Testimony wraps up in retrial of '03 medical malpractice case

Amelia Flood Jul. 30, 2010, 6:32am


Jurors heard their last witness in the retrial of a 2003 medical malpractice suit that will last into a third week in Madison County.

Defendant Dr. Patrick Zimmermann took the stand Friday morning, discussing his treatment of Maria Storm, the wife of plaintiff Douglas Storm more than 10 years ago.

Douglas Storm is suing Zimmermann for allegedly failing to send a mole he removed from Maria Storm's back for laboratory tests and for failing to diagnose the malignant melanoma that killed her.

While a previous jury found for Zimmermann in 2007, Douglas Storm won his appeal for a new trial last year after it came to light that a juror lied during the original trial's jury selection.

According to presiding judge, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, jurors will hear closing arguments Monday before they begin deliberations.

Crowder, plaintiff's counsel Rex Carr and defense attorney Ted Dennis would spend the remainder of Friday working out jury instructions and entering exhibits into evidence.

According to testimony in the case and the record, Maria Storm first had a mole on her back removed by Maryville family practice doctor Dr. Anthony Malench in 1998.

The mole returned and she sought treatment from Zimmermann, a Collinsville family practitioner.

Maria Storm was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2003.

She died from the disease two years later.

Her husband's suit seeks damages of at least $50,000 and costs per count.

The suit was originally tried in 2007.

After a trial lasting over two weeks, the jury found for Zimmermann.

That verdict was thrown out because a male juror lied about his role in two pending lawsuits during voir dire.

The appellate court ordered a new trial.

The second trial has featured many of the same experts' testimony, depositions from experts and Maria Storm and live testimony from Zimmermann, experts and Douglas Storm.

The trial has been delayed at several points.

In one instance, a male juror was excused from the case.

Another female juror overslept the same day, delaying the proceedings over an hour.

Carr and Dennis have sparred heatedly at points over lines of questioning and other issues.

Friday's testimony was delayed as the two attorneys quarreled over whether or not Zimmermann could testify about his habit of telling patients to either worry about a removed mole or not.

Crowder took time to make her ruling, telling the attorneys as she left that they were free to pass the time arguing with one another.
The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

It opened July 20 with jury selection. The following day saw the opening of the plaintiff's case.

Crowder presided at the first trial as well.

The case is Madison case number 03-L-899.

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