Defendants moving to file counterclaim in abortion clinic battery suit

Amelia Flood Mar. 8, 2011, 7:14am

Defendants in a Madison County suit brought over a woman's abortion are moving to file a third party complaint in the case.

Circuit Judge David Hylla is set to hear the motion filed by Hope Clinic for Women of Granite City, its director Sally Burgess, and staff members Clara Dixon, Debra Weihardt, Anne Baker, Denies Caldwell and Dr. Allen Palmer who filed to add a third party complaint Feb. 14.

The group and Dr. Lisa Memmel and the University of Chicago Medical Center are being sued by former patient Brandy Hildreth.

Hildreth claims that she suffered emotional distress after undergoing an abortion because she was allegedly misled by clinic staff members about what doctor would perform the procedure.

The suit is seeking $1.4 million in damages.

Hylla will take up the third party complaint issue later this month at a hearing set March 25 at 9:30 a.m.

The defendants have moved for summary judgment in the suit.

They claim that Memmel identified herself as a doctor and that Hildreth knew she was the person performing the procedure, not Palmer, as Hildreth claims she was told.

Hildreth, in her response to the summary judgment moves, claims she was sedated when Memmel identified herself.

She also asks the court to consider at what point Memmel identified herself and when the abortion procedure began.

Memmel, in her reply to Hildreth's response, claims Hildreth signed the consent form and that there is no evidence presented in her complaint that the abortion was not properly done. Memmel cites Hildreth's admission upon coming to the clinic that the procedure was elective and not due to any emergency health issue.

Memmel dismisses the plaintiff's claim that the change in doctor performing the procedure was negligent.

"The plaintiff sought an abortion procedure done by a doctor at Hope Clinic and that was successfully done with her consent," Memmel's reply reads.

In the Feb 14. proposed third party complaint, the defendants are seeking redress from Dr. Mark Wasserman.

Wasserman treated Hildreth before and after the abortion according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that Wasserman told the plaintiff that the clinic's staff did not perform the abortion properly.

It goes on to allege that Wasserman told Hildreth that "baby parts (fetal tissue) were left inside her."

The clinic contends that the procedure was done correctly and that there was no fetal tissue remaining in Hildreth's uterus following it.

The defendants claim that Wasserman's statements constitute contributory negligence.

While the defendants deny Hildreth's allegations, they ask that Wasserman be held liable in the even that damages are entered against them.

Rhonda Fiss represents Hildreth.

John Leskera represents Memmel.

Mark Levy represents the remaining defendants.

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

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