Stack transfers Memorial, Serot med mal suit to St. Clair County

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 14, 2007, 6:00am

Judge Stack

Memorial Hospital

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack transferred a medical malpractice case against Memorial Hospital and retired orthopedic surgeon Donald Serot, M.D. to St. Clair County on June 1.

In March Memorial Hospital filed a motion to transfer based on improper venue claiming the medical and surgical care provided to the plaintiff all occurred in St. Clair County.

Represented by Charles Chapman of the Lakin law firm, Paul Neumann of Edwardsville filed the suit against Serot and Memorial Hospital in Madison County Circuit Court on Jan. 10, seeking damages in excess of $150,000.

Serot, a renowned Belleville orthopedic surgeon, told his patients he would be retiring from practice in an abrupt announcement on July 29, 2005.

He indicated his decision to retire early was related to the high cost of obtaining medical malpractice insurance coverage.

In its motion to transfer venue, Memorial argues that it does not maintain an office or conduct business in Madison County.

Memorial claims Neumann's only allegation which attempts to establish a basis for fixing the venue in Madison County is the claim that Serot provided care to Madison County residents.

"The venue statute reflects a legislative determination that a party should not be required to defend an action in a county that has little or no relation to the party or the transaction that is the subject of the suit," Memorial argued.

Represented by Jeffrey Glass and Heidi Eckert of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Belleville, Memorial claims they have an "absolute right" to insist on a proper venue.

"Where venue is improper, the trial court has no discretion and must transfer the case to a proper venue," Memorial argues.

Neumann's suit claims Serot failed to take appropriate x-rays and use other diagnostic tools to properly diagnose his condition and failed to employ proper surgical procedures in performing knee replacement surgery.

He also claims Serot failed to obtain proper alignment of the prosthetic device when performing knee surgery and failed to furnish him with appropriate care following the knee surgery.

Neumann claims Serot's alleged negligence caused his knee replacement surgery to be unsuccessful which required additional surgeries.

He also claims he has incurred medical and hospital expenses in an endeavor to cure his injuries and has and will continue to suffer pain and mental anguish.

Neumann is seeking damages from Memorial claiming Serot was an agent and/or apparent agent of the hospital.

"Plaintiff acted in reliance upon the conduct of Memorial and its agents, consistent with ordinary care and prudence," Neumann's complaint states.

Serot and Memorial deny the allegations.

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