A Capehart Scatchard Blog

No Right of Appeal from Trial Court’s Order Arising under APDRA as to PIP Claim

By on January 5, 2015 in Blog with 0 Comments

A dispute arose between a chiropractic provider, Complete Care, and an automobile insurer, GEICO, over personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits. The insured, Walter Jones, was injured in an auto accident in 2007 and treated by Complete Care. When GEICO stopped paying his bills, Jones assigned his right to receive PIP benefits to Complete Care. In Complete Care v. GEICO, 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2858 (App. Div. Dec. 11, 2014), both parties tried to appeal the trial court’s rulings to the Appellate Division.

GEICO appealed the trial court’s decision, which was to remand the matter back to the DRP to put in the record findings as to the medical necessity for the treatment. Complete Care cross-appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in rejecting its position; that all of the treatments of Jones should have been compensable until the IME was furnished.

The Appellate Division, however, dismissed both the appeal and the cross-appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction. The Alternative Procedure for Dispute Resolution Act (“APDRA”) makes it clear that the trial court’s appeal of an award entered under this statute is the final appeal. PIP arbitration is to be conducted under the procedures in this statute, and the DRP is governed by the Act. The pertinent statutory provision of the Act, N.J.S.A 2A:23A-18(b), specifically states: “There shall be no further appeal or review of the judgment or decree.”

In only “rare” circumstances would an appeal be permitted in an APDRA matter. Here, there was nothing momentous, legally or factually, about this case. The sums in dispute were relatively small. There were no significant issues of public policy. The trial court judge did not act outside of the proper boundaries of the APDRA. Hence, the Appellate Division found that the entire appeal should be dismissed.

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About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

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