Matoesian denies motion to dismiss med mal case stemming from doctor's phone call

Amelia Flood Dec. 12, 2010, 10:53pm


Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian said he "flip-flopped" on deciding whether or not to throw out a stroke victim's suit against a Missouri-based doctor.

At first, Matoesian told attorneys present at a hearing Friday that he had thought to side with defendant Dr. David Pernikoff who is seeking the dismissal of the suit brought by Cheryl and Kim Unterreiner.

Pernikoff claims that Illinois does not have personal jurisdiction over the case because he does not practice medicine or conduct any business within the state.

The Unterreiners are suing Pernikoff and his practice for unspecified damages.

The 2010 suit alleges that Pernikoff did not monitor Cheryl Unterreiner's risk for blood clots and that he told her via phone not to come into his office after tests indicated certain warning factors were high in September 2008.

Cheryl Unterreiner went on to suffer a stroke that worsened after her transfer to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

There is a separate suit pending against Barnes and other defendants in Missouri.

Defense attorney Lisa Howe argued that one call from a cell phone to her client's office should not meet the burden to keep the case in Illinois.

"I guess that the plaintiff is suggesting that any time a doctor gets a phone call from a patient they need to know where they're calling from," Howe said.

She argued that it made more sense for the plaintiffs to lump the Madison County claims in with the Missouri suit.

Plaintiff's attorney Drew Baebler argued that the phone call was sufficient and that his client was calling the doctor after his office called telling her to contact them.

"If this phone call didn't exist, this case wouldn't be here," Baebler said.

After considering the arguments, Matoesian indicated that he had changed his mind and would have to let the case stand in his court.

"I originally thought your way," Matoesian told Howe. He cited the fact that the defendant wasn't seeking to transfer the case but to
dismiss it.

The judge also noted that no one disputed that the phone call took place.

"But I think they have enough to keep it here," Matoesian said.

He went on to deny the defense motion to dismiss.

Howe and J. Thaddeus Eckenrode represent the defendant and his practice.

Baebler and Philip Denton represent the plaintiffs.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-1038.

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