Articles Posted in Jury Instructions

In this medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed the judge’s questioning of “Juror 3” coerced a verdict. The judge gave a Prim instruction (Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction, Civil No. 1.05; People v. Prim, 53 Ill.2d 62 (1973)) on the second day of deliberation after receiving two jury notes.

The first note said: “We are gridlocked at 11 to 1. We have tried persuading said person, but there is a refusal to listen to the law.”

In the second note, Juror 3 asked: “If I’ve reached my decision and the 11 won’t rest it, yet continue to try and sway my decision, at what point can this end?” A day later, when Juror 3 said that she was “experiencing elevated blood sugars and chest pain due to the stress of this deliberation,” the judge followed up with the second Prim instruction (I.P.I. Civil No. 1.06).
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In this medical malpractice jury case, a Cook County Circuit Court judge rejected a request by the plaintiff, Jill Bailey. She had requested a non-pattern jury instruction on “loss-of-chance.” The judge’s decision resulted in a reversal of a defense verdict. Bailey alleged that Jill Milton-Hampton died because of a delay in diagnosing her suffering from sepsis or toxic shock syndrome when she twice went to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital in Chicago.

The judge relied on the case of Cetera v. DiFilippo, 404 Ill.App.3d 20 (2020) for the decision to refuse the instruction. The judge was justified in concluding that the long-form version of the pattern jury instruction on proximate causation, Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (Civil) No. 15.01, adequately explains the loss-of-chance doctrine.

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a judgment for the four emergency room physicians and their employer, Emergency Medicine Physicians of Chicago (EMP). They disagreed with Cetera stating that IPI 15.01 “does not distinctly inform the jury about loss-of-chance, i.e., that the jury may consider, as a proximate cause of a patient’s injury, that a defendant’s negligence lessened the effectiveness of the treatment or increased the risk of an unfavorable outcome to a plaintiff.
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Angela L. McIntyre, as independent administrator of the estate of Donald R. McIntyre Jr., filed a medical malpractice case alleging that her late husband was negligently treated while he was a patient in the ICU at OSF St. Francis Medical Center.

The jury’s verdict was signed in favor of the McIntyre family and against some of the defendants for $1.1 million for loss of income, goods and services, and $500,000 for loss of companionship and society. The jury entered its verdict in favor of a third-year medical resident and her employer, the hospital, as to institutional negligence.

The appellate court found that the trial court had erred in excluding as hearsay the medical resident’s testimony as to what the on-call hematologist told her about McIntyre’s care, as it was not offered to prove the truth of any factual matter, but instead was to show why the resident and another physician acted as they did.
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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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On June 26, 2014, Dr. Corey Solman performed arthroscopic surgery on the knee of Leslie Grussing. At her follow-up appointment on July 9, 2014, she met with a physician’s assistant and reported swelling in her knee. The physician’s assistant suggested physical therapy.

Dr. Solman did not examine her at that visit. Grussing returned to Dr. Solman’s office on July 18, 2014, again reporting pain and swelling in her knee.

Dr. Solman then removed fluid associated with the swelling from Grussing’s knee and observed that the synovial fluid looked normal. Dr. Solman did not test the fluid for infection.
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A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in which the physician’s insurer, Illinois State Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange (ISMIE), refused to pay its $3 million policy limit to settle the case, which was brought by Alizabeth and Alvin Hana. The suit was filed against Drs. Albert and Joyce Chams and Chams Women’s Health Care. At the jury trial, the verdict for the Hanas totaled $6.1 million.

After ISMIE paid its policy limit plus post-judgment interest at 9% and an offset was applied based on a pretrial settlement with other defendants, the doctors were left personally liable for $1.35 million.

The Chamses assigned their bad-faith claim against ISMIE to the Hanas in return for a promise to not enforce the judgment. Then the Hanas sued ISMIE for allegedly breaching its duty to settle.
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In an unfortunate suicide by Keith Stanphill, a lawsuit was brought by Zachary Stanphill against a social worker, Lori Ortberg, and the hospital with which she was affiliated. She saw Keith Stanphill at Rockford Memorial Hospital just nine days before his suicide. Ortberg is a licensed clinical social worker.

During the jury instruction conference, the defendants requested and were granted leave to submit to the jury a special interrogatory. The special interrogatory followed the format approved by the Illinois Appellate Court in Garcia v. Seneca Nursing Home, 2011 IL App (1st) 103085.

The special interrogatory asked: “Was it reasonably foreseeable to Lori Ortberg on Sept. 30, 2005 that Keith Stanphill would commit suicide on or before Oct. 9, 2005?”
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Mary Leemputte came to the emergency room at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., in April 25, 2011. She was admitted to this hospital suffering from severe abdominal pain, urinary tract infection, tachycardia or rapid heart rate and an elevated white blood cell count, which often is associated with an infectious process.

She had a history of chronic constipation and was diagnosed with a large bowel obstruction after a CT scan showed a large bulging at the site of a previous colon resection and anastomosis done in 2007.

One of the defendants, Dr. Jonathan Wallace, provided a surgical consultation that night. The doctor observed that her cecum was dilated as he reviewed the CT scan, determined her clinical presentation did not require immediate surgical intervention and ordered additional tests for further evaluation to take place the next morning.

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In a strange but interesting medical malpractice case, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff without awarding a single dollar for plaintiff’s noneconomic damages. In April 2013, after a three-day jury trial, the jury found in this medical negligence lawsuit that the defendant physician Dr. Sublette was negligent in the cause of the death of his patient, Concetta Cimino, but concluded that there could be no awarded damages. This wrongful death, medical malpractice case was brought by the family of Cimino.

She was 83 years old in January 2009 and, according to testimony from her family, was in “pretty good health” when she phoned her daughter and told her she had been vomiting regularly.

Cimino’s daughter then drove her to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., the following day.

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Mary Mitchell underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy, but the doctor chose not to employ the appropriate prophylactic measures to prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism that was alleged to have caused or contributed to her untimely and unfortunate death.. The doctor who did the surgery, Dr. Amalendu Majumdar was an obstetrician-gynecologist. When this patient flashed signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism during the post-op visit that he made on Nov. 20, 2004, he did not recognize and/or treat the signs and symptoms of this emergency.

As a result of Dr. Majumdar’s failings, Mitchell, who was only 43 years old, died the next day from extensive bilateral pulmonary emboli. She is survived by her husband and two children, ages 14 and 24.

The defendant doctor contended that he complied with the medical standard of care, that he did provide proper intra-operative and post-operative prophylaxis and that the patient did not exhibit “classic’ signs of a pulmonary embolism at the post-op visit on Nov. 20.

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