Defense moving to dismiss wrongful death suit against Anderson Hospital, doctor
Anderson Hospital and a local doctor are moving to dismiss a wrongful death suit set for trial on Valentine's Day for lack of prosecution.
Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge is set to hear the motion tomorrow at 9 a.m. on Friday.
Anderson moved to dismiss the case Jan. 28, little more than a month after its co-defendant made a similar move.
Plaintiff Pamela Richards of Alhambra is suing the pair as the special administrator of the estate of Juanita Ludwig.
If the case continues as scheduled, it would be Mudge's first trial as a circuit judge.
Richards claims that defendant Dr. Stephen Prange Striegel failed to properly diagnose Ludwig with a perforated colon and failed to operate on it to fix a puncture and to release trapped air in the organ.
As a result, the plaintiff claims, Ludwig developed an infection that led to her death Feb. 9, 2007.
The plaintiff claims that the doctor was acting as an agent of Anderson at the time of Ludwig's treatment and death, and is therefore liable.
The plaintiff's second amended complaint includes claims of survival action, vicarious liability, and wrongful death and seeks more than $50,000 in damages per count.
The plaintiff's attorneys all withdrew from the suit.
Attorneys from the firm of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli, & Rowland were allowed to withdraw in June 2010.
Richards' remaining attorneys, including Brian Bendick, withdrew later that same year.
In that motion to withdraw filed in September 2010, Bendick and his co-counsel Terry Brown of Brown & Associates allege that their client told them she believed that the attorneys had been "paid off" by the defendants.
Bendick and Brown then argued that they could not continue to represent their client in good conscious due to that belief.
Striegel moved to dismiss the suit Dec. 17, 2010.
In that motion, the doctor notes that plaintiffs' counsel withdrew
in November of that year and that Richards is currently representing herself.
According to Striegel, a pro-se litigant can only represent their own interests, not those of another person, or in the case at hand, another's estate.
Striegel claims under Illinois' Wrongful Death Act, wrongful death claims have to be brought by a representative. Therefore Richards can't act as both represent the estate and represent herself.
Anderson makes nearly identical claims in its motion to dismiss.
Diane Robben and Jonathan Ries represent Anderson and its owners, Southwestern Illinois Health Facilities Inc.
Ransom Wuller and Heather Wescoat represent Striegel.
The case is Madison case number 07-L-992.
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