Reprinted from IRINFO.org Tip of the Week, April 23, 2018 TIP OF THE WEEK
April 23, 2018
By Bob Incollingo
“(E)xperts agree that while there is a theoretical basis to thermography, there is no provable use for it …”
Thermographic Diagnostics v. Allstate, 125 N.J. 491, 593 A.2d 768 (1991).
The foregoing is an actual quote from a New Jersey Supreme Court opinion. That case has been cited in at least 21 subsequent cases in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and has never been overruled.
I would like to point out, however, that the statement was written by a judge who quoted from another case opinion written by a second judge who quoted a third judge who was distilling the opinion of a witness for the losing side of a trial that neither the first nor the second judge played any part in. Moreover, you’ve now read the quote completely out of context. The full sentence is:
“After describing the testimony of most of plaintiff’s and defendants’ expert witnesses, id. at 212-20, 530 A.2d 56, the Law Division offered this synopsis of the expert testimony:
“To summarize the medical testimony, the defendants’ experts agree that while there is a theoretical basis to thermography, there is no provable use for it by the practicing physician today.”
I should also point out that neither the first fragmentary quote nor the complete one represents the holding of Thermographic Diagnostics v. Allstate Ins. Co., so whether the case was ever overruled or not is a red herring and completely beside the point.
In these narrow bandwidth times of tweets and sound bites, thermographers do well to take note amidst the cries of “Fake news!” how context, whether for a statement or an image, can make all the difference in the world to true meaning.
How did it all turn out? Finally, the New Jersey Supreme Court stated it was satisfied that the “trial court’s finding that thermography has medical value as a diagnostic procedure was supported by substantial, reliable and credible evidence.” 125 N.J. 491, 513, 593 A.2d 768 (1991).
One for our side.
Bob Incollingo is a construction attorney in private practice in New Jersey, and a regular speaker at IR/Info. He has been widely recognized since before the turn of the century as the world’s leading authority on thermography law, which he contends does not exist.