)

         “Following Ms. Small's examination by Dr. Jimenez, the role of attending physician was handed off to Dr. Morros. Dr. Morros did not conduct a repeat examination of Ms. Small. Thereafter, Ms. Small was ordered discharged to home with diagnoses of anxiety reaction and cervical radiculopathy and was additionally ordered to follow up with her primary care physician . . . in two to three days.” (SMF ¶¶ 12-14)

         On April 1, 2015, Small was seen by her primary care physician who concluded, after performing an EKG, that “Ms. Small may have experienced a recent myocardial infarction.” (SMF ¶ 15, 16) Ms. Small went straight from her primary care physician's office to the Hospital. (Id. ¶ 17-18) After being examined at the Hospital, Small “was transferred to Cooper University Hospital for cardiac catheterization.” (Id. ¶ 20)

         The Complaint asserts four counts, excluding the “John Doe / Jane Doe” and “ABC Corporation” counts: (1) violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd, against the Hospital; (2) medical malpractice / negligence against Defendant Dr. Jimenez; (3) medical malpractice / negligence against Defendant Dr. Morros; and (4) respondeat superior liability of the Hospital.[3]

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment shall be granted if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it will “affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law[.]” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” if it could lead a “reasonable jury [to] return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         “[W]hen a properly supported motion for summary judgment [has been] made, the adverse party ‘must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). In the face of a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmovant's burden is rigorous: he “must point to concrete evidence in the record”; mere allegations, conclusions, conjecture, and speculation will not defeat summary judgment. Orsatti v. New Jersey State Police, 71 F.3d 480, 484 (3d Cir. 1995); accord, Jackson v. Danberg, 594 F.3d 210, 227 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Acumed LLC v. Advanced Surgical Servs., Inc., 561 F.3d 199, 228 (3d Cir. 2009) (“[S]peculation and conjecture may not defeat summary judgment.”)). Failure to sustain this burden will result in entry of judgment for the moving party.

         The same basic legal analysis applies when a summary judgment motion is unopposed, Anchorage Associates v. Virgin Islands Board of Tax Review, 922 F.2d 168 (3d Cir. 1990), however, the material facts put forth by the movant are deemed undisputed pursuant to L. Civ. R. 56.1(a) (“any material fact not ...


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