Albert v. Monarch Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n

743 A.2d 890, 327 N.J. Super. 462 (2000)

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Albert v. Monarch Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n

New Jersey Appellate Court
743 A.2d 890, 327 N.J. Super. 462 (2000)

Facts

Tree Albert (plaintiff) tripped and fell over an uneven sidewalk in front of a building owned by Monarch Federal Savings and Loan Association (Monarch) (defendant). Among other injuries, Albert developed carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrist. Although Albert’s treating physician recommended that she have surgery for her carpal tunnel syndrome, Albert did not have the surgery. Albert filed suit against Monarch and other parties for negligence. The other parties were dismissed before trial. During trial, Albert’s medical expert, Dr. Richard F. Caponneti, testified that carpal tunnel surgery had a good record of success and that Albert needed the surgery. Dr. Caponneti further testified that carpal tunnel surgery is not always successful and sometimes makes patients’ worse. Following trial, the jury found that Albert and Monarch were both negligent, attributed 30 percent fault to Albert, and awarded Albert $50,000. The court reduced Albert’s damages to $35,000 because of her failure to undergo carpal tunnel surgery. Albert appealed the court’s damages order, arguing that because carpal tunnel surgery is not always successful, her damages should not be reduced because she chose not to have the surgery.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Skillman, J.)

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