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Griffin v. Bayshore Medical Center (2011 WL 2349423 (N.J.Super.A.D.))

New-Jersey-nursing-home-neglect-elderly-woman-300x200Articles: New Jersey

Griffin v. Bayshore Medical Center (2011 WL 2349423 (N.J.Super.A.D.))

CASE:
Griffin v. Bayshore Medical Center (2011 WL 2349423 (N.J.Super.A.D.))
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Edward J. Griffin, individually and as Administrator for the Estate of Edward L. Griffin and Philomena Papa and Ralph Papa
Defendant (Appellant) – Bayshore Medical Center
COURT:
Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (2011)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

Plaintiffs filed separate personal injury claims in one complaint. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs then filed a cross- motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied the Plaintiff’s motion. Plaintiffs appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

On October 16, 2007, Edward L. Griffin (now deceased) was visiting his wife at the Bayshore Nursing Home. As he was walking into the facility, the 91- year old Griffin tripped on a one and one- half inch protrusion on the sidewalk.

Griffin appeared to be only minimally injured at first, but it turned out that he fractured a bone, the “C2 vertebral body with fracture of the odontoid process.” Later that same day, Griffin was admitted to the intensive care unit at Bayshore Hospital, where he remained until his death on November 6, 2007.

On March 3, 2008, Philomena Papa was visiting her husband at Bayshore Nursing Home when she also tripped on the same protrusion in the sidewalk. As a result of the fall, she suffered a broken left kneecap, and  the fracture of the orbit of her eye.  Papa was 86 at the time of her fall and has relied on a cane to walk since the accident because of the pain to her knee.

The nursing home, known as Bayshore Health Care Center, is a non- profit corporation. Plaintiffs claim that Bayshore Health Center is affiliated with the for- profit Bayshore Rehabilitation Systems, Inc.  Non- profit entities in the State of New Jersey are covered by the Charitable Immunities Act.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding no evidence that Bayshore Nursing Home was in fact a for- profit enterprise which would waive immunity under the Act.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Did the trial court properly apply the Charitable Immunities Act to the defendant in this case?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
Yes
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:
“no profit corporation, society or association organized exclusively for religious, charitable or educational purposes or its trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, servants or volunteers shall, except as is hereinafter set forth, be liable for to respond in damages to any person who shall suffer damage from the negligence of any agent or servant of such corporation, society or association, where such person is a beneficiary, to whatever degree, of the works of such nonprofit corporation…”

  • N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-7(a)

The court found the plaintiffs to be beneficiaries of Bayshore’s services since their spouses were convalescing at the facility at the time of the injuries.

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