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Firm Notes

Randall C. Monroe obtained not guilty in chiropractic malpractice case with claim of third degree burn

Amy L. Anderson and Joshua Bell win not guilty in medical negligence case

Amy Anderson and Joshua Bell succeed in having the Appellate Court affirm their client’s dismissal in a high profile case

Randall C. Monroe obtained a not guilty in sciatic nerve injury following hip replacement surgery case

Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher obtained a directed verdict in aortic dissection/death case

Mary Kay Scott and Joshua Bell try Radiology case in Lake County, IL

Randall Monroe participates in webcast show "The Malpractice Suit"

Sheldon Brenner and Teresa Maher Get Not Guilty Verdict in Obstetrical Malpractice Case in Cook County, IL

Amy Anderson wins defense verdict in Federal Court

Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher obtained a not guilty in alleged nerve injury from anesthesia

Mary Kay Scott obtained a not guilty in survival action and wrongful death trial in McHenry County

Amy Anderson and Joshua Bell try med mal suicide case to hung jury

Mary Kay Scott and Amy L. Anderson represent defendant Obstetrician to a Not Guilty Verdict in a case involving a Posterior Shoulder Dystocia leading to Permanent Brachial Plexus injury during Delivery

Mary Kay Scott Hosts HIPAA Webinar

Mary Kay Scott tries Medical Negligence Radiology Case Alleging Failure to Diagnose a Meningioma in the Brain to a Speedy Not Guilty

Randall C. Monroe tried a medical malpractice wrongful death case

Amy Anderson and Joshua Bell Obtain Summary Judgment for Police Officer in Civil Rights Action

Sheldon Brenner and Joshua Bell obtained a Not Guilty verdict for an attorney in a legal malpractice trial  despite admitting liability

Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty for Hospitalist Pediatrician Charged with Improper Resuscitation of Second Born Identical Twin Girl

Randall C. Monroe obtained a not guilty verdict in a chiropractic malpractice case

Chicago's Top Rated Lawyers 2012 Edition in the area of Medical MalPractice

Randall Monroe obtained a not guilty verdict in medical malpractice stroke case

Mary Kay Scott and Joshua Bell recently tried a medical negligence case involving Methadone pain management. The jury deadlocked, but a high/low agreement resulted in payment of the low, and no retrial

Anderson Affirmed on Appeal

Mary Kay Scott Speaks to Illinois Physicians

Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher Obtain Not Guilty Verdict In Medical Negligence Case

Shelly Brenner and Amy Anderson Obtain Not Guilty Verdict in Medical Negligence Case

Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher Obtain Not Guilty Verdict

Mary Kay Scott Gives Presentation

Amy Anderson obtains Not Guilty verdict on behalf of attending physician

Mary Kay Scott Gives Physician Presentation

Not Guilty for Defendant Physician on Child’s Loss of Testicle

Mary Kay Scott Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Radiologist

Mary Kay Scott Presents HIPAA Speech

Food Contamination Cases in Illinois

Amy L. Anderson Obtains Not Guilty Verdict in Wrongful Death Case

Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Physician in Wrongful Death Case

Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Ophthalmologist

Mary Kay Scott Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Physician in Case Tried in February/March

Brenner and Anderson Obtain Not Guilty Verdict

Anderson and Scott Give Presentations to Physicians

Verdict for less than medical specials when comparative negligence determined

Amy Anderson Wins Seminal Reporting Act Case

Mary Kay Scott Wins Landmark Illinois Supreme Court Case

Mary Kay Scott Obtains Directed Verdict

Amy Anderson Obtains Not Guilty Verdict

Randy Monroe Obtains Not Guilty in Nationally Reported Trial

Sheldon Brenner appointed to special panel

Firm Notes

 Randall C. Monroe obtained not guilty in chiropractic malpractice case with claim of third degree burn

Tried 02/08/17 – 02/09/17

Randall C. Monroe tried a chiropractic malpractice case from February 8 through February 9, 2017, and obtained a not guilty verdict in favor of his chiropractor client. The plaintiff was a 62-year-old man who presented to the defendant with severe neck pain, and was treated with hot moist packs, interferential therapy, ultrasound, soft tissue massage and cervical adjustment. During his initial visit, he was left unattended for 30 minutes with the hot moist packs and interferential therapy electrodes in place. He claimed that during this treatment, he began to feel an intense burning on his back. He called out for help, but no one responded. At the conclusion of the treatment, he claimed he had an area of second and third degree burn on his mid-back. The defendant denied that the plaintiff was burned during the treatment, and testified he first learned of the injury the following day when the patient called to cancel his next appointment. The plaintiff requested $30,000 of the jury.

 Amy L. Anderson and Joshua Bell win not guilty in medical negligence case

Tried Oct. 7, 2016 – Oct. 17, 2016

Plaintiff, a minor, was born on on September 14, 2008 at Westlake Hospital via C-section. She was noted to be a normal healthy baby by a neonatologist and family practice physician at the hospital. She was seen in the office of Dr. Tolentino on three occasions, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Nov. 12, 2008, for well baby visits. Her mother reported the baby was eating and stooling. The baby grew at the expected rate. No complaints were noted at any visit. The mother, grandmother and godmother changed the baby’s diapers many times and never noticed anything unusual. On Nov. 29, the mother took the baby to the emergency room at Good Samaritan Hospital for complaints of crying and constipation and stringy stools for up to three days. She was diagnosed with an imperforate anus, transferred to University of Chicago Hospital
for the repair surgery.

The defense contended that the baby’s condition of imperforate was so subtle
that without symptoms of constipation it could not be diagnosed. Children with this type of low imperforate anus are often electively delayed for repair for three to six months when they are appropriately stooling. Further, the repair surgery performed was the same as what would have been done had the condition been diagnosed earlier.

Plaintiff asked for $1.1 million. The jury returned in 20 minutes with a not guilty verdict.

 Amy Anderson and Joshua Bell succeed in having the Appellate Court affirm their client’s dismissal in a high profile case

Decision dated 6/13/16

David Bogenberger, a student of Northern Illinois University, was found dead on the morning of November 2, 2012 at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house located near the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois after attending a fraternity function called, “Mom and Dad’s Night.”  The parents of David R. Bogenberger, the deceased, brought an action against the National Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, the local chapter of the fraternity, as well as various students, and the property owner on which the Northern Illinois chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was located alleging that Mr. Bogenberger’s death was the result of hazing.  The firm represented the property owner and landlord for the fraternity house.  Anderson and Bell, and attorneys for the co-defendants, filed a joint Motion to Dismiss the 5th Amended Complaint at Law on behalf of the landlord arguing that the defendants cannot be held liable because Mr. Bogenberger was a social guest, and because the well accepted rule in Illinois is that a landlord is not liable for the injuries caused by a defective or dangerous condition on the premises leased to a tenant, except when that landlord exercised control over the residential property.  Plaintiff failed to plead specific allegations, facts or instances where the landlord was on the property in some way exercising control over the premises during the lease period.  Therefore, it was argued that the landlord could not be liable to the plaintiff for the actions of its tenants.  Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan agreed and granted all of the Motions to Dismiss, and plaintiffs appealed. 


