Cantrell answers appeal in med mal trial she won
A Troy family doctor who was cleared of medical malpractice by a Madison County jury has answered the plaintiff's appeal.
The estate of William Hoppe II filed suit against Dolores Cantrell, M.D. on Feb. 27, 2004, claiming Cantrell misdiagnosed Hoppe's unstable angina on July 18, 2003, which caused his death the next day.
After a nine-day trial in May 2006, the jury ruled that Cantrell met the standard of care in treating Hoppe.
Plaintiff's attorney Rocco Marrese asked Madison County Circuit Judge Dan Stack for a new trial claiming his clients were deprived of a fair trial.
In a six-page order Stack said even though he feels "great sympathy" for the family and has known some of the members for many years nothing that happened during the trial reached a level that would give the estate a "second bite of the apple."
Stack entered his order on Jan 2. His order is the subject of the appeal.
In the appeal, Marrese raises the same issues he raised with Stack when asking him for a new trial.
Marrese alleges that attorneys for Cantrell violated Supreme Court Rule 213 regarding written interrogatories.
Cantrell is represented by Richard Hunsaker and Karen Kendall of Heyl Royster in Edwardsville.
Marrese contends that the question before Stack and the jury was which group of health care providers apply these standards of care.
He claims American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2002 guidelines outline the standard of care for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome.
Marrese argued Cantrell did not have an opinion at the time of her interrogatories about the 2002 ACC guidelines, but at trial she had an opinion.
Marrese claims that during redirect of Cantrell, Hunsaker elicited a new opinion that the American College of Cardiology article or the ACC guidelines had not been adopted by the American Academy of Family Practitioners.
He said he objected to the question because it lacked foundation and was also a Rule 213 violation because Cantrell never disclosed her opinion.
Marrese argues he never asked her or opened the door to which organizations adopted the guidelines and that Cantrell could not know which rules were adopted because she wasn't an officer of that organization.
He also claims Cantrell's testimony was not a permissible elaboration or logical extension of any previously disclosed opinion and instead constituted an improper undisclosed opinion.
Marrese argues that Cantrell's opinion rested at the heart of his case and that no other defense expert could state affirmatively, as Cantrell did, an opinion that the ACC guidelines had not been adopted by the Academy.
In his response to Marrese's appellate brief, Hunsaker contends that Stack's ruling in favor of Cantrell on the Rule 213 issue was "sound" and also argues that there is no basis for finding that Stack abused his discretion in ruling for Cantrell.
Hunsaker also argues the statement by Cantrell was a fact, not an opinion and also that the plaintiff opened the door for the statement because they questioned Cantrell about the guidelines.
"Plaintiffs' attempted sleight-of-hand regarding what Dr. Cantrell was asked and the answer she gave does not transform a fact question into a Rule 213 opinion," Hunsaker writes.
Hunsaker also argues that there is no basis to reverse the jury's verdict and that two other witnesses in the case testified that the ACC guidelines did not apply in this case.
"The egregiousness required for a finding of plain error is not even remotely touched upon by the claimed error in the instant case," Hunsaker writes.
He also argues that Marrese has never argued that the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
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