Hope Clinic battery case in court on Friday

Amelia Flood Mar. 21, 2011, 12:14pm


Madison County Circuit Judge David Hylla is set to hear motions in a battery suit filed against a Granite City women's clinic, doctors and other staffers by a woman who sought an abortion there.

Meanwhile, two of the defendants in the case have filed a supplemental memorandum in support of their move for summary judgment.

Plaintiff Brandy Hildreth is seeking damages in excess of $1.4 million and other relief in the suit.

Hope Clinic for Women, its director Sally Burgess, staffers Clara Dixon, Debra Weihardt, Anne Baker, Denise Caldwell, Dr. Allen Palmer, Dr. Melissa Gilliam, Dr. Lisa Memmel and the University of Chicago Medical Center are all named as defendants in the suit.

Hildreth claims she was battered by Memmel and misled by the clinic staff as to whom would perform her 2008 abortion. That misrepresentation, she alleges, caused her emotional distress.

Hylla is set to hear motions in the case at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Memmel and several of the other defendants in the suit have filed motions asking for summary judgment in the suit.

In those moves, the defendants contend that Hildreth was aware that Memmel, a graduate student in a program through the Chicago medical center, would perform the procedure and that she did not object to Memmel performing the abortion.

The defendants recently filed third party complaints against another doctor Hildreth had seen, Dr. Mark Wassermann.

According to the motions to file a third party complaint, Wassermann allegedly told Hildreth that the clinic staff did not perform the procedure correctly.

The defendants claim that Wasserman told Hildreth that "baby parts (fetal tissue) were left inside her."

The defendants allege that the abortion was done correctly and that there was no fetal tissue left in Hildreth's womb.

They ask that, in the event they are found liable, that Wassermann be held accountable for the some of the judgment entered against them.

In the March 18 memorandum in support of their summary judgment move, Memmel and the University of Chicago Medical Center point to Hildreth's written consent form and her actual consent that they committed no wrongdoing.

The pair also cite Hildreth's testimony that she knew she was going to be treated by a "Hope Clinic physician," rather than a specific doctor.

Memmel was considered a clinic staffer, according to the March 18 filing due to a contract in place between Hope and the University of Chicago.

"The plaintiff in this case sought only that the abortion be done at the clinic and never asked or was told the identity of the doctor who would be doing the surgery," the filing reads. "This plaintiff now is in no position to question whether the consent which she gave in writing and acquiesced to at the Hope Clinic where she presented to have it done included Dr. Memmel who she actually saw perform the surgery without objection by her."

The pair then goes on to cite several cases dealing with the consent issue in the filing.

Rhonda Fiss represents Hildreth.

Mark Levy represents the clinic and its staff members.

John Leskera represents Memmel and the University of Chicago center.

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

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