The First District Appellate Court heard the appeal, and granted plaintiffs’ appeal as to certain defendants, but upheld the trial court’s granting of the Motion to Dismiss brought by Anderson and Bell on behalf of the landlord.  The Appellate Court noted that even though the Appellants argued that the alleged injury to Mr. Bogenberger was foreseeable, Appellant’s Fifth Amended Complaint did not allege any specific facts to show that the landlord was on notice of the event, or any other events which occurred on the property.  There were no allegations pled to even suggest that the landlord had any connection to the fraternity, let alone any knowledge of any dangerous conditions or dangerous activities taking place on the subject property, as alleged.  The Fifth Amended Complaint only contained a conclusion that the landlord knew of activities, such as, “Mom and Dad’s Night” and did not intervene to stop the activity.  Simply stating the conclusion that the landlord knew of “Mom and Dad’s Night” or that it knew of dangerous activities taking place on the property, was not enough to satisfy the pleading requirements.  Further, there were no factual allegations as to how the landlord allegedly received notice of the event, or other dangerous activities.  The landlord is the only party to the case whose decision is final.  The remaining parties have pending petitions to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.Tried 074/07/16 –07/15/16

 Randall C. Monroe obtained a not guilty in sciatic nerve injury following hip replacement surgery case

Tried 07/07/16 –07/15/16

Randall C. Monroe tried a medical malpractice case from July 7 through July 15, 2016, and obtained a not guilty verdict in favor of his orthopedic surgeon client. The plaintiff was a 69-year-old woman who underwent a left total hip replacement surgery performed by the defendant at Holy Cross Hospital on March 11, 2011. The morning after surgery the plaintiff had a complete left foot drop, and claimed the defendant injured the sciatic nerve during the surgery. The plaintiff's orthopedic surgeon expert testified that such an injury cannot occur without negligence by the surgeon, and that the defendant either lacerated the nerve or compressed it during the surgery. The defendant's orthopedic surgeon testified that the technique described by the defendant was appropriate and within the standard of care, and that such injuries are a known and recognized complication of the surgery. The plaintiff's last settlement demand was a $1 million/$400,000 high/low agreement, and the plaintiff requested $2.5 million of the jury.‎

 Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher obtained a directed verdict in aortic dissection/death case

Tried 10/5/15 – 10/20/15

Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher tried a medical malpractice case and obtained a directed verdict in favor of their critical care specialist client.  The plaintiff’s decedent was a 73 year old man who presented to the emergency room following a syncopal episode at work.  He was hypotensive and bradycardic, and reportedly had overdosed on his anti-hypertensive medication.  He was admitted to the intensive care unit, and the defendant critical care specialist was his ICU attending physician.  Around the time the patient was transferred from the emergency room to the ICU, he reportedly developed severe, 10 out of 10, back pain.  Approximately three hours after arriving in the ICU, the patient arrested and could not be resuscitated.  At autopsy, he was found to have an aortic dissection that had dissected retrograde into the pericardial sac, causing a hemopericardium.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to obtain a CT scan in timely fashion, which would have diagnosed the dissection.  The plaintiff’s decedent left a wife and three adult children as his next of kin.  The plaintiff’s attorney requested $1.75 million of the jury.‎

 Mary Kay Scott and Joshua Bell try Radiology case in Lake County, IL

Tried 8/31/15 – 9/11/15

In a case tried August 31, 2015, through September 11, 2015, Mary Kay Scott and Joshua Bell represented a radiologist and the corporation in a case involving a 73 year old man who fell from a height of ten feet while trimming a tree in his backyard.  He was transported to the hospital and seen in the ER by the emergency room physician.  He complained of right hip pain initially, and then back pain.  He had plain films interpreted by other radiologists, that showed a questionable right hip fracture, and two lumbar spine fractures of the L2 and  L4 vertebra.  The rad1iologist defendant then interpreted a CT scan of the hip and pelvis, and ruled out hip fracture.  There was a non-specific finding of infiltration on the top most images that was questioned as to either infiltrative or inflammatory in nature, and a suggestion was made for non-emergent CT of the abdomen and pelvis.  The CT was done as the patient was being admitted to the hospital for evaluation of the spine fractures.  He remained in the hospital for over two days, and was seen by multiple physicians including hospitalists and orthopedic surgeons who were not defendants, and no one ordered the follow-up CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.  A CT of the lumbar spine done on the afternoon before he died, showed the area of infiltration around the lumbar burst fracture at L4.  Later that evening, he began to complain of stomach pain, and was transferred to ICU, where he suffered an arrest and a Code Blue was unsuccessful in reviving him.  An autopsy was performed that 1800 cc of fresh and recently clotted blood in the front of the abdomen and lacerations of the omentum and transverse mesocolon.  The pathologist determined bleeding was the cause of death.  Plaintiff’s theory was that the bleed was due to the original fall that had clotted and then bled again.  The defense theory as that there was no sign of blood in the pelvis on the CT scan originally done, and the bleed was due to the CPR during the code, as the patient had rib fractures found on autopsy, and no complaints of rib pain at any time.  Further his vital signs and labs had been stable until the cardiac event that led to the code.  There was a high/low of $200,000/$2 million.  The verdict was for $1 million.

 Randall Monroe participates in webcast show "The Malpractice Suit"

Randall Monroe of Brenner, Monroe, Scott and Anderson, Ltd. and Dr. Stuart Hoffman of ChiroSecure recorded a webcast show on August 31, 2015, addressing the topic "The Malpractice Suit."  The show is scheduled for broadcast on September 22, 2015, on ChiroSecure.com.

 Sheldon Brenner and Teresa Maher Get Not Guilty Verdict in Obstetrical Malpractice Case in Cook County, IL

Tried 5/27/15 – 6/03/15

In a case tried May27 through June 3, 2015, Sheldon Brenner and Teresa Maher represented an obstetrician/gynecologist in a case involving the still birth of a baby girl on December 9, 2007, at Jackson Park Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendant obstetrician did not timely respond to a call from a resident and a labor and delivery nurse advising him that his patient suffered a placental abruption and that there was fetal distress.  The hospital did not have 24/7 in-house obstetrical coverage.  The defendant doctor arrived at the hospital about thirty minutes after he was called but upon arrival found that the hospital had inexplicably failed to assemble the on-call surgical team necessary for him initiate an emergency C-section.  It was not until 96 minutes after the patient was admitted that the baby was delivered and was stillborn.    The plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the standard of care by failing to meet the so-called thirty minute decision-to-incision rule that requires an emergency C-section to be performed within thirty minutes of the time it is called by the obstetrician.  The defendant contended that he could not begin the C-section sooner than he did because he did not have the necessary personnel, including the scrub nurse and the circulating nurse.  The plaintiffs, the mother and father of the child, sought damages under the Wrongful Death Act, Survival Act and Family Expense Act. The mother also sought damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress caused by the lengthy delay in initiating the C-section.  The defense argued that the defendant’s  arrival was as timely as possible; that he could not start the surgery without sufficient supporting personnel and that even if the C-section had commenced within thirty minutes, the outcome would have been the same because the baby expired within thirty minutes of the defendant  being called.  The defense presented expert testimony from a Ob/gyn that the fetal monitor began recording the maternal heart rate after the baby expired, which was before the defendant arrived at the hospital and that the testimony of the plaintiff’s Ob/gyn expert that the monitor recorded fetal heart tones up until shortly before the delivery was incorrect.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.


