Motions in limine decided in surgeon's trial

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 1, 2008, 8:22am


Jurors in a medical malpractice trial against a plastic surgeon accused of negligently peforming a breast reduction surgery will not hear evidence that the plaintiff was a public aid recipient.

Zang's lawyer, Bob Perica of Wood River, had filed the motions in limine prior to trial asking Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian to ban any reference to his client's wealth or poverty.

Zang, of Witt, Ill., filed suit against R. Craig McKee, M.D. in 2001, alleging he violated the standard of care while performing a bilateral reduction mammoplasty with free nipple graft operation on Nov. 22, 1999 at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

According to Zang, 41, McKee ignored her directive and desire that she be left with average size breasts that would complement her frame when he proceeded to remove 2,553 grams from her right breast and 2,957 grams from her left breast.

There are 454 grams per pound.

Matoesian also allowed Perica's motion to ban evidence that would show that Zang's medical expenses had been paid by collateral sources and that any recovery by Zang is not subject to federal income taxes.

Jurors also will not hear the circumstances under which Zang hired Perica or the fees or contingent contract under which Perica was retained.

Matoesian also granted a motion that bans the defense from asking Zang questions involving any prior mental conditions.

The defense also will not be allowed to tell the jury during closing arguments that Zang had asked for a greater amount of money than she expects to be rewarded.

Matoesian, however, denied a motion regarding McKee's office treatment note of Oct. 12, 1999. The note involved his plan to remove 1,000 grams of tissue from each breast as a minimum standard for insurance purposes.

Matoesian also denied a motion that sought to ban the defense from arguing that Zang failed to mitigate her damages.

McKee, represented by Ransom Wuller of Belleville, also filed motions in limine asking Matoesian to ban any reference to McKee's insurance coverage.

Jurors will also not hear any mention of settlement offers or discussions.

Wuller also asked Matoesian to ban any reference to any other lawsuits filed against his client. He argued that Illinois law does not allow references to prior conduct to either prove or disprove conduct in a present case.

Wuller lost two motions in limine.

In the first instance, Wuller asked Matoesian to ban any witnesses from criticizing his client if those criticisms do not involve "deviation from the standard of care."

Wuller argued McKee is only liable if he did not follow the standard of care. He argued that any other evidence would be immaterial and highly prejudicial.

Matoesian also denied a motion that sought to ban Perica from asking expert witnesses what kind of treatment they would provide.

Wuller argued that such testimony would be irrelevant and immaterial unless an expert believes their recommended treatment is required by the standard of care.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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Anderson Hospital
6800 State Route 162
Maryville, IL 62062

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