Articles Posted in Illinois Civil Procedure

The signed forms juries bring back with their findings when deliberations are completed are typically referred to as verdicts. Section 2-1303 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure calls for computing post-judgment interest on verdicts “from the time when made or rendered to the time of entering judgment upon the same.” Based on this law, the administrator of Keith Stanphill’s estate argued that post-judgment interest on a $1,495,151 verdict against Rockford Memorial Hospital and Lori Ortberg started running on June 2, 2016 when jurors rendered their verdict.

The trial judge had tossed aside the verdict based on the answer to a special interrogatory. It wasn’t until Oct. 31, 2017 that the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the trial court and remanded with instruction to enter judgment on the verdict.

The trial judge then concluded that the administrator was entitled to $155,544 in post- judgment interest running from Oct. 31, 2017 when the case was returned to the trial court for entry of that judgment.
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In March 2014, plaintiff Dawn Verci filed a negligence lawsuit against defendants Michael High and International Union of Operating Engineers, Local No. 649. She claimed that as a result of the defendants’ negligence, she was injured and underwent medical treatment that cost more than $1 million.

The majority of her medical charges were from Dr. Richard Kube of the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute and the Prairie Surgicenter. The reasonable value of these medical services provided by Dr. Kube was a major issue of contention.

In January 2019, the trial court entered an order (1) prohibiting defendants from cross-examining Kube for his associated medical entities regarding their own cash advertised pricing at trial and (2) allowing defendants’ billing expert, Rebecca Reier, to testify at trial regarding her opinions on the reasonable value of Kube’s medical services.
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Jeff Sparger, on behalf of his daughter, sued the University of Chicago Medical Center and Dr. Bakhtiar Yamini, alleging that the doctor’s negligence in repairing a spinal fluid leak caused his daughter to develop meningitis. The Cook County judge ordered Sparger to disclose the records from two hospitals that his daughter visited before her surgery over his objections that they were privileged under the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act (740 ILCS 110/1, et seq.), the “Act.”

The Spargers’ attorney respectfully declined the disclosure, putting him in “friendly” contempt of court pending the appellate court’s review. The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District ruled on the matter, which concluded that the Cook County judge was wrong and should have restricted the use of the privileged medical records under the Act.

The surgery that was complained about took place on March 30, 2015. At an April 27, 2015 follow-up visit, Dr. Yamini confirmed the leaking of the spinal fluid and instructed his staff to “overstitch” the surgical wound. Although Dr. Yamini told the Sparger family that their daughter needed to be admitted to the hospital, she was not because of a nurses’ strike. After a pouch developed at the wound site, the Sparger daughter developed a fever and significant neck pain. Thereafter, Dr. Yamini surgically repaired the spinal fluid leak.
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Michelle Morrison, a senior account representative in the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital’s billing department, sent a woman referred to here as “Jane Doe” and others “vile and shocking” letters on the hospital’s letterhead. Morrison was fired in July 2010 for using the hospital’s computer system for personal searches.

After this incident, Doe filed a lawsuit against the hospital alleging that Morrison’s actions “severely and adversely impacted the health and well-being of the [plaintiff].” Plaintiff claimed that Morrison’s letter was harassing and caused her emotional injuries.”

Morrison was criminally charged and eventually pleaded guilty to felony forgery charges. She testified at her deposition that she took home 50 patient records while she was employed. The hospital denied liability and claimed that Morrison’s “rogue behavior and criminal conduct” was the proximate cause of Doe’s injuries.
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Anita Irvin went into the emergency room complaining of swelling and pain in her leg. During that visit, her primary care physician informed the emergency-room physician that she had recently made suicidal ideations.

The emergency-room staff prevented Irvin from leaving the hospital, dressed her in a paper hospital gown, and forced her to turn over her purse and provide blood and urine samples before a counselor could be called to evaluate her.

Irvin sued the hospital for false imprisonment.
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Ferid Okic’s common bile duct was damaged during a routine gallbladder removal surgery. His injury went undiagnosed for over a month, requiring corrective surgery and significantly delaying Okic’s recovery. Okic sued his surgeon, Dr. Athanasios Diniotias, alleging that both the surgeon negligently performed the surgery and that he was negligent in providing postoperative care.

Most significantly, Okic did not retain an expert qualified to testify regarding the applicable standard of care for performing gallbladder removal surgery.

Just before the beginning of the trial, the trial judge granted several of the defendant’s — Dr. Diniotias’ — motions in limine, including ones barring him from presenting any evidence related to the performance of the surgery because of the absence of expert testimony on this issue. In any event, the jury found against Okic and in favor of Dr. Diniotias and on Okic’s remaining theory of negligence.
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The Illinois Supreme Court was asked to determine whether this special interrogatory given to the jury in this lawsuit was in proper form and whether the jury’s answer to the special interrogatory was inconsistent with its general verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

The Circuit Court of Winnebago County held that the jury’s answer to the special interrogatory was inconsistent with the general verdict and entered judgment in favor of the defendants. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed, 2017 IL App (2d) 161086, finding that the special interrogatory was not in proper form and, therefore, should not have been given to the jury.

In addition, the court determined that because the special interrogatory was ambiguous, the jury’s answer was not necessarily inconsistent with its general verdict. For those reasons, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court.
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In August 2013, Alexis Dameron underwent surgery at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center where she claimed to have sustained injuries due to medical negligence. She filed a medical malpractice case against Mercy and various employees at the hospital on Nov. 6, 2014.

During discovery, she disclosed that Dr. David Preston would be testifying as an expert witness, presenting evidence drawn from an electromyogram and EMG study yet to be performed. The EMG was to take place on June 1, 2017, but Dr. Preston’s report was not included in the record.

Dameron moved to designate Dr. Preston a “nontestifying expert consultant,” stating that Dr. Preston’s designation as a testifying expert witness had been “inadvertent.”
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This interlocutory appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court was dismissed. A supervisory order was entered remanding the case back to the trial court.

The plaintiff in this case filed a wrongful death and survival action lawsuit alleging medical malpractice of the defendant Union Health Service. The defendant alleged immunity under Section 26 of the Voluntary Health Services Plans Act. The Circuit Court of Cook County judge denied defendant’s Section 2-619 motion on the grounds that a 1988 amendment to Section 26 is unconstitutional.

The denial of the motion to dismiss is an interlocutory ruling, and it was found not to be subject to review by the Supreme Court under Rule 302(a)(1).
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On April 21, 2011, Gail Osten had a screening mammogram. The “technologist” at the screening noticed a slightly inverted left nipple and a brown discharge, which Osten had not noticed before.

The mammogram revealed bilateral benign calcification and no other masses or malignancy. No further tests were ordered. In December 2011, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died on March 19, 2015.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Joseph Osten, as special administrator for Gail Osten’s estate, filed suit against Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Nye Partners in Women’s Health and three of the medical providers who treated Osten in April 2011.
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