 Amy Anderson wins defense verdict in Federal Court

Tried 5/11/15 – 5/15/15

Plaintiff was driving north on Naperville-Plainfield Rd. with his 14 year old son in the front seat. He was travelling at or near the speed limit of 45 mph as he neared the intersection with Boughton. He could see a large dark van approaching from the opposite direction in the left turn lane. Defendant, the head women's lacrosse coach at Denison, was in the area recruiting. She was travelling south on Naperville-Plainfield Road behind the dark van with her view of oncoming traffic blocked. The large dark van made a left turn in front of plaintiff’s vehicle as plaintiff’s vehicle entered the intersection and as the light for north and southbound traffic turned yellow. Immediately behind the van was the defendant's vehicle, also turning left, resulting in an impact in the intersection.

The defense contended that plaintiff was contributorily negligent as he and his son admitted he never applied his brakes at any time before entering the intersection even though he knew the turning van was going to be close. The defense argued that defendant's actions were reasonable as she was travelling at 20-25 M.P.H and the van she was following made no hesitation or indication of oncoming traffic.

Plaintiff and his son were both kept overnight in the hospital after the accident. The son sought no further treatment. Plaintiff suffered a fracture of the C7 laminate, a right ankle and right knee sprain. Plaintiff further contended that a right ankle surgery performed over a year after the accident, bilateral wrist surgeries performed almost 2 years after the accident, bilateral tennis elbow and ongoing neck pain were related to the accident. Plaintiff’s wife sought loss of consortium.

The defense contended plaintiff's degenerative condition in his neck is the cause of his continuing neck pain complaints. Further, his years of competitive cycling, including Olympic trials in 2007 led to degenerative conditions in his wrists that required the surgeries in 2014 and the cause of his bilateral tennis elbows. Defense also contended that the ankle surgery in 2013 was not related to the accident as the ligaments found torn, requiring surgical repair were not torn in the accident based on MRIs taken in the months after the accident. The jury awarded less than half of the last settlement offer and found plaintiff 30% at fault.


 Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher obtained a not guilty in alleged nerve injury from anesthesia

Tried 5/4/15 – 5/14/15

Randall C. Monroe and Teresa Maher tried a medical malpractice case from May 4 through May 14, 2015, and obtained a not guilty verdict in favor of their anesthesiologist client.  The plaintiff was a 47 year old periodontist who underwent an arthroscopic shoulder surgery under a regional block administered by the defendant anesthesiologist.  The plaintiff alleged that during the regional block, the defendant injected the anesthetic agent intra-neurally, causing nerve damage in her dominant arm, and ultimately causing complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and an inability to perform periodontal surgery in her practice.  The plaintiff’s pretrial settlement demand of $7.5 million was withdrawn just prior to trial, and the plaintiff requested $6.1 million of the jury.


 MARY KAY SCOTT OBTAINED A NOT GUILTY IN SURVIVAL ACTION AND WRONGFUL DEATH TRIAL IN MCHENRY COUNTY

Tried 10/14/14 – 10/24/14

Mary Kay Scott represented a defendant endocrinologist in a medical negligence matter for Survival Action and Wrongful Death in Woodstock in McHenry County Illinois recently.  The two week trial took place from October 14, through 24, and resulted in a not guilty for all parties.  The plaintiff was a 49 year old, obese woman, with history of hypertension for several years and diabetes treated by diet only.  She was seen by her primary care physician, and a low TSH lab was obtained on June 5, 2008, and she was re-tested on June 9, 2008, and found to again have low TSH, and at this time an elevated Free T4 suggesting hyperthyroidism.  She was referred by the primary care physician, and an appointment for follow-up was made on June 23, 2008.  In the interim, the plaintiff went to Centegra Hospital NIMC, for chest pain and shortness of breath,  with extreme hypertension and tachycardia.  She had elevated troponins, and had a full cardiac workup, including stress testing, echocardiogram, and a cardiac catheterization.  Her blood pressure and tachycardia came down during the ER portion of the stay with medication, and remained stable throughout the hospitalization. During that hospital stay, the interventional cardiologist ordered thyroid labs, which returned with the TSH lower than the prior labs , and the Free T4 elevated beyond the limits of the labs assays.  She was discharged by the cardiologist without him having reviewed the labs on June 21, 2008. She went home, had her birthday party, and saw family and friends and went shopping.  She was to have medical management of her heart issues, and to start a cardiac rehabilitation program.

She came to the endocrinologist’ previously set appointment on June 23, 2008, in the afternoon and was evaluated by him.  Her blood pressure was 118/64 normal, and she was tachycardic without an exact heart rate noted.  Importantly she was on a beta blocker which treats the tachycardia associated with hyperthyroidism.  Beta blocker was agreed by all physicians to be the first treatment for hyperthyroidism, which to this point had no known cause.   The doctor was aware of the hospital stay and the cardiac catheterization, and had the labs from June 9, which is what he relied on, and he ordered testing to determine the cause of the hyperthyroid condition.  She left his office with her husband, went shopping, talked on the phone and with friends and was outside while her husband barbecued.  She felt nauseous and got ill in the bathroom, came back out, and her eyes rolled back into her head in a split second.  EMT’s responded and she had ventricular fibrillation and asystole and could not be revived when brought back to Centegra Hospital.

The plaintiff’s theory of the case was the thyroid tests suggested severe hyperthyroidism or thyroid storm.  That condition is characterized by unstable blood pressure, which is extremely high, fevers, mental status changes and an extremely ill presentation.  The plaintiff’s theory was that the endocrinologist should have ordered the labs from the hospital, and spoken to the doctor’s there and immediately admitted the patient for treatment with PTU and monitoring so her event would have been capable of resuscitation in the hospital.  It was admitted by the plaintiff’s endocrinology expert Dr. Donald Skor of St. Louis, MO, that the patient was not in thyroid storm at her primary care physician, during the hospitalization, or during the office visit with the endocrinologist.  Further it was admitted by the plaintiff’s endocrinology expert, that labs do not diagnose thyroid storm, it is a clinical diagnosis, and the patient did not have any of the signs or symptoms of thyroid storm. 

The defense theory was that the patient was not in thyroid storm, and there was no need to obtain the labs, as thyroid labs change due to the half-life of Free T4 over 4-6 weeks , and the labs  from June 9 were the reliable labs.  The patient was sick in the hospital, which lowers TSH, and the cardiac catheterization needed the use of heparin, which creates a test tube elevation in the Free T4 labs, so those were not reliable.  Further PTU does not treat all causes of hyperthyroidism, and the appropriate plan for workup, along with the beta blocker was in place.  Further you do not hospitalize patient’s with normal blood pressures, and some tachycardia, as many hyperthyroid patients have tachycardia.  Additional treatment with more beta blockers would lower the normal blood pressure and endanger the patient.  Finally ventricular fibrillation is not related to hyperthyroidism, and there is no way to predict an arrhythmia, and the patient died of sudden cardiac death, which is not related to hyperthyroidism.

