Lack of affidavit knocks wrongful death suit out of MC court

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 26, 2007, 9:00am

Circuit Judge Dave Hylla

Rick Hunsaker

Madison County Circuit Judge Dave Hylla dismissed with prejudice a wrongful death lawsuit because the plaintiff's attorney failed to produce an affidavit of merit on time.

That means Lorna Hinnen's claim against Troy family practitioner Dolores Cantrell, M.D. over the care of her husband Larry Dean Hinnen has dissolved. The suit was filed in Madison County Circuit Court May 14 alleging Cantrell deviated from standards of care.

Hylla got rid of the suit, which also named Jim Miller as a defendant, on Sept. 20 after lawyers representing the defendants successfully argued the case should be dismissed pursuant to 2-622 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

Rick Hunsaker of Heyl Royster in Edwardsville argued that plaintiff attorney Stephen Evans of St. Louis failed to submit an affidavit of merit even though he had Hinnen's medical records for well over a year.

When the case was originally filed, Evans submitted an affidavit stating he was unable to get a consultation on the case prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

2-622 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure requires that an affidavit of merit must be filed within 90 days of the suit being filed.

Hunsaker argued that Hinnen's complaint should be dismissed with prejudice because the plaintiff failed to comply with statutory requirements that require an expert's report stating that there is a meritorious cause for filing the case.

Hunsaker also argued that the plaintiff made "no showing of good faith or due diligence" in attempting to obtain an expert's report even though he had medical records for 16 months.

According to Hinnen's suit, Larry Hinnen saw Cantrell and Miller on May 11, 2005, for the treatment of chest pain, arm pain, dizziness and shortness of breath.

The suit alleged the doctors deviated from the standard of care by negligently failing to order an EKG, EKO, and a stress test on May 11, 2005. The estate also claimed Cantrell failed to refer Hinnen to a specialist.

Hinnen was seeking damages in excess of $200,000 claiming she and her two children have been deprived of Larry's companionship and society.

This is the second big win for Cantrell in Madison County in the past two years.

Last May, after a nine-day medical malpractice trial, a Madison County jury delivered a defense verdict, ruling Cantrell met the standard of care in treating William Hoppe, II.

Pamela Hoppe, as special administrator of the estate of William Hoppe II, filed suit against Cantrell on Feb. 27, 2004, claiming she misdiagnosed her husband's unstable angina on July 18, 2003, which caused his death the next day.

In the Hoppe case, Hunsaker was assisted by Mary Jo Guinn.

Matthew Morris assisted Hunsaker in the Hinnen case.

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Organizations in this Story

Heyl Royster
124 SW Adams St
Peoria, IL 61602

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