St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson set a $1.2 million appeal bond for St. Clair Anesthesia and David Gillen, M.D. of Belleville as they challenge a Feb. 26 jury award in an 11-year-old medical malpractice case.
At a hearing Wednesday, Gleeson also denied plaintiff attorney Joseph Bartholomew's post trial motion to strike defense pleadings as a sanction.
Bartholomew, arguing on behalf of his client Donald Paul Brown, said that defense attorney Greg Minana of Husch Blackwell in St. Louis had engaged in "repeated misconduct" during voir dire and trial.
He called Minana a "seasoned" malpractice who went "so far outside the lines" by bringing improper arguments before the jury.
"I was quite shocked at some of the things he did in an obvious attempt to get the court to grant a new trial," Bartholomew said.
"Presumably, Mr. Minana wished to prompt a mistrial after his motion to continue the trial date, filed on the first day of trial, was denied," Bartholomew stated in his motion.
Jurors awarded Brown $1 million in the 2003 case that alleged negligence in the death of Margaret Janet Brown.
According to the lawsuit, Gillen failed to obtain consent to use a Swan-Ganz catheter during Margaret Brown's coronary artery bypass surgery and failed to properly perform and monitor the catheterization.
The patient was 71 when she died Oct. 28, 2002.
Bartholomew pleaded that even though his client received what he asked for, that should not keep Minana from being penalized.
Minana refuted Bartholomew's arguments, saying they were "blatantly false."
In a motion for new trial, Minana argued, among other things, that the Court erred in denying a continuance because it left the defense with no experts to testify. He wrote that scheduling problems arose when Gleeson granted a plaintiff's motion for summary judgment three weeks before trial which "dramatically" shortened the length of the trial.
Minana also argued that there was no basis in Illinois law for Bartholomew's motion to strike pleadings.
Gleeson insisted that if he found that conduct was "over the line," he would have the authority to sanction.
In the end, he said he understood the adversarial roles of the parties, and did not find Minana's conduct "so beyond the pale" as to strike pleadings and sanction Minana.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital had also been named a defendant in the case. Represented by Michael Nester of Belleville, the hospital settled with the plaintiff shortly before trial on Feb. 20 for an undisclosed sum.
On April 14, St. Clair Anesthesia and Gillen had asked for the appeal bond to be set at $1,035,000.
The figure was reached by adding $85,500 in interest for one year at 9 percent to the judgment, then reduced by $50,000 in setoff.