The plaintiff asked for $7,005,631.52, a claim for pecuniary loss for her husband and grown children, and the funeral bill.  No medical bills were submitted pursuant to motions in limine as the hospital care and the endocrinology office visit were required and not caused by any alleged deviations by the defendants.  The plaintiff’s counsel did not put in any number for the pain and suffering between the discharge of June 21, and the death on June 23, and during closing argument on behalf of the endocrinologist it was argued that he did not even meet her until the afternoon of June 23, so damages prior to that could not be awarded.
Closing arguments of the plaintiff and three defendants and jury instructions took three and ½ hours, and the verdict came back in two and ½ hours.  Joshua Bell was involved in preparation of the case, the motions in limine conference, as well as expert and defendant preparation.


 Amy L. Anderson and Joshua Bell try med mal suicide case to hung jury

Tried 8/27/14 – 9/11/14

Plaintiff presented to the emergency room with his wife on August 3, 2010, reporting for a brief moment he had considered shooting himself with his gun, difficulty sleeping and anxiety about reduced work as a carpenter.  His wife was pregnant and due with their second son with a C-section scheduled for 3 days later.  In talking to the defendant, emergency room doctor, he denied thinking of using his gun to shoot himself and reported the gun was locked in a cabinet and his wife had the key.  They discussed a possible inpatient treatment option, but he wanted to be present for the birth of his son.  Instead, he was given an appointment for an outpatient day hospitalization that would start before the delivery date, he was given a prescription for a sleep medication recommended by the on call psychiatrist, he was given the ame of the psychiatrist, a hot line number to call and instructed to get the gun out of the house and return if he had increased thoughts of suicide.  Upon returning home, plaintiff and his wife decided to return the gun to Cabellas.  The wife gave him the locked box with the gun in it to place in the car.  He cut the lock from the box and shot himself in the head in front of his 4 year old son and wife an hour and a half after being discharged from the ER. 
                               
The defense contended that plaintiff was evaluated by a social worker and 2 nurses in the ER in addition to the Defendant.  He denied having a suicide plan to each of these care providers.  He was cuddling with his wife throughout the four hours he was in the ER.  He had a good support system at home and he had events to look forward to.  Based on his presentation in the ER and the denial of a suicide plan, Plaintiff was not certifiable for involuntary admission. He was offered and refused a voluntary inpatient treatment plan and he agreed to the outpatient treatment plan that was ordered for him.  The defendant also filed affirmative defenses against the plaintiff for his contribution to his death in failing to follow the discharge plan and instructions.  After over 10 hours of deliberations over 2 days, the jury was deadlocked.  A high low agreement had been reached after closing arguments that addressed the possibility of a hung jury.                                       


 Mary Kay Scott and Amy L. Anderson represent defendant Obstetrician to a Not Guilty Verdict in a case involving a  Posterior Shoulder Dystocia leading to Permanent Brachial Plexus injury during Delivery

Tried 6/5/14 – 6/18/14

From June 5 through June 18, 2014, Mary Kay Scott and Amy Anderson defended an ob/gyne and her practice group in DuPage County, IL, in a professional negligence claim for events that occurred July 14, 2000.  The minor plaintiff, now almost 14 years of age and his mother, brought suit against the defendant physician and her corporation alleging that there was a failure to progress in labor overnight, that should have put the physician on notice to perform a C-section.  The plaintiffs also alleged that the physician at the time of delivery pulled the baby’s  left posterior shoulder over the sacral promontory by using the vacuum at a high station causing a permanent brachial plexus injury.

The mother had been seen by the defendant physician 3 times in prenatal care, and the mother had a known fibroid on the anterior uterus across from the sacral promontory. The mother was induced due to elevated blood pressure and borderline amniotic fluid on July 12, 2000, with Cervidil overnight.  The next day, the partner of the defendant physician managed and oversaw the labor.  The bag of waters broke at 5:00 p.m. on July 13, and the baby was delivered by the defendant physician at 8:43 a.m. on July 14, 2000.  The defendant physician was present for the delivery starting at 8:10 a.m. on July 14, and at that time, the mother was complete and had been pushing.  The head was 1/3 to ½ out with pushing and contractions, and due to decelerations of the babies’ heart rate, the doctor used a Mityvac vacuum to deliver the head of the child.  At that point, an anterior shoulder dystocia was immediately appreciated, and after McRoberts and suprapubic pressure by the nurses and clockwise rotation of the infant by the doctor the baby’s  right shoulder was delivered without injury.  After delivery the weak left arm was noted and appropriate physicians were called in to evaluate the child.

The defense contended that the left posterior shoulder dystocia cannot be identified prior to delivery of the child, and occurred before the use of the vacuum to deliver the head, due to the anatomy of where the sacral promontory is, and the position of the head at time of the use of the vacuum.  Further the maneuvers to deliver the head did not lead to the injury to the posterior shoulder.  The sole cause of the injury to the left shoulder was the maternal forces of labor, as that was the only mechanism impacting the left posterior shoulder before delivery.  The child had two surgeries, and it was the position of the defendants that the surgeries and PT/OT that the child had were all unrelated to the delivery undertaken by the defendant.  The plaintiff had $90,392.25 in medical bills and asked for $2,590,392.25 from the jury.  The jury deliberated for eight hours and then the next day the shotgun instruction was given and the verdict was returned forty minutes later.


 Mary Kay Scott Hosts HIPAA Webinar

Mary Kay Scott of Brenner, Monroe, Scott & Anderson, Ltd., Kathleen Konstantelos of MIS Computer Corp., and Jim Pekarek of PMB, recently presented a webinar entitled “Modifications to HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement and Breach Notification Rules:  What You Need to Know to Protect your Practice.”  Many thanks to Professional Business Management, Inc., for arranging for the presentation, which was directed to medical offices and practice groups.

To play the video, please click "Allow the following add-on: Windows Media Player"


 Mary Kay Scott tries Medical Negligence Radiology Case Alleging Failure to Diagnose a Meningioma in the Brain to a Speedy Not Guilty

Tried 5/12/13 – 5/23/13

Mary Kay Scott tried a medical negligence case in Lake County, IL from May 17 to May 23, 2013, and the result was a jury verdict of not guilty in 50 minutes. The case filed in 2011, alleged the defendant radiologist failed to identify a benign meningioma on a CT scan of the sinuses undertaken in September of 2007. The brain tumor was discovered three and one half years later in March 2011, on a brain MRI, once the plaintiff began having memory, balance, headaches, and incontinence issues beginning anywhere from a year to three years later.

The defense of the case hinged on the fact that the CT scan was a focused study of the patient’s sinuses performed for recurrent sinusitis. The plaintiff alleged that on the brain windows there was a finding that was consistent with the meningioma, which arose out of the falx at the top center of the patient’s brain. The defense countered that the alleged finding was artifact that obscured any finding on the brain windows, that the study under-penetrates the brain, and this was not the correct diagnostic test to identify a brain tumor arising from the top of the brain. A further issue in the defense was that the alleged finding on the brain windows was on the opposite side of the brain from where the brain tumor arose and grew.

The plaintiff had a complete recovery to her baseline, but still had issues with memory, headaches, and balance, which were long standing issues for decades, and had led to her quitting work in the early 1980’s. The claim was for loss of a normal life and pain and suffering.


