On July 20, 2015, the City of Elizabeth (Union County) agreed to pay $22,500 to settle a local man’s vague medical malpractice claims against two emergency medical technicians (EMTs) employed by the City of Elizabeth or its fire department.

In his suit, Justin D. Conklin claimed that on September 1, 2011 he suffered injuries while being treated by several doctors and other medical staff including EMTs Kenroy Sealy and Antonio Rodriguez.  The civil complaint, unfortunately, sets forth no facts indicating the nature of the malpractice alleged.  Besides the two EMTs, ten doctors and nurses as well as Trinitas Regional Medical Center were named in the suit.  The $22,500 settled Conklin’s claims againt the City, Sealy and Rodriguez only.  The amounts for which the doctors, nurses and the medical center settled, if any, are not known.

The case is captioned Conklin v. City of Elizabeth et al, Monmouth County Superior Court Docket No. UNN-L-4463-11 and Conklin’s attorney was Barry M. Packin of Roseland.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Conklin’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $22,500 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Elizabeth or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Elizabeth or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Conklin $22,500 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants’ decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial–it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]