Plaintiff's case begins in retrial of 2003 medical malpractice case

Amelia Flood Jul. 21, 2010, 9:23am


Testimony got under way Wednesday morning in the second trial of a medical malpractice suit over the diagnosis of a woman's skin cancer.

Jurors viewed the video-taped testimony of deceased plaintiff Maria Storm after opening statements.

The afternoon's testimony featured the testimony of defendant Dr. Patrick Zimmermann.

Maria Storm and her husband, Douglas Storm, sued Zimmermann in 2003 claiming he failed to properly diagnose Maria's skin cancer when he removed a lesion from her back in 1999.

Maria Storm died of cancer in 2005. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2003, four years after seeing Zimmerman.

Zimmermann denies the claims.

The case was originally tried in January 2007, with the jury returning a verdict for Zimmermann.

However, the plaintiff successfully appealed to have the verdict thrown out after one of the case's original jurors lied about his role in two pending Madison County lawsuits during voir dire.

The trial opened Tuesday with a day long jury selection that ended at 5:15 p.m.

Both plaintiff's attorney Rex Carr and defense counsel Ted Dennis told jurors that the case's second trial would last two weeks.

The original trial in January 2007 also lasted more than two weeks.

Carr estimated his case would be completely presented prior to Wednesday next week.

Dennis told jurors he hoped to have his side over by late Thursday.

In opening statements, Carr stressed the testimony of several other doctors that would prove Zimmermann, a Collinsville family practice doctor, failed to meet the standard of care when he treated Maria Storm more than 10 years ago.

"She was told not to worry about it and she didn't," Carr said.

Dennis countered in his statement that the plaintiff was distorting the testimony of the physicians to prove what can't be proven.

"These witnesses are not saying what you're being told," Dennis said. "They're being pestered for five or six hours until they say something. It wasn't a suspicious lesion. It wasn't melanoma."

Dennis went on to question whether the lesion removed by Zimmermann in 1999 was the cause of the cancer Maria Storm was diagnosed with four years later.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder presides.

Crowder presided over the case's original trial as well.

The trial will continue Thursday with more testimony in the plaintiff's case.

Another defendant in the case, Dr. James Dalla Riva, Maria Storm's gynecologist, was dropped from the suit four years ago.

Zimmermann's Collinsville practice is also a defendant in the case.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-999.

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