 Randall C. Monroe tried a medical malpractice wrongful death case

Randall C. Monroe tried a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois, from July 20 to August 1, 2012. The plaintiff’s decedent was a 59-year-old male with a cardiac history including two prior angioplasties with stenting, who presented to the defendant physician for an office visit on January 26, 2007, complaining of chest discomfort, sweating and coughing. The defendant physician performed an examination that included an EKG, which showed no acute changes. The decedent also reported that his symptoms were relieved with belching.  The defendant physician determined that the symptoms were due to reflux, and prescribed an antacid. He also ordered outpatient testing that included a stress test and chest x-ray. One hour after the office visit, the patient developed chest pain and shortness of breath at home, called an ambulance, but went into a lethal arrhythmia as he was being loaded into the ambulance.  He could not be resuscitated, and expired leaving a widow and three adult children. The plaintiff’s attorney requested $8 million from the jury, and the jury returned a verdict against the defendant physician for $1.15 million.


 Amy Anderson and Joshua Bell Obtain Summary Judgment for Police Officer in Civil Rights Action

Plaintiff filed suit in Federal Court alleging that his civil rights were violated at the time of his arrest for unlawful possession of a gun on August 13, 2009 by the defendant officers.  Plaintiff received a trial on the charges of unlawful possession of a gun by a felon and being an armed habitual criminal.  The court found him guilty after he waived the right to a jury.  He was then sentenced and placed into the corrections system.   As part of his trial, Plaintiff prepared and litigated a motion to suppress the evidence of the gun, arguing that it was found as the result of an unlawful search of his person.  This motion was denied by the court.  In response to plaintiff’s complaint, Ms. Anderson and Mr. Bell brought a motion for summary judgment arguing that the issues which acted as the basis for his civil rights lawsuit against the defendant officers were fully litigated by a court of competent jurisdiction, which acted as a bar to his suit pursuant to the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. In granting the motion for summary judgment, the Court noted that Plaintiff had ample opportunities to litigate the issue of whether the gun was found as the result of an illegal search which violated his civil rights, the basis of his suit against the officers.  Federal civil rights cases can be barred state criminal proceedings.  Here, the state criminal proceedings heard the motion to suppress the evidence due to the alleged violations of Plaintiff’s civil rights, and denied the motion after 2 days of evidence and argument.  Therefore, whether the defendant officers violated Plaintiff’s civil rights was ruled upon in the state court and the state court’s ruling acted to bar the federal lawsuit and preventing Plaintiff from re-litigating the civil rights issue.


 Sheldon Brenner and Joshua Bell obtained a Not Guilty verdict for an attorney in a legal malpractice trial  despite admitting liability

Tried 3/6/13 – 3/18/13

Sheldon BrennerOn March 18, 2013, Sheldon Brenner and Joshua Bell obtained a Not Guilty verdict for an attorney in a legal malpractice trial  despite admitting liability.  The defendant attorney failed to timely issue summons and serve a physician in a medical malpractice case in which his client alleged that he suffered ruptured tendons in his hand as the result of a physician’s negligence in performing an independent medical examination at the request of the plaintiff’s worker’s compensation insurance company.   The medical malpractice case was dismissed pursuant to an Illinois Supreme Court rule that requires a plaintiff to exercise reasonable diligence in obtaining service of process on a defendant.   At the trial of the legal malpractice case, the defendant attorney admitted he breached to standard of care by not obtaining service on the physician defendant within a reasonable time, but asserted the defense that he was not liable to his former client because the underlying medical malpractice case would not have been won.   The jury accepted this defense and found the attorney not guilty.  The case was settled pursuant to a high-low agreement negotiated during deliberations.


 Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty for Hospitalist Pediatrician Charged with Improper Resuscitation of Second Born Identical Twin Girl

Tried 4/30/12 – 5/16/12

Sheldon Brenner recently tried a case in Waukegan, IL, on behalf of a Board Certified Pediatrician employed as a hospitalist at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, IL.  The doctor was in house but not notified of an admittedly high risk delivery of twins until approximately seven minutes after the second baby was delivered.  She was born profoundly compromised.  He took over the resuscitation that was underway by labor and delivery nurses but the nurses were not permitted to intubate or administer epinephrine.  The doctor intubated the infant with a 2.5 size ETT but shortly afterwards switched to a 3.0 tube.  The plaintiff contended that the physician’s failure to use the larger tube initially was a deviation from the standard of care, as was his failure to order blood for the anemic infant.  The baby died five hours after delivery.  The plaintiff’s demand was $3.5 million dollars.  The jury was asked to award $7.1 million dollars, and a not guilty verdict was returned in approximately one hour.  Other defendants included the hospital, a neonatologist, and an obstetrician, who was dismissed on the second day of trial after he offered testimony unfavorable to the hospital.


 Randall C. Monroe obtained a not guilty verdict in a chiropractic malpractice case.

Randall C. Monroe tried a chiropractic malpractice case from August 10 through August 16, 2012, and obtained a not guilty verdict on behalf of his chiropractor client.  The plaintiff sought treatment from the defendant chiropractor for neck and shoulder pain, and was treated during eight visits in September and October, 2007. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant performed a cervical spine adjustment during his last visit without prior notice and with specific instruction not to manipulate the cervical spine. According to the plaintiff, at the time of the adjustment he experienced immediate and severe neck pain, and his left arm went numb. An MRI performed a week after treatment showed a disc herniation at C5-C6, which led to a discectomy and cervical fusion surgery at C5-C6. The defense argued that the plaintiff's disc herniation was present before he came under the care of the defendant, and was the result of longstanding degenerative disc disease.  Further, the chiropractic treatment provided was appropriate, and the plaintiff's neck pain improved while he was under the defendant's care. The defense claimed last visit was uneventful, and the plaintiff reported feeling better after the last treatment. The plaintiff's attorney had requested an award of $363,000 from the jury.


 Chicago’s Top Rated Lawyers 2012 Edition in the area of Medical Malpractice.

Sheldon A. Brenner and Mary Kay Scott were both named to Chicago’s Top Rated Lawyers 2012 Edition in the area of Medical Malpractice.


 Randall C. Monroe obtained a not guilty verdict in medical malpractice stroke case.

Randall C. Monroe tried a medical malpractice case from June 26 through July 9, 2012, and obtained a not guilty verdict in favor of his cardiologist client.  The plaintiff alleged that the cerebellar hemorrhage suffered by the plaintiff’s decedent was the result of improper administration of anti-coagulants by the defendant cardiologist.  The patient presented to the Resurrection Hospital emergency room with generalized weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, elevated blood pressure, and a past history of prior strokes and myocardial infarctions.  The defendant ordered anti-coagulants for the patient because elevated troponin levels and his EKG indicated he was experiencing a myocardial infarction.  The plaintiff claimed that the patient’s markedly elevated blood pressure, past history of strokes and presenting signs and symptoms required neurological evaluation prior to starting anti-coagulants.  On the second day of admission, the patient began slurring his speech, and a brain CT scan demonstrated a large cerebellar hemorrhage.  The defense argued that the anti-coagulants were indicated and necessary due to the ongoing myocardial infarction at the time of admission, and there were no signs of stroke at the time the regimen was started.  The plaintiff requested $2.1 million of the jury, claiming the patient was completely functional prior to admission, and required 24 hour care for cognitive and motor deficits resulting from the hemorrhagic stroke.


