In its decision filed on December 24, 2014, the Court of Appeals of Illinois (“Appellate Court”) upheld the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the medical malpractice defendants because the pro se plaintiff failed to provide expert testimony to rebut the Illinois medical review panel’s opinion that there was no medical negligence that caused injury to the plaintiff.
The plaintiff had filed a proposed complaint in June 2010 with the Illinois Department of Insurance, alleging medical malpractice by a number of physicians and other healthcare providers. The Illinois medical review panel that determined the plaintiff’s medical negligence allegations unanimously found that all of the medical malpractice defendants, except one hospital, had met the appropriate standard of care and therefore there was no medical negligence that they committed. The medical review panel also found that the conduct of the hospital that did not meet the standard of care was not a factor in the injuries allegedly sustained by the plaintiff.
The Appellate Court stated that once the defending healthcare providers designate the opinion of the medical review panel finding that they complied with the applicable standard of care, the plaintiff must generally present expert opinion testimony to demonstrate there is a genuine issue of material fact – due to the complexity of medical diagnosis and treatment, expert opinion is required as to the existence and scope of the standard of care that is imposed on medical specialists and as to whether particular acts or omissions complied with the standard of care.
In the present cast, the defendants moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a brief in response but apparently did not provide an affidavit from a medical expert to rebut the medical review panel’s findings in favor of the defendants. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, after which the plaintiff appealed.
In affirming the lower court’s granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the Appellate Court noted that summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The burden is on the moving party to prove the nonexistence of a genuine issue of material fact; if there is any doubt, the motion should be resolved in favor of the party opposing the motion. Once the movant has sustained this burden, however, the opponent may not rest on the mere allegations or denials in his pleadings, but must respond by setting forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.
The Appellate Court stated that the defendants had submitted the opinion of the medical review panel in support of their motion for summary judgment, which satisfied the defendants’ burden to show there was no genuine issue of material fact – without a breach of the standard of care, the defendants would be entitled to judgment as a matter of law. It was then up to the plaintiff to respond by presenting specific facts that showed a genuine issue for trial, which he failed to do. Therefore, the Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s granting of summary judgment for the defendants.
Source Lloyd G. Perry vs. Anonymous Physician 1, et al., No. 02A03-1401-CT-43.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in Illinois or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a local Illinois medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find Illinois medical malpractice lawyers (or medical malpractice lawyers in your state) who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.