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Campbell v. Allstate Insurance Co.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic

May 23, 2019

FRANK CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          Decided: March 28, 2019

          John L. Zaorski, attorney for plaintiff (Cappuccio & Zaorski).

          Raymond F. Danielewicz, attorney for defendant.

          SAVIO, J.S.C.

         The above-entitled matter was filed as a result of a two-car accident that occurred on February 16, 2014, on the Atlantic City Expressway in Hammonton, New Jersey. Plaintiff, Frank Campbell, was the operator of an automobile involved in the accident with a vehicle operated by Joyce Roberts. Plaintiff claims Roberts negligently operated her vehicle and Roberts's negligence was a proximate cause of the accident and his injuries.

         Plaintiff filed a two-count complaint against Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company (Allstate), his underinsured motorist (UIM) carrier. In Count I, plaintiff contends Allstate is obliged to pay him compensation because his damages exceed the liability insurance policy limits applicable to the Roberts vehicle. In the second count, plaintiff alleges that defendant acted in bad faith, entitling plaintiff to an award of compensatory and punitive damages. The parties consented to entry of an order severing the second count and staying discovery on the allegations in the second count of the complaint pending a resolution of Count I. Procopio v. Gov't Emps. Ins. Co., 433 N.J.Super. 377, 381 (App. Div. 2013); Taddei v. State Farm Indem. Co., 401 N.J.Super. 449, 465-66 (App. Div. 2008).

         In accordance with Rule 4:17-2 and Rule 4:18-1, plaintiff served interrogatories and a notice to produce on defendant. Rule 4:17-1(b)(1) limits a party in a personal injury case to the interrogatories prescribed in Form A and Form C of Appendix II of the New Jersey Court Rules.[1] Pressler & Verniero, Current N.J. Court Rules, Appendix II to R. 4:17, www.gannlaw.com (2019). Appendix II, Form A Uniform Interrogatories, to be answered by a plaintiff in all personal injury cases, requires the plaintiff to:

23. State the names and addresses of any and all proposed expert witnesses. Set forth in detail the qualifications of each expert named and attach a copy of each expert's current resume. Also attach true copies of all written reports provided to you by any such proposed expert witnesses.
With respect to all expert witnesses, including treating physicians, who are expected to testify at trial, and with respect to any person who has conducted an examination pursuant to R. 4:19, state each such witness's name, address and area of expertise and attach a true copy of all written reports provided to you.
State the subject matter on which your experts are expected to testify.
State the substance of the facts and opinions to which your experts are expected to testify and provide a summary of the factual grounds for each opinion.

         Form C Uniform Interrogatories are to be answered by the defendant in all personal injury cases. Interrogatory 10 of the Form C Uniform Interrogatories is identical to Interrogatory 23 in the Form A Uniform Interrogatories. Conspicuously absent from the form interrogatories to be answered by either the plaintiff or the defendant in personal injury cases is a requirement that the named expert supply copies of any literature that the expert intends to rely upon at trial.

         Here, however, Request 3 of the notice to produce served by plaintiff on defendant requires defendant to supply plaintiff with "copies of pertinent portions of any textbook, paper or authority upon which your expert relied in forming her/his conclusions and opinions." In response, Allstate answered, "None in Defendant's possession."

         Subsequently, at defendant's request and as authorized by Rule 4:19, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Roy B. Friedenthal, an orthopedic surgeon selected by defendant. Following the physical examination, Friedenthal prepared a written report describing the history he obtained from plaintiff, his physical examination, a description of the medical records he reviewed and his conclusions regarding causation and damages. Defendant amended its answers to interrogatories naming Friedenthal as ...


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