 Mary Kay Scott and Joshua Bell recently tried a medical negligence case involving Methadone pain management. The jury deadlocked, but a high/low agreement resulted in payment of the low, and no retrial

Tried 1/9/12 – 1/23/12

The plaintiff died at home in bed on February 22, 2005, 26 hours after starting a Methadone prescription ordered by the defendant physician for pain management.  The plaintiff had a long history of over-taking of pain medication, following two back surgeries.  After the second back surgery, and treatment with multiple pain medications and a detoxification during an in-patient program, the plaintiff was started on Methadone.  The plaintiff invoked the Dead Man’s Act to keep out testimony as to verbal instructions given to the patient as to when to begin taking his medication and how to titrate the medication.  The defense was supported by a pain management specialist, an addiction medicine specialist and a pharmacologist. The pain management witness opined the standard of care was met if the medication was taken as written in the prescription. The testimony brought out at trial was that plaintiff was to take at most ten pills from the time the prescription was written, and there were twenty pills missing from the Methadone prescription in 26 hours.  Evidence was brought in by the defense that the patient had other non-prescribed medications in his system.  The case was defended based upon plaintiff failing to take his prescriptions as prescribed, and the inability of the plaintiff to prove, given the missing twenty pills, that the prescription was taken as prescribed.  The pharmacology/toxicology expert opined the plaintiff ingested ten pills within the last four hours of his life.  At the close of the evidence, counsel for the plaintiffs asked the jury to award an amount of money in excess of $7,000,000.  As a result of the high/low agreement, the plaintiffs had to accept the low of $500,000.  The jury deliberated 11 hours over 2 days, and was deadlocked.  

 


 Anderson Affirmed on Appeal

On June 29, 2010, the First District Appellate Court affirmed an order of summary judgment entered on behalf of defendants in a medical negligence case. Amy L. Anderson represented a family practice physician whom plaintiff alleged failed to refer her to the proper obstetrician in her 38th week of pregnancy. Plaintiff was seen by the referred obstetrician four days later, and evaluated by fetal monitoring which determined the plaintiff was not in labor. Approximately 36 hours later, the plaintiff suffered severe abdominal pain, was rushed to the hospital where she had an emergency cesarean section and found that her uterus had ruptured. The baby died 10 days later. While plaintiff's expert testified that the defendants deviated from the standard of care, and testified that the outcome would have been different if the defendants had complied with the standard of care, cross examination revealed that the e

xpert did not have any factual support for his opinion. Defendants were granted summary judgment as plaintiff failed to establish that the alleged deviations from the standard of care proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries.


 Mary Kay Scott Speaks to Illinois Physicians

Mary Kay Scott has been a speaker in a series of Risk Management Seminars to Illinois physicians this year. The focus has included documentation, hand off of patients, supervision of advanced practice nurses, and the litigation process.


 Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher Obtain Not Guilty Verdict In Medical Negligence Case

On September 20-24, 2010, Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher tried a medical negligence case alleging that LASIK surgery was contraindicated to a not guilty verdict for the defendant physician. After the surgery, the plaintiff developed bulging and thinning of the left cornea, requiring the use of gas permeable contact lenses. The plaintiff claimed a pre-existing condition of keratoconus, which is a contraindication to LASIK surgery. The defense denied that assertion and pointed to all pre-operative testing that was normal, and further alleged the condition the plaintiff had was a recognized complication of LASIK known as LASIK-induced corneal ectasia. The condition was included in the informed consent the plaintiff signed. The defendant physician had offered to pay for and travel with the plaintiff to California for a new treatment for the condition, but plaintiff refused.


 Shelly Brenner and Amy Anderson Obtain Not Guilty Verdict in Medical Negligence Case

Shelly Brenner and Amy Anderson tried a medical negligence case June 21-30, 2010, involving the death of a newborn baby one hour after delivery. The mother presented for delivery of her fourth child, and the labor progressed normally until the fetus went into distress late at night and the defendant ob/gyn was called for a C-section, which was performed within 27 minutes. The child had improving APGAR scores, but failed resuscitation and died one hour after delivery. The estate claimed failure to properly assess fetal distress and failure to timely perform a C-section, which should have been called 15 minutes earlier. The defense argued the timing was appropriate and the newborn was delivered within the ACOG "decision-to-incision" time frame guideline. The verdict was a not guilty on behalf of the defendant physician.


 Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher Obtain Not Guilty Verdict

On May 24-June 2, 2010, Shelly Brenner and Teresa Maher tried to a not guilty verdict a case involving LASIK surgery. The plaintiff underwent bilateral LASIK surgery in 1999, without any noticeable complications. However, subsequent to that the patient developed bowing and steepening of the corneas. The allegations were that the surgeon negligently cut LASIK flaps that were at least twice as thick as intended. The plaintiff sustained significantly decreased visual acuity in both eyes, difficulty in wearing contact lenses due to irregular corneas and the wearing of glasses which do not correct his vision completely. The defense denied the allegations as to the flaps. A special interrogatory to the jury was answered No, questioning whether the physician was guilty of professional negligence that proximately caused the alleged injuries.


 Mary Kay Scott Gives Presentation

Mary Kay Scott appeared in March 2009, before a group of physicians and spoke on the topic of Improving Communications to Reduce Your Malpractice Risk.


 Amy Anderson obtains Not Guilty verdict on behalf of attending physician

Tried April 11-23, 2008
On September 26, 2002, plaintiff (a 62 year old female) was seen by her primary care doctor for complaint of nausea, vomiting and flank pain. He diagnosed a kidney infection, prescribed oral antibiotics and sent her home. At 5:00 AM the next morning, she was brought by ambulance to the hospital emergency room with nausea, vomiting, flank pain and fever to 106. She was admitted to the attending physician, the on call partner of her primary care doctor. When she arrived at the medical floor, her blood pressure had dropped significantly and she was transferred to ICU. A stat CT scan was ordered but could not be performed until she was stable at 8:30 PM. The CT showed a kidney stone obstruction, a urology expert was called and surgery was done the following morning. However, the plaintiff developed sepsis and a clotting condition (DIC) that resulted in the loss of 8 of her fingertips including her thumbs. She uses cosmetic prosthetics for her fingers, but was unable to return to work as a hair stylist. Plaintiff asked for $2.4 mill. to $3.4 mill. for the failure to order the CT scan and urology consult on arrival to the ER. The defense used the testimony of the ER resident, 2 ER attending physicians and the 2 doctors who evaluated her on the medical floor to support his argument that CT and urology was not warranted until her condition changed. The defense further argued that the sepsis and DIC had started before the plaintiff arrived at the hospital and her outcome could not be changed.


 Mary Kay Scott Gives Physician Presentation

Mary Kay Scott spoke recently to the Chicago Urological Society regular meeting.  The topic was "How to Give a Deposition From a Defense Lawyer's Viewpoint."


 Not Guilty for Defendant Physician on Child’s Loss of Testicle

Mary Kay Scott completed at trial recently before Judge Ward in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The defendant general practitioner began treating a minor as of the age of five months.  The child at birth had a non-descended testicle, which by the age of two weeks had descended on its own.  Other practitioners saw the child at the age of three months and one year and also found the testicles to be within normal limits.  The defendant physician continued to see the child over the next nine years and at each office visit the genital exam was within normal limits.  The child was last seen by the defendant on January 16, 2003. Subsequently the child was seen by a physician on October 7, 2003, and diagnosed with an undescended testicle.  A surgeon surgically removed the testicle on January 9, 2004.  The defense argued the known condition of acquired ascending testicle, which occurs between 8-12 years of age and accounts for this child’s condition.  In support of the defense was that the testicles were of the same size and the child had documented scrotal development, which would not occur unless the right testicle was present in the scrotum prior to discovery of the ascended testicle.  Plaintiff’s post-trial motion was denied.


 Mary Kay Scott Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Radiologist

Mary Kay Scott obtained a recent not guilty verdict in a medical negligence case involving a board certified radiologist and the corporation that employed the defendant physician.  Plaintiff 52 year old female with a previous history of left sided breast cancer appeared for her routine mammogram.  The mammogram revealed milk of calcium, which was indicated to most likely be benign.  The patient was seen by her surgeon, who recommended needle localization and biopsy of the milk of calcium finding.  On the date of the needle localization, the patient indicated concern with proceeding, and the co-defendant mammographer involved the client in a curbside consultation  both radiologists agreed the finding was likely milk of calcium, a benign finding and recommended four month follow-up with mammogram.  After discussion with the surgeon, that course of follow-up was agreed upon by the patient.  The patient came back at four months, and the milk of calcium had regressed, a positive finding.  The patient was recommended to return in eight months, and failed to appear.  Upon coming back in 14 months, the patient was found to have a 1.2 cm. mass with 18 positive lymph nodes, and subsequently after diagnosis and treatment died from metastasis of the disease.  Plaintiff asked for $2,000,000.  Defendant denied liability and denied proximate causation.  The jury deliberated for approximately 2 hours.


 Mary Kay Scott Presents HIPAA Speech

Mary Kay Scott recently spoke to a group of physicians and health care providers in regards to the legal issues related to Electronic Health Records, HIPAA issues related to the use of such records and e-mail correspondence issues. The speech also dealt with admissibility of such records and the trend in regards to such record keeping. The speech was held May 8, 2006, at the Hyatt Lodge McDonald's campus in Oak Brook, Illinois.


 Food Contamination Cases in Illinois

The number of food-borne pathogens has increased five-fold since 1942.  In a September 1999 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it was reported that there were 76 million reported cases of food-borne illnesses in the United States every year.  Additionally, there are a reported 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. 

Download the full story in pdf format  


 Amy L. Anderson Obtains Not Guilty Verdict in Wrongful Death Case

In March 2006, Amy L. Anderson obtained a not guilty verdict in a wrongful death medical negligence case in Cook County. Plaintiff's decedent was an 89 year old man who was being followed by the defendant physician for several chronic illnesses at a nursing home in Chicago. When plaintiff's decedent developed diarrhea, the physician held a medication that was being given to assist with bowel movements. After eleven days, the medication was restarted. The patient died 3 days later. Plaintiff alleged that the patient died of bowel obstruction, however, no perforation was found on autopsy. No autopsy was performed of the brain even though the patient had suffered strokes in the past. The jury was out for forty minutes.


 Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Physician in Wrongful Death Case

On December 9th, 2005, a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, entered a not guilty verdict in favor of the defendant physician, a specialist in Family Practice. The deceased, a morbidly obese 35 year old woman taking birth control pills, was survived by her parents and sister. She was a long-standing patient with a history of asthma. She was seen in the office with complaints of shortness of breath, dizziness and syncope after getting out of the shower. Test results indicated hypothyroidism and Synthroid was prescribed. She returned three weeks later complaining of shortness of breath and wheezing. The defendant felt this was a flare-up of asthma and prescribed Prednisone and told the patient to return in two days. The following day, the patient was found dead in her apartment. Autopsy revealed a massive pulmonary embolism. The estate contended that the defendant failed to recognize signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism on the two office visits prior to death despite high risks, including obesity, birth control, and recent air travel. The defense asserted the lab results, history and clinical presentation justified the diagnoses. The defendant's insurance company offered $500,000 to settle, which was rejected by the estate.


 Sheldon Brenner Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Ophthalmologist

On November 4, 2005, a jury in Cook County, Illinois returned a not guilty verdict in favor of Sheldon Brenner's client, an ophthalmologist. The plaintiff, a retired 76 year old woman, underwent cataract surgery done with local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. The local was given by a peribulbar block. The plaintiff contended the block was in fact never given and that as a result she experienced excruciating pain during the surgery and, that because of the sedation, she was unable to vocalize her distress. She also claimed that the defendant should have converted to general anesthesia during the operation when she began to move and cough. Plaintiff did not claim the surgery was successful, and sought damages for the pain she experienced during the operation and the emotional distress suffered since, including nightmares and sleeplessness. The defense contended the anesthetic block was given, although there was some confusion in the records whether it was done by the anesthesiologist, who had been sued but was dropped before trial, or the defendant. Neither could state with certainty that he did it, but they both agreed it was done. Defendant also contended he exercised reasonable judgment in deciding not to convert to general anesthesia.


 Mary Kay Scott Obtains Not Guilty Verdict for Defendant Physician in Case Tried in February/March

Mary Kay Scott recently obtained a not guilty verdict on behalf of a defendant physician in a case tried in February and March, 2006, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, IL. The minor male plaintiff, age two and one half, had bilateral inguinal hernia repair surgery performed by the defendant physician and during the procedure his right vas deferens was severed. The defense argued this was a known complication that was recognized and repaired by a consulting urologist during the original hernia repair surgery. The left vas deferens was uninjured. The child had not yet reached puberty, and due to the repair having been performed, and the unaffected left vas deferens, there was no testimony of any ongoing injury or sterility to the child age 13 at time of trial. The demand was $150,000, and no offer was made. No post trial motions were filed.


 Brenner and Anderson Obtain Not Guilty Verdict

On October 27, 2005, Shelly Brenner and Amy Anderson were awarded a not guilty verdict in Cook County.  The defendant ophthalmologist performed a cataract surgery on the retired female plaintiff.  Following the procedure, a small nuclear chip was discovered in plaintiff's eye that the defendant claimed was resolving.  As of the last time the defendant saw the plaintiff, the chip had significantly resorbed naturally, the swelling was reducing and defendant argued that surgery to remove the chip was not necessary. 

Plaintiff was later diagnosed with pseudophakic bullous keratopathy from the retained lens fragment and the plaintiff required corneal transplant.  Plaintiff alleged that the defendant doctor did not perform the cataract surgery within the standard of care and that the removal of the chip earlier would have prevented the need for corneal transplant. 


 Anderson and Scott Give Presentations to Physicians

Amy Anderson gave a speech and presentation on risk management and charting related issues to Illinois doctors in September. She also gave a seminar and update on Illinois Civil Procedure to the claims staff of a local carrier in August.

Mary Kay Scott gave a speech recently before a group of Illinois physicians regarding medical negligence and risk management.  The speech focused on record keeping issues, and communication with patients as it relates to adverse events. 


 Verdict for less than medical specials when comparative negligence determined

Mary Kay Scott recently tried a case to verdict in the Circuit Court of Cook county, in which the plaintiff was awarded $60,000, reduced to $30,000 by comparative negligence.  Plaintiff a commercial real estate broker, fell while being shown a property by the defendant’s representative.  Plaintiff and the defendant’s representative had been walking through an unused warehouse where lighting came from windows and a flashlight held by the defendant’s representative.  The two disagreed as to whether the plaintiff was aware they were walking down a ramp which ended with a drop-off to rail tracks below, which were an important selling feature.  Plaintiff stepped off the end falling to the track bed below fracturing his calcaneus, which healed to the point that within six months he was golfing.  Medical bills totaled $52,000, and the jury awarded $8,000 for disability.  No award for pain and suffering was made, and the jury reduced the verdict by 50% comparative negligence of the plaintiff.  A post-trial motion has been filed by the plaintiff.  The last demand was $650,000. 


