Illinois Supreme Court Denies Hospital’s Petition for Leave to Appeal in Birth Injury Case

 Posted on April 13, 2020 in Medical Malpractice

Cook County birth injury attorneyIn December 2019, Tomasik Kotin Kasserman secured an appellate victory in the Fifth District in a medical negligence case involving injuries suffered by a newborn child during labor and delivery. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for leave to appeal, solidifying the Fifth District’s unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff, Crystal Williams.

On June 3, 2007, then-26-year-old Crystal, who was pregnant with twins, went into labor. Her OB/GYN, Dr. Bradley Tissier’s office, instructed her to go to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Belleville, Illinois where medical staff would prepare a “double set-up” delivery, i.e. a delivery which involves a first team of doctors preparing the mother for vaginal delivery with a second team ready to perform an immediate cesarean section if difficulties arise during childbirth. Twin A was born without difficulty. Twin B (Jerrin), however, was positioned in a persistent transverse lie, meaning Jerrin’s head was to one of his mother’s sides and not towards the pelvis. A baby cannot be birthed vaginally when in transverse lie. But, instead of performing a C-section, Dr. Bradley Tissier attempted to rotate Jerrin into the vertex (head down) position, failed, and thereafter, ultimately delivered via footling breech (feet down) extraction. During the delivery, Jerrin’s umbilical cord became compressed, and as a result, he suffered serious, lifelong injuries.

Ms. Williams filed suit on behalf of herself and her son, Jerrin, against Dr. Tissier, his OB/GYN group, and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for failure to perform a timely cesarean section. The hospital moved to dismiss the claim against it on the grounds that Dr. Tissier, the delivering doctor, was not an agent of the hospital and the trial court agreed. Ms. Williams appealed, and TKK co-founder and partner Timothy Tomasik argued the case on behalf of Ms. Williams before the Fifth District. Tomasik argued that a triable issue existed regarding whether Dr. Tissier was an apparent agent of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Tomasik highlighted evidence in the case that showed that: Dr. Tissier was listed as one of the hospital’s doctors on its web site listed; Dr. Tissier’s medical office sign listed the office as a St. Elizabeth’s office; the letterhead for Dr. Tissier’s office identified him as a doctor who provided care to patients at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park;” and multiple documents, including consent forms and prescription forms, given to Ms. Williams regarding the care and treatment she received from Dr. Tissier, stated that Dr. Tissier, his medical practice, and his group were located at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park.” Tomasik also pointed out to the Fifth District that none of the extensive consent forms signed by Ms. Williams contained Dr. Tissier’s name, and these forms led Ms. Williams to believe that Dr. Tissier was an employee of St. Elizabeth’s.

Mr. Tomasik has successfully secured several victories on the issue of agency in the Illinois Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and trial courts – and Ms. Williams’ case would prove to be no different. The Fifth District unanimously agreed with Tomasik’s argument, and in its’ 30-page holding, emphasized the above facts as dispositive on the issue of agency. After the appellate court unanimously ruled in favor of Ms. Williams, defendants petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case. Tomasik Kotin Kasserman filed a response brief outlining the merits of Ms. William’s case and the decision of the Fifth District Court. On March 25, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for leave to appeal. This will allow Ms. Williams the opportunity to seek justice by presenting the facts of her case to a jury of her peers.                                                                                                          

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer

At Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, we work to ensure that victims who injured by the negligence of others can recover financial compensation for the damages they have suffered. We know that birth injuries can cause significant financial hardship for families, and they often result in permanent disabilities that affect children, parents, and other family members. If your family has suffered harm because of the negligence of doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel during childbirth or related procedures, contact our Cook County medical malpractice attorneys at 312-605-8800 to schedule a free consultation.

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