New Jersey Supreme Court Declines to Hear Medical Provider Appeals Regarding Jurisdiction in Workers’ Compensation Courts
Knowledge

New Jersey Supreme Court Declines to Hear Medical Provider Appeals Regarding Jurisdiction in Workers’ Compensation Courts

Key Takeaways

  • Unless New Jersey has jurisdiction over the underlying claim for a compensable work-related injury, it does not have jurisdiction over the medical provider claim

  • Parties may need to fully litigate the factual issues that determine jurisdiction in workers’ compensation courts

  • Employers and carriers should continue to aggressively deny additional payments on these types of claims

 

The Supreme Court of New Jersey sent a strong message to New Jersey medical providers on March 30, 2021, by denying writ of certiorari in Anesthesia Assocs. of Morristown v. Weinstein Supply Corp. In these consolidated claims, New Jersey medical providers filed applications seeking additional payment for treatment rendered to workers who lived and worked outside of New Jersey, suffered work-related injuries outside of the state, and filed workers’ compensation claims in their home states. The compensation judges dismissed the claims for lack of jurisdiction in New Jersey.

The Appellate Court affirmed those dismissals, in what appears to be the higher court’s first impression of the jurisdictional issues at play in these extraterritorial medical provider claims. In so doing, the Appellate Court ruled “unless the division has jurisdiction over the underlying claim for a compensable work-related injury, it does not have jurisdiction over a [medical provider claim] for payment.”

The Appellate Court went on to endorse the familiar six-factor analysis for assessing jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims. Notably, the court found that the providers’ broader arguments asserting a breach of contract cause of action were “without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion.”

Denial of the petition for certification leaves significant uncertainty as to the state of the law on these jurisdictional issues as the Appellate Division’s decision remains unpublished. Thus, there remains no binding precedent on point in New Jersey. While the petitioner for certification was still pending, several judges of compensation signaled that they are in agreement with the decision. However, some judges who did not find the decision persuasive, continued to utilize a more expansive concept of jurisdiction. Given the Supreme Court’s recent decision to deny certification, those judges in the latter camp may have a harder time justifying the expansive view going forward.

Our firm will continue to aggressively fight for dismissals in these extraterritorial medical provider claims. For more information or immediate guidance, contact: