NJ Law Journal Praises Dismissal of Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn NJ Medical Aid-in-Dying Law

May 20, 2020

The New Jersey Law Journal praised State Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy for granting a motion on April 1 by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to dismiss a lawsuit, Glassman v. Grewal, seeking to overturn the state’s 2019 Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

The editorial, “Death with Dignity Act Decision Should Stand,” which is behind a paywall, observed:

“…the court held, in a detailed opinion, that the physician-plaintiff and others did not have standing, even under our Supreme Court’s relatively-relaxed doctrine, to bring the claim and, nevertheless, that the complaint did not state a claim on the merits. We expect that this type of case will go up the appellate ladder …

“…he [Judge Lougy] rejected federal and state equal protection arguments, as well as the argument that an obligation to transfer medical records might infringe on physicians’ federal rights to free exercise of religion, as well as several other claims. Finally, he found that the act did not create a private right of action for plaintiffs.

“We are in support of Judge Lougy’s decision and his thoughtful and detailed opinion upholding the act. The Legislature finally heeded the obvious need, and judicial call, for detailed statutory treatment of this element of end-of-life conflicts in favor of individual autonomy. We hope the decision will be upheld on appeal.”

“We appreciate the New Jersey Law Journal’s thoughtful editorial recognizing the futility of the plaintiffs continuing to litigate this case,” said Kevin Díaz, chief of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices, which has successfully worked to defend legal challenges to weaken or overturn medical aid-in-dying laws in California, Oregon, and Vermont. “We urge the plaintiffs to honor patients’ individual beliefs and values by dropping this  lawsuit, so terminally ill New Jerseyans can continue to make their own end-of-life care decisions without fear of legal threat.”

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