Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Jury Verdict Ruling that Defendant Doctor’s Closing Argument Comments Did Not Cause Substantial Prejudice

After Ernestine Wilson’s 23-year-old son Brian Curry died from a saddle pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that blocked the large pulmonary artery straddling his lungs), she sued emergency room physician Dr. Eric Moon and Chicago’s St. Bernard Hospital. She claimed that the doctor was negligent in choosing not to diagnose and treat her son’s condition and that the hospital was also liable because of its principal-agent relationship with the doctor. Dr. Moon denied negligence and the hospital moved for summary judgment on the ground that the doctor was an independent contractor.

Wilson reached a settlement with the hospital, but at the trial six weeks later, the doctor called the hospital’s retained expert in pulmonary medicine. The witness testified that Brian’s signs and symptoms did not suggest pulmonary embolism and that what subsequently occurred was a sudden and unsurvivable medical condition regardless of the doctor’s efforts.

Dr. Moon generally adopted the hospital’s expert opinions and thus was not required to submit a second 213(f)(3) disclosure containing all of the same information of an earlier disclosure once the hospital settled with Wilson for the plaintiff.

The plaintiff’s decision to settle with the hospital did not change the contents or timing of the emergency room physician’s Rule 213 answer.

The plaintiff had sufficient opportunity to cross-examine the hospital’s pulmonary expert about his credibility, bias and financial interest, and the court did not improperly curtail her questioning.

The defendant physician’s closing argument comments about plaintiff’s failure to call an emergency room physician board certified in that field and for choosing not to call a pulmonologist were not improper and did not cause substantial prejudice to the plaintiff. Accordingly, the verdict that the jury rendered in favor of the defendant physician was affirmed.

Wilson v. Moon, 2019 IL App (1st) 173065 (March 28, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling medical malpractice lawsuits, wrongful death cases, traumatic brain injury lawsuits and birth trauma injury 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 Naperville, Wheaton, Aurora, North Chicago, Mundelein, Antioch, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Chicago (Logan Square, Wicker Park, Albany Park, Jackson Park, Hegewisch, East Side, Lake Calumet, Edgewater, Lincoln Square), Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Northfield and Westchester, Ill.

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