TKK Wins in Appellate Court - Jury Now to Decide Birth Injury Case Against Hospital

Chicago, IL (January 2020)

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman recently secured a victory in the Fifth District Appellate Court in a medical malpractice case involving injuries sustained by a newborn during delivery.

Crystal Williams, the plaintiff, a 26-year-old woman pregnant with twins, began experiencing contractions in June of 2007. She went to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Belleville, IL to undergo a double set-up delivery. During delivery, one of her twins was in a persistent transverse lie and doctors opted to perform a vaginal breech. At some point during the procedure, the child’s umbilical cord became compressed, resulting in serious lifelong injuries.

On October 2, 2009, Ms. Williams filed a medical negligence action on behalf of herself, and as a parent and next friend of her son, Jerrin. Her action alleged that defendants were negligent in attempting and performing a vaginal breech delivery of Jerrin. The action further alleged that, as a result of the defendants’ negligence, Jerrin sustained permanent cognitive deficits, movement disorders, seizure disorders, dysarthria, visual loss, hearing loss, and disfigurement, leaving him unable to live on his own or manage his own affairs.

TKK partner and co-founder Timothy Tomasik argued the case in front of the Fifth District after St. Elizabeth’s was granted summary judgment in the circuit court based on its argument that the delivering doctor was not its agent. Mr. Tomasik has successfully secured several victories on the issue of agency in the Illinois Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and trial courts. TKK argued on behalf of Ms. Williams that a triable issue existed as to whether the doctor, Dr. Bradley Tissier, was an apparent agent of the hospital. The Fifth District Court was tasked with determining whether questions of fact exist as to whether St. Elizabeth’s held out Dr. Tissier as its agent and whether plaintiff reasonably relied on a purported agency relationship between St. Elizabeth’s and Dr. Tissier during the period he provided medical care to the plaintiff and her son.

The evidence, in this case, showed that: the hospital’s web site listed Dr. Tissier as one of its doctors; the sign for Dr. Tissier’s office listed it as a St. Elizabeth’s office; Dr. Tissier’s own letterhead identified Dr. Tissier as a doctor providing care at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park;” and numerous documents provided to Williams related to her care and treatment with Dr. Tissier, including prescription forms and consent forms, identified Dr. Tissier, his practice, and the location of his group as being located at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park.” The law only requires the plaintiff to show that she relied on the hospital, in part, to deliver medical care.

The evidence further showed that Dr. Tissier’s name did not appear anywhere on any of the very lengthy consent forms that Ms. Williams signed and that the consent forms led her to believe that Dr. Tissier was a St. Elizabeth’s employee.

After hearing oral arguments and reviewing the briefs submitted by the parties (Brief), the Appellate Court reversed the decision of the circuit court, finding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the delivering doctor was the apparent agent of St. Elizabeth’s. The case will now be remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. (Opinion)


At TKK, we are dedicated to ensuring that those who are injured because of others' negligence achieve justice and receive full compensation for their damages. In birth injury cases, these damages can be extensive, since they often involve life-long disabilities that have a serious financial impact on a family. If you or your child have been harmed by the negligence of doctors or nurses during birth, schedule a free consultation with our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys by calling 312-605-8800.

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