In Cho vs. Trinitas Regional Medical Center, a significant medical malpractice case reported at 443 NJ Super. 461 (App. Div. 2015), Mr. Dughi recently retried the case before the Hon. Thomas Walsh in Union County. The Appellate Division had overturned a prior dismissal at trial on the basis that in limine motions were improperly utilized as dispositive motions by the defense. After the second trial, which concluded on February 2, 2017, the outcome remained the same with the defense prevailing.
The widely commented upon appellate decision regarding the use of in limine motions is now seen as a bar to the use of in limine motions when a summary judgement motion could have been filed regarding previously known facts and issues. Although it appears that the Appellate Division believed this ruling would avoid motion practice at the time of trial, it will likely have the opposite effect by forcing defense lawyers to hold their application for a dismissal until after plaintiff has rested its case at trial.
As many trial judges permit plaintiffs to reopen discovery to cure defects (even after the discovery end date) raised by the filing of a summary judgment motion, the in limine motion was an effective tool when used to frame the issues for dismissal at a time when the case was on the threshold of trial and no further discovery would be permitted in the usual circumstance. Now, the defense lawyer must carefully weigh whether to bring a summary judgment motion before trial or await the empanelment of a jury and the presentation by plaintiff before raising the dispositive motion which will likely result in many more questionable cases going to trial.
Mr. Dughi has tried over 230 cases over the course of his career and has successfully tried to a second no cause for action defense verdict other highly publicized cases including, Komlodi vs. JFK Medical Center reported at 217 NJ 387 (2014) overturning a prior defense verdict on the basis of an improper application of the Scafidi pre-existing injury doctrine and Canesi vs. Wilson reported at 149 NJ 139 (1997) overturning a prior dismissal regarding a congenital limb reduction defect failure to warn case determining the weight of Physicians’ Desk Reference and FDA warnings.
Trying complicated and difficult medical malpractice cases is his specialty and winning the same cases again after the appellate courts have reviewed them demonstrates an additional level of expertise.
Attorney Profile: Louis John Dughi, Jr.