Husband's suit over wife's death against Washington University, Barnes-Jewish Hospital gets new judge

Amelia Flood Jul. 12, 2011, 9:00am


A man's suit filed against Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital over his wife's death in a car crash following her release from the St. Louis hospital has a new judge.

Washington University sought and was granted a change of judge in June. The case was previously assigned to St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto took over the suit filed by plaintiff Joshua Hoffman on July 1.

A status conference is set in the matter Aug. 1 at 9 a.m.

Joshua Hoffman is suing the university, the hospital, and nurse Penny Cole on behalf of the estate of his wife, Kathleen Hoffman.

According to the plaintiff's complaint, after treatment at Barnes for Crohn's Disease, his wife was negligently allowed to leave the facility by herself and to drive her car on Aug. 19, 2010.

Kathleen Hoffman was killed when she lost control of her vehicle on the way home.

Her husband contends that the defendants negligently released his wife when she was not medically stable and knowingly discharged her from the hospital in an unfit state to drive.

The complaint seeks damages in excess of $75,000 and other relief.

The defendants deny the claims and argue that Kathleen Hoffman's comparative negligence, reckless driving, and other actions led to her death.

Thomas Keefe Jr. represents the plaintiff.

Theodore McDonald, Al Pranaitis, Dawne Zupanci and David Schott represent the various defendants.

The case is St. Clair case number 10-L-597.

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