  Amy Anderson Wins Seminal Reporting Act case

Plaintiffs were four minors who were allegedly sexually abused by another minor residing in their apartment complex. Plaintiffs brought suit against the offending minor and his custodial and non-custodial (divorced) parents, alleging negligence and intentional torts. The plaintiffs also sued North Central Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., a psychological counseling center at which the offending minor received counseling. Plaintiffs alleged that North Central knew that the minor had sexually abused other children in the apartment building, and that North Central knew or reasonably should have known that the minor was a sexual predator who was likely to sexually abuse other children in the future. Plaintiffs alleged that North Central had a duty to report the sexual abuse of the other children in the apartment complex to DCFS or other authorities under both the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act and the common law, notwithstanding the fact that North Central was not alleged to have known the specific names or identities of the children who were allegedly abused.

The Circuit Court of LaSalle County granted North Central’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed. In a case of first impression, the court held that there is no private right of action under the Reporting Act for victims of abuse or neglect against persons who allegedly fail to comply with the Act’s reporting requirements. The court further held that plaintiffs could not establish a duty to report under either the statute or the common law under the facts presented. The Illinois Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.

The case is Doe v. North Central Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., No. 3-03-0317. Amy Anderson wrote and argued the motions to dismiss in the trial court.


  Mary Kay Scott Wins Landmark Illinois Supreme Court Case

In two consolidated cases, City of Chicago v. Beretta, et al. and Young v. Bryco Arms, et al. (itself consisting of three consolidated actions), the City of Chicago and several families of victims of gang-related handgun violence sued various manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of handguns, seeking damages and injunctive relief. Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants created a public nuisance by deliberately designing, and manufacturing guns that would appeal to gang members due to their small size and light weight, and by selling guns to “straw purchasers” whom they knew or should have known would inject those guns into the black market, where they would ultimately end up in the hands of juvenile gang members who would criminally misuse them. The firm represented Breit & Johnson Sporting Goods, one of the handgun retailers alleged to have knowingly made a lawful sale of a handgun to a “straw purchaser.”

All defendants filed motions to dismiss the suits on the grounds that plaintiffs could not state a claim for public nuisance under Illinois law. The trial court denied the defendants motions, but certified the cases for immediate review. The Illinois Appellate Court agreed to hear an immediate appeal, and affirmed the trial court’s ruling. Defendants petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court for leave to appeal, which was granted. In a case of first impression, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the trial and appellate courts, and held that defendants could not be held liable under the theory of public nuisance. The Court held that as a matter of law, the defendants’ conduct did not proximately cause injury to the defendants or the public, because the defendants have no control over the third parties who criminally misused the guns they manufactured and sold. The Court further held that the tort of public nuisance could not encompass the lawful manufacture and sale of firearms, which are already heavily regulated by Federal and State law. Finally, the Court ruled that the issue of juvenile gang violence, while admittedly a significant societal problem, is an issue that must be addressed by the Illinois legislature, rather than judicial intervention.


  Mary Kay Scott Obtains Directed Verdict

Mary Kay Scott tried a case in Cook County, October 6-9, 2003.

Westside Association for Community Action (WACA) and the owners of the building, Gloria and Ernest Jenkins, obtained a directed verdict at the close of plaintiff's case in a recent Cook County jury trial. The plaintiff, Berdina Stubbs, was an employee of Aunt Martha's a youth services organization, when she allegedly fell down stairs at the building at 3600 W. Ogden St. in Chicago, on September 8, 1998. The fall was unwitnessed, and no complaints were made to the defendants.

Plaintiff claimed the condition of the carpet on the stairs was unreasonably dangerous, and that condition led to her fall. No witness called by the plaintiff had ever given notice to the defendants as to the condition. Undated photos of the stairs taken several years after the occurrence showed duct tape on the stairs. The defendants and a witness denied that was the condition on the date of the accident.

Plaintiff claimed her first medical treatment 2.5 months after the occurrence, for Achilles tendonitis, and subsequently saw numerous physicians, none of whom causally connected the plaintiff's myriad complaints, including degenerative joint disease of the spine diagnosed over 2 years later, to this accident. Plaintiff was barred from submitting lost wage claims and items of medical damages due to failure to disclose these bills during discovery.

The court directed the verdict after 3 days of trial, based upon lack of notice of the condition. Plaintiff's post-trial motion was denied on December 1, 2003.


  Amy Anderson Obtains Not Guilty Verdict

Amy Anderson tried a case in Cook County, September 10-12, 2003.

In Earl Campbell v. John Cernuska and Enterprise Leasing Company of Chicago, plaintiff was crossing Lake Street in Chicago from North to South on December 23, 1999 at approximately 5:30 PM. Defendant, Cernuska, was driving a customer to an Enterprise location near Oak Park, when he struck the plaintiff resulting in a surgical fracture to his left lower leg. Plaintiff had a blood alcohol serum level of .391 upon arrival at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Plaintiff's pharmacology expert, Dr. O'Donnell, testified that the plaintiff was an alcoholic and therefore the level of alcohol did not significantly impair him to contribute to the accident. Defendants' toxicology expert, Dr. Leikin, testified that while the plaintiff had likely developed a tolerance to the alcohol, the level in the plaintiff at the time of the accident would have caused an impairment that contributed to the accident. The defendant and his passenger testified that the plaintiff was crossing the street mid-block (27 paces from the closest cross-walk) wearing dark clothing on a snowy night. Plaintiff testified that he was crossing in the cross-walk.

After 2.5 hours of deliberation, the jury found in favor of the defendants.


  Randy Monroe Obtains Not Guilty in Nationally Reported Trial

Randy Monroe tried a wrongful death case in Kane County, February 10-21, 2003.

The plaintiff’s decedent, a 38 year old black male, was electrocuted while breaking into George O’s Place, a bar owned by the co-defendant. Mr. Monroe represented Alarm One, who installed the security system in the bar, and allegedly knew of and helped install an electrical booby trap to deter burglars, which caused the death of the plaintiff’s decedent. The plaintiff’s decedent left surviving a mother and younger brother. The plaintiff requested $800,000, and a verdict of $150,000 was returned against the co-defendant bar owners, reduced by 50 percent based upon the comparative negligence of the plaintiff’s decedent. The case was the subject of a Dateline episode, and the verdict was reported on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Alarm One was found not guilty on all counts.


  Sheldon Brenner Appointed to Special Panel

January 14, 2003 - Sheldon Brenner has been appointed to serve on a special panel comprised of prominent trial attorneys and judges within the Circuit Court of Cook County. This panel is assigned the task of creating a mediation/pretrial system for significant cases involving medical malpractice liability. The pilot program to be recommended by Mr. Brenner and his fellow panelists will present litigants with an opportunity to resolve cases during the discovery process saving substantial costs for insurance companies and self-insureds in the defense of medical malpractice claims.

 

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