Plaintiff asks to move back hearing in suit against abortion provider Hope Clinic, others

Amelia Flood Oct. 4, 2010, 11:10am


The plaintiff who is suing two doctors and the staff at Hope Clinic in Granite City where she sought an abortion two years ago wants a hearing on two summary judgment moves in the case pushed back.

Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is currently set to hear two summary judgment moves Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Plaintiff Brandy Hildreth is suing Dr. Lisa Memel, the Hope Clinic for Women and the clinic's staff, among others, for medical malpractice and the infliction of emotional distress.

In the Oct. 1 motion for asking to continue the hearing, plaintiff's attorney Rhonda Fiss cites her plans to be out of state or, if she is in Illinois, a scheduled settlement conference in a St. Clair County case.

In her suit, Hildreth claims she went to the Hope Clinic in February 2008 seeking an abortion.

While there, she signed a consent form that specified that "Dr.
Palmer," – named in the suit as Dr. Allen Palmer – would perform the procedure.

The suit claims that Memmel performed it instead.

Hildreth claims that she was not informed of the change in doctor and that Memmel committed medical battery in touching her without her consent.

The suit's forth amended complaint claims that following the abortion, the clinic's staff led Hildreth to believe that a nurse performed the abortion, not a doctor, which distressed her.

Hildreth claims she developed medical problems following the abortion and that the clinic intentionally withheld parts of her medical file, causing her more emotional stress.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and costs for each of its 28 counts.

The defendants are Memmel, Hope Clinic, Sally Burgess, the clinic's direction, Clara Dixon, its medical secretary, Debra Weihardt, its administrator, Ann Baker, its head of counseling, Denise Caldwell, its director of nursing, and Palmer.

The University of Chicago Medical Center is also named as a defendant in the suit. Memmel was a fellow with a program through the medical center.

Memmel and the University of Chicago defendant moved for summary judgment Sept. 8.

In the motion, the defendants cite Hildreth's deposition testimony that they claim shows she knew Memmel had treated her and that the plaintiff doesn't make a viable claim.

"The plaintiff's own testimony provides indisputable evidence that she had no basis for a claim of medical battery or a claim of medical malpractice against Memmel or the Medical Center," the summary judgment motion reads.

According to the plaintiff's deposition of June 2, Memmel identified herself to the plaintiff following the procedure.

Hildreth also admits in the deposition excerpts highlighted by the summary judgment motion that she became aware Memmel and not Palmer was going to perform the operation.

The plaintiff also said, according to the deposition excerpt, that she did not object to Memmel performing the procedure.

Hope Clinic, Burgess, and the other clinic defendants have also moved for summary judgment. In their move, filed five days before Memmel's, the defendants cite Hildreth's admission she knew before the abortion that Memmel would perform it and that the plaintiff's own observation misled her about Memmel's profession.

The plaintiff's response to the motions was not in the case file as of Monday.

Fiss represents Hildreth.

Mark Levy represents Hope Clinic.

John Leskera represents Memmel.

The Hope Clinic staffers are represented by Levy.

The case was originally part of former Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron's docket.

The case is Madison case number 08-L-343.

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