A Peoria County, Ill., jury signed a verdict for more than $1.6 million for injuries caused to a young woman, Peyton Heathcoat caused by a chiropractor’s negligence. Heathcoat underwent manipulation to her back, spine, ribs, scapula and shoulder in 2012 and 2013. Treatment started when she was just 17 years old.
The verdict was reached on Sept. 13, 2019 after a 5-day trial. The jury’s verdict was higher than any previously reported chiropractic malpractice verdict or settlement in Peoria County, Ill., according to John L. Kirkton, editor of Jury Verdict Reporter, a product of Law Bulletin Media.
Heathcoat was being treated in 2012 and before that by Bartonville chiropractor Lonny J. Lannert, D.C. for knee pain related to her playing soccer.
Dr. Lannert began adjusting her back before school on Dec. 11, 2012 where he negligently and repeatedly applied too much force to her back and shoulders.
She went to school that day and complained to her mother of severe chest pain. Her mother called Dr. Lannert about her daughter’s complaints. Dr. Lannert told the mother to return with her daughter to his office after school so he could examine the girl. While at his office, Dr. Lannert again attempted to adjust her back and shoulders.
She continued to complain of pain, and her mother took her to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with chest and rib inflammation, according to the court’s documents and the reporting of this case in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Doctors at the hospital indicated in discharge papers that the inflammation could take six weeks to heal. Dr. Lannert later told the girl and her mother that he would offer six weeks of free treatment, including ultrasound and laser stimulation.
Instead of continuing with conservative treatment, as recommended by the physicians at the hospital, Dr. Lannert again negligently performed chiropractic manipulations to her back, spine, ribs, scapula and shoulder in January and February 2013 when it was indicated by doctors at the emergency room that that type of treatment should not be done.
As a result of the continued chiropractic manipulations, she sustained an injury to the long thoracic nerve, scapular winging and costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage. Heathcoat and her parents filed a lawsuit against Dr. Lannert alleging that he violated the standard of chiropractic care when he improperly treated her.
At trial, Dr. Lannert’s attorneys and expert argued that Heathcoat was not injured and instead she suffered a nerve disorder called Parsonage-Turner syndrome, which can cause severe pain to the shoulder and arm. The expert and lawyers for the defense maintained that a vaccination can sometimes trigger the nerve disorder.
Plaintiff’s attorneys, Patricia L. Gifford and Jordan A. Butler, who successfully handled this case, argued to the jury that the defense argument about the vaccination causing the injuries was “impossible” in that it was illogical for such a vaccination to be the cause of the injuries.
According to the report of this case, Peyton Heathcoat is now 23 years old and still has weakness in her right arm. The defendant raised yet another untenable argument, alleging that her injuries were caused by a fall down a small staircase. The jury didn’t buy that argument either.
Attorneys Patricia L. Gifford and Mr. Butler are both associated with the law firm of Spiros Law, P.C. in Kankakee, Ill.
Peyton Heathcoat, et al. v. Lonny J. Lannert, D.C., 15 L 162 (Peoria County, Ill.).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, birth trauma injury cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits, product defect cases and wrongful death cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Cicero, Berwyn, Oak Lawn, River Forest, Maywood, Melrose Park, Bellwood, Frankfort, Schiller Park, Schaumburg, Park Ridge, Crestwood, Niles, Morton Grove, Chicago (Sauganash, Wildwood, North Mayfair, Albany Park, Ravenswood Manor, Roscoe Village, Jefferson Park, Old Town Triangle, River North, Fulton River District, West Town, East Garfield Park, Chatham, North Lawndale, Ukrainian Village, Austin, Near South Side, Chinatown, Brighton Park, West Lawn, Marquette Park, Washington Heights, Pullman, Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood), Blue Island, Calumet Park, Palos Hills and Bridgeview, Ill.